Your 5 Step Plan to Getting a Promotion Without Having to Ask for It

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Nobody likes having to actually ask for a promotion. Advocating for yourself is a lot harder than speaking up for others. The good news is, if your boss is paying attention and your actions are speaking for themselves, you may not have to ask.

You probably already know that doing good work is the single most effective way to show your boss you’re ready for more. (But it’s worth reiterating, because if you skip this step, you’re going to have a hard time getting promoted.) Ideally, you should be consistently exceeding expectations in your current job. This means you do just about every task as well and as efficiently as it can be done, and you usually finish tasks ahead of schedule.

Once you’ve got that down, here are five more ways to prove you’re ready.

1. Consistently Do “Above and Beyond” Work

Exceeding expectations is only the start: You should also look for ways to add value through projects and tasks that are beyond your role. Find things that need doing that no one has had time for.

True story: Nels was a regional sales rep who regularly

Sticked

Everything You Need to Know and Understand Before You Quit an Abusive Job

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There are many reasons why a job can feel straight-up toxic: an awful boss, office bullying from cliquey co-workers, a total lack of communication, or unrealistic expectations that keep you working around the clock. And some places are downright abusive—so much so that you may want to file a legal claim when you leave.

Before you turn in your resignation, learn how to protect yourself if you do take legal action, or to simply keep your bridges intact and not hurt your professional prospects.

Talk to a Lawyer

If something makes you uncomfortable and goes beyond a normal office dispute, reach out to an attorney, says D. Jill Pugh, a Seattle-based employment lawyer. An attorney will give you an idea of where you stand—maybe your boss sucks, but what he’s doing isn’t illegal. Or, you might learn you have grounds for a court case and can start taking steps toward filing a claim.

A lawyer can also give you a bigger picture of your options based on your specific workplace. For example, she may be able to point out policies that you didn’t even know you agreed to

Sticked

7 Small Ways You’re Losing Respect in the Office

So, you’re coming into the office every day and killing it. You’re not only accomplishing an insane amount of projects, but you’re doing them all well. And, to top it all off, you leave at 6 PM every day at inbox zero. You don’t want to say you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to the company, but you also don’t want to lie.

There’s just one thing: No one seems to respect you—not your co-workers, not your boss, and not even the intern whose sole responsibility seems to be sucking up to his superiors. And this is weird because, well, see above. While your first reaction might be that you’re stuck working among a bunch of unfortunate ingrates, your second might be that maybe, possibly it’s you.

That’s never a great feeling. However, the good news is that if it is indeed you, you’re probably just committing a teeny, tiny, easily fixable workplace faux pas. With just a few adjustments, you can be back on track to being the most successful and the most respected person in the office.

1. You’re Always Late to Meetings

Your ideas might be brilliant, even game-changing, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t make it to that

5 Was to Stop Second Guessing Your Choices and Driving Yourself Crazy in the Process

Second-guessing is to confidence what a sugar-coated hammer is to dental care. But, inevitably, you’re probably guilty of it when faced with a career decision—should I do this or that, what’s the right move, what if I make the wrong choice or do the wrong thing?

These spiraling questions and thoughts are problematic and threaten your confidence and professional poise. If, every time you make a decision, you fret about whether you made a mistake, before long, all of your energy is going to be spent nervously overthinking every professional move you make. Rather than coming across as a self-assured leader, you’re bound to wear your doubt and personal mistrust on your face, and that’s not going to help you get ahead.

Here are five ways for you to stop second-guessing your career choices.

1. Check in With What Matters

Trying to figure out your next move is sometimes like finding yourself in a pitch-black room that’s so dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. You don’t know if the room’s empty; you don’t even know where the walls are. On your hands and knees is how you have to feel your way around.

Luckily, you have a built-in system

10 Actually Fun Ways to Boost Your Career This Summer

It’s the unofficial beginning of the summer—the season for taking it easy, taking vacations, and taking advantage of long, sunny days. And, well, for the whole working world to slow down a bit.

So, you should slow down, too, right? Well yes—and no.

While you should certainly enjoy the best that summer has to offer, and you don’t want to work yourself ragged, you also don’t want to miss out on major career opportunities (think: that promotion you’ve been working so hard to get) because you’re lounging around wishing you were at the beach.

Luckily, when it comes to summer at work, you can have your cake (or margarita) and eat it, too. Here are a few ways to boost your career this summer—all while making the most of the season.

  1. Take a co-worker you’d like to get to know better out to lunch (somewhere outside, obvs)—hey, if it’s work-related, you can get away with rolling in a few minutes late.
  2. Offer to plan the office summer picnic or BBQ. You’ll look like a born leader and you’ll get out of the office for several hours on a sunny Friday.
  3. Start a career-related book club with your co-workers. Pick one book (here are a few

3 Ways to Stop Yourself From Always Assuming the Worst at Work

If you’re anything like me, you have a track record of observing something happening at the office, and then finding a way to turn that into a reason why you’re probably getting fired today. Of course, it sounds ridiculous, and it was especially absurd to me when I wrote that last sentence and read it back to myself.

However, there are some real, anxiety-provoking feelings that are hard to get under control if you aren’t aware of the fact that you have this bad habit. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to stop yourself from always thinking the worst at work, and even better, they’re not as difficult as you might think.

1. Stop Going to Your Friends for Advice

People like me tend to do the same thing when it seems something terrible is going to happen at work: They go to their closest friends, try to explain every single detail, and plead with those people to tell them everything is OK (or, sometimes, that you’re right for freaking out and should start looking for a new job ASAP). However, after doing this myself more than a handful of times over the course of my

7 Reasons Efficient People Are Able to Get So Much Accomplished

How can we define the essential things in our lives when everything in 2016 feels essential?

Staying ahead of the curve, leading, and excelling in our jobs means we all must increase efficiencies.

Here are the seven things that hyper-efficient people do differently.

1. They Learn—Efficiently

They listen to audiobooks—but do it at double speed. I’ve discussed my obsession with audiobooks here before. When you’re learning, you’re growing. When you’re growing, you’re bringing new opportunities to yourself and to those around you. A simple efficiency hack is to increase the speed of your audiobook to 1X or 2X. Or install iTalkFast—a sexy audio-utility app that allows the user to speed up audio content up to 2.5X.

2. They’re Mindful

Creating space in our lives is difficult. Time for meditation, yoga, or simply being aware of our breathing can all have a profound effect on our productivity. Deirdre Breakenridge, author of Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional, takes things a step further. She told me, “As much as possible, when I’m in meetings, I remove unnecessary technology. At times, this means no smartwatch, smartphone, or laptop in front of me.” She went on to share that, “When you listen to what

9 Everyday Habits That will Earn You a Pretty Bad Reputation Around the Office

With the new year well under way, this is an excellent time to expunge work habits that irritate coworkers and make you less effective.

Here are nine habits you can do without, starting now:

1. Doing the Bare Minimum

If you accept a task, you owe it to yourself and to others to make your best effort. If you don’t want to do something, have the courage to refuse the task. Doing a half-assed job is just being passive-aggressive.

2. Telling Half-Truths

Honesty is the best policy. However, if you’re afraid to speak the truth, it’s cowardice to tell a half-truth that’s intended to mislead but leaves you “plausible deniability.”

3. Participating in Finger-Pointing

Few human behaviors are more pointless than fixing blame. In business, it’s usually irrelevant who’s at fault when something goes wrong. What’s important is how to avoid making the same mistakes again.

4. Bucking Accountability

Finger-pointing is common in business because some people aren’t willing to admit their mistakes. If you’re going to take credit for your accomplishments, you must also take credit for your failures. The two go hand in hand.

5. Hating on Successful People

When you direct your hate at success, you’re telling yourself that being successful means being hated. Since nobody in their

10 Actually Fun Ways to Boost Your Career This Summer

It’s the unofficial beginning of the summer—the season for taking it easy, taking vacations, and taking advantage of long, sunny days. And, well, for the whole working world to slow down a bit.

So, you should slow down, too, right? Well yes—and no.

While you should certainly enjoy the best that summer has to offer, and you don’t want to work yourself ragged, you also don’t want to miss out on major career opportunities (think: that promotion you’ve been working so hard to get) because you’re lounging around wishing you were at the beach.

Luckily, when it comes to summer at work, you can have your cake (or margarita) and eat it, too. Here are a few ways to boost your career this summer—all while making the most of the season.

  1. Take a co-worker you’d like to get to know better out to lunch (somewhere outside, obvs)—hey, if it’s work-related, you can get away with rolling in a few minutes late.
  2. Offer to plan the office summer picnic or BBQ. You’ll look like a born leader and you’ll get out of the office for several hours on a sunny Friday.
  3. Start a career-related book club with your co-workers. Pick one book (here are a few suggestions)

4 Tips for Dealing with an Indecisive Boss

If you’ve ever worked for someone who can’t make up his or her mind, you know how frustrating an average day on the job can be. An indecisive boss creates a unique challenge for you as an employee: It’s tough to build your experience and portfolio when your manager’s mind changes with the wind. So how do you deal when your supervisor won’t stop wavering and make a damn decision about work and assignments that affect you?

Actually, there’s quite a bit you can do to help and get things moving.

If you’re going to overcome an obstacle, it helps to understand what you’re dealing with so you can approach it optimally. Likely, one of two things is behind your supervisor’s indecision: his own indecisive boss or fear of failure. Yes, your department head (or CEO, or whoever is in charge) may be equally—if not more—indecisive than the person you work under, which probably makes it hard for him to make a confident decision, let alone any decision at all. Factor in insecurity and a worry about failing, and it’s no wonder you’re forever waiting on concrete direction.

Once you have a grasp of the hurdles your manager is dealing with, do your

3 Realizations Everyone Has During Their Quarter Life Crisis and How to Deal With Each One

Move over mid-life crisis, you’re not the only game in town. Many people experience what’s dubbed the “quarter-life crisis,” the transition between your early and late 20s, in which you set your foundations in the real world and really begin your career.

It’s not an easy time. Often, it’s a stark realization that the universe doesn’t automatically honor the vision you had for your career path, relationships, health, and work-life balance. And sometimes this happens all at once: Your relationship ends, your job isn’t what you expected (or you can’t find one), your social circle changes weekly, and bills prevent you from saving as much as you’d like.

So when your quarter-life crisis hits, you may think: time to quit my job and backpack around Asia. That’s one option, but you can also use it as a calling to re-align your career ambitions exactly where you are. Here are three things that you may be thinking, and how to make sense of them without (potentially) ruining your career.

1. You Want Your Work to Matter

The uncertainty hits close to work because it becomes “home” for many of us. In your young professional life, your job may be the most consistent part of your

5 Ways to Make People Quickly Forget You’re the Least Experienced Person on the Team

There are few things more exciting than landing the job of your dreams. There are also few things more heart-stopping than leaving at the end of your first day only to realize you’re probably the least experienced person on your team.

First things first, let’s do a quick pep talk: You’re there because you’re qualified—don’t feel any differently. Now that we got that out of the way, here are some things you can do to catch on quickly and make everyone forget that you’re the newbie.

1. Always Run Ahead of Schedule

When it comes to proving yourself in the workplace, you can’t go wrong with always being early (unless you show up, say, two hours before a meeting). By giving yourself this extra time, you’re not only making a very physical statement—“I’m here, I’m present, and I’m ready to work!”—but you’re also giving yourself time to play catch up if needed.

So, get to the office 10 minutes earlier than you’re asked to in the morning and stay 10 minutes later in the evening to get a head start on the next day. Whenever possible, show up to meetings in advance and give yourself some time to grab a seat and look over

4 Ways to Keep Your Hard Working Self From Becoming a Workaholic

The term “career-driven” has essentially become synonymous with “workaholic.” Upon hearing those two little words, most people assume you eat, sleep, and breathe only your work. They have no doubt about the fact that it makes up the entirety of your life. And, apologies to dear ol’ mom and dad, but you have a hard time caring about anything that falls outside the four walls of your office.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I don’t see any problem with being particularly motivated. After all, work is a huge part of your daily life, and it’s hard to find fault with someone who gets an incredible sense of satisfaction and fulfillment out of his or her job. I mean, that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

However, when you turn into a red-eyed, stressed out robot who forgets to eat dinner three days in a row because she’s so involved in constantly refreshing her inbox? Well, then you’ve got a whole new set of problems.

Luckily, I’m a firm believer in the fact that you can be driven, without it overtaking every other aspect of your life. Here are a few tactics that I implement that have helped me strike a balance and avoid that red-eyed

4 Lessons I Learned From Quitting My Job With No Back up Plan

I sat fidgeting in an uncomfortable chair that was placed adjacent to my boss’ expansive desk, feeling the sweat already start to tickle my forehead. I kept picking at a piece of torn upholstery toward the bottom of the seat, despite my best attempts to look cool, calm, and collected. But, no matter how many articles I crank out about successfully putting in your two weeks notice, I’ll admit it’s pretty tough to look confident and composed when you’re quitting your job.

That’s exactly what I was doing. I was seated across from a man who had been my manager for years—starting when I was just a college intern to when the company took me on full-time—and explaining to him that I was hitting the road.

“So, I guess you could consider this my two weeks’ notice,” I said to him while doing my best to avoid any direct eye contact. “Oh, here, I put it in writing too, in case you need that or, like, something,” I added while practically throwing him an unsealed envelope and simultaneously trying to edge my way out of the room.

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said, with a forced smile on his face. “Where are

3 Things You Need to Remember When You’re Feeling Stupid at Work

How often have you gone to work and marveled at how sharp everyone you work with seems to be? And how often does that make you feel like you’re not quite as smart as everyone else? For a long time, I used to think it was just me. But the more I talk to other motivated, successful people, the more I realize that everyone feels inferior sometimes. I suppose it’s one of the few downsides of working at an awesome company with awesome people. (The other is the inevitable weight gain from all the snacks in the kitchen.)

But, knowing that we’re all in the same boat doesn’t give you an excuse to dwell on it. So, when you’re having one of those moments (or days), remember these things:

1. You’re Your Own Biggest Critic

The fact that you’re even reading this article is a clear indicator that you’re pretty hard on yourself. After all, it resonated enough with you that you clicked. And while it’s admirable that you have such high standards for yourself, you’ll only drive yourself crazy if you only focus on what you could’ve done better.

To help you be a little easier on yourself, I’m going to suggest something

How I Convinced My Loved Ones That My Crazy Career Change Wasn’t All That Crazy

I’ve already written at length about the fact that I made the somewhat crazy decision to quit my full-time job without much of a backup plan in place. I mean, I knew that my intention was to be a freelance writer full-time. But, as anyone who’s ever freelanced will tell you, that definitely wasn’t the most reliable fallback option.

After sharing that article about my own experience, I received tons of emails and Twitter messages from people telling me how much my story inspired them. (Thanks for that, by the way—I love reading those sorts of notes.) However, I was also on the receiving end of quite a few different questions.

One of the inquiries I saw pop up the most (aside from how exactly I managed to gather up my courage and pack my bags) was actually about my loved ones—how did I get them on board with my seemingly crazy decision?

Typically, when it comes to seeking approval of your career decisions, I’d advise you to forget what the haters say and move on with your life. But, I think we all start humming a different tune when talking about the people who are close to us and are an important

9 Important Things to Know if You’re Really Bad at Saying No

I get it: You want to prove to your colleagues that you’re a team player. Plus, you don’t want to let anyone down in the office. But sometimes, your co-workers or boss may cross a line or ask for too much, and saying no becomes entirely necessary—even though it feels nearly impossible.

So, when should you be saying it at work, and how should you go about saying it (without risking your reputation)? Make sure you check out these nine articles before you do anything.

  1. Any easy excuse for saying no is to figure out your priorities and determine what’s important versus what’s urgent. (Marie Forleo)
  2. Setting boundaries at work is critical for keeping people off your back. (Psych Central)
  3. Know that it’s totally OK to say it to your boss; you just have to know the right way to do it. (US News and World Report)
  4. If you’re in more of a managerial role, you may be wondering how you can shut down employees’ requests and ideas without sounding like a jerk or ruining team morale. Fear not, there’s a way. (Inc.)
  5. Turning down someone without offering a solution can burn bridges really quickly. Try using one of these three avenues instead. (Business Insider)
  6. It might

5 Lessons You Can Learn From the Time I Quit My Perfectly Good Job

When it comes to your career, there’s no foolproof, success-guaranteed option. The smart choices can prove to be dead ends, and supposedly safe jobs can disappear in an economic crisis. Choices that appear risky to friends and make parents worry can prove to be winners, but the only way to know for sure is to take a chance.

I made my own stupid career decision and heard these worried reactions a decade ago. The result: I now have my dream position.

Looking back, here’s what I wish I’d known before I just up and quit my job with no solid plan:

1. Everyone Will Have an Opinion

Your parents will try to find a diplomatic way to ask if you’ve lost your mind—followed by inquiring just how you’re going to pay your bills. You could hear questions like, “Don’t you think it’s 15 years early for a mid-life crisis?” (I know, I did.) Co-workers might say how they admire your courage to your face, but whisper to each other that it’s a seriously foolish move.

The Lesson

Listen to everyone, but remember that you own your career. If you wake up in several years, wondering “What if?” you are the only person you’ll be able to

5 Surefire Ways to Get Career Advice That’s Actually Useful to You

Trust me, I know it’s hard to know where to turn for career advice that’s actually helpful. Emphasis on “actually helpful.” After all, almost everyone (and literally their mom) is willing to give it to you. But, finding words of wisdom that’ll actually you get you closer to your career goal always feels harder than it should be.

Even though I’ve coached job seekers for years and am now that voice for many people, I’m no different than you. I’ve asked for help with my career plenty of times—from friends, family, coaches, colleagues, you name it.

Most of what I got in return was a combination of cliche or unhelpful. However it wasn’t all a wash. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you want to get awesome advice, you need to use five simple techniques.

1. Skip Your Best Friend—and Ask Your Most Successful Connection, Instead

Yes, going to your best friend’s your typical default when you’re trying to get honest feedback. Not only is it easy, but you trust him or her to be completely honest with you. Also, sending a text sure is more convenient than figuring out how to word an email to someone you have drinks with every few