Asking But Not Getting?


“You get what you ask for, and if you don’t ask for anything you get nothing, “ was one of those sayings that rang around my head as a child.  Despite my mum not being one of my top role models there is a grain of truth in this.  But what if you keep asking but not getting?

Well then you are not asking the right questions!!!

Here are 5 scenarios that tell you, what you need is a different question, plus as a bonus there’s some ideas on how to fix them.

  1. The team leader’s post is about to come up for grabs.  You have been staying late and working on ways to make the team more efficient and motivated. It is you that’s cracked it.  You have the basis of a plan to bring the team into the 21st centuary, so that job is as good as yours.

Then they announce the post has been filled by obnoxious ollie, loudmouthed and never had an original idea of his own.  He never stayed late.  How did that happen?

It’s a case of crossed wires as typically happens when you are asking but not getting.  You thought your late nights were a sign of commitment and showing you were ready to step up.  In reality, you were tired and crabby, so your late nights made your boss think you were not coping with your current workload, so they are hardly going to increase the demands on you.

What can you do about it?  Balance.  Show you can regenerate outside of the office walls, but also show your commitment to your personal development by highlighting the things you have done to grow.  Also be more direct and ask to be considered for the upcoming role.  Ask the outgoing candidate if you can help, take on any extra duties during the transition period.  Be the team rock, reassuring them you will take care of things.

  1. Everybody brings you their problems, so you must be the go to person right? That’s worth a pay rise at least.  Then come your appraisal and it is suggested you are a little negative and seem distracted.

In reality you may have wanted to help, but have gotten bogged down in dealing with other people’s problems and may have unintentionally been their baggage holder. This makes you see the problems rather than the solutions so you are the negative one, now you have freed up everyone else’s negativity.

Remember it is all about balance.  Help people whenever you can, but remember it is about solutions.  You are not the only one that can solve it, so delegate, signpost and empower them to sort it for themselves.  When people moan at you, give them a solution, or better still guide them to their own.  Whatever you do, don’t take their baggage on board.  Remember it is great to help, but grim to martyr.

  1. You want to be considered for the next big project. It is a training programme and you would love to sideways move into personal development, training or HR.  You have loads of ideas, but when it comes to team meetings you just don’t seem to get heard.

This is time for tough love.  You have to be visible to be selected. No-one gets chosen if they don’t get the sectors attention.  Remember in school when teacher asked for volunteers?  They either chose the most eager hand, or if everyone was eager the person without their hand up.  You have to show you are eager, but this can be done in many ways.

You could ask to put an item on the agenda and prepare your ideas as a presentation.  It could be done workshop style if you do not want to appear too bolshy.  If public is not your style then prepare a presentation for your appraisal or ask for a development meeting with your boss.  You must make it easy for them to chose you and asking directly makes it harder for them to say no.

  1. You want to move forward, but you are just too afraid to ask. This is not so much a case of asking but not getting but more of not asking, but it is still a common pattern of behaviour. It is like we think if we wish hard enough, then it will find us and we do not have to do anything.

Sorry but that may take a long time if at all, so why not be more proactive.  I know it is scary, but if you begin with small, safe steps rather than jumping off a cliff it can be very effective.  Maybe ask to be given a small task, or volunteer for a smaller responsibility that shows you are committed and capable.  Then grow it, by getting slowly bigger.  You may still be overlooked this time, but next time you will be the no brainer.

  1. You hate your work culture. Your team are so quick to blame, and though you believe in owning your mistakes you don’t believe you should be forced to wear them like a badge of shame for months.  It may be that your colleagues are bitchy or gossipy and that makes you feel uncomfortable.

This one is a harder one, as cultures often evolve slowly over time out of strong drivers like fear or ambition.  You need to ask yourself if you want the challenge or should you look for your next challenge elsewhere.  If you decide to stay, you will need a plan in action to tackle the culture, and will need to emphasise the benefits to your management without sounding like you are whining yourself.  You will need to appraise if they care, or even want to change the culture as they may not see it as broken.

If you chose to move on, aim higher than you are now, even if you do not quite have the ideal experience.  To get around this, contact the recruiter and sell them what you can bring to the role and how you can make up for the lack of experience. Be bold as fortune favours the brave.


Remember you do not have to solve this alone.  Get a coach, mentor or friend on board to help you.  They will give you the confidence to keep going, to be brave and to think bold.  They will help you focus your ideas too, so you can make your efforts count.

If you need any help you can always have a quick chat with me……

After all, what have you got to lose other than grotty Monday mornings?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.