When I was in grade seven, my teacher told my class that we needed to job shadow someone, and so I reached out to the Toronto Raptors to see if I could job shadow their star player, Damon Stoudamire.
When I was in University at Ryerson for Journalism school, we had to do a half-a-semester internship in our stream (mine was broadcast), and so I reached out to Good Morning America to see if I could intern there.
For the former, other students job shadowed their parents, and for the latter, fellow J-schoolers interned at Rogers TV or other local Toronto networks.
Other people always seem to be either astounded or in awe, impressed–or put off–by my chutzpa, and those who know me or know of me in my industry, likely fall into one camp or another. Their whispers indicate that it seems possibly out of the norm that I would do something as bold – and to me, seemingly simple – as to ask for what I want.
This way of conducting myself is something so central and innate to my very being and it’s been like that since my early ought’s.
I’ve always gone for, and asked for, what I want, and I’m not one to let things – aka assumed obstacles like distance, experience, lack of connections or something being ‘out of my league’ – take away from my ambition. It’s up to another to say no, but that is up to them.
I live by the motto that ‘you don’t get if you don’t ask,’ and this has helped me get to where I am in work, life and love. And it can help you too, if only you follow suit, know your worth, know when to say no, and know when to speak up. This is a literal motto to live by: Want it? Ask for it.
Because here’s the thing, we may want that great job, or a particular romantic partner or bed buddy. We may want better service at a venue we’re at, or, or, or. Essentially we want to ‘have it all’, whatever having it all means to us. And yet, we all-too-often don’t put ourselves in a position to get it.
A gentle reminder, dear readers: If you don’t make your wants and needs known, how, pray tell, do you expect to achieve them? These things of which I speak don’t just fall into one’s lap, with little to no effort on one’s own part.
Wishing and hoping is all well and good, but things take work and things take time.
And the more work you put into yourself and your life and your work, et al., the more likely things will work for you if you ask for them. And what is there to lose, really? Rejection shouldn’t be as negative as you make it out to be in your head. It is what it is, so you accept it, learn something from it so you can grow, and take a new approach next go around, and move onto the next.
There’s no secret recipe to career success. It’s all about working your ass off, making a name for yourself, maintaining your contacts and allowing your work and name to speak for your value. It’s being able to say no to “working for exposure, or “to gain experience” and sticking to a fee or salary that works best for you. It’s about being able to prioritize work and have a life balance with that, while maintaining clear boundaries in all of the above.
And love? Put yourself out there. Think that person you’ve been crushing on doesn’t even know you exist, let alone would ever consider dating you? Reach out to them. Slide into their DMs. Make your presence known. Find out if they’re single and available and then ask them out. Again, you don’t get if you don’t ask.
As for me, the Raptors responded with a pleasant, “He’s not available at this time,” and sent me some swag to my parents’ home, and GMA took me on and gave me a memorable opportunity that taught me tricks of the trade and found me helping produce intimate segments, including one with Diane Sawyer and Michael Brooks in Central Park (on horseback, at that!).