To say that the world of high finance can be a cutthroat one is quite an understatement. Of course, knowledge, hard work, and ambition will certainly take you far. But is that enough? Sometimes the boldest step you can take toward getting what you want is to corner the right person and simply ask for it.
American venture capitalist and author, J. D. Vance, once described the secret of how he got a coveted job at Mithril Capital, the global investment firm co-founded by famed entrepreneur Peter Thiel. (Don’t let the initials fool you; J. D. Vance is a man.) How did Vance manage this feat before he even turned 35? While working for a biotech firm in Silicon Valley, he emailed Peter Thiel and asked him for a job. The two had met years earlier when Vance was still a student at Yale University, where Thiel had come to give a talk. “It was that simple,” Vance says.
Let me repeat that for emphasis: J.D. Vance met Peter Thiel once as a student. Years later, Vance emailed Thiel and asked him for a job. He got the job. It was that simple.
According to Francesca Di Meglio, a contributing writer at the global employment website Monster.com, one of the main differences between men and women in the workplace is that men speak up and women don’t. Men make their career goals known and ask for promotions. Women, on the other hand, expect to get noticed simply for doing their jobs well. My advice to any woman reading this is don’t just sit there and wait for your boss to see how much value you’ve been bringing to the business. Make sure your boss knows how far you want to go and what you’ve already done to get there. Set goals and don’t keep them a secret. Then exceed those goals. Figure out what you want and then ask for it.
Di Meglio advises aspirational women not to think so rigidly about advancement within the companies they work for. Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is not actually a line, but a leap. Stop thinking that you need to pay a fixed set of dues to advance from third assistant manager on to second assistant manager and from there to first assistant manager before you ever get to be a manager. Why not make a big-picture assessment of what your company needs the most and then propose the creation of a new division/department/project to tackle that problem? Naturally, you would then be a good fit to manage that initiative, don’t you think?
Even if your boss is not ready to revamp the entire company’s structure based on your proposal, doing this will still be to your benefit. Why? Because it shows just how bold you are. It says that you’re thinking big and that you aren’t afraid to announce that to everyone. In short, it screams confidence!
Promote yourself and get promoted. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.