Chapter 5: Career Management

29 Reading

Ray, your Strategy Coach

Hi! I’m Ray, your Strategy Coach. I will give you some important tips to help you build your learning strategies.


5.1 Understanding longer texts and Pronoun references.

Before you read

Discuss the questions below with a classmate or instructor to prepare for the reading.

  1. Look at the title of the reading text that follows. Is confidence important? Why?
  2. How can too little confidence or too much confidence hurt you?
  3. Talk about a situation in which you felt confident about your abilities. How did you feel?

Read

Read the following text.

Confidence

Confidence means believing that you can do something successfully. Confidence can help get rid of unnecessary fear, worry, and anxiety. It can make you feel more positive and secure. These feelings of positivity and security can help you perform better at your job. Most successful people are confident. Confidence can be the foundation of your success because it can help you demonstrate important employability skills and behaviours.

Confidence can help you face changes and adapt to different situations more quickly. Adaptability is very highly valued in the Canadian workplace. It is the ability to be flexible and open to change. Changes are inevitable in the workplace, and they can happen quite suddenly. This is because businesses have to constantly keep up with the latest technology and methods of doing business. Examples of change may include a new assignment with new responsibilities, the introduction of new software, or even a change of supervisor. Many people are afraid of change because they believe they will not succeed in the new situation or environment. When you are confident, you have less fear because you have a more positive outlook and feel that you can succeed.

Canadian employers value the ability to take initiative. Taking initiative means going beyond just doing your job. It means doing things that will benefit your organization without being told. Identifying the knowledge and skills you need on your own and finding the learning opportunities to improve them are examples of taking initiative. When you have confidence in your abilities, you are more likely to be able to self-assess, identify gaps, and set yourself learning goals for self-development. People who lack confidence may be afraid to reflect on their mistakes and identify gaps for self-development because they may see the gaps as signs of failure and not as opportunities to learn something new. Another example of taking initiative at work is offering to do something that is new or more challenging. When you are confident, you are more likely to take these kinds of initiatives. When you take initiative, you are showing that you are motivated to learn and do something new. Employers in Canada value this.

Being a good team player, or having the ability to work well in groups, also requires confidence. When you are confident, you are more likely to be open to new ideas and respect another person’s individuality and perspective. Unconfident people may be easily offended when another person disagrees with them. Working on a team also often includes receiving or giving feedback. When people lack confidence, they may not receive the feedback appropriately. If they are in a position to give feedback, they may not feel comfortable doing so, or they may be too critical. Working on a team also means being able to build rapport, or friendly relationships, with the other team members. When you are confident, you are more likely to do this. Working well on a team means contributing ideas and doing your part well. When you are confident, you will feel more comfortable about contributing ideas without being self-conscious or unsure about your communicative abilities.

After you read

Comprehension

Answer the following questions. Be ready to discuss your answers.

  1. According to the text, it is important to have confidence because

a) successful people are confident

b) it can help you do your job better

c) you will never be anxious or worried

  1. According to the author, a lot of the fears we have are not necessary.

a) True

b) False

  1. Complete the following chart with information from the text.
Main employability skills discussed What the skill means One way to demonstrate the skill at work
1.
2.
3.
  1. People fear change because

a) changes usually happen too quickly

b) their job duties and their supervisor will be different

c) they might not do well in the new situation

  1. When you look for ways to improve your knowledge and skills on your own, you show that you want to

a) learn something new

b) do something more challenging

c) both a and b

  1. Most confident people see mistakes as

a) signs of being successful

b) learning opportunities

c) both a and b

  1. What do the following pronouns refer to in the text?

a) it (Paragraph 1, Line 6)                                                       

b) it (Paragraph 2, Line 3)                                                       

c) they (Paragraph 2, Line 4)                                                       

d) it (Paragraph 3, Line 2)                                                       

e) them (Paragraph 3, Line 5)                                                        

f) them (Paragraph 4, line 5)                                                       

Vocabulary

Meaning

Answer the questions from the reading.

Part 1

Can you guess what these words and phrases mean? Talk about their meanings in the reading. Use your own words to describe them. Match each word or phrase with the correct definition.

Word/phrase Meaning
foundation chance
inevitable the quality that makes a person different from others
opportunity cannot be avoided
gap expressing disapproval about something
individuality a way of thinking about and understanding something
perspective a friendly relationship
critical a space where something is missing
rapport a base or support on which something stands

Now, choose any two of the words above and use the two words in a single sentence.

Part 2

Words can have more than one meaning. It is important to know which meaning is being used in the text you are reading. If you choose the wrong meaning, you may not understand the text correctly.

Read the following sentences. Look at the word in bold. Read the two different meanings of the word below the sentence. Both are acceptable meanings for the bolded word. In the context of the sentence, only one meaning is correct. Choose the correct meaning of the word as it is used in the sentence.

  1. I am happy to do whatever you want. I am flexible.

In the sentence above, flexible means

a) capable of bending or being bent

b) willing to change or try different things

  1. We get along very well. We have the same outlook on most topics.

In the sentence above, outlook means

a) the way a person thinks about things

b) a place where you can look out over a wide area

  1. She helped me see the issue from a fresh perspective.

In the sentence above, perspective means

a) the angle or direction from which a person looks at an object

b) a way of thinking about and understanding something

  1. He was unable to perform his duties after the accident.

In the sentence above, perform means

a) to do an action or activity that requires training or skill

b) to entertain an audience

  1. It is important to reflect on your mistakes.

In the sentence above, reflect means

a) to think carefully about something

b) to show something or to make something known

Form

  1. Complete the chart below with words from the text “Confidence.”
Verb Noun Adjective
confidence
adapt adaptable
develop
responsible
communicate communication
employ employable
  1. Complete the following paragraph with words from any column in the table on the left. Read the context carefully to choose the most appropriate word for each blank. Use the correct form of the word.

When Ivana first came to Canada, she wanted to start working as soon as possible. However, she quickly realized that getting a job in her field required more than just her qualifications. She discussed this with her friend. Her friend introduced her to a document called “Employability Skills 2000+” and advised her to set herself some goals. She read this document very carefully. She understood that she needed to __________________ some of her soft skills. This would help her get a job more easily because she would be more ___________________ in Canada with better soft skills. For example, she needed to work on her ___________________ abilities to be able to express her ideas more clearly. She believed in herself and was very _______________________ that she would be able to __________________ to life in Canada very soon. Ivana found an entry-level job in her field in six months. Now, eight years later, she has a job with a lot of _____________________ in the same company. She is very happy with her success.

Discussion

Refer to the text “Confidence” and do the following:

  • Explain the importance of being confident at work. Take the opportunity to use the new vocabulary you learned.
  • Think about at least two other soft skills that are valued in the Canadian workplace. If you are not sure, do some research to find the information. You may also refer to other chapters in this textbook.
  • Discuss the skills and talk about ways of developing these skills.

Reading progress check

Before you read the following tip sheet, read the questions in the Comprehension section so you know what information to read for.

Tip Sheet: ________________________________

Be reliable

Show up for work and meetings on time. Complete your work on time. Do what you say you will do. Follow instructions and pay attention to detail. Ask questions when you do not understand an instruction. Being reliable does not mean you have to be perfect. You can make mistakes, but you need to take responsibility for them and make things right.

Demonstrate a positive attitude

Be confident and positive about your abilities. See the good in new situations and other people. Show that you are motivated to work hard.

Be flexible and adaptable

Be ready to adapt to changes. Changes are inevitable, and you must be ready to deal with them in a positive way. Be open to feedback and learn from your mistakes. Different workplaces have different unspoken rules and values. Notice what is going on around you and adapt to the environment. Respect diversity and be flexible when working with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Show initiative

Learn new skills and improve your knowledge. Keep a workplace journal. Log your successes and your challenges. Reflect on the challenges so that you can set self-development goals. A workplace journal will help you with your performance review and your goal setting. Speak up at meetings and offer suggestions. Your co-workers and supervisor may not take your suggestions, but they will appreciate your input. If you are self-conscious or shy at meetings, take your focus away from yourself and concentrate instead on the topic and discussion. Use your knowledge and skills to solve problems and make decisions.

Be organized

Write down what has to be done. Make checklists to help you get through your tasks. When you leave work, prepare a checklist of everything that needs to get done the next day. Organize your workspace and be neat and tidy so you can quickly find what you want.

Be a team player

Be ready to work with others. Contribute by sharing ideas and completing the tasks that you are assigned. Interact well with co-workers, and always be polite and respectful. Be an active listener. Pay attention when people are talking to you. Respect ideas and opinions that are different than yours.

Make safety your responsibility

Follow safety procedures at work. Report unsafe practices. Help make the workplace safe for everyone.

Comprehension

Answer the following questions:

 

  1. Which of the following is the best title for this tip sheet?

a) The importance of showing initiative

b) How to be a successful employee

c) Advice to new staff

  1. How can you show you are reliable when you make a mistake?

a) By helping people understand that not everyone is perfect

b) By learning a new skill

c) By taking responsibility and doing your best to correct the mistake

  1. All workplaces have similar rules and values.

a) True

b) False

  1. What can you do to overcome being self-conscious at a meeting?

a) Concentrate on the topic and discussion

b) Offer a suggestion

c) Don’t speak until you are confident

  1. How can you make your workplace safe for everyone?

a) Follow safety procedures

b) Report unsafe practices

c) Both a and b

  1. What do the following pronouns refer to in the text?

a) them (Section: Be reliable)

b) they (Section: Show initiative)

Vocabulary

What do the following words and phrases mean? Match each word and phrase with the correct meaning.

Word/phrase Meaning
a) reliable to give something to help another person or group
b) flexible a daily personal record of events
c) diversity able to adapt to something new
d) self-conscious uncomfortably nervous about what people think about you
e) contribute able to be trusted and depended on
f) interact to talk or do things with other people
g) journal the state of having a variety of people from different cultures in a group or organization

 

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