Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I just got my performance review at work. It was the equivalent of all
A’s in every category that matters: analysis, report writing, meeting
deadlines. The only demerit I got was that I was told that I “lack
confidence” and that my “lack of confidence undermines an otherwise
strong performance on technical criteria.” My boss is a micro-
managing bully and an ogre who totally makes me nervous. What

Dear Shaking:
“Totally” seems a little hyperbolic for someone who got all A’s in
everything but work style. You’re going to need to beard the lion in his
den. Translation: you’re going to have to find the chutzpah to walk
into the ogre’s office and confront him with the evaluation. You should
bring two copies of the eval with you, close the door, and say I’d like
to talk to you about my review. If now’s not a good time, when would
be? Then be prepared to wait out the evil eye he’ll try to stare you
down with. Any boss who rules by intimidation has one. You just need
to stay cool, even if your knees are knocking inside your pants.


Once he agrees to talk, ask him for some examples. No matter which
ones he pulls out of the air, ask how they affected the work product.
Whatever he says next, ask how he’ll help you improve, given his own
managerial style. The conversation may in fact yield some actual
outcomes. But its main import is to let him know that you have the
confidence to confront him and aren’t going to be intimidated any
more. If you think you can pull it off, before you leave the meeting,                                   ask what the criteria will be for a raise in the future. Make him respect
you, and you’ll gain the confidence you need and deserve.