Comments on: Becoming Invaluable Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:53:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Craig Perko Thu, 27 Apr 2006 03:34:00 +0000 First: I can back Darius up on this. It’s a valuable skill, and he did quite well with it.

Second: It has nothing to do with your personal talents!

Darius isn’t some awesome hotshot programmer. Sure, he can program. But he isn’t as good as most code monkeys. It is, as they say, one of his secondary skills.

The key is that if you dink around on a failed project and fail, nobody will know. If they do know, they’ll be saying, “oh, of course. No surprise.”

If you dink around on a failed project and manage to succeed, even using a hodgepodge of Excel macros (coughcough), then you’ll come out shining. Even though you’re not a hotshot! Fail five times, win once, and it’s worth the investment.

I do this in most of my jobs (except the not being a hotshot part. I’m always a hotshot). It works for an on-site freelancer just as well as a hired monkey. Your task is X, but while you’re close to the company, you notice that Y and Z could really use improvement/implementation. Often, Y is a small task. Such as, say, a sign-in sheet on the company intranet.

Accomplish it, give it to them for free, and hint not-so-subtly that you can take on Z for more cash. You’ve already proven yourself twice.

This works amazingly well for every company I’ve worked for that I’ve tried it on.