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SHINY THINGS

You may be a great employee, but are you irreplaceable?

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are some of the biggest mistakes that great employees make? Answer by Cory A. Martin, SaaS Sales Development, HRM Aficionado and Technology Enthusiast.

1. They clock in, work, clock out

The difference between a great employee and a rockstar employee is the amount of value that they bring to the table. I don’t advocate for living your life based 100% on your business or professional pursuits, but the rockstar employees are the ones who, when they go home, keep learning.

They’re the type that will be learning, absorbing, and spreading their knowledge. They keep up with the status quo and leading innovations in their industries and even their positions. That may mean studying new and upcoming technologies.

Those who come into work, do their job completely, and then leave are great employees. Those who try to consistently improve themselves, their craft, and their abilities are the rockstar employees.

2. They don’t take enough risks

Great employees are able to handle whatever they are given, whether it is some huge, valuable project or just a list of tasks which needs to done. Being consistent and correct goes a long way toward being one of the best employees in an organization. However, they never take risks because they just want to do what they are told. They see their job as a set of guidelines and tasks—as long as they complete these things, they’ll be okay.

Rockstar employees are out there pushing the limits of what is allowed or possible. They’re willing to sacrifice and go through discomfort—and the payout can be huge. Great employees try to lose small, whereas rockstars want to win big.

3. They never challenge their superiors

In the same vein of the above, the great employee is someone who managers and superiors are likely to say, “He’s one of our hardest working employees,” or “I love working with him.” Obviously nothing wrong with this, but the rockstar employees are willing to challenge and push their managers when the time comes and they know they’re right.

It’s a risk, and requires you to know more than your manager at times to be able to stand up to them and say, “I don’t think this will work because (x) and (y). How about we try to do (z) instead?” But that’s what rockstar employees do. They consistently challenge themselves and the people around them in order to grow.

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More from Quora:

What is the most profitable business model ever made?

Why would anyone want to be an employee and not an entrepreneur?

What are the worst interview mistakes you’ve seen as recruiter?

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