3 Ways to Make Yourself Expendable

Make yourself expendable
How to make yourself expendable

We work in an environment of nearly constant change.  Technology has not only changed the way we do virtually everything, the rate of change increases at a more rapid rate every day.

For those who work in technology, the job market is pretty good these days.  Despite what are considered high unemployment numbers for the nation as a whole, if you work in technology, you’re most likely in high demand.

A good job market is like a middle-aged man in a Hawaiian shirt.  It hides a lot of sins.

When demand is high, some people tend to get lazy.  They may assume the market will be good for a long time and resist changes.

How to make yourself expendable

Even if you have a skill that is in demand, there are many ways to make yourself expendable.  Here are three:

  • Never adopt to new changes. Let’s say you’re a developer with your company with a technology that is in fair demand.  A new development language or technique has been introduced to your company and they would like you to learn it.  Instead of learning it, you brush it off.
    Granted, there are a lot of fads in technology and most never make it into the mainstream.  But one needs to have an open mind about emerging technologies to allow for legitimate new approaches. The next .NET may be out there.
  • Be inflexible. People are creatures of habit.  Some more than others.  When one gets into such a routine that they are too rigid to work with others, others may no longer wish to work with them.
    Consider a project manager who determines the tasks to be completed for a project.  Those tasks are given a sequence and assigned to a member of the team.  As the project evolves, people may get behind on their tasks, dependencies may change and some people may even finish their tasks early. As these changes occur, it would make sense for the project manager to reassess the sequencing and assignments.
    Another project manager may resist making changes to her project plan.  They may insist that the original plan stay as it is, causing some people to wait unproductively while other tasks are completed.
  • Communicate poorly. There are many ways to communicate poorly.  The best way is to not communicate at all.  Simply work in a vacuum.  Don’t answer emails, don’t share your knowledge or any information about what you’re working on.
    Another way to communicate poorly is to miscommunication.  If someone asks you a question, answer it with the least amount of information possible.  Alternatively, you can be misleading.  Tell half-truths that lead people to believe something other than the truth.

Insecurities cause people to hoard information and resist change.  These actions cause organizations to suffer with slow productivity at best and major setbacks at worst.

See my related post: New Management: 3 Ways to Deal with It

At some point, the organization may realize that they are receiving less value than the salaries they are paying for some people.  That’s when anti-productive people are deemed expendable.

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”  – General Eric Shinseki, secretary of veterans’ affairs.

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.

Related Posts
How to Deal with Emotional Clients
I’ve usually been able to manage my emotions in business settings.  Everyone makes mistakes and I’ve always had a tolerance for that. But every once in a while, you get a ...
READ MORE
Are You Keeping a Client Focus?
In an episode of ‘House of Lies’, the Showtime series loosely based on management consulting, there was a situation where the team was tasked with reviewing a pharmaceutical client’s internal ...
READ MORE
Consulting’s Three Headed Monster
A good consulting firm needs to be successful from three aspects: Delivery, Sales and Recruiting.  This is often considered the three-headed monster of consulting The three headed monster Delivery Delivery, the act of ...
READ MORE
How to Lose Business by Gold Plating
I worked my way through college waiting tables.  At one place I worked, we had a cook who treated employee meals differently than customer meals.  Customers received the standard fair.  ...
READ MORE
The Arsonist and the Fireman
The City’s Hero The city was experiencing a rash of fires.  Arson was usually suspected but the source of the flame could never be proven. Fortunately, the city had a crack firefighting ...
READ MORE
A Consulting Limerick
A man tried a career in consulting But his approach with clients was insulting He was arrogant and rude With the clients he’d feud And they found him to be quite revolting   The firm chose ...
READ MORE
How to Create Your Personal Brand
Early in my career, I worked for a small consulting firm as a software developer. I liked the company and I like the work.  I had a very supportive manager.  ...
READ MORE
Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma
Have you ever worked so hard that you didn’t get anything done? The elusive banana The monkey’s dilemma is a well known story about how hunters figured out a way to capture ...
READ MORE
Unnecessary Anxiety
During the late 1990s, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan coined the term Irrational Exuberance to denote the absurdity of over-enthusiasm investors had regarding stocks – particularly dot-com stocks – ...
READ MORE
What My Dad Taught Me About Consulting
My father passed away in 1990.  After that, Fathers Days were a bit sad for me for a couple years, until I began celebrating them as a father instead of a son. In ...
READ MORE
How to Deal with Emotional Clients
Are You Keeping a Client Focus?
Consulting’s Three Headed Monster
How to Lose Business by Gold Plating
The Arsonist and the Fireman
A Consulting Limerick
How to Create Your Personal Brand
Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma
Unnecessary Anxiety
What My Dad Taught Me About Consulting