If You Don’t Ask… The Answer Is Always No

Don't Be Afraid to Ask

By Erica Marks

If you don’t ask… the answer is always no.

Ask for help. Ask for what you want. Ask for an honest opinion.

Of course, there are times when you will be told no. It may be the answer regardless. But one way to guarantee you never get a yes, is to avoid asking altogether. You can leave it to chance or make the opportunity your own.

As we embark on the spring semester, we are four months closer to the end of our degree-seeking journey while simultaneously entrenched in the job-hunting journey. It’s exciting and overwhelming, all at the same time. Where am I going next? How am I going to get there? Am I making the right decision? All you can do is pose the question. Ideally, this simple action will allow you not only to maintain sanity but to leave these journeys to start yet another. (Figurative new journey = your career.)

Don't Be Afraid to Ask

Below are three of the most important things, in my opinion, for which to ask. The scenarios are by far not exhaustive; however, they demonstrate quite nicely how easy it can be to ask questions.

Ask for help. Copying machine giving you trouble? Not sure how to get the boss’ attention? Ask a colleague. More than likely the same person will be able to answer both questions. Killing two birds with one stone (or question).

Ask for what you want. A promotion? A raise? A summer internship? It may be hard to raise the tough questions in your office, but its up to you. It is highly unlikely that your boss is randomly thinking, “Hmm… in a few months, I think I’ll give Sally a raise. And a new office.” If it’s the internship you want and the email address of the VP that you need – the same principle applies – ask. Are you sensing a pattern?

Ask for an honest opinion. Report could use proofreading? Does your resume need some work? In this case, the possibilities for asking questions are endless! You could ask a colleague, a friend, a family member OR even Career Services.

If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.

Author: erica

Erica Marks is a graduate of Penn's Graduate School of Education and a former Graduate Intern in Career Services working with Wharton undergrads.

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