With the DreamWorks Pictures film The Help hitting theaters nationwide today, we thought it might be the perfect time to talk a little bit about help, when it’s time to ask for help, and the difficulties many web workers (and even typical office workers) feel when asking for the help they often need. You enjoyed our tips for being your own boss so much and now that we’ve boosted your ego, here are some ways to not bite off more than you can chew.
When you’re a web worker it’s easy to feel like you’re working in a vacuum. Even if you are part of a strong, stable team of workers in large (or small) business, the isolation of working from home can make it difficult to make connections with the people in your group. The feeling that you’re an island adrift in a sea of continually-piling-up work is not uncommon for a web worker. All this, however, should not deter you from seeking the help of your co-workers and superiors. Asking for help may not be an easy task for some people (for some, I’m sure, it’s a nearly insurmountable leap of faith), but it can be one of the most beneficial things you can do. Not only for you and your career, but also for the best interest of the company.
So how do you know when it’s time to ask for help? Simple common sense can answer that question most of the time, but there are certainly tricky scenarios where you might feel that asking for help could put you in an awkward position. The general rule of thumb is: if you’re wondering if you should ask for help, you should probably ask for help. It may feel like a quick blow to the ego muscle, but it’s worth it in the end and most bosses will look highly upon you for asking for assistance before it’s too late. To get you started, here are five times when you should definitely press the help button.
- 1: When you feel like you’re starting to drown. In fact, if you’re feeling like you’re starting to drown, you’ve probably waited too long. Ask for help immediately. In theory, you should be asking for help when you feel your legs start to cramp under you and your arms are getting tired. At this point, you can still tread water, but not for much longer. This is when the words “I need help” should start to form on your lips. Your colleagues are there for a reason and they’re almost always willing to help, especially if it means saving a sinking ship. Put your ego aside and ask for help early. It will save you (and your team) from missed deadlines, botched jobs, and a lot more work in the long run.
- 2: When you’re confused and struggling to understand how something works. So your boss just gave you a big new project to work on and he spent about thirty minutes explaining every aspect of it in detail. The only problem is, you didn’t understand a lick of it. Uh oh! Time to ask for help. Call your boss back, explain to him or her that you need the details broken down in a less confusing manner, and make sure that you’ve got it right before you hang up that phone. They’ll probably praise you for being so honest and diligent. The truth is, you can’t do your work if you don’t understand what you’re instructed to do.
- 3: When you’ve made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s human nature. Nobody’s perfect. The big mistake comes when you’ve screwed up but you’re still too stubborn to admit it. Suck it up, tell your boss, and ask for help. Trust in the fact that every single member of your team has made a mistake at one time or another. This time is yours.
- 4: When you feel like you’ve hit a roadblock. We all get stuck sometimes. Even Stephen King gets writer’s block once in a while, right? Well, maybe not Stephen King, but 99.9% of writers do. When you feel like you’re blocked, stuck, or getting stagnant on a task, a little help with a fresh perspective can give you just the boost you need to tackle the project head on. Clear eyes often bring fresh ideas with them. That’s one of the major benefits of working with a talented group of people.
- 5: When you begin to wonder if you need help. I said this before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re wondering if you need help, you probably need help. This is the earliest you can possibly ask for assistance and it’s the very best time to do so. It allows your co-workers (or boss) to evaluate the situation at its infantile stage, diagnose the problem, and put you on the right path to fixing it. Ask early and ask often. That’s the very best motto you can have when it comes to asking for help. You’ve probably heard the phrase “there are no stupid questions” about a million times in your life and there’s a reason for that: it’s true.
Those five tips should get you started on your way to becoming a help-seeking machine! OK, maybe you don’t want to be asking for help from your boss and co-workers for every little situation that pops up, but it’s always good to err on the side of caution. If you trust your team and your own abilities to excel at the tasks given to you, it shouldn’t be any problem at all. It may, in fact, help you boost your presence in the business, increase your productivity, and ensure that you’re doing your very best work at all times. Give it shot. It’s easy. Just open up and say H E L P!
Oh, and if you find yourself in need of help pretty often, maybe it’s time to hire The Click Team to handle your integrated outreach! Wink, wink.