One of my favourite stories in this issue of Cosmo is 7 Questions You Should Ask At Work (page 136). And it’s a favourite because I wish I’d read it many years ago. When I first started working (as an intern at Cosmo, actually), I didn’t have the courage to ask my boss anything. I was worried she’d think I was too plucky, too curious, or worse, too stupid. And what a mistake that was, because asking questions is so critical to success—it helps you understand what’s going on in your boss’ head, tells you exactly what you need to do to win marks, and gives her an idea of who you are. So in addition to our highly-recommended Career story, I’d like to offer up my own list of backed-by-experience questions you really should ask at work...
1. “WHAT MORE CAN I DO?”: Most employees simply want to tick off their to-do lists and get out of the office. So imagine how surprised (and grateful) a boss would be when someone offers to do more than is required. Enthusiasm and initiative are two of the most important traits employers look for, and asking for more work shows the willingness to grow.
2. “WHAT ARE YOUR TOP GOALS?”: You may think your boss cares deeply about creative content, but sales figures may be the only thing on her mind right now. By asking her to spell out her needs and priorities, you can make
them your focus, too.
3. “WHAT SHOULD I DO TO GET THAT PROMOTION/ASSIGNMENT?”: The answer to this question is like a personal road-map for success, plus asking for direction subtly tells your boss about your ambitions so she can keep you in mind when an opportunity comes up.
4. “HOW ARE YOU?”: Surprise...your boss isn’t really a monster, she’s human! Which means she has her own share of rough days or the need to talk to people. Being over-friendly with a superior is not an option, but being friendly should be one.