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July 02, 2008

Can I ask for something everyday for a year?

I've just signed up for 365 days of asking.

Prompted by a book I started reading today, Women Don't Ask, about how women's reluctance to negotiate costs them millions of dollars individually -- not to mention the collective losses -- I decided, quite spontaneously when I got to the bottom of page 7, to try asking.

Perks. Discounts. Upgrades. 2 for 1. 3 for 2. A better restaurant seat. Application of an expired 20 percent coupon. Salary boost. Access to discretionary funds. Lower insurance rate.

The point of this exercise is not to get stuff for free. I will not beg or ask for unilateral favors. I will never bring up that I'm blogging before or while asking. Anything I get should be part of a transaction in which I'm also providing something: money, time, expertise. Or, part of a transaction in which I'm undoing or counteracting an inconvenience or loss. Ideally, it has to be an exchange in which I leverage my position to my advantage.

The point is to simplify my life and boost my financial situation by asking. The point is to try to benefit from the type of situation where "it can't hurt to ask." The point is to start thinking about asking in the first place. The point is to become a better asker over time: identify opportunities, identify my needs and desires, develop strategies, maximize savings and earnings. The point is to use asking as a springboard for becoming a negotiator who can be cutthroat or cajoling, as needed.

Also, for something to count as an asking, it has to be explicit. The benefit won't count, for the purposes of this exercise, if I hinted at it, or got a lucky break, or would have gotten it anyway.

Well. A long-winded and rather dry beginning, which I reserve the right to edit for linguistic clarity, but not intent. That's what I'm signing up for. No questions asked.

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