Are you a hard worker? Are you loyal? That’s great, but those attributes don’t necessarily mean you’ll stay employed (or even get a new job). In the modern work world, it takes more than just proving you’ll stay put; you have to actually prove your worth to your employer. Know that there are certain types of employees companies don’t value as much as before. If you’re one of these types of workers, beware — you may have a hard time getting ahead. Here are five types of employees companies don’t want anymore.
1. The flat liner
When you first started working for your company you had plenty of goals and fresh ideas. Now, all you want to do is get your check and go home. You’re either suffering from burnout, tired, or just don’t care anymore. It’s time to start caring. If you don’t get some motivation and develop ways to contribute to the company, your employer may eventually show you the door.
Management expert Jeff Schmitt said this type of employee has simply stopped trying to learn. “We’ve all worked with them. They’re just there, biding their time and collecting a check. No goals. No plan. No purpose. Years ago, they were among the young Turks who begged for more responsibility. Now, they’ve mentally checked out … No, they’re not introverts who mask their passions. They’re simply employees who quit learning and getting better,” said Schmitt.
2. The martyr
This is the opposite of the flat liner. You would do anything for the benefit of your employer. No request is too much. The word “no” never leaves your lips. Work every weekend for the next five weeks? No problem. Miss the birth of your first child? You got it. Years ago employers loved this level of dedication, but that’s not the case anymore. That’s because the martyr is a potential liability. You’re just one sleepless night away from making a critical error. This is why cloud communication company GetVOIP said this type of employee is actually toxic to the work environment.
“The polar opposite of the slacker may seem like an employer’s dream, but a worker who insists on doing everything themselves can cause their own serious set of problems … They may have control issues, or may be working too hard to prove themselves, but they bring an imbalance to the team, foster unrest in the ranks, and are at risk of burnout,” said GetVOIP contributor Reuben Yonatan.
3. The ghost
You lack visibility and you like it that way. Your goal is to fly under the radar: Come to work, finish your projects, and go home. Your desire is to avoid conflict so you can hang on another day. The problem is, being invisible doesn’t work for very long. Being a ghost won’t protect you, it may actually hurt you in the long-run because no one will know what skills you bring to the table. Don’t let your fears of getting let go cause you to hide. Your employer won’t have the time to figure out your value when it’s time for layoffs. What’s even worse is you may be confused for a slacker. Management expert Patty Azzarello said avoiding visibility is a bad idea:
I find that very often when people take this position, they believe that they are on the high ground—that they are somehow morally superior to those who are more visible. And that being visible is, by definition, a shallow, self-serving endeavor. There are three issues with this:
1. If you choose to “fly under the radar,” don’t be confused or upset when you get passed over for raises and promotions. This was your strategy— to make sure no one knows you are there!
2. You are missing the opportunity to do better, more effective, more valuable work, if you don’t connect with others to increase your access to knowledge, experience and learning from others.
3. You are withholding value from the company by not sharing what you have learned with others. There is nothing political about communicating things of value and sharing knowledge. And when you do this, guess what?—you are no longer invisible!
4. The lifer
This type of employee is rare but still exists. If you’re one of them, it’s time to change up your plan. Staying with a company for a while can be good, but not if your career has stalled and you don’t have any plans to make a significant contribution. Companies want more than dedication, they want results. Years ago, loyalty was rewarded, but things have changed. So if you’re looking for a pat on the back for coming to work every day, you’ll be waiting for a very long time. So stop counting your perfect attendance for the last 10 years as major accomplishment.
Andrew G. Rosen, founder of career site Jobacle, said being a lifer can lead to complacency. “This can sneak up on you like the flu in the summer … Every season, you should reflect on your job and think about how a hiring agent will perceive your tenure. Are you becoming the lifer you promised you’d never be? If the work no longer excites you and the company is not willing to invest in you, it’s time to find an organization that will,” said Rosen. So if you’re a lifer who is making significant contributions and you’re learning new skills, good for you. But if you’re a lifer just sitting around until it’s time to retire, you may find yourself out of a job sooner rather than later.
5. The trainee
Sure, everyone needs a bit of training every now and then, but if you don’t have the basic skills required to do your job, you’ve got a problem. Employers just don’t have the time to hold your hand. “The Washington Post has a great piece from Peter Cappelli about how the ‘skills shortage’ that people like to blame on schools (and on college students’ choice of focus in their studies) is BS … and that the real issue is that employers just don’t want to train people anymore,” said Alison Green, founder of the website Ask a Manager.