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When trying to get exactly what you want out of the workplace, sometimes you can often feel like every word choice is a critical decision.  In this post, Emily muses about how to figure out just what is the exact right thing to say.

We’ve all been there.  Whether emailing a prof, being interviewed by potential employers, or talking to a group of coworkers – sometime it seems impossible to find the right words to say to get what you want without stepping on anyone’s toes.

I recently read an article about people who are compulsive underachievers.  They are smart and hard-working people who are afraid to ask for promotions or raises because they either thought they wouldn’t get them or simply didn’t have the confidence to simply approach their superiors and ask. When I was working on show ideas at the BBC last month, I came up with an idea the producers really liked and we were planning on developing to pitch. When we were divvying up research roles, the person in charge said, “Can we take that bit from you and have someone else research it instead?”  To be honest, I was pretty upset. It was something I had been really excited about, but I thought to myself, “You’re just here on work experience; you shouldn’t be too pushy” and just let it slide.

Do I regret that decision?  Well, yes.  But at least I’ve now told myself that, in future, I’m going to work on my negotiation skills to figure out how to get what I want.
~ Emily

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