Subtly Does Not Always Work

dinner timeI really have no need for clocks in my house because I have dogs. To them there are two important times: wake up and pee time and dinner time. No matter what I am doing they always make sure I know what time it is – and they are not subtle.

I once had a Great Pyrenees that would let me know it was wake up and pee time by first grabbing the blankets and pulling them off the bed. If that didn’t work he would grab my pillow and yank it out from under my head.  Now they just walk on me to wake me up.

The pack serves as an alarm clock for dinner time by starting slowly, they sit around wherever I am and stare at me, start to pant a bit and make noises. From there the puppy will come plop his head in my lap, the oldest will walk straight up to me and bark and the other two dance around and whine. No subtlety there. It works.

Often times we feel that we need to be subtle in asking for help. We fear that coming right out and being direct would be rude. Get over it, it is not rude. It is most helpful, just make sure to put it in a nice way.

If you tell your friends and family that you are looking for a job it does as much good as never saying a word to them in the first place. “A job” is so vague that it is meaningless and easily forgotten. Too subtle.

Think about it this way: if you tell your kids to go clean their room does it get done? Or even close to what you wanted? No. Because you were too vague. At least that is how it worked in my house.

So I had to be specific. Pick up the dirty laundry, put it in the washer and actually turn it on with soap in it, take any science experiment on plates down to the kitchen, drown them down the garbage disposal and put the empty plate in the dishwasher and vacuum – not around everything, the entire carpet so that means picking stuff up so you can vacuum under it.

My boys loved me, I know.

But they knew what I expected this way and I had something to measure against.

When you are talking to your friends and family be specific. Give them an idea of what to listen for so they can make that immediate connection. Maybe you want to make a change in careers – how would they know that if you didn’t tell them?

Instead of saying you are looking for a job give them your basics. I am looking to get back to being a bookkeeper for a company, making sure all the records are correct, entered in a timely way – you know, take full advantage of my OCD and finance background.

I added this little bit of humor because it will also help and remind you to talk to them like people – not sales pitches. Give them some specifics to listen for and put it in a way that they will understand.

I am a firm believer that overall people are good, kind and helpful. They want to help, you just have to ask. Sure, they can always say no, but if you approach it in a personable way talking to them as your family and friends rather than people to sell a pitch you might just be surprised at how much your network expands and opportunities present themselves in amazing ways.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

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