Asking for What You Want in the Workplace

crop colleagues shaking hands in office

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Have you ever asked for what you want at work? Maybe it was a lateral move or maybe it was a promotion or raise. What was the outcome after you asked? Were you eventually able to achieve your goal or did it not work out? How can you be as prepared as possible for career conversations like these?

I’m good at my job. I work hard and consistently get great feedback. I volunteer to take on extra work or more complex tasks. Yet, I always overthink and second guess myself when it comes to asking for what I want. Come to think of it, I try to avoid career conversations for as long as possible.

Why do I do this to myself? Career conversations are usually so uncomfortable to me. I can think of a few reasons, er, excuses as to why. Lack of confidence and no college degree to name two. Unfortunately, I can’t avoid these conversations forever. Nor should anyone. I WANT to continue progressing in my career and WANT to be challenged. What’s a person like me to do? I’ve found a few tricks to help get me through conversations like these:

  • List out what I don’t like to do. Every role will have tasks that are boring and tedious, but what is it that I really don’t enjoy? Is there a particular role or career path where those particular tasks would be more common?
  • Keep track of what’s said during performance reviews. Skim through previous reviews to see what stands out as a strength or skill that could apply to a potential career path.
  • Occasionally my workplace sends out questions in advance before these conversations. When this happens, take the time to jot down a couple of bullets as talking points.

Each of these are easy ways to organize thoughts and ensure important details aren’t forgotten. Not to mention, it’s nice being as prepared as can be for these conversations. And who doesn’t love a good list?

Let’s be clear, asking for what you want in your career doesn’t mean you’ll get it immediately. Additional training or experience may be needed. Even if you’re not quite ready for what you asked for in the eyes of your workplace, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be ready. In the corporate world, career conversations are a must and are a great time to ask how to achieve your goals.


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