When did you last ask for help?
What is it about asking that calls up so much resistance in so many of us?
Do you hesitate because you are afraid it will make you look weak? Do you feel you have to have reached desperation point to ask for help because you’re a grown up now and should be able to do it all on your own? Or are you afraid that it will set you up for rejection, that the chances are you will be rebuffed and then you’ll feel worse for having exposed your weakness?
But hang on a minute, are these reservations – or should I say excuses (!) – really justified? And if you set any momentary discomfort aside, what about the possible benefits that could come your way if you took the plunge?
People like to help
If you are hesitating because you don’t want to annoy people or take up their time, just ask yourself how you would respond if someone came to you and asked for information or advice about, say living in your neighbourhood or the school your kids attend or how to make a cake like the one you brought to work last week.
Would you say no? Of course not! The vast majority of people are happy to help if you just ask.
Not sure what to ask for or about?
Here are some ideas.
Information about what different careers involve
Yes, I know there is a load of information on the internet about every career under the sun, but you can’t beat asking someone who has been there, done it and got the job title.
Advice about how to get into that career
It is not just a matter of knowing more about the job, it can really help to understand what routes in are possible. There may be more than just the obvious ‘get a qualification’. These days, it is quite …
This is not just about asking for a job, but much wider than that. What about asking for the opportunity to work shadow, to talk to someone, for an introduction to a colleague who may be able to help? If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
Ask for a job…
But wait till you have built a relationship. If you are networking and getting to know people in the field you want to break into, of course start with the ideas above. But if you feel you are getting on well, you have work shadowed and done a good job, then why not be bold and ask for the next step? It could be just a temporary role to start with, or you could offer to do a piece of project work that you can see needs doing. As I said above, if you don’t ask you won’t get.
Support from someone who will encourage you on your journey
If you were facing a difficult hospital procedure, you’d not hesitate to ask a friend or family member to come along and support you, so why not find a champion to support you in your career change. Pick someone who will be encouraging, not someone who will be saying yes, but… all the time.
We can all be very blind to our own best qualities, or if we do see them, we play them down with a blush and an ‘oh, but that’s nothing’ response. So time to ask for some feedback from friends and colleagues who you trust. Ask them to share what they see as your strengths and your best qualities and remind yourself that this is really how the world sees you.
Ask yourself why
Don’t forget to ask yourself why this career change is so important to you. What is the big difference it will make? If you are feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of the task when exploring a career change, just asking yourself why you are doing it can fire you up with renewed enthusiasm and get you committed again.
So next time you are staring at the computer screen, drifting vaguely round jobs boards and career information sites, stop for a minute and think about who you could ask who might help move things forward.
What do you think?
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From The 5 Minute Career Coach July 2014
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