Do you know why most people don’t get the flexible work schedule they want? Right—they don’t ask.
What holds them back? They’re afraid to ask. Afraid to approach their manager. Unsure about how to ask. Afraid of a “no.”
Is that you, too? Maybe you’re stalling because you’re nervous about negotiating. Well, that’s natural and expected, like asking for a raise. Who wouldn’t be nervous?
But please don’t let it paralyze you. You have to ask or else nothing will change. And you really need more job flexibility now, right?
I regularly hear from career professionals who do well on the job, but when it comes to making the flexible work request, their confidence wanes. So it’s common—and it’s conquerable.
How can you overcome the uncertainty and untie the knot in your stomach?
There’s a Right Way to Ask: Information + Preparation = Confidence
In any negotiation, most of the work is done before the actual meeting. You must:
- research facts and gather information necessary to make your case;
- develop a strategy that suits the interests of the other party, i.e., your boss and employer;
- choose just-right phrasing that strongly positions your request;
- rehearse your presentation;
- anticipate objections and devise ready responses.
You’ve heard it said: Proper planning prevents poor performance. Here’s another pearl of wisdom from the book A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating, by Lee E. Miller and Jessica Miller:
The more prepared you are, the more convincing you will be.
Build your confidence to ASK for a flexible work arrangement with careful preparation. You’ll be thrilled to discover that ASKing does work!
I did a search of my email archives for Flexible Work Proposal Package success stories that contained the words nervous, courage and confidence.
The result was a very long list. Here are a few examples from my “gave-permission-to-post” folder, emphasizing key words in bold.
“I work in a very large company and reduced work weeks are not part of our world. I was so nervous, but [with your Proposal Package], I was completely prepared for whatever they would ask me. They were so impressed; I received several compliments on the proposal. I am now working three days a week and I am loving it. You gave me the tools I needed, the confidence to present it, and now I have a balanced personal and professional life.” Tina Hinzman, Senior Work Process Tools Trainer, Ellicott City, MD
“…a lot of the women I work with are happy to see the flexibility my company allows and I am so glad I was brave enough to be the first one to ask for it. I know I would never have had the courage if I had not had your Proposal Package to encourage me! The best money I have ever spent!” Rebecca Jami, Production Manager, (graphics and printing for lobbying firm), Alexandria VA
“I received many positive comments on the overall organization of my written proposal…[your proposal] gave me confidence that I would not have had otherwise.” Mary Beth McCarthy, Head of Corporate Communications, Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., Champaign and Chicago, IL
“I am walking on air and still can’t believe my dream has come true! I truly couldn’t have made a better impression without the help of [your Proposal Package. It] gave me the tools I needed to pursue this alternative work arrangement with confidence. Thank you…” Shannon Bryant, Healthcare Analyst, Chesterfield, MO
“I am starting a part-time business on the side, but wanted to keep my day job (and the salary that goes with it). My proposal to cut my hours from 9-5 to 11-4 was a great success! The Part-time Proposal Package provided me with everything I needed to create a great proposal, one my bosses couldn’t refuse! I really feel it was the best [money] I’ve spent in the last year. Your proposal gave me the confidence to ask for a lot and the ammunition to get it. Thank you.” Jill Giese, Account Executive (marketing/communications), Boise, ID
“My proposal was accepted and approved within two weeks…it was so professional, detailed, and well-written that no one even asked any questions! I could never have put together such a comprehensive and polished proposal without [it]. My only regret is that I did not ask for more! But now that I have the proper tool, I would feel confident if I needed to further restructure my position. I thank you and so do my husband and my 3 children. Sanity has been restored to our lives! Feel free to post any of my comments on your website. Your Proposal Package deserves rave reviews! And thank you again for enabling us all to take control of our lives and careers.” Caren Helms, Engineer, Standards Department, Underwriters Laboratories, Raleigh, NC
Challenge: What preparation steps can you take today to build the confidence you need to ask for what you want at work?