‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Thursday, February 19, 2009

wheels are turning

I work for several different people and am lucky enough to like them all. Actually, luck has nothing to do with it. I have a very strict application process that is really more like an audition.

Anyway. One of my newer clients is absolutely dreamy to work for. I send him an idea and he sends it back with specific suggestions and changes. I make them. He tweaks them. I send a final. We high five.

The thing that is so dreamy about him is he knows, and asks for, exactly what he wants. I need to be more like that.

I grew up thinking it was wrong to ask for what you want. That it was somehow inappropriate. Indelicate.

Not asking for what you want makes it really really hard for everyone around you to know what you're getting at. Being proactive gets you a finished product faster.

There's a big difference between being specific and being pushy. I think I had those confused. My client is not pushy. He's very clear about what he wants.

Of course there's the problem of not knowing what you want. I like the idea of fine tuning what it is you're after and then setting the wheels in motion. Like my client, I have very specific goals I'd like to achieve. At the moment, though, they are nebulous and all start with conditional phrases like "if I could, I would..."

Which is silly. If I want to write for a specific magazine, it is not up to that magazine to figure it out - even if the editor of that magazine is sitting in his/her office right now saying, "you know what we need? Someone who writes about goldfish, the opera and noodle kugel."

Is there something you haven't asked for that would make someone's life easier if you just spoke up?


Dana's Brain said...

I can't think of anything specific at the moment, but I am (sadly) often at fault for not asking for what I want. Something about not wanting to rock the boat. So instead I tend to work the passive-aggressive angle, which is worse. (And I do realize that)

A friend of my sister's labeled her "MSH" Makes Shit Happen. She is very good about asking for what she wants - and she gets it. I am trying to to that more often. Tough habit to break though.

Celia said...

I do ask Mr. for what I want. I am very specific with him because he is a literal person. So I tell him I want him to pet me and tell me everything will be fine.

At work I am not as direct because I train people and I don't want them to get discouraged. So I start out giving them an exact run down of what I expect, see what sticks and then tweak their behavior a little at a time.

Sturdy Girl said...

This is very interesting - I have been thinking (and talking to others) about how this applies to relationships. When we're younger and/or less experienced it seems "wrong" as you say to ask for what we want because let's face it - our loved one is supposed to just know, right? Yeah.

So when that obviously doesn't work some of us try coming right out with our wants, desires and our deal breakers. This results in possibly limiting our choices in the relationship department, but it also narrows the search down to those who will make us happy.

I have a friend who recently changed her EHarmony profile to reflect exactly what she wants. She gets less "hits" now but saves a lot of time and effort, looking at emails from only those who are on the same page.

Cool subject.

Lisa said...

I think that most women are raised not to ask for what they want. It's not ladylike. But all relationships would be easier if we could just be direct. I have gotten much, much better about being direct about what I want.

Also, I am certain I would like to work for a magazine that wants someone who writes about goldfish, the opera, and noodle kugel.

Lesha said...

Boy do I wish I had your new client to work for instead of who I'm working for now. We've had about 15 gazillion copies of the document we're working on go back and forth and I swear each time he changes the same paragraphs again and again, when he's the one tweaking them in the first place! Aaaaaah!

Anyway I will say in the beginning at least in my job I would be very clear on what I wanted. Unfortunately most of the time what I wanted got vetoed so I stopped telling. But that's a whole other story...

Anyway, in my personal life I have been trying to be clearer about what I want rather than beating around the bush.

Ms Picket To You said...

yeah -- a job like yours.

TwoBusy said...

(seconding Ms. Picket)

The Upstairs Neighbor said...

Know your own mind= "I want this..."
Pushy = "I want this...NOW."
Rude = "I want this...NOW...you jerk."
Unreasonable/insane/most bosses = "I want this...NOW...you jerk...even though I know it is far beyond your capacity to provide it to me."

Take your pick! I want mac n cheese but am not getting it. Mainly cuz we have no cheese. There is always that curve ball. I would settle for noodle kugel - can we come down?

Seriously, I found that knowing yourself and what you will accept/not accept is the determining factor for getting what you want. It's really not about anyone else but you, your heart, and your sanity. Ultimately, you're the only one who has to live with the decisions.
Enuf pontificating (my word of the day).