If you have been in the vicinity of a job you want–maybe you have been a consultant, contractor, temp, subordinate, or employee of another department–and the job opens up, should you ask (the decision-maker) for the job?
Yes. But only after you can truthfully state the following:
1. I really want this job, really. I’m not asking for this job because I want more money, more power, more influence, more access. I love this work and I want more of it. I want to be an expert at this work and I will be open to whatever you think I need to do to achieve that–on behalf of the organization, of course, not only for my own benefit.
2. I believe I can do this better than anyone else, and I want to try to do it even better than that. I have ideas about how I can do the work (more efficiently, less expensively, faster, to better outcomes). I understand that not all of my ideas are good ones, and I am highly receptive to feedback, positive or negative.
3. I am willing to show you what I can do, at my current pay, as a volunteer, or however you want, if you just give me a chance for a few weeks. I know you will see how valuable I am to this organization. I hope–but know I have no right to expect–that you will then offer me at least the going rate for the job or what you think is fair.
4. I’ve been working on a few projects and ideas, and I’ve written them up in a proposal for you to review. Whether or not you are willing to give me a tryout, these are yours to keep and consider. I’m happy to discuss them with you. They are wholly respectful to my coworkers and the previous incumbents in the job I want.
5. I am a very hard worker and I am willing to work evenings and weekends in addition to the regular schedule just to learn the parts of the job I haven’t mastered.
6. I’ve been a diligent corporate citizen–I don’t play politics, I don’t compete with or try to hurt other employees or try to get over on anyone, I don’t complain or talk trash, I don’t try to take over projects, I don’t make commitments and fail to follow through. I get along with everyone and I am reliable and trustworthy. I pay attention to details, timelines, deadlines, the organization’s priorities, and customer relationships.
7. I have the required education and I know why that matters. I’m willing to get more education at my own expense if it turns out to be necessary.
8. I dress appropriately for all occasions, here in the workplace or out in the community.
9. I don’t waste resources–not time, money, information, relationships, space, or anything else.
10. I get it. I know how hard your job is, and I’m here to help. I’m not all about my own needs and wants; I stand willing to be evaluated by you as someone who is helpful, and willing to help.
No one is all that, of course. No one. We all moderate our best intentions with what we are not willing to relinquish. . .
sadly. Because–in my opinion, for whatever it’s worth–it is to those who don’t daily hold out for more–money, attention, privileges, personal power, whatever–that the best job and career outcomes almost always accrue, ultimately. Acting consistently in the best interest of the organization and its leadership is a gift that keeps on giving to you, as it allows you to see more, do more, learn more, care more, and gain more expertise and experience. As it almost always turns out, if that is not enough, you can and should go someplace where you will be happier.