Thursday, May 24, 2012

You shall receive

In an earlier post, I said that asking for things was something I should start doing more of, something that would likely make me happier. I have to report that, indeed, asking for things has resulted in getting things.

I've recently decided to return to teaching, but I'll also still be working part-time for the marketing firm. I did miss teaching, but mostly I missed the freedom and my schedule. I found that 8-5 schedule was draining my energy, and I wasn't accomplishing things the way I used to.

Then I started asking for things. First, I talked with my friends and a life coach. I was specifically asking for advice, which is something I rarely do. I might vent frustrations, but I rarely ask for input. This is a mistake! I learned a lot from my peeps.

Then I asked the department chair of the ESL department (not the English department where I had been teaching) if there were any openings. It turns out there was an opening for an ESL writing course--basically, a class that has my name written all over it. I'll be teaching it starting in the fall. That sounds so easy now that I type it out, but I've asked to teach ESL many times at different locations and nothing panned out. I had just about given up hope that I could teach ESL here, but I decided that because it was what I really wanted, I needed to go after it. I needed to keep asking.

Since a couple classes at the college really isn't enough to live on, and since I do like many aspects of my current job, I hoped that my current boss would have a need for me in some capacity. I talked with her about it. It felt more than a little audacious to say in the same breath that the job wasn't really working for me but that I'd like to stay on and work on certain projects and continue learning the business. Again, seeing it here doesn't look so scary, but I felt undeserving and selfish. We're currently still working out the details, but we're going to give it a shot and see how it works. I'm thrilled.

Culturally speaking, we have a hard time admitting that we need or would really like help. In my situation, it might not seem like I was asking for help, but I was. Help me live better. Asking for something seems presumptuous in that we're presuming that we deserve what we're asking for, whether it's time, money, or energy. We're also admitting that we can't do it alone. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable and we risk rejection. 

But I'm here to say that there is no such thing as the self-made man. Asking is probably the only way that you'll get what you want. The worst that can happen is rejection--and that sucks big time--but in reality, you're no worse off than you were before. Make a plan, and as you plan, decide who you'll need or want help from. Start asking for advice, Chances are, the people you're reaching out to won't laugh at you or totally deny you. They might be unwilling or unable to give you what you want, but it'll probably open up a conversation that will help you in the long run.

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