Want to Move Ahead in Your Career? All You Have to Do is Ask


Right after the New York Jets decided to cut quarterback Tim Tebow, Andrew Mather saw an opening.

USA Today reports that Mather, the assistant GM of the Omaha Beef, offered Tebow a job as QB. The indoor football team would pay Tebow a whopping $75 a game.

According to the article, Mather said he didn’t expect to hear back from Tebow but that it was worth asking.

Repeat: it was worth it.

When we push for a promotion or take a leap professionally, we put ourselves out there in a vulnerable way. We’re afraid the other person will be annoyed, aggravated or downright upset with our request. Too often we play it safe and do nothing.

The stone, then, remains unturned.


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As young adults just starting out, we’re at the bottom of a steep mountain craning our necks to view the summit. Hard work, an independent streak and being on time help us scale the rocks, but a smart use of ‘the ask’ can accelerate our pace.

Two real world examples

1. Your research team is headed to a conference, in which you’ll present a study to industry leaders. Two of you need to speak there; your boss and someone else. Before the conference, you tell your boss that, if he’s OK with it, you’d like to be the second speaker. The boss agrees, you get the speaking gig and you nail the speech. Your boss, watching all the way, is impressed and back at the office decides to give you more responsibility. A few months later, you get a nice raise.

move ahead in your career
The Omaha Beef, a tiny indoor football team in Nebraska, offered Tim Tebow a job as quarterback for $75 a game. The proposal might seem like a prank, but it could do wonders for Andrew Mather, the person who came up with the idea.

2. Your company has a huge meeting with a client, and everyone — client included — is gathering in your conference room. You ask your boss if you can sit in and observe. No problem, she says. You don’t plan on talking and you even sit in a chair along the wall away from the big table.

During the meeting, the conversation turns to behaviors of 20-somethings. You’re by far the youngest person in the room and all eyes turn to you sitting meekly against the wall. Feeling the spotlight, you sit up straight and give spot-on analysis that wins over the client, which scores HUGE points with your boss. From then on, your boss sees you as someone with a bit of moxie and the smarts to be successful.

Let’s recap

You asked to give a speech. You asked to join a meeting. In both instances, the ask opened doors that previously didn’t exist. What’s the worst that could have happened?

You: Can I be the second speaker at the conference?

Boss: No, sorry. That spot is already filled.

You: Can I join you and the client in the conference room?

Boss: No, sorry. I’d rather not have you in there for this particular meeting.

No big deal.

Unless you’re being reckless and asking for a giant bonus you don’t deserve, the positives of ‘the ask’ far outweigh the negatives. Even if your boss says no, he will notice — and appreciate — your assertiveness.

You could say Andrew Mather’s tongue-in-cheek offer to Tim Tebow is a complete joke. But think about it: before this column, had you ever heard of the Omaha Beef? Now the Nebraska football team has a weeks-worth of national publicity.

Remember, Mather is the team’s assistant GM.

That means he just made his own boss very happy.


OK sports fans: does Tebow still deserve a spot in the NFL? Should he give up QB and try a new position?

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© 2013, Danny Rubin

Feature photo: Jeff Kern (Flickr)


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