Cooper Dressed for the office

Here Is The Million Dollar Question

Why is it easier for my dog to ask for what he needs or wants than it is for me sometimes?

Hi, everyone; let me introduce you to Cooper. He is my 9-year-old Labradoodle, and he is better at communicating what he wants or needs than most humans.

I started to think about this today when he came to me and wanted something, and when I did not move fast enough, he “followed Up.” by giving me a nudge, his way of saying, Dude, move it.

BTW it was to open my wife’s office door once she was off a business call.  How he knows I don’t know.

Now, full disclosure: he has been professionally trained, but he has been like this since he was a puppy, letting us know when he has needed to go out, needs his water bowl filled, etc.

Cooper knows his needs and asks. In 9 years, we have had two accidents in the house, both when he was sick.

I have learned over the years what to look for in his behavior. What his tell is, for example:

I know that when he comes and stares at me, I need to ask if he has to do his business

I know that If he sits, stairs, and licks his lips, I need to check one of his two water bowls. (Yes, he has two water bowls and drinks a lot during the day. We can all take a page from Cooper’s notebook on proper hydration.)

Or if he wants my attention for something, he will nudge me, and if I don’t move fast enough, he starts to cry or bark. Thus, this is why we have had so few accidents in the house. COMMUNICATION.

Now you’re asking what, in God’s name, this has to do with looking for a job or changing a job, you ask.

Well, we often don’t ask for the basics of what we need, deserve, and what is right. We make excuses for fear of making waves at work that we may end up making things worse if we do.  We don’t communicate with effect.

Now this can show up as not asking for a raise, leading a project, or staying silent about wrongdoings.

All in fear of an unknown outcome that “might happen.”

Often, the company or the manager is less attuned to your needs than my family and I are to Cooper’s needs and they don’t do a great job communicating.

Sometimes, they are just flat-out clueless about the fact that you have an issue, and truth be told, if they are good managers or it is a good company, trust me, they would like to know.

This is not due to a high level of altruism on their part but more to the fact that If there is a problem, it is easier to deal with it sooner than later.

It’s just good business. Hiring and training people costs money, not just your salary and benefits.

Unfortunately, we stay in this cycle of non-communication, and 1 of 2 things happens, and both outcomes are not ideal for you and the company.

1st, we let it be. We take what comes and become resentful and angry with the situation. Our productivity starts to go down, and our demise at the company becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy at some point.

2nd is we take a knee-jerk reaction and up and leave for the next worse opportunity. Did you notice I did not say next best?

We hope for things to be different, but since we have yet to deal with our inability to ask for what we need or want effectively, we make the same mistakes repeatedly, thus the next worse opportunity.

I could write 100 pages on this easily, but let’s cut to the chase.

Consider these key actions.

1. Prepare yourself for change within the company or elsewhere. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and list your achievements and contributions to your job.

2. Have your next three steps mapped out. If x happens, I will do a,b, and c. If y happens, I will do p,d, and q. Consider all outcomes and plan your responses.

3. Open a dialog with your manager. This is a discussion about how you align with the goals of the department and the company, how you currently add value to achieving them, and what more you can do.

4. If pay is an issue and you are not making the market, meet with your manager about it.

Be sure that you have suggestions 1-3 nailed down before your discussion.

You need to prepare for the possibility that the answer to your request is a No or a Not now, so having 1 and 2 completed will be helpful in your next steps on a possible decision or action you will want to take.

The other thing you need to have nailed down is a clear and concise way to articulate how you have and continue to bring value to the organization and how this aligns with the department’s / company’s long and short-term goals.

Be flexible on how that additional compensation may look. It’s not just about base salary. There may be other ways they can get you to where you need and want to be.

If you are still trying to figure out how to proceed, don’t worry. There are resources to help you get from point A to point B.

Feel free to book a free meeting to get under the hood of the real problem and fix it together.