A few career-related complaints have shown up on my radar a lot lately. People have commented in this community about companies taking advantage of them; a few of my private coaching clients are having trouble getting paid; and I witnessed a conversation where someone stated that setting boundaries made them very uncomfortable.
What’s the common theme here? These people are struggling to advocate for themselves in their careers. The truth is you have to be your own biggest advocate when building a career. Otherwise, you run this risk of being taken advantage of, missing out on a lot of money, or missing out on other important aspects of your life.
Fortunately, learning how to advocate for yourself is a skill you can improve like any other. Here are some areas where you can get started.
Set Boundaries Based On Your Priorities
The first step in becoming your own best advocate is to figure out your personal and career priorities. By becoming clear on your priorities, you’ll be able to make better decisions moving forward.
For instance, let’s say you decide that family time is a priority to you. So what happens when you stay late at the office without thinking about it? Well, that tells your boss you have no other priorities. This is because we teach people how to treat us through our actions.
Now, when a busy season comes, you’ll be the first person they think of when they need someone to stay late—and you can bet it will likely be at a very inconvenient time (like the night of your mom’s birthday celebration). By determining your goals or boundaries when you enter work situations, you can help avoid this.
Ask For Help
Asking for help is one of the greatest ways you can advocate for yourself in your career. Too often, individuals are afraid to ask for help, assuming they need to do everything to demonstrate their value. However, this only leads to unnecessary stress or, worse, mistakes that could have been avoided.
The next time you find yourself needing help—like when the workload is too much or you have a question about one piece of a project—ask for the assistance you need.
Ask For More Money
In my work as a financial blogger and business coach, the area in which I see people fumble the most in terms of advocating for themselves is failing to ask for more money. Usually, it’s out of fear that they won’t get it.
However, consider the alternative of not asking for more money as your responsibilities increase. Before you know it, you’re doing three people’s jobs for the price of one. To get over this, one thing you need to do is to stop taking on more work if you know you’re not being properly compensated for it. If a raise at your current organization isn’t feasible, some may even consider finding a new job where you can negotiate a higher salary.
Have you ever found yourself needing to advocate for your needs in your career? How did you go about it? Sign up or log in with your Salt account to share your tips.