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Upper Intermediate Reading Comprehension

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Lots of EC students are learning English to improve their prospects at work. This article looks at how you can climb up the employment ladder and increase your opportunities. Read through the article then answer the true or false questions below.

I have also given you some key vocabulary to help your understanding.

Lesson by Caroline Devane

Key Words

Braggart - the person who boasts.
Conceited - excessively proud of yourself.
Cocky - similar to conceited. Thinking very highly of yourself.
Bragging - to boast about achievements or possessions.

Champion Yourself At Work

If you're a younger employee, you've no doubt run up against the struggle of getting noticed for your work. One of the biggest battles in the workplace is getting recognition for the work you do without coming across as boastful or a braggart. Even older, seasoned workers have to fight to get their work recognised.

The truth is, however, that you have lots of opportunities to champion yourself at work and point out your victories: in meetings, presentations and even company-wide e-mails. However, it's a fine line to walk; there's a definite art involved in the subtleties of touting your accomplishments. If you're always talking about how good you are at your job and how lucky the company is to have you, you'll come across as conceited, or even just as an idiot. But speak too little of your work, and you could miss out on assignments, raises, promotions, and your own private jet. OK, maybe not the last one, but if you want to take your career to the next level, you need to champion yourself at work.

Focus On Specifics

The first rule of championing yourself at work is to have something worth crowing about. You need a particular achievement, because going around telling people you're great for no reason at all makes you sound full of yourself. You should always have something specific, and it should be measurable.

Measurements are a sure way to show change, improvement in an area that was weak, etc. There's a saying in business: “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.” We know, we know; things like your team's morale are important too, but the fact is your boss, your boss’ boss and everyone else has a preference for numbers. Why? Numbers are an easy handle. Your boss could spend a few hours a week sitting in on the sales team, watching how many deals are made, and the overall mood of the division. Or, he could read the sales figures for the month, and the number of employees who've quit this year versus last. As a busy man, which do you think he's more likely to do? Exactly.

Present Accomplishments As Company Victories, Not Your Own

When you achieve the result you've aimed for, you truly have something to brag about. However, if you play that victory off the wrong way you'll come across as cocky. So instead of going around bragging about what a fine job you did, share with the others around you how proud they should be of the success the company had. Do what you can to share the praise: It makes you look like a bigger man and nobody will be confused about who actually made the win possible.

Be Persistent

Have you ever had a question for your boss or something to get their feedback on and felt brushed off by them? You may have even felt unimportant or unappreciated to them. Well, barring the few truly bad bosses out there, most bosses care about their teams a great deal. Your boss doesn't mean to ignore you, he’s just busy. Get a promotion to management, and you'll quickly realise how much work your boss was dealing with that you weren't even aware of. They have people above them to answer to, their own work and, last but not least, you and your coworkers on the level below. So don't feel bad if you get a lukewarm reception from your boss -- you may have caught them at a bad time. Keep bringing up the good things you're accomplishing. Don't give up, and keep reminding your boss of your past accomplishments and the big projects you're currently facing.
To read the full article visit http://uk.askmen.com/money/career_300/308_champion-yourself-at-work.html

Now answer these true or false questions:

  • 1. When you're a new employee it can be hard to get your work noticed.

  • 2. You should make sure you always tell people how well you are doing at work.

  • 3. If you don't ever tell people about your achievements, you may miss out on getting paid more money.

  • 4. It is important to have specific goals at work.

  • 5. If you achieve something big, you should focus on how it positively affects the company.

  • 6. There are many truly bad bosses in the work world.

  • 7. You shouldn't feel upset if your boss brushes you off, he/she is probably very busy.