If You Want It, Say It

JoanHeadExpressing your wants and needs from day to day is easy to do. Except, of course, when it comes to one of the most important aspects of your life: your future.

Somehow when we cross over the threshold of our employer we usually only take what’s given to us. It doesn’t matter if we’re happy. In this environment it’s not really up to us to advance our future. We expect to get identified for new career opportunities just by showing up every day.

As Americans we typically honor a work code we subconsciously inherited at birth, and then follow it closely. It’s an imaginary set of rules that implies as employees we’re somehow subservient to the people that hire us. The uncertainty of the economy only plays into the fear-based work society that permeates our employment landscape. As someone who interviews people every day, I know firsthand that all the reasons people aren’t moving up has little to do with them, and everything to do with some outside force.

But there’s a big problem with that. It’s the exact opposite of what a strong, growth-oriented employer is looking for. They want a business partner, not an employee. They want a workforce that’s empowered. They tell me this all the time.

Put yourself in an employer’s shoes for a moment. You’ll see it’s not easy running a business today. The world is moving at an incredibly fast pace, and that reality requires a workforce that is actively looking to contribute in a way that moves their future forward. Stop waiting and blaming someone else for your lack of growth, reframe your vision of the employee/employer relationship, and you’ll see the difference. Let your intentions be known. If you want to advance your career to the next level, find out what you need to do to make it happen.

If you have been waiting for that performance review or for your supervisor to call a meeting, request one yourself. Always document the contributions you make to your current employer, and be prepared to speak to them, especially if it relates to revenue or cost savings. You don’t have to quit your current job in order to grow. Speak to the right influencers at the right level and find out where you truly stand.

Asking for what you want and need is no different in the employment world, and if you’re not comfortable doing so in your current situation I’m afraid you may have picked the wrong partner. Start and keep looking until you find the right one. I promise that person or organization is out there. Just remember: you have to ask.

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