The most straightforward way to get what you want is to simply ask for it. This is no less true in the workplace where promotions, raises, and other perks are up for grabs. Fear of negative feedback often stops us from asking employers for those important benefits. Are we better off asking for what we want? YES, and here are at least two reasons why…

We Have to be Our Own Champions of Change

As we know, in competitive and male dominated working environments women are often at a disadvantage because the traits that are generally viewed as necessary to get ahead are viewed as undesirable in a woman. In an analysis of performance reviews done in [published August 26, 2014/Kieran Snyder/Fortune] women were much more likely to receive criticism related to their personalities than men. Indeed, the study found that there were 71 criticisms on 94 reviews of female employees and only 2 criticisms out of 83 reviews of male counterparts. I believe that much of that is due to the societal stereotype that there is only one type of “desirable” woman: one who is not too aggressive, loud, or ambitious.

But the more women speak up for themselves, the more opportunities there are to showcase the wide variety of female leadership styles and diversity within our own group. This exposure to difference and challenge of the status quo is what will help change things for those who follow in our footsteps. While the results may not be immediate, when you speak up for yourself, you also speak up for others.

You Can’t Win Unless You Play the Game

The hard truth is that sometimes we are afraid to ask because we are simply afraid to fail. Well, guess what, you have to “fail” to grow and if you’re not “failing” you’re not asking for enough. Studies confirm that asking for what you want is much more likely to yield results. For example, one study reports that women who lobby for a promotion are 54% more likely to get one compared to women who simply don’t ask.

Working hard and hoping to get noticed might eventually get you where you want to go but being proactive and asking for what you want will get you further than you could ever have imagined. Even though it might rub people the wrong way, taking charge of your own career and financial future is both empowering and rewarding.


Perhaps the big picture isn’t about promotions and raises at all. Women need to speak up for themselves more often in order to challenge gender stereotypes and biased perceptions. Since the feminist movement of the 1960s women have become a larger and larger part of the workforce. This shift in gender roles has improved our quality of life and shifted both legal and social aspects of society that affect us all. The work continues as we strive towards a fair workplace and take small steps to be the change we'd like to see in the world.

What will you be asking for in 2019?

Sierra E is a Los-Angeles based trial lawyer and entrepreneur. She became partner at her law firm in 2015 and has made numerous appearances as a guest legal correspondent on CNN. In 2018, Sierra launched SuitKits, an online shopping service that allows women to custom design suits and separates to fit their exact measurements, style, color and cut. Through her career, her writings, and her company, Sierra hopes to help women from all backgrounds achieve both personal and professional success for the benefit of themselves and their families. You can find her on Twitter/Facebook/IG @SuitKits

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