You’re now an upperclassman in high school and you’re considering college, so you’re just a few short years away from beginning your career, so listen up.
One of the most powerful pieces of advice that I never got was that you won’t get anything you don’t ask for. I know you’re thinking you already get this, but trust me, there is no possible way school has prepared you for your impending career, because you’ve been told two contrasting things by teachers: (1) if you work hard, you’ll get ahead, and (2) if you want something badly enough, you can have it.
But both of these concepts that are the undercurrent of what school programs you for are flawed, because you see, if you don’t ask for something you won’t receive it.
You won’t get a raise simply because you worked your fingers to the bone and are the best performing team member. You have to ask for it. You have to approach your superior at work and ask if they have time to discuss your future at the company. Be prepared with a list of your accomplishments (maybe you landed a major client, you streamlined the team’s communications, saving hours of wasted work). Assert your value and then do the very difficult task of ask for a raise when you deserve one.
You won’t get a promotion because you deserve one, in fact, when a position above you opens up, you better fight like hell to get it, because companies often hire talent from outside, so you’re not competing against your coworkers, you’re competing against the rest of the world. When you hear that someone has given their two weeks’ notice, and it’s for a position you believe you’re in line for, say something before they go. Get into your boss’ office and let them know, just as you would with your raise, what you’ve done and why you deserve the position, and how you envision improving the company by advancing.
You won’t get the bigger office when your company moves to a new space just because you have seniority. If you have the opportunity to ask for a specific office beforehand, do it. This doesn’t have to be something you make a federal case out of, just a simple “hey boss, I love that side office, does anyone have dibs on it?” Otherwise, seat assignments will rely on the company’s logic, not yours. Speak up.
Because you’re a polite Southern gal, you’ll be tempted to just allow things to happen around you, but trust me, I learned the hard way that raises, promotions, and perks don’t go to the person that deserves them, it goes to the person who asks for them. Would you as a boss give a promotion to someone who didn’t seem to want it? Working overtime and kissing butt doesn’t mean you want something, so ask for it. Or you won’t get it. It may feel awkward, but you can do this – don’t you ever let anyone step over you because they asked and you didn’t.