I Dare You to Ask for What You Want!

Are you feeling tired or drained by your job? What have you done about it recently?

Diane changed careers in her 40’s. She worked in customer service for years and started down the path to burnout. Then she transformed her career by going to nursing school at night, and earning her RN. She landed a job she loved working for a medical center that provided outpatient services as well as surgeries. She loved the surgery work, and at first they divided her time among both groups equally. Then they began to assign more and more of her hours to the clinic, and almost no time to surgery. Soon after, she started coming home feeling anxious and stressed. She felt frustrated with her job, but Diane was afraid to speak up. She worried that if she asked for what she wanted, they would fire her.

Diane is like so many women (and a few men) that I meet who believe that speaking up for what you want is rude, ungrateful, and just plain wrong. And the result will be that you will lose everything that’s good about what you have, by getting fired. But there is a huge difference between speaking up for yourself, calmly asking for what you want, and issuing demands and ultimatums.

Diane began to experience health problems from her stress: high blood pressure and weight gain from stress eating. She knew she was back on the fast track to burnout. That’s when Diane realized that she was allowing her dream job to morph into something she resented. And she knew she needed to take action and change things.

So she met with the surgical group supervisor, and told him she preferred surgery work over clinic work. She asked him what it would take to get more assignments there. He thanked her for coming to him and immediately made some schedule changes to increase her surgical assignments. He then encouraged Diane to continue to talk with him about these things, so they could work them out together. He made it clear that he values Diane as an employee and wants her to enjoy her work.

Diane improved her situation, and more importantly, she created an open door to ask for what she wants. The best part is Diane now knows she can have this type of conversation without fear of repercussions. She will not be fired. She also knows she must ask for what she wants, otherwise no one will know that she’s unhappy or why.

This is one of many stories of men and women I know who moved from fear to confidence when asking for what you want at your job. In having these conversations, you form a stronger, supportive relationship with your boss. And your boss gets a happier, more invested employee. Now that’s Win-Win!

What about you? What are you putting up with? What you can ask for today, to create a happier and more satisfying work experience?

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