I had gotten an opportunity to teach employees at my local city hall, and I was excited. That excitement changed to concern when I realized that the classes would be held Wednesday evening, the same day as the weekly faculty meeting. I could still attend the meeting, but it would mean that I would have to either leave early and cause a disruption, or make a mad dash after it was over. In order to get to City Hall, I had to take a train and then transfer to a bus. The commute was about 30 minutes. My energy as the teacher affects the class, so I wanted to arrive early to get setup and be in a calm state of mind by the time class started. There was no way I could achieve that by still going to the meeting.
I could have just accepted that I would have to be in a state of hurry every Wednesday evening for the next 2 months. I didn’t want to miss anything that was required by my job. However, this City Hall opportunity was a partnership with my university. That meant I was representing them when I went there. If I didn’t perform well, it would not only make me look bad but the university as well. I decided to use this to approach my boss with a request to skip the meetings for the duration of the partnership. I asked respectfully and laid out the reasons I felt it would be better for me not to be there at all as opposed to the other two options (disrupt or rush out). My boss agreed and approved my request.
In my professional career, I’ve learned that if you ask for something (with respect and good reasons), you are likely to get it. Almost everything I’ve asked for I’ve received, from salary increases, room or schedule changes, and materials. Sure, you might receive a no, but what if they say yes?