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Bits & Bytes

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Of course we know there's more to life than good food. See these tips about your job and the workplace

Edited by Vanette Ryanes

What to do when you get a negative job review
 
You’ve just gotten your review from the boss, and it didn’t go well. A negative review isn’t the end of your career, though. Your ability to recover and move forward marks you as a professional and shows your value as a team member. Follow this advice:

Keep your cool. Avoid getting defensive. Arguing will only make your position worse. Listen to what your manager is telling you, and don’t react impulsively. Take some time to think over his or her points.

Ask questions. Get specifics from your boss. What deadlines did you miss? What results was he or she looking for? You need to understand your manager’s expectations in order to fulfill them.

Stick to facts. If you disagree with the boss’s evaluation, and the issue is worth taking a stand over, support your case with factual evidence. Show that you’re committed to the truth, not just winning the point.

Get feedback elsewhere. Talk to colleagues and other managers to evaluate your manager’s evaluation. If you hear criticism from more than one source, it’s probably something to work on.

Set goals for improvement. Ask your boss what you could do better, or differently, to earn a positive review next time around. He or she may be willing to collaborate on an action plan to bring your performance up to par.
 

 
Brand yourself for ongoing success
 
Brand names tell consumers about the products they buy. A personal brand tells other people about you: your strengths, goals, and commitment to success. The good news: You don’t need to tattoo a logo across your forehead. But you do need to put some work into defining and establishing your brand so it reflects the image you want. Here’s what to do:

Identify your established strengths. Talk to your co-workers and your manager about what you’re known for—the strengths they depend on, the tasks you’re the “go-to” person for, and so on. Decide which of these to emphasize (by volunteering for specific projects more often, for example) and focus on those areas and tasks.

Be authentic. You can’t fake your personal brand. The key to making it work is being honest about who you are and what you can do. Don’t pretend to enjoy helping customers when you’d rather be designing new products. You can’t get out of unwanted work just because it doesn’t fit your brand, naturally, but you can position yourself for assignments that match your strengths by focusing on what you do best.

Adopt a unique style. You want to stand out, so do something different. It can be as simple as wearing a bow tie instead of a standard necktie, or as challenging as developing a reputation for volunteering for the toughest assignments. Just stay professional: Wearing a dingy T-shirt to the office every day won’t send the right message even if you think it demonstrates your “cool difference or indifference.”
 

Are you stuck, stymied? How to get yourself moving
 
It doesn’t matter what you do or what your job title is, there are times when you just can't seem to move forward. So what's a girl or guy to do? Go ahead ant get yourself of of the "I'm stuck!!" mode by taking that leap of faith one step at a time: 

1. Just start. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you ca,n’t get moving until you start to move. It doesn’t matter what you do; grab a pen, contribute a thought, start a conversation. The momentum will follow.

2. Get in touch. Sometimes, taking a deep breath and getting in touch with what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish can help you identify the one thing that might be getting in your way.

3. Ask for help. Sometimes you need to get out of your own way to see things clearly. Ask the people around you for some advice on what to do first. Allowing yourself to detach from your own thinking and consider someone else’s perspective may give you the shift you need.

4. Take a walk. Taking time away can open new ways of thinking. Go for a walk, outside if possible. Notice your surroundings, listen to nature, and recharge your brain.

 Sometimes just one of these techniques will do the trick; other times it may take a combination. Whatever helps you get unstuck is fine. The point here is to take one step outside the space called “being stuck” and see what happens
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