Have you just started a new job and have no idea where to begin? Or do you have too much work to do every day?

If you answered yes to either question, reaching out to your coworkers will get you the help you need.

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When To Ask For Help

When you have no idea what you're doing.

If you’re in a new environment, ask for a starting point or procedure to follow rather than jumping into a task without direction. You might waste your time doing it incorrectly.

You're burnt out (or on the verge of burnout).

If there's too much on your plate, ask for assistance. It can be daunting to ask for help when you've already agreed to the task, but everyone will benefit.

You made a mistake or need more insight.

If you're unsure, it's better to be safe than follow the wrong path.

man screaming help me (new girl)

Who To Ask For Help

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Ask in a group setting such as a team meeting where everyone has a common goal. This is useful in situations where you're unsure who to ask.

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An experienced colleague will have the expertise to guide you. You can also ask a manager, especially if they have hands-on experience with the task.

How To Ask For Help

scrabble letters spelling out ask for help Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Show your understanding of the situation.

Do your research! Show that you understand the context first, then ask your coworker questions like:

  • "Which of these options is the best one?"

  • "Is this a good idea or not?"

Focus on solutions.

People are more likely to help if they understand the benefits of their assistance. Show your coworkers how their help will solve a problem:

  • "If you help me with this report, we'll be able to move on to the final stage of the project sooner."

Show your gratitude.

Say thank you in advance! You can also commend them to your other coworkers so their help gets noticed.

What To Avoid

Asking vague and general questions.

Your coworkers expect you to know your stuff. They don't want to hold your hand throughout the task.

Asking too often.

It can be tempting to ask for help whenever you run into an issue, but put yourself in that person's shoes. Would you like it if someone was constantly asking you questions?

Bernie Sanders

Scenario: Project Help

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Your boss assigned you a new project, but you've never handled a project like this and you're unsure where to start.

How should you ask for help?

  1. "How do we start this project?"

  2. "I've never completed a project of this nature. Is there a template or checklist available to reference?

  3. "I haven’t completed a project like this before. Should I follow the same approach as project XYZ or ABC, or should I take a different approach?"

  4. "Could we set up a meeting to talk through the major points of this project?"


How would you ask for help? Select all that apply.

Take Action

There's no harm in asking for help! Asking nothing at all can make your situation even worse.

Leslie Jones saying just ask with yellow text


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