Ask Questions & Git Gud

Asking questions is the most misunderstood cheat code in business 🎮

Sun rises as you walk from the parking garage towards a different box-shaped building than usual. Your shadow stretches between you and the door. Through that door is your new life. It’s your first day on the job. As the new guy, there’s a gap between what you know and what you need to know to do your job effectively. You were hired because you have a very special set of skills, but there’s still a gap between you and the best in the business. If you’re like me, you probably feel like an impostor. Rationally, you probably know that you can’t know everything about the new job because companies don’t post on social media like people do (unless they’re Wendy’s). That’s what proprietary means after all (or you know what I mean. Don’t look it up). Stay with me…

Wendy’s coming in hot.

If you’re hungry for this new job you may plan to spend some time off the clock “putting in the work” to close the gap between you and your peers. It couldn’t hurt, right? But, is that really the best way to close the gap between you and your peers? No. Asking questions is.

Asking questions is the most misunderstood cheat code in business 🎮.

Asking questions…

  • 📶 …Signals that you have an interest in getting better.
  • 🧠 …Demonstrates your level of knowledge and quality of your thinking to your boss (and peers) so they can tailor their instruction to your level. If you’re better than expected they’ll challenge you more to help you grow more. If you’re not as great as expected they may turn down the difficulty to help you get started or provide some valuable specific feedback. (If you’re lucky you may even stop getting bullsh*t generic advice like “be a sponge”).
  • 💯…Allows you to request specific information about your role or the task at hand. (If your company is like most companies, you can’t Google company particulars and it’s a fact that all company intranets suck). You might even be surprised with information you didn’t ask for.
  • 🤝 …Builds relationships. If you talk to more people you will have more relationships.
  • 🤓…Helps you get better at asking questions. Specific questions that are easy to answer are the best. They should you’ve put some effort into trying to figure it out for yourself first.

If you don’t ask questions you will…

  • 🐢 …Grow more slowly because you will get generic advice instead of the specific help that you need.
  • 🙅‍♂️ …Create barriers between yourself and others.
  • 👨‍🦲 …Go bald.
  • 👇…Put more pressure on yourself.
  • 🦞…Get attacked by lobsters next time you go to the beach.

Lots of bad stuff.

For those people who are still too proud or afraid to ask questions…

The only thing managers love more than people who know how to do everything is people who try to know how to do everything. If you put in the effort to learn, people will be more understanding when you don’t know how to do things. If you don’t ask questions…well, I’ve already gone over the bad things.

Try it out. Leave me a question (or angry comment) below.

Thanks for reading. ✌️& 💜.

Written while listening 🎧 to the sweet sound of wind and running water outside an open window on a warm Spring night.

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