The Broad Experience: Take a risk to get ahead

woman risk office skydive
Saying ‘yes’ and taking the leap is the first step on the way to success. / Pressmaster

When it comes to big, life-changing risks, I’m happy to take the plunge. Moving countries? Check. Switching careers at 30? Check. Those are the sorts of risks I see as adventures. I’m happy to slap my backpack on and navigate an unknown path to an undiscovered peak.

But when it comes to risks at the office, it’s another story. I was working at a company some years ago and felt “lucky” to have the job. So, when someone suggested I take on an extra project, I demurred. In my head I reasoned, “Why rock the boat? You might mess it up. Things are fine as they are.”

It didn’t occur to me that by taking on that project and making it my own, I might actually help my career, help people see me in a different light and provide my own springboard to an expanded role (all of which happened to a colleague who was wiser than I was).
Some of the same fears apply when it comes to negotiating for more money. Many women won’t do it, or back down during negotiations, because they feel like they’re endangering their relationship with their boss simply by having the conversation. Yet it’s only by taking such risks that you have a chance of making a leap forward at work.

Joanna Barsh worked for many years as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. “I turned down opportunities I thought were a stretch because I was scared,” she says. “Someone would say, ‘Would you like to go and open an office in such-and-such a place?’ Without even thinking, I would say no. ‘Would you like to join such-and-such a committee?’ I said no.” She gorged on thoughts of what could go wrong. But as in many workplaces, “first you say yes, then you figure it out.” She eventually did exactly that, retiring recently as a partner at the firm.

Take the leap

• Don’t let “no” be your immediate answer if presented with an opportunity that scares you. Take some time to think about it.

• Look at taking a leap into the unknown as a career move — sure, it might not work out, but you won’t achieve anything significant without taking a risk or two.

• Silence the voice in your head that’s trying to undermine you. You can do it.

— Ashley Milne-Tyte is a radio producer and reporter based in New York City. She hosts a bi-monthly podcast called “The Broad Experience” about women in the workplace. Hear more from Joanna Barsh in an early episode of “The Broad Experience” below, and don’t forget to click around and check out her latest shows.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Sports

Kevin Love becomes third NBA player to pull…

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves became the third NBA player to withdraw from consideration for Team USA in next month's World Cup, USA Basketball.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.