Q: How do I become indispensable at work?
A: Very few people are truly indispensable at work, and that’s the good news. Were you one of them, you would be on call constantly, with no back up and no alternative but to jump as high as required, as often as required (and those who want to be and remain indispensable actually jump higher and more than really required). It’s a prescription for burnout and isolation, in that being the favored child at work often pits your colleagues against you and creates resentments rather than comfort and harmony.
Instead, I suggest you should strive to be important. How? By being positive, prompt, prepared, persuasive, and people-oriented, including with your boss, clients, and co-workers. In addition to being collaborative and congenial, be enthusiastic, energetic, and easy to work with. Be creative. Be skilled enough to disagree, without being disagreeable. Be willing to say yes, but also able to say no.
Be valuable and valued, and thus important at work. You won’t be dispensed with, plus you’ll have friends at work and a life outside it. That’s a far better equation than trying to be indispensable … it’s actually smarter and more rewarding, too.