Advice For 20-Somethings: Ask Questions
It’s hard to get people to ask questions for me to respond to in this column.
At first, I figured it was because people weren’t really reading my posts – that the message was being lost in the Twittersphere.
But there were easily 20-25 retweets on my last column, and we all know that – in the grand scheme of the Twitter world – that is absolutely insignificant.
Didn’t see that one coming, did you?
Thought I was going to say it was pretty good, right?
I’m not naive.
Nevertheless, it’s 3 AM on August 2nd (I have relatively severe insomnia), and I just realized that I didn’t write a post for July.
Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have a question from someone that needed to be answered.
And as I’m sitting here wondering why no one submitted a question, it hits me:
I know why no one is asking questions.
I know because it’s the exact same reason that I have a hard time asking questions:
No one wants to look like they have no idea what they’re doing.
I know this is an extreme statement to make, but hear me out.
We are currently living in a world where 14-year-old kids are super geniuses, creating the next big (insert the next big thing here).
When I was 14, I shared a locker with a boy and I thought that I was the hottest $&!@ around. Seriously. It’s still embarrassing.
So, being perfectly in the middle of my 20′s, not knowing the answer to something is a difficult concept to grasp.
Especially while there are teenage kids out there running around, putting me to shame.
And it’s not that I’m succumbing to not knowing the answer.
I know I’ll figure it out for myself.
It may take me 5x longer, but I’ll figure it out.
I’m that stubborn about it; I always have been.
In fact – if we want to get real talk on this – it was one of the huge points made by my boss on my review at work.
I’m paraphrasing, but it said something along the lines of, “It’s okay to ask questions.”
But if I ask a question, then it means that I don’t know something.
And if I don’t know something, then that means I’m weak, right?
And if I’m weak, then why did you hire me? Why would you want to keep me around? What’s keeping someone else from stepping in and doing my job even better?
And that’s such a stupid way to think.
And that’s the way, I believe, that SO many people in my generation think.
So all this rambling is really leading to one thing:
I know it’s hard. I know you don’t want to be outshone by the 14-year-old.
But look at it this way:
If you ask questions, it shows that you care.
That you want to do your job right. That you are dedicated to finding the answer.
No one expects you to know it all – especially not your boss.
And especially not when you’re new to the industry.
So put your ego aside and speak up.
And send me some questions.
If for no other reason than the fact that you won’t have to read my (now: 3:36 AM) ramblings anymore.
For what it’s worth, I’ve made a VERY conscious effort to ask more questions since I got my review.
And it’s not as scary as it seems.
- by AWSC
- posted at 11:50 am
- August 8, 2012