For a lot of people, asking for more of anything is one of the most terrifying things they could possibly be asked to do. How do I know? Because I’m one of them.
Whenever someone has needed me to speak on a panel, I’ve been more than happy to do so. When a friend or family member has had trouble asking for something for his- or herself, I was up and asking before I had even stopped to think. But the moment I felt like I needed more time on a work project, a little bit more time off work, or even more iced tea at a restaurant, I couldn’t do it.
I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of – we all have things that trigger our sensors. Confronting people was one of mine. Some people would rather work with what they have, all potential limitations included, rather than risk seeming rude or ungrateful by asking for any exceptions or additions. You may say, “What’s the worst that can happen? They say ‘no?’” Well, yes actually. ‘No’ is ridiculously scary! So it’s no surprise that the absolute last thing we’d want is for the word to be thrown back in
If this sounds like you, we’re here to help.
In the moment, it doesn’t seem to be worth the stress, anxiety, and the actual effort to ask for more. You tell yourself, “I’m fine. I’ll survive,” all the while knowing deep down that you need and deserve more. In reality, if you’re even thinking of asking, it is probably more than time to actually begin.
Since I was once a major player in this aforementioned group of people – emphasis on “was” – I’ve put a lot of work into learning how exactly to confront these fears, and how to understand and communicate my self-worth. Now, that’s not to say that I no longer sometimes struggle with asserting myself when it comes to my needs or wishes.
But, what has changed is the positive difference I see in my personal and professional life when I do ask for more of what I need. This difference is my newfound motivation, which is why I am imploring you to do the same. Seriously, it does wonders.
Not quite sure where to begin? Then make haste while I walk you through your options:
BE LIKE BRITNEY – ASK FOR MORE. HERE’S WHERE –
COMMON SPACES TO ASK FOR MORE:
When thinking about asking for more, we usually just jump straight to salary. Even Google automatically assumes that work and money are at the forefront of people’s desires and needs (we even used an incognito tab).
As we learn from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory about human motivation, needs must be met chronologically. We have to have those basic needs fulfilled before we can think about things that affect our esteem – like our jobs do. That’s why asking for more is so important: we need to get what we need to survive before we thrive.
For obvious reasons, salary is an important part of a person’s personal and professional advancement and can help determine their level of survival and comfort within their life. This is why resources and education about how to negotiate for the salary you deserve are vital. However, it’s also important to remember that salary isn’t the end-all be-all when it comes to negotiations and asking for more.
Paid Time Off
Also known as PTO, paid-time-off can be negotiated much like salary. Normally PTO would include 8-10 days in a year, maybe 12 if you’re lucky. When you are offered a job, there is a set amount of sick leave and parental leave (possibly even mental health days!) included in the contract. It is the combination of these days that can make or break the offer. If you’re wondering whether or not to ask for more PTO, here’s what you need to consider:
What was your base salary?
Was the base salary offered fair in regards to your personal needs?
If your salary was on the upper end, carefully consider any push for additional PTO. But if your salary was on the lower end, you should definitely be asking for more PTO days!
This is huge because we all need a break at some point, and what’s better than taking off the time you need for yourself? Taking it off while getting paid 💸💸💸
For all of the overachievers and those unsatisfied in their current roles, asking for more opportunities may be the place to start for you. It could be more projects on top of your current load or more of a variety in the opportunities you’re given. It could be more opportunities for professional development (i.e. conferences, panels, and workshops) or more opportunities to work with and learn from specific professionals within your company. Whatever the opportunity is that you are interested in, it never hurts to ask because it could just be the thing that leads to you overall and in-house professional growth.
“Hey (manager), I heard about this opportunity from (company) to attend (workshop) on (subject). I feel like I can greatly benefit from this opportunity, especially since my role as the (job title) is so closely related. Is it possible we can talk about a potential budget or professional development days in order for me to attend?”
There never seems to be enough of it, which is why it’s essential that you ask for more when you need it. This can be within the hiring process – like asking for more time to make decisions or negotiations. It can also mean asking for more time to complete an assignment or work project on a non-strict deadline. Then, there’s asking for more vacation time, more lunch time, more break time – all of these are included. Even asking for more time in your personal life is just as important – a little more time to pay a bill or more time with or without your partner. Your time is valuable, so make sure you’re spending it the way you want and need.
“Hey (manager), I was wondering if we could spend the first 15m of our 1:1 to go over my capacity? I want some clarification on how I should be spending my time and prioritizing because I feel that I'm spread pretty thin.”
While this can primarily apply to your personal life, it’s important in professional life as well. You could be asking your boss for more opportunities to work in alternative spaces rather than the same old room day after day. You could also be asking them or your micromanaging teammates to stop hovering when trying to complete a task or project. It could even be as simple and mundane as asking someone to give you more personal space in your everyday life, such as in regular conversation or while waiting for feedback. Everyone has their own personal boundaries and spatial needs. Ultimately, it’s not your responsibility to make yourself fit into someone else’s definition of comfort, or mold yourself into someone else’s idea of space. Instead, they should be respecting the boundaries you’ve set pertaining to your levels or comfort. In this crazy time, space is necessary.
“I would greatly appreciate it if I could check back in with you once I’ve completed this part of the project. My bandwidth is stretched pretty thin right now, so I’ll get back to you with an update by _____. Thanks for your patience and understanding!”
Everyone needs it, but no one ever feels that they can ask for it. This can be the most important one to ask for more of. Unfortunately, there’s still stigma around asking for help, and because of this, sometimes those of us in professional settings will avoid asking for help for fear of seeming weaker or unintelligent. But, there’s nothing wrong with feeling confused or upset, and asking for support is not a weakness. It shows the strength you have to know you’ve reached your limit and the trust and respect you have for others to guide you on your journey. More support is never a bad thing, and you know we’re here to be that support system you need whenever you need us.*
*If you feel you need additional resources to rule out any medical issues and to discuss mental health options, reach out to a healthcare provider.
TIME TO REFLECT
At the end of the day, what it comes down to is: what do you need more of?
You are an ambitious human. It’s more than likely that, between all the hustling, you forget to check in with yourself. When our needs go unchecked, we are inevitably lying to ourselves, undermining our worth, and devaluing our assets. So, let's stop "asking for a friend" and start asking for ourselves. All it will do is help you launch yourself further into success and future 2.0’s. Start demanding more. Because more is what you deserve.