Answering Why Should We Keep You?

Answering Why Should We Keep You?

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, had to justify his job constantly. Could you explain yours – and the value you add – if it meant avoiding the boot?

Comes a time your boss might ask why your ass shouldn’t get canned. Like after you’ve screwed up majorly. Or the company’s cleaning house: sweeping away dead wood, decluttering redundancies.

Speaking of Houses, the one Sir John A. Macdonald oversaw is Parliament. First Prime Minister of Canada, he was, back in 1867. Bet your jodhpurs he had to justify his job. Most folks didn’t know a legislature from horse manure. 

‘Ol John did a damn good job defending his role. Lasted nearly 20 years as PM in two different stretches. Probably used the techniques we at Monster suggest.

Summarizing your Function
To stave off being let go, the powers that be have to understand your role. What purpose do you serve? Make it easy to grasp. Don’t bog down in detail yet.

John A. might have said: I’m the glue that binds Parliament and Senate. And for every federal government decision, the buck stops with me.

A Growth Hacker might claim: I drive the marketing programs that bring us, new customers. (What they actually say is “By optimizing top of funnel tactics and user trials, I hit volume targets for acquisition and retention.” But who the hell understands that?)

Showing ‘Em How You Do It
Now’s when to explain what you actually do there. Essential duties and responsibilities only. They don’t care you voluntarily water the plants or serve on a social committee.

Whip out your finely-honed resume and pick the choicest descriptors. John A? He headed up negotiations with the initial provinces that joined Confederation; stumped tirelessly for votes that led his party to victory; and worked with U.S. counterparts to restore Anglo/American relations.

Also, he watered the Houseplants voluntarily, a fact never before published.

Highlighting The Value You Add
This is the most critical part. You gave them a sense of your overall purpose. Filled them in on actions you perform to spawn results. They may be still wondering, so what? Employers are (rightly) obsessed with what’s in it for them.

To justify keeping you around, prove you’re worth. That means making crystal clear what your results mean to the company. Lots of people freak out at this stage if their job’s not centred on raising revenue or cutting costs.

Turns out every employee can pinpoint how they add value. By saving time or resources. Keeping projects flowing between departments to avoid mayhem. Holding the boss back from idiotically doing damage.  

Quantifying For Impact
Scores points if you can put numbers against outcomes. While it won’t always be possible (for instance if you organize the chaotic CEO’s schedule, how do you enumerate the results?), wherever possible quantify.

Plunk in estimated dollars earned and expenses shaved. Number of hours or days of work reduced to complete something. Rankings and ratings achieved on social media. 

Our first Prime Minister brought millions of people together in Confederation. Unified initially four provinces under one government. Expanded to eight by his departure. And every few years had to plea with voters not to fire him.