skillsWithout realizing it, as a human race, we define ourselves and others by the employment we do. Think about it: if someone asks you about a friend and says “what do they do?” – they mean as a job. Without asking for clarification, we’ll answer: “he’s a plumber” or “she’s an electrician” without a pause.

These days, answering the simple question of “what do you do?” is trickier than it’s ever been. So many jobs nowadays are service-based, and if you tried to explain them to an 80-year-old retiree, then you’d have a massive task on your hands. If you tried to explain them to yourself, then even that would be difficult – roles encompass so many things.

“Well,” you’d say, “I’m involved in de-escalating customer conflict scenarios. I do this in liaison with corporate liaisons supervisors, of course!”

Try putting that on a business card.

No one can say these jobs aren’t important. Businesses have put a lot of money into building up their service side. More call centers are being built than factories. Even then, though, as details, even those jobs may be under threat.

So these roles have a drawback if you want to make your living solid and secure. Frontline contracts in the service sector tend to allow businesses to make you redundant with very little notice – they’re not particularly secure as a result.

To not be at the mercy of a faceless corporate body that can fire you in an afternoon, you need to be indispensable. Whether this means going into business for yourself, or being a core part of a work team, you have to specialize.


Specialize? As What?

If your recent jobs are all involved in the service sector, it can be easy to think you don’t have a specific skillset. They’re so catch-all that you don’t think of the various tasks that worth within them. So, think of how your company delivers its end product. There are management levels across the line, focusing on things from distribution to handling customer concerns. If you specialize in one of these areas for advancement rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, you’ve made a huge step towards becoming indispensable.


What you also have going for you are your unique skills, the things that only you can bring to the table. Perhaps you’re a lateral thinker, able to see problems arise before anyone else. If so, then a move into the logistics side of the business might be for you. If you are patient with customers and are slow to anger, then a career change to customer liaison and troubleshooting could be just the fix.


I Don’t Know How To Do Those Jobs!

Everyone in any kind of job has, at one time or another, done it for the first time. It requires a leap of faith and a willingness to learn. Courses exist for both vocational and trade work, with experts such as able to help nurture your existing skills into something more concrete. Something you can put on a resumé; something that sets you out from the crowd.
With a sound education and your own skills behind you, you can develop a role that you can perform better than anyone else. Be willing to stand out from the crowd and have confidence in your ability, rather than another nameless, faceless drone with a non-specific job title that confuses more than explains your role.