A few times ago, my cousin asked me what advice I would give to someone who’s looking for his first job.
The questions is tough. There are lots of things I wish I knew when I took my first job in 2001, like « try, fail fast and never make the same mistake twice » or « get everything written for what’s not written does not exist ». After thinking about it, I picked up something I tell my kids as soon as they’re 6.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
When you’re starting on the job market, it’s very hard to know what you’re worth to, what you deserve and what you have the right to get. Things got even harder with the economic crisis as many people feel relieved to have a job. A consequence to this is to set yourself into a passive behavior and accept what you’re given.
I used to do that too. I had my first kid young, my wife mas still a student and I had a family to feed. We were living day by day without being able to think on the long term, so I used to accept the first job I was given and never ask for anything. It was wonderful as I never had to leave my comfort zone. It was a huge mistake too, and it took me a bunch of years to recover first, change my behavior second.
This does not only prevails to young job seekers. I’ve met many people who’re just waiting for the life to give what they deserve. They’re reluctant to ask for something, and I heard « if you deserve it, you’ll get it » more than I can remember.
The trick here is to avoid rushing. Take the time to find out what you’re worth and what you deserve. Ask people around you: those who’re facing the same situation as you do, and those who paved your road. They will always bring precious advice. Then, make your mind and ask.
Asking never not put you in a comfortable situation, but the only risk you take is a no. By not asking, a no is the only thing you get.