Ask for What You Want At Work. Or: Don’t Ask for Orange Juice if You Want Grape Juice
Have you ever known someone who doesn’t ever seem to know just what he or she wants? I know someone like that. In fact, I know him really well. He’s my 2-year old. He is in a constant state of not knowing exactly what he wants. A typical conversation:
Him: I want peanut butter and jelly. On bread.
Me: You want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Can you ask in a nice way?
Him: No. I want a waffle. (He proceeds to start removing an apple from the refrigerator.)
Another typical conversation at our house:
Him: I want orange juice.
Me: What’s a nice way to ask? (Pouring orange juice.)
Him: Please! No, I don’t want orange juice. I want GRAPE juice. In a cup.
I think you get the picture. If I’m lucky, he changes his mind before I prepare what he initially requested, but more often than not, I’m faced with trying to convince him to eat what he originally wanted or starting over. If I had a dollar for every time I say, “Oh…I should have known that when you asked for orange juice (and took it out), it really meant that you want grape juice!” - I would be on some island somewhere - someone would be serving ME drinks!
So, what does this have to do with the topic at hand? What does it have to do with your job?
Think about it - Do you really know what you want? Are you like the 2-year old who is asking for orange juice, but really wanting grape juice? Are you impulsive, asking for (or wishing for) the first thing that comes to your mind? Unlike my 2-year old, whose only real consequence for his indecision is needing to say a few extra “pleases” or being stuck with whatever he first requested, there are real consequences for professionals who either don’t know what they want or don’t know how to ask for it.
What to do? Stop and think! Tiffany Monhollon writes
that you should “stop, listen and move.”
It isn’t always easy to figure out what you really want. It certainly isn’t easy to decide to make a major change in the hopes of accomplishing what you really want. It is worth it, though. Don’t let life, or your job, just happen TO you. Stop. Listen. Move. If you want grape juice - don’t just ask for it - do what my 2-year old does when he is really desperate and I’m taking too long - get it out and pour it yourself!
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