“You can either fit in or stand out. Not both.” – Seth Godin
There are a couple jobs that I’ve done in which I gave it my all. I did what I was hired to do, I did the extra stuff my boss asked, and I even went beyond that to look for ways to improve the company. To use Seth Godin’s term, I did “Linchpin” work. What’s a “Linchpin”?
“The indispensable employee brings humanity and connection and art to her organization. She is the key player, the one who’s difficult to live without, the person you can build something around. The indispensable employee-I call her/him a linchpin-is a person who’s worth finding and keeping.” – Seth Godin
Now, I say that I did “Linchpin” work because, frankly, I haven’t been with an organization long enough to truly be a Linchpin – to be so remarkable that I became literally indispensable to the organization. I tried, more or less. Now, to be fair, some of the companies I’ve worked for are better suited for remarkable employees than others. Some business managers or owners truly don’t want remarkable employees. They want cogs they can insert into their machine, robots who don’t think for themselves. I’ve worked there, too.
It’s really hard to admit this, but it’s true. I simply haven’t cared enough in most of my jobs to try to create great work. However, it is my desire to be the kind of person that, if the company has to make cuts and someone suggests cutting my position, someone else will jump up and say, “No way! You can’t cut him! I don’t care what we have to do. We are not letting him go!”
There once was a woman named Tabitha who, “was always doing good and serving the poor,” (Acts 9:36). When she died, the people she had spent her life serving stood around her, crying and praying for her resurrection. They even sent for Peter, the apostle, who also came and prayed for her to live again. At the risk of understating her impact, that is a Linchpin! Actually, two Linchpins, come to think of it. Tabitha was clearly indispensable to her community, but so was Peter. After all, it was Peter who successfully prayed for her resurrection.
Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. – Acts 9:40-41
In addition, Jesus did say of Peter, “…on this rock I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:18).
That is the kind of work I’m trying to do now – Linchpin work. I want to create great stuff. I want to be indispensable.
How about you? Do you work to be remarkable? Are you in an organization that fosters Linchpin behavior? If not, what will you do?