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
Some Consulting What Ifs
What if Consultants… Focused on client issues rather than margin and billable hours Acted as if they were guests at a client site – not subservient, but not condescending Said no to the ...
READ MORE
The Impossible Goal of Multitasking
I have a “no electronics” rule at our dinner table with my kids.  We turn off the TV, we don’t answer the phone and, above all, no cell phones.  Any ...
READ MORE
Make Yourself Indispensable
Unless you’re an undertaker, repeat business should always be your goal.  Whether you are an independent consultant or serving on a large project from a large firm, your main goal ...
READ MORE
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given to a Consultant
We see evidence of status all over the work place.  The boss in the corner office; larger, more comfortable chairs for management; and cubicles by the window for people with ...
READ MORE
Are You A Rule Follower?
I’ve been working since the age of 12 when I became a busboy at an Italian restaurant in my hometown.  I still remember my dad dropping me off on my ...
READ MORE
The Difference between Consultants and Employees
I was involved in a conversation the other day about what differentiates a consultant from a non-consultant. If you asked a non-consultant, perhaps the first answer you’d get is that there ...
READ MORE
How Important Is Client Facetime?
“Papa was a rollin’ stone.  Wherever he laid his hat was his home.”            - The Temptations I have a friend who works for a major technology company in the U.S.  He ...
READ MORE
Who sells consulting services?
Early in my career, I worked for a large consulting firm that evaluated their employees on five criteria: Knowledge: How much has the employee learned over the evaluation period? Service: How well ...
READ MORE
Michael Jordan and the Consultant’s Public Image
I loved watching Michael Jordan play for The Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.  In those days, everybody seemed to want to “Be like Mike”.  I remember thinking about how isolated ...
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
Some Consulting What Ifs
The Impossible Goal of Multitasking
Make Yourself Indispensable
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given
Are You A Rule Follower?
The Difference between Consultants and Employees
How Important Is Client Facetime?
Who sells consulting services?
Michael Jordan and the Consultant’s Public Image
How to Create Your Personal Brand