USAA’s U.25’s workplace expert answers your questions about keeping your job and preparing for your performance review.
Q: A co-worker recently seemed to blame me for problems with the project we’re working on. His remarks really upset me. I’m not sure what to do about it.
A: The most important thing to do when you get upset at work is nothing for 24 hours. Do not take any action. Do not write a memo or e-mail or IM. Do not do anything about what just happened. Try to get out of the office or go for a walk, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Try to think of the situation calmly. While you’re cooling off, take notes to organize your thoughts and plans. Ask yourself:
1. Was the incident truly as serious as I think it was?
2. Do I really need to respond to it? Is it worth putting more of my energy into it?
3. What will I gain by responding?
4. Am I prepared to deal with the situation without losing my cool? Use this chill-out-and-strategize time to discuss your situation with a friend or mentor at work. Twenty-four hours later you’ll be better prepared to respond.
Q: My performance review is coming up. How do I prepare for it?
A: Many employers have set processes and forms for preparing for a review, but if your company doesn’t, try this idea.
Bring a list of your current responsibilities and recent accomplishments. This is useful in showing your employer exactly what you have been doing on the job. In a big company, your own boss may not know all you do each day, especially if your boss has a large number of employees to manage. Explain that you thought it would be helpful to see if you are on the same page regarding your present responsibilities and duties.
To have a better understanding of what’s expected of you, here are some questions you could ask your boss:
• What do I do well?
• How could I contribute more?
• Where do you see my next career step?
• What areas do I need to improve in?
Career expert Stephen Viscusi appears on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the nationally syndicated radio show “On the Job.” He is the author of “Bulletproof Your Job.”
Courtesy of USAA
USAA, a diversified financial services group of companies, is the leading provider of financial planning, insurance, investments, and banking products to members of the U.S. military and their families. Named by BusinessWeek as No. 1 Customer Service Champ in 2007 and 2008, USAA provides highly competitive financial products to its 6.7 million members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.
Got a question for our career pro? E-mail U25@usaa.com.