Some of my clients don't want a whole new career, they instead ask me to help them improve upon the career they already have. And for my clients who do seek a change in career direction, it is rare that they leave their current job right away. So it is common in my work as a career coach to help people take their current job and make it more awesome.
An essential game-changer to enjoy your job more is to get more of what you need from your employer, and that means taking the scary step to ask for what you need.
Understand this, asking for what you need is a skill that many of us did not learn, nor was it modeled for us. We've learned the opposite. Many work cultures (of past and present) have taught us to "suck it up" and sacrifice, which all add up to overwork and burnout. And while those ways of operating may look appealing on the surface - like overworking equals loyalty - the reality is overwork, in the long run, leads to low quality work. Soooo....
Here are 3 steps to get more from your employer!
1. First, we must identify when we are overworked or under-resourced.
We can gauge when we are overworked or under-resourced by how we feel and how we speak about work. One of my clients recently said: "Work has been murdering me. I've been working like 90 hour work weeks." Ok - that's a really clear and drastic sign of being overworked and under-resourced!
Here are a few signs and symptoms:
-Frustration in an out of work and being critical of others
-Cold symptoms and other forms of dis-ease
-Not having time for health basics like hydration, eating, and exercise
-Inability to sleep
-Responding "I'm busy" when others ask how you are doing
2. Second, we must identify what we need.
To some of us, identifying (even just for ourselves) what we need is actually really tricky because we are so used to "sucking it up" and sacrificing. So, we might want to simply daydream a little about what would make work feel awesome again.
Here are a few examples of what we often need at work but are afraid to ask for:
- additional staffing
- increased budget
- time off to recharge
- a pay increase for additional work
- coaching or mentorship in new areas
3. Third, we must thoughtfully "make our case" for what we need.
It is very common that we only ask for what we need when we hit a breaking point - which sometimes can be as bad as getting a severe cold that knocks us out of the game for a period of time. Let's not wait that long!
We know it takes courage to ask for what we need, but the real winning formula is to make a thoughtful presentation around what we need. This means, we present what we need and why we need it; plus, we want to offer a proposed solution. The WHY is important and educates our audience about the benefits of your request. The SOLUTION makes it easy for our audience to say yes.
A couple of examples:
You might ask for a more flexible schedule or a day off. The why is because your job requires a lot of creativity, and creativity is not accessible when you are overtasked or overtired. And as a solution, you might offer to have one late start day and also to work from home one day a week.
You might ask for a part-time administrative assistant. The why is because you've taken on a new project on top of an existing full work-load. You can only handle the new project if you can get some admin tasks off of your plate. As a solution, you might propose that you don't focus on a project that is a lesser priority and that you allocate the budget for that project to the new hire. Or, if you can make a case that your new project will earn more money for your employer, you can argue that they can absorb the increased cost.
And a bonus tip: Once you've spent the time building your case, run it by a mentor or trusted colleague to refine your ideas or make them even better. Let them play devil's advocate so you know the objections you might face and so you can prepare to answer them! This preparation also helps build your confidence - and your attitude and enthusiasm go a long way toward achieving success and cultivating a good relationship with your employer!
Spiritual Practice: Mantra to feel worthy of what you desire
Many of us diminish our needs and make ourselves feel like we don't really deserve what we want. We might say something like: "An admin assistant? Well, that would be just a dream, but I haven't earned that!" A mantra can work miracles to help re-wire our thoughts when that stinkin thinkin of unworthiness knocks at our door. Here are a few things we might say when we find we are undermining our needs:
- I am open to receive that which helps me be of great service to others.
- Like all of God's children, I deserve to have my needs met.
- What I need are resources to do good in the world. It is ok to want what I want.
- My heart knows what is best for me, I honor its needs and desires.
Extra Support: Career coaching to improve your workstyle
If you know you're in the line of work you love, yet not loving your work or feeling stunted in career growth, let's chat. I can help you uncover what is no longer working in the way you're working (your workstyle). Sign up for a free, no obligation 30-minute phone consultation HERE.