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Admitting Defeat and Asking for Help At Work

Asking for help - Career tips - delegation

It’s hard to admit, but asking for help at work is part of managing workflow effectively. As a designer, I am always expected to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of a hat, but not just any rabbit. To extend the metaphor the rabbit has to be a certain kind, size, colour, temperament etc. So not only do we often work to unrealistic deadlines, but we are expected to be accurate and creative at the same time, with tight deadlines, and asking for help can be the difference between delivery one time or delivering late.

The hardest thing for an OCD designer is asking for help on a project. It implies “I can’t keep up” or “I am not good enough”, even though to the outsider it is clear that the designer is being buried until revisions, changes, new jobs and old work. Not to mention digital housekeeping and project management, and jobs to go to print.

The absolutely worst thing you can do is try to do too much and fail. And that is easy to do. Ask for help, when one gets an inkling of a project getting out of control. This is by far more favourable than trying and missing to reach an impossible deadline. Be assertive. Explain to your boss the scale of the work you have to accomplish and the deadline. Asking for help is professional and the worst that can happen is that they say “no”. Then, if as you predicted, the deadline is missed or there are mistakes, and you have done your best, and you know you did ask.

Do yourself a favour. Learn to delegate effectively. Asking for help spreads the load and manage your client expectations.

  • Recognise the signs (working late or long hours/ working weekends/feeling out of control/making mistakes
  • Acknowledge it is not a failure on your part if the hours needed are greater than the hours your work
  • It is vital to get on top of the situation early before it affects your work relationships/reputation
  • Read about the right way to ask for help at work.

Cover image: Pinterest.

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