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10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask For At Your Job

10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask For At Your Job

In this day and age, new jobs are scarce and unemployment is still a very real possibility. Because of the uncertainty we’ve all grown accustomed to, you might find yourself skittish when it comes to making certain requests in the workplace. Of course, a two-hour martini lunch and a new suite of Apple hardware may be out of line, but there are certain things you should never be afraid to ask for at your job. Read on to learn what they are, and how some of them may actually improve your career.

1. An Acceptable Lunch Break

Are you constantly being bothered during your lunch break? If there are no set parameters for when to take your lunch, or how long you have, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little clarity. The U.S. Department of Labor does not require that an employer offer a lunch break, however your particular state’s laws may differ. Consult your employee handbook and the labor department of your state before approaching your boss. If you point out that you prefer a specific time each day to get away and recharge your batteries, you just might get the answer you’re looking for.

2. Ability to Provide Input

If you’re never asked for input on projects and you think you have something valuable to offer, ask for permission to speak up—this goes for projects you’re not directly involved with as well. Employee input can go a long way toward improving the overall success of a project, and after you’ve commented successfully on a few initiatives, it’s sure to be encouraged even more.

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3. Performance Evaluation

Ask your supervisor for timely performance evaluations if you don’t already receive them. Affirm your commitment to meeting and exceeding company expectations, and mention that it’s going to be easier for you to achieve your goals if you receive regular feedback regarding how you measure up.

4. Letter of Recommendation

There’s nothing wrong with asking for a letter of recommendation if you happen to leave your job. Just be sure you know who to ask. Choose a supervisor who values your work and thinks highly of you, then be polite and let everyone you contact know that you understand if they decline. Offering a draft form of the recommendation letter is another solid strategy for success.

5. Workable Schedule

If you’re unable to adhere to your current work schedule, ask if an adjustment can be made. Employers are much more understanding nowadays when it comes to family commitments and outside responsibilities, including second jobs. Just be sure to provide a solid list of reasons why your current schedule is difficult and how you can better perform with an altered one.

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6. Assistance With a Heavy Workload

You do neither yourself nor your organization any good trying to meet the expectations of an unreasonable workload, so if your boss is simply putting too much on your plate, speak up. If you need help from others, ask them for it. Alternately, ask to whom you can delegate certain tasks in order to better focus on the priorities you’re charged with.

7. More Responsibility

If you are doing a stellar job with your current workload, go ahead and ask for more responsibilities. It’s exactly what your bosses and supervisors want you to do, and it’s a great way to pro-actively advance your career.

8. Proper Tools to Complete Your Job

If you don’t have everything you need to do your job competently, say something. Companies and supervisors have supply budgets to comply with, but shortages around the office do affect productivity. Politely mention that, just be sensitive regarding the company’s finances. Your manager may not know you don’t have what you need.

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9. To Be Treated With Respect

If you’re not being treated respectfully, whether from a co-worker or a supervisor, speak up. Again, your boss may not be aware so it’s in your best interest to mention it. No one else is going to.

10. Better Communication

Does your supervisor communicate clearly with you? If not, express your concerns. Most managers are busy and they might not even know that your ability to perform is being hindered by their communication style. Of course, tact is key here. Restate to your manager the instructions you’re given just to be clear that you’re on the same page.

This article from money crasher gives your some details about developing effective workplace communication skills.

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The Don’ts

Now that we’ve talked about some of the things you should ask for at your current job, let’s talk about some of the things you should not request. Do not ask for a raise—especially if your company is struggling—unless you’re long overdue or have very solid achievements to back up your request. Don’t ask other employees to pick up your slack unless you’ve done the same for them in the past. Don’t ask for a promotion if you know you’re not fit for the job, and refrain from asking for any sort of special treatment. Jobs are political. It’s important to know when to speak up and when not to. Finding the right balance can benefit you personally and professionally, and just may benefit your employer as well.

What do you think you should ask for at your current job?

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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