Want to Be Engaged in Your Career? Be Indispensable.

Want to Be Engaged in Your Career? Be Indispensable.
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How do you know if a career move is right for you?

While cultural fit, how your skillset matches up with the needs of the job description and the company’s mission would certainly figure into your choice to take a position, according to new research from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Washington State University, how integral your role is to the success of the company impacts how happy you will be in a new job.

Namely, someone who is a “lynchpin” in his or her company’s day-to-day activities is more engaged in work.

Related: 3 Essentials for Making a Big Splash at Your New Job

The professors identified the four elements that make someone a lynchpin. The first is how critical the work you are doing in the position is to the long-term goals and mission of your company. The second is whether the work you are producing can be substituted by another position. The third is if no one were to do this work, how quickly would other work activities grind to a halt. And the fourth is if no one were doing this work, how keenly the absence be felt.

While the flipside of being an integral part of the company’s operations could mean the increased stress of always having to be on call, in a survey of 700 employees the researchers found that when a role had these four factors, “it predicted more meaningful work, more emotional organization commitment, and less job insecurity and burnout. We found no downsides,” explained Lixin Jiang, Thomas Tripp and Tahira Probst in the Harvard Business Review.

Related: 7 Signs It's Time to Transition From Employee to Entrepreneur

Ultimately, if you are weighing the pros and cons of taking on more responsibility in your company or your career in general, Jiang, Tripp and Probst advise taking the leap.

“Although core positions often come with greater responsibility, employees should understand, counter to conventional wisdom, that such a position may be less likely to burn them out,” they wrote. “Conversely, accepting a peripheral position may have unanticipated adverse consequences as a result of not being ‘in the thick of things.’”

Edition: June 2017

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