How to Become Indispensable

Members of my career mentoring site will tell you that I am always looking for top notch success advice.  That’s why I read a lot.  I read an interview with Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investment and Chairwoman of DreamWorks animation the other day.  She laid out one great piece of career success advice.

“Make yourself indispensable.  That way, they can never fire you.”

Michael Page has the best advice I’ve seen on making yourself indispensable.

  • Be reliable.
  • Make your manager’s job easier.
  • Volunteer for key projects.
  • Become the go to person in an important skill.
  • Share your knowledge.
  • Build relationships with senior leaders.
  • Offer solutions.

These are seven great pieces of life and career success advice.  I especially like the last one – offer solutions.  Many of the executives with whom I have worked have a common complaint – too many people come to them with problems, too few come with solutions.  One of them even has a little plaque on his desk that says DBMAPWOAS.  When people ask what those letters mean he says, “Don’t bring me a problem without a solution.”

It’s easy to point out problems.  All organizations have them.  However, if you’re constantly bringing up problems you can get a reputation as a whiner.  On the other hand, you can distinguish yourself by suggesting solutions to the problems you bring up.

Your boss may not like all of your suggestions, but he or she will notice that you took the time to think through problems – not just complain about them.

As I’ve said, all organizations have problems.  That’s why problem solvers are indispensable to any organization.  Become a problem solver.  You’ll not only survive, you’ll thrive.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.


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