I’ve recently been asked a trick question that made me stumped at my own answer.
“It’s 12am midnight; you just finished your first day at work. Your boss text you and wrote: “I want a cup of coffee on my desk by 9am (the time you start). What do you do?”
I gave an answer without thinking twice “I get him a cup of coffee.” Luckily this wasn”t an interview question; otherwise I would”ve failed miserably. The answer…More questions!
“Where would you like your coffee from?”
“What size would you like?”
“How would you like your coffee?”
The lesson learned from this scenario: don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t assume when you’re not sure. It might be common sense here, but we still make the same mistake. It’s one of those things where it’s easier said than done.
As a new intern here at Spring, there would always be several things going through my head before I would ask someone a question: They may get annoyed or they may think you’re unreliable, incapable, etc. Trust me, you’re doing yourself and the person you’re helping a favour by making sure and getting the job done right the first time, rather than making assumptions. By doing everything all over again, you’re not only wasting your time but other’s as well.
I’m not an expert (yet) in what people expect from you in the business world, but I can give you my perspective in filtering out these stupid questions (Yes, they do exist).
1) If you can find your answer on Google, don’t ask.
2) Direct the to the right person. -i.e. are the dish washer dishes clean? Ask the person in charge of cleaning the dishes the day before or the day of!
3) Try to not ask open ended question. –i.e. picking up a birthday cake. Don’t: “Where do I buy a cake?” Do: “Where do you usually buy your birthday cakes from?” “Price range?” (Same as the coffee scenario.)
There are people who won’t answer your question, but you have to realize they’re helping you grow to become more independent. The next best thing to do is ask yourself, can I answer this myself? Otherwise follow the three steps above. And when you realized you asked a stupid question, don’t crawl under your bed in a fetal position and cry over it…grow thicker skin, get over it, and learn from it.