Learn to Ask for Help Sooner

Project Time ManagementOn my first consulting engagement, I spent one day trying to get my program to work. My manager noticed my frustrations so he offered to help. It turned out that I was just missing a period! During my performance review, he suggested that I should learn to ask for help sooner.

In scuba diving, if you get separated from your buddy, you are trained to look for no more than one minute. If unsuccessful, you need to ascend and reconnect at the surface.

At work, you should not be afraid to ask for help sooner. It is not a sign of weakness. If you are stuck on something, set a reasonable time limit. If you are still stuck, seek assistance upon reaching your time limit. By spending one minute to ask for help, you may save yourself an entire day.

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2 thoughts on “Learn to Ask for Help Sooner

  • 2009-09-09 at 05:23

    This one is disputable for me. Actually there are people who need to ask sooner. But at the same time there are those who should ask later.

    If you see someone banging his head against the wall you instantly know this is the former case. If you see other people tired with answering basic question which are in documentation, Google or whatever knowledge repository is used in an organization you deal with the latter.

    Each person should be considered individually.

    By the way I find more people who have aversion for asking about virtually anything among men than among women.

  • 2009-09-09 at 17:23

    If someone asks me for help and I know that they did not even try to solve the problem on their own or even tried to perform some basic research, then I will not be afraid to tell them so.

    However, there are individuals who are afraid to admit that they need help. By not setting a time limit on when they should ask for help, they end up wasting valuable time running in circles.


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