Home > Articles > The IT Career Builder's Toolkit, Chapter 16: On-the-Job Promotion

The IT Career Builder's Toolkit, Chapter 16: On-the-Job Promotion

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: Jan 25, 2008.

Handling Criticism

A mentor of mine gave me some invaluable advice about handling criticism. I went through a period in which I felt I was being attacked by some of my peers. It was during this difficult time that I was offered the approach to handling criticism that is described in the sections that follow. I have found the approach useful ever since.

Determine Whether What Someone Is Saying Is True

Regardless of the delivery, is what's being said true? If it isn't, disregard it. In most cases, you don't have to defend yourself from wild and untrue statements.

However, if the statement is true, you need to take the next step.

Determine Whether It Is Something You Need to Change

Someone might "attack" you or make a derogatory comment about something that is not critical or does not actually require a change.

A few years ago, my wife dyed her hair a dark red. It looked great. However, a well-meaning friend commented that she felt my wife's hair looked too "wild." My wife's first reaction was to second-guess her decision. She struggled for a while trying to decide if she should re-dye her hair back to its original color.

I assured her that she looked great, but that she needed to feel comfortable. She determined that "wild" was a subjective opinion and that most people loved the color. There was no need for her to argue with her critic or to make a justification.

The same is true when evaluating the input of a person with whom you work. Remember, people are where they are.

If, however, you determine that you should change something, do so. Put a plan in action to correct the problem.

Using this methodology provides a relatively unemotional method of dealing with criticism. Even if the criticism was in essence an attack, you can learn from it, make adjustments, and move on.

Talk to Someone About a Behavior

At some point, however, someone's behavior might put work performance at jeopardy. If that is the case, the best you can do is talk to that person. If handled tactfully, you can do this with management, too.

We have been conditioned to believe that correction and input is a boss-down phenomenon. However, most good managers and employers want input from their employees. Most people who are abrasive are aware of their behavior. Some simply choose to remain the same regardless. Others have struggled to change. In fact, you might be surprised at how much better these people are now than they used to be!

However, asking for an appointment with this person and letting him know how his behavior affects you or the department can go a long way toward helping to diffuse the situation.

An attorney I was doing work for once asked for this type of input. He was a well-compensated and high-powered partner. I was doing a high-profile project involving a business transaction worth nearly one billion dollars. He was rightfully concerned about the project and interrupted me constantly.

"How is this coming along?" "Is this going to work right?" "Why are you doing it this way?"

The barrage of questions was constant. I eventually had to tell him that he needed to leave me alone for longer periods of time if he wanted me to make headway. Later, over lunch he said, "Tell me to get out of your face if I become a pest; otherwise, I'll bother you constantly."

As mentioned previously, many difficult people understand this about themselves. They often respect those who stand up to them. But make sure you do it tactfully.

Don't Swallow Your Pride—Control It

One of the benefits of IT is the pride you can take in your work. The pride of production is a great fringe benefit. You can go home at the end of the day and know you have made an impact on the functional workings of a business. An overemphasis on pride, however, can make working with difficult people impossible.

I have heard many people, after leaving a company or walking out on a difficult boss, say, "I have too much pride; no one can treat me like that."

I understand their view. I have a lot of pride and also believe people should treat you with respect. However, remember that I also believe that people are "where they are." In a fantasy world, you can breeze through your career without ever having to deal with difficult people.

But I provide a different perspective on this. I believe that if you have confidence and a true sense of pride, you will not be emotionally impacted by those who say abrasive or inappropriate comments. Instead of thinking, "I have too much pride to put up with this," you could say, "I have so much pride that I can put up with this."

You will take what these people say, filter out the vitriol, leaving only the constructive suggestions. If none exist, no problem—you've filtered everything else out. This allows you to take advantage of the opportunity at hand. That's what I mean by controlling your pride.

11. Conclusion | Next Section Previous Section

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020