"What's most important to my company right now and how do I make sure I'm contributing to that, and that my achievement is visible to my boss?" Sarah Grayson, an executive search consultant, is quoted as asking in a Wall Street Journal article: Does Avoiding the 9-to-5 Grind Make You a Target for Layoffs?
Although the article is primarily about telecommuters and people with flexible schedules and how they have to be careful so as not to be subject to layoffs, there are implications for all workers.
It doesn't matter - in terms of whether you lose your job or not - if you are making fantastic contributions, but your boss isn't fully aware of them and how they impact the organization. Not only do you need to be involved in critical work, but you also have to make hiring authorities aware that what you are working on really is critical to the organizational mission.
It's all about your brand and how you express it. Make sure you know and your bosses know what your value proposition is, what your value-adds are, and what makes you unique. And then find ways to communicate those to them. Maybe send a brief update memo about a project you just successfully completed, how it benefited the company, and how your unique characteristics were key to the process. Or you could get the message across in a brief meeting you ask for to discuss what the critical activities are that you could be come involved in next.
This kind of reflection, analysis, and communication will prove invaluable not only in your bosses' appreciation of your important contributions, but also in building your personal brand and enhancing the content of your resume. It goes back to the conundrum: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, can it be said to fall? So, as modestly as possible, get the word out about how the work you do is important to the company going forward!