Seriously now, have you ever thought about how you will be missed? At the workplace, I mean. Ron Jenson once described how someone who was working in a large company had witnessed a colleague being fired. That colleague's office was vacated, cleaned out, rearranged, and the new incumbent ensconced within it in less than 48 hours! It was as though the colleague who had occupied the office previously had never even existed, and the fact that he had worked in the company and contributed meaningfully to its value, at least at some point, was of no significance at all!
Does it matter? Of course it does. We all want to be remembered, if not fondly, then at least for some contribution we have made. After all, we have given a part of our lives to others just by being there, right? So, start thinking about it. These few points might help you along.
1. Are you expert in your sphere of responsibility?
If you hire someone, you don't do it because that person needs a job. You hire someone because you need that someone to contribute meaningfully to your business. So, if you are that hired person, that hired hand, are you accomplishing all that your employer expects of you? Whether or not you think you're being justly remunerated is beside the point - you signed on the dotted line, didn't you? Therefore, if your Boss gave you a task well within your scope of responsibility, can he leave it to you without losing any sleep or growing more gray hairs? In fact, can he confidently expect that the job would be done as well as any other expert could have done it?
2. Do you accept increased responsibilities without complaining?
We all want our staff to be able to become so good at their primary jobs that they have no qualms taking on higher value roles and tasks. If you are one of those staff, can you be counted upon to do that without asking for a raise every time?
3. Do you negotiate for equitable compensation calmly, rationally and persuasively?
Believe me, the Boss, and basically everyone else, is pretty sick and tired of people who whine all the time about how they aren't being paid what they're worth. In fact, when you look at it, a good percentage of those who do that are actually being overpaid and underworked. This doesn't mean that you should continue to accept your pittance of a salary. Are you able to take stock of the actual value you provide? Would you be able to communicate to your Boss just how much you're actually worth? Can you tell for certain how much it would cost the company if you were to leave now? I am not talking about twisting your Boss' arms for more pay and benefits. I am talking about presenting your case for a raise in terms of how giving you a raise would actually benefit the company's bottom line. Can you do that without a brouhaha and without getting yourself fired?
4. Do people look forward to having you around?
Do your co-workers, managers and other Bosses higher up the food chain look forward to your participation in projects? Do they perk up when they see you at meetings? Do people line up so that they can have the privilege of having lunch together with you? If someone has a difficulty or doesn't understand something, would that person approach you without hesitation? Do people around you share their dreams or their family lives with you? That would tell you how much people like having you around. Or not.
If you know that you will be missed a great deal, that tells you about how much you're really worth. Are you receiving fair value in return? Don't be shy to ask for it! If you feel embarrassed about it, then maybe it's time to pull your socks up and make yourself more valuable than you are now!