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We spend a lot of our time at work. When we’re surrounded by the same people for 40 hours per week, we want the office to be as comfortable as possible. But even in the post peaceful offices, tricky situations sometimes arise and force us into uncomfortable situations. Read today how women can take care of their careers with the guide to self-advocacy at work.

The Career Woman’s Guide to Self-advocacy at Work

Emily is a content marketing specialist for SiegeMedia based out of San Diego, California. She has extensive experience in branding, marketing, leadership, design, and writing. 

Emily Gibson

Guest Writer

It’s important to learn how to navigate these situations with grace so we can remain comfortable in the office while also standing our ground.

Asking for what you need is always uncomfortable – especially at work. For women, in particular, the pressure to appear easygoing and likable can make it easy to neglect actual needs. But those who don’t learn to self-advocate at work can find themselves overlooked, underappreciated, and burnt out can read today more about self-advocacy.

Jump down to the infographic or read on for ways to self-advocate in the office.

1. Asking for a Raise

It’s always awkward to talk about money, especially at work. But asking for a raise can help you grow in your career and be fairly compensated for your work.  Ask for a raise during a low-stress time at your company, or after you’ve helped on a big project or scored a big win. Be prepared with examples of your work, the first step into self-advocacy is done.

2. Letting Someone Go

No one wants to let someone go, but sometimes it’s inevitable if someone isn’t a good fit or has broken company policy. It’s important to go into these situations prepared and ready to be firm yet understanding. Get straight to the point to avoid confusion.

3. Asking for Help

We all need help sometimes. Though there is sometimes a stigma surrounding asking for help, the first step in doing so successfully is remembering that we all need it sometimes. Be sure to be direct with your needs while being understanding and considerate of your coworker’s time. Try to find a solution that works for both of you.

4. Giving Upward Feedback

Critiquing your manager — a process called upward feedback — can be extremely uncomfortable and can make you feel vulnerable. But sometimes it’s inevitable that a situation will arise and you’ll need to step in. Be prepared with your notes and be direct. Practice what you are going to say ahead of time so you won’t get too anxious.

5. Communicating Remotely

Remote work is becoming the new normal. As workplace apps like email, Slack, and Zoom (or other web conferencing tools like Adobe Connect) become more commonplace for workflow, a new form of communication is born between managers and coworkers. It can be hard to read someone’s tone when communicating remotely, which can sometimes lead to awkward moments or misunderstandings. It’s best to strike a balance between friendliness and professionalism when working remotely.

6. Presenting Your Ideas

It can be intimidating to present your ideas, especially when you’re new on the job or working on a new project. Being prepared is the most important thing when presenting new ideas, and practice is key. Make sure you are prepared to give an accurate summary of your thoughts and field any questions that come your way. Also, practice speaking slowly and clearly.

7. Asking for a Promotion

The general rule is that if you aren’t moving up at your company, it’s time to move on to something else. But asking for a promotion is hard! The first step is to make sure you are familiar with the growth track at your work, then prepare a list of your accomplishments and be prepared to discuss how your work has aligned with that growth strategy.

8. Saying No to a Project

Burnout is real. When requests for help come our way, it’s easy to feel pressured to say yes to everything. Stay in tune with your emotions and feelings so you know when you can reasonably say yes and when you need to say no. Then, be prepared to offer an alternative solution to the person you’re saying no to. Most importantly: don’t apologize for your need to decline!

9. Bringing Up Annoyances

Being around the same people for 40 hours per week, it’s inevitable that there will be arguments and misunderstandings. Instead of acting angrily and passive-aggressively, it’s important to bring up our annoyances with coworkers in a way that doesn’t ruin the relationship. Try offering up a solution, or finding a fair way to ask your coworker to change their behavior.

It’s hard to find the fine line between being accommodating and advocating for your needs. It’s most important to be a champion for yourself and your needs while still maintaining a healthy work environment. Read the full infographic from Bestow for more information on self-advocacy at work.

The Career Woman’s Guide to Self-advocacy at Work

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