Questions are free. Ask for it!

Questions are free. Ask for it!

March 9, 2016
Career Development

By Stephanie Schultz, MSM, RDN, CD, Sr Director of Wellness & Communications, Skogen’s Festival Foods

I received a piece of advice early on in my career (and by early on, I mean in my first week on the job!). My then boss said, “Questions are free, so ask as many as you can.” Of course some questions are easier to ask than others; it can be difficult to ask for something you want. But keep this in mind - while you may not always get what you want, you will almost always end up with more than you would have received had you not asked the question. 

I have a few questions for you. Have you had a really good year? Is there a particular project or success story that that you feel other retail dietitians could learn from? Are you interested in building your personal brand? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should be talking to your boss (or a co-worker or vendor partner) about nominating YOU for the RDBA Retail Dietitian of the Year award. 

I know, I know. Asking someone to nominate you may feel awkward or self-serving. But the reality is that other people in the grocery business rarely know the world of retail dietetics as well as you do. They also may not know or understand all of the different things you do in your role, the number of customers you reach or how your work compares to others in the industry. Furthermore, there is a chance that they do not know that the RDBA Retail Dietitian of the Year award exists. You need to tell them! 

So you’ve decided you’ll ask someone to nominate you. Now what? First, put your game plan together. Schedule a meeting with the person you will ask for the nomination. Review the award criteria, draft your own responses to the questions and be ready with a list of potential partners who could write letters of support on your behalf. This process will help to build confidence for the face-to-face ask, and your responses can be repurposed in your nominator's application. Win-win! 

As you approach the meeting, think of the ideal outcome. Then confidently and courageously ask for it. Speak straight, share your examples and be specific about what you need for the application and when you need it (applications are due March 31, 2016).  

Don’t think you have enough time to talk to someone about this year’s RDBA Retail Dietitian of the Year Award? That’s okay. Make it a goal for next year and start the conversation with your boss now. I promise - you will not be sorry that you asked!