Do you ask for what you need at work?

Recently, Mazarine over at Wild Woman Fundraising shared a list of mistakes she’s made in her career that she hopes others can learn from. While her post focuses on her work as a fundraiser, a major theme is speaking up about her needs when it comes to her work and her relationships with her colleagues. Here are a few a that stood out:

Not insisting on monthly “check-ins” with my bosses, when they didn’t want to meet with me. I should have created my own monthly report and sent it to them and to the board.

Not creating an “achievement plan” with my bosses, to show how I could move up in the organization, and what my metrics would be in the first year and in the second year working for them.

Not having the “how do you like to communicate” conversation with my boss, which led to frustration because I didn’t want text messages and he didn’t want to answer his phone, read his email, or look at me when I came to see him.

Confiding in board members about my issues with my boss, as they did not care and did nothing to help solve the issues, even after my boss was found stealing several times.

Working so hard that I got sick with bronchitis and pneumonia.

Not making sure that taking care of myself & my time with family and friends was my first priority.

Not asking questions more of my peers and mentors in fundraising and in other fields.

Thinking that I could really do it all in a fundraising shop, with 3 people’s jobs, when I ended up doing 10 things badly, when I could have done one or two things well.

How many of us have made mistakes like this in our career? Not asking for what we need, not setting boundaries, and not having clear expectations can easily make work unbearable, yet it seems difficult to speak up.

Do you struggle with asking for what you need at work? Have you made these mistakes?

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Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.
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Comments

    • Leona
    • October 23, 2012

    I found that it helps to present things to my CEO/ Program Coordinator in writing and/or power point. That way my ideas are taken seriously and ready for a presentation at any level. It is also less stressful when asked to do a presentation at weekly staff meetings because I already am prepared. The most difficult task is recruiting of other staff who are already stressed out by their regular duties and are now asked to make time to help with a fundraiser or major event.

    • Jessica Santascoy
    • October 28, 2012

    Super helpful article, especially the achievement plan. These issues are such part of nonprofit work – it’s refreshing that you outline them directly and honestly. Thanks!

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