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Science has made great strides with robots in recent years, but for the vast majority of American workers, there’s no reason to fear being replaced by machines. At least not yet. The reason: Human beings are special. We’re thinking, feeling individuals with unique talents and sets of experiences, and these things give us a distinct advantage over anything built in a lab.

That means our real competition comes from other humans, and if you’re someone who cherishes your job and wants to stay there for a while, it’s a good idea to make yourself “irreplaceable.” It’s a term that means different things to different people, but as MIT career development specialist Lily Zhang explains in a terrific post for the Daily Muse, there are ways to establish yourself as someone your company would be loathe to lose. It’s not necessarily about skills and experiences, she says, but simply being “you.” Scroll down to see what Zhang recommends.

1. Make Connections — Truly great employees don’t simply come in, work hard, eat lunch, and then go home. They make connections with coworkers and clients and leave lasting impressions. “Time spent communicating, interacting, and building relationships with your colleagues and clients alike is time well spent,” Zhang writes.

2. Be a Problem Solver — You know that person in your office who’s always pointing out other people’s mistakes? Don’t be like him or her. The better strategy, Zhang writes, is to be a troubleshooter. That means never saying things like, “That’s not my job.” As Zhang puts, it, “truly irreplaceable people are the ones who take initiative to troubleshoot and to identify solutions.”

3. Have a Specialty — While irreplaceability isn’t strictly about performance, it’s helpful to offer your company some unique skill they’re not apt to find elsewhere. This is your “superpower,” as Zhang puts it — something you’re especially proud of.


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