Going to work: Three tips for getting work reviewed without asking for "feedback"

One of the differences between school and work is that you can think that you’re doing fine  at work if no one is yelling at you. That should not give you peace of mind.

You and  your work are being monitored and measured all the time. Your first challenge is to find out what your employers have observed. Your second challenge may be to accept the critique with good grace and to take the advice to heart.

The first rule is “don’t ask for feedback.” Why? Because “feedback” is a non-specific word that covers a multitude of issues.

Make a meaningfully specific request for what you want.  

Do you want a comprehensive line-by-line review of the text, the analysis, the research strategies, the quality and caliber of the sources used, the grammar and spelling, the grace of the language, the power of the argument, or the relevance of the discussion?

Presenting a specific agenda is a professional approach to setting up a meeting. Asking for specific critique about a facet of your work helps your supervisor focus.

Find time.

Check with your supervisors’ assistant to find a spot in her schedule, then ask for 15 minutes during what you know to be an open time block. Bring coffee. It's a nice gesture.

Keep these conversations private.

Do not ask about your documents in public (including in the elevator.) Your supervisor may (a) not remember the specific critique that she wanted to give; and/or (b) not want to discuss your work (and the confidential client matter) in public.


******Susan Gainen has created a suite of programs just for law students: Alternative Careers, Second Career Law Students, Professionalism, Job Search Skills = Business Development Skills, Job Search Outside of OCI: The Forever Skill (unless you are a Ground-Hog-Day-2L). In addition to 25 years of legal career development activity (headhunter, law school career development, consultant), she is an artist. Her other workshops include "Open Your Heart and Close Your Wallet: Watercolor Postcards for Travelers," and "Cave Painting with Gesso."

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