I remember having a conversation with someone (a while back) and they asked me about projects that I had worked on. After going through my roles on the various projects, I’ll never forget what was said to me:
“You use the word ‘team’ and ‘we’ a lot when describing what you did, and that’s great because I know you’re a team player, but what have YOU done?”
The question stopped me dead in my tracks. Sure I had been a “valuable” part of a team that completed multiple major and groundbreaking projects successfully, and I was always praised for my hard work and dedication, but what did I contribute? Outside of taking direction and completing task after task in a timely manner did I do anything of significance? Did I lead any of the projects in any way, or did I bring new ideas to the table and implement them? The answer was no, and I told myself that had to change.
I’m not saying that having a good work ethic and dedication to the job isn’t valuable, because it is. But to me it’s not enough to set you apart from anyone else. It doesn’t make you irreplaceable. Working hard and being dedicated to your job is something that every employee SHOULD be. Your value add is when you’re proactive about things and bring new ideas to the table.
Have you ever thought about your value add where you work? What sets you apart from those around you?