Am I within my scope to ask to be chosen for a big initiative as a direct employee? If so, how should I do it?

Next year, my boss is going to get someone certified to train others at our plant. I would like to be the certified trainer.

On one hand, I feel I should ask for this assignment because I would like it known that it is my preference. On the other hand, I feel it may be over-reaching. I have other development plans and tasks that may be assigned to me. Perhaps my boss and even senior management has a different coarse in mind for me/others. I  feel I should bring this up now since I know they are doing resource/project planning for next year. I am afraid if I wait until the objectives discussion in January, I may have missed my opportunity.

Thanks in advance for all the advice

mattpalmer's picture

Definitely ask.  Too many people get twisted in knots because they assume that everyone knows what's in their head, that they want it, they'd be great for it, they *deserve* it, even!  Then, because other people *don't* know what's in their heads, because they never said anything, they don't get the assignment and they get bitter and say things like "the only way to get ahead in this place is to know the right people"... sigh.

Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways of asking.  The best way I've seen is to express interest by asking "what can I do?".  Go to your boss, and say something like "Hey boss, I'm really interested in being a part of this training program you're working on next year.  Is there anything specific I can do to make myself a stronger candidate for that position?"  This says two things: that you'd like the job, and that you're willing to do something to make it happen -- you don't assume you'll get it just by saying "me please!"

There's no guarantees this will get you in.  As you say, there are other things you've got going on that might be considered more important than this training gig.  Also, the boss might already have the person lined up for the job, or your boss may not believe you'll be any good at the job (whether your boss is right or wrong is irrelevant).  However, you can't hurt your chances of getting the job by asking, so do it!

dlfulle's picture

BLUF: ask, but make sure you know both what you want and what you're asking for before you do.  You can't ask and then fail.  That would be career limiting. Make sure the opportunity and your skills and desires all match.


 I am currently on the big assignment of a lifetime. It's a 3-5 year initiative to change out key operational business processes and systems. WHEN successful, it will add immense capability.  My operational and technical background were an ideal fit for it. When I knew the possibility was coming up, I called out that I would be a good candidate and I lobbied for it, I even closed saying that I wanted the role and I was a good person for it.  


At the same time, I also knew what I was signing up for.  I am now parading in front of Boardmembers, employees and senior leadership touting our work. Being unsuccessful is not going to go well for me.  Or, as the COO has said "I really respect someone who puts their career on the line to take a chance". It sounds like your opportunity might be at a different scale but I'm not sure the type of risk changes. You can't volunteer for something outside your area of responsibility with visibility and fail at it or lose interest.  Otherwise, if you really want it and it would be good for you the. Give it a shot.  I would do all the interview prep. Be able to answer why it should be you. Good luck!