How Essential Is Your Job To Your Firm's Mission?


Jun 3, 2017

If you were offered several different jobs, there would be a lot of factors that went into deciding which job to take.

In addition to the usual factors like seniority level, salary and work-life balance, new research by professors at University of Wisconsin and Washington State University, suggests another important factor to take into account.

How indispensable you are to place?

In other words, is the role a ‘lynchpin’ and how essential is the job to the firm’s overall goal?

Examples of lynchpin roles are engineers in a technology company, or a management consultant at a consulting firm.

To gauge the lynchpinness of a job there are four dimensions that come into play:

  1. How vital the work is to the overall purpose of the company.
  2. If someone else can do the work.
  3. How quickly other work activities would stop, if the job was not done.
  4. How many other work activities would stop, if the job was not done.

The study in question found that being an “organizational lynchpin,” as researchers put it, has several advantages.

First, and most obvious, is that of job security. If you are perceived as vital to the life of a company, you really don’t have to worry about being fired or replaced. This is good, but it’s not the only advantage.

Lynchpins also feel a higher sense of job satisfaction because people like to know that they are doing something meaningful and something that others depend on. Being essential also helps to foster a deeper emotional connection to the company. All this leads to more enjoyment at work, and a smaller chance of getting burned out by your job.

So, why is this good to know?

  • As you are considering future career choices, it’s important to think about your role in the company in question. Are you getting a job as just a cog in the machine, or are you signing on to play a significant role?
  • This also has implications for internal transfers within an organization. If you are offered a transfer to a more central position in the company, it is something you want to seriously consider.
  • For supervisors, this research also suggests that efforts to increase employee satisfaction are best targeted to those employees who work in more peripheral areas of the company. That’s because they are the ones who will most likely be unhappier in their jobs due to burnout, a sense of being left out or a feeling of not being important.

  About The Author  

Amit is an experienced career, business and HR professional. Previously, he has worked with organisations such as Bain & Company, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Amit has advanced degrees/qualifications in Career Counselling, Organisational Psychology & HR, Occupational Psychometrics, Career/Life Coaching & Business.

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