From the time my youngest daughter Kelly was old enough to speak, she was one tough cookie. I vividly remember the first incident in her early childhood that let me know she was going to be extremely independent. She was two and a half, and was fearlessly swinging her tiny little self all over the highest rows of the (little kid) monkey bars. I stood right below her – a nervous wreck. But she seemed to be fully in control of the situation, and I didn’t want to stifle her adventurous spirit (I probably got that notion from some “Parenting” article I had just read). At any rate, there she was, swinging through the sky, until . . . well, until she wasn’t, because she slipped and fell, falling to the rubber mulch below. Thankfully it was rubber mulch, but she still skinned her knees, and as I, shaking, went to scoop her up, I noticed blood running down her teeny tiny little shin. I felt horrible! But when I asked her if I could help her? She replied, “I meant to do that.”
The years passed by, but her stubborn streak stuck around. Kelly meant to fall off her bike, planned to trip on the way up the stage stairs in the 1st grade play, and calculated the perfect time to stub her toe at the neighborhood pool. Concerned about the fact that she would never show a vulnerable side, I discussed it with my mother, who simply said, “Wonder where she gets that from?”
Okay, like Kelly, I can be a bit stubborn, too. And I will admit, in my early years, I had a great deal of difficulty ever letting on that I could use a little help, especially when it came to my career. Like many young professionals, I had something to prove, and confessing that I could use some guidance would have tipped people off that I was weak and lacked self-confidence, right? WRONG! Looking back, I know that I missed out on many opportunities to learn, grow, and most likely advance, due to my stubborn “I meant to do that” nature. Age and experience have finally taught me, the hard way, that there is a clear connection between a person’s inner strength and confidence and their ability to ask for help. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that I’m now much more apt to seek the guidance of others who are able and willing to provide help, and perhaps more importantly, I’m able to recognize when I need it!
Maybe you’re embarrassed that you’re out of work and feel foolish admitting that fact to others. Perhaps you are working in a less-than-desirable situation and yearn for something better, something different. Or even if you are happily employed but need some guidance regarding an employee, your boss, or a project that has you stumped – reach out and let your needs be known! Using the appropriate amount of discretion, there are several ways to do this – via email or hand-written note, word-of-mouth, by or using one of the many Social Media tools available. Here’s an example of a message I (and many others) received just today on my personal Facebook account, from an old high school friend:
Hi Everyone! It’s time for me to find a local job, full or part time. I’m a marketing/communications director, 25 years experience w/architecture/engineering/construction industry and business management consultants. Seeking work with similar firms/organizations. My skills would translate to associations, legal, medical, non-profit. My LinkedIn profile can be found here: _____________, and I’d be happy to send you my resume at your request! If you have leads, please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Thank you!
This message is very effective – no poor me, no blame game, no “War and Peace” length explanation – she needs a job, she gave us an overview and places to get more details, and several ways to contact her. Perfect. I have not seen this particular friend for 25 years, but I’m more than happy to help her, if I can. And if I can’t, perhaps someone who I connect with her can. Your friends and colleagues will be more than happy to help you, too, but you have to be willing to ask for help, ask in a considerate manner, and know specifically what type of help you need. If you need an introduction, a recommendation, or career advice, find a business colleague you know and trust, and ask for it (don’t forget to ask for confidentiality)! If you need moral support, your resume checked for typos, or a mock interview partner, find a friend or family member you know and trust, and ask for it! And finally, if you have a question about Healthcare IT workforce and career development, find the appropriate Healthcare IT Today blogger and post a comment, asking their advice – we are here to help!
And for the record, as she’s matured to the ripe old age of 21, Kelly’s much more willing to ask for help. Just last week she got a ticket for rolling through a stop sign, and asked me to help her pay for it. 😀