I often hear individuals voice a concern like, “I’m the only one who knows how to do this” or “I spend 5 days a month dealing with this system” to be answered with the phrase, “hey, it’s job security.” This is a dangerous attitude in an employee.
I remember a story about an IT manager who purposefully wired everything in a confusing way so that no one else could figure it out. He hoped this would make him appear indispensable. It shouldn’t. It appears to be a threat. Employing this individual is a huge risk for the company.
As an independent contractor, I worked on a website where another IT manager purposefully made everything difficult for the developers. He didn’t give us a proper staging environment that was identical to the production server. He wouldn’t allow us to use FTP but only SSH to transfer files to the server. When code didn’t work, we couldn’t troubleshoot properly nor fix quickly. The result was that he couldn’t test properly either. One night he crashed the production web server bringing down the live website and had to launch our half-built site to try to cover his mistakes.
Any time an employee says he has “job security” because he’s the only one who understands a process, you are at risk and so are your users. Take a look at those processes and work to simplify them so that anyone can step in. To do this as a manager or executive, you’re also going to have to stop short-cutting time and other resources. Part of your budget has to include redundancies and part of your schedule has to include training for those redundancies.
As an employee, don’t aim for job security based on complicating others’ lives. Make yourself indispensable by doing good work. You shouldn’t fear being redundant if you’re making business better.