Tis’ the season of giving. And as women, we often give selflessly – sometimes too selflessly. So in this season of giving, I find myself thinking about our needs as women and what we ask for from others. How do we ask for what we want and what we need? Do we always ask when we should? What holds us back from asking?
Authors Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever have written several books on this subject, including "Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide". What they found is that whether women want higher salaries, flexible schedules, or more help at home; we often find it hard to ask for what we really want and need. Their research shows that sometimes we don't know that change is possible—and we don't realize that we need to ask for it. Sometimes we are operating out of fear that asking may damage an important relationship. Most disturbing to me is that women sometimes don't ask because we've learned that society can react badly to women asserting their own needs and desires.
So as I am finishing up my Christmas shopping for everyone else, I decided to take a look at some of my wants and needs for the next year. I started with something simple. I created a Christmas wish list for myself on Amazon.com and shared it with my family. At first, my teenage children were surprised and a little put off that I would actually ask for things for myself. They got over it when I reminded them of all the things I do for them. My husband actually appreciated knowing what I would like, because he said that he sometimes struggles to know what I want for gifts. Of course, I will be thankful for anything that I receive for Christmas, and I am pretty proud of myself for asking for what I want.
Next, I am taking a look at my professional wants and needs for the next year and beyond. One of the things that I want to be sure that I do is to take all of my vacation/PTO. I usually lose a few vacation days every year, because I realized that sometimes I don’t take the time to ask for things even when I have earned them.
I am also looking at my personal and professional growth and development goals. Like everyone, I would love to have a raise, but am I willing to ask for it? Am I ready for more responsibility or new challenges at work? I could also ask to attend training courses and conferences that would help me re-energize and improve my performance. Asking for these things is going to require some research and planning on my part. I found an article in the Telegraph from March 2017, where author Michelle deKlerk shares "How to get what you want at work - the secrets of successful women". As we move into 2018, I think this is a great place to begin. Here is my interpretation of the 10 secrets:
So in this season of giving, I am thinking about and planning for my own season of asking in 2018. What are you going to ask for?