WORKPLACE

Be truthful in self-assessment

Q: I feel confident in my skills and accomplishments, but do not seem to inspire confidence in others. I’ve tried to get new tasks and responsibilities, but have not been successful. What should I do?

A: First question to explore: While you’re confident in your past performance, do others share your positive view?

Set aside your emotions so that you can neutrally assess the feedback you receive. What are you seeing on formal performance reviews?

Take time to look at how you interact. Do you hold yourself with confidence? Speak with authority? If you appear tentative, then you will not inspire confidence. Similarly, if you appear scattered or overwhelmed with work, you won’t attract additional opportunities.

It may be difficult to assess; in this case, ask your boss or a trusted co-worker to give you feedback on how you come across to people.

Get rid of verbal habits that undermine your message, such as phrasing a statement as a question or speaking too softly.

— By Liz Reyer

Minneapolis Star Tribune

FINANCE

Brush up on business basics

Developing an investment strategy does not come easy. Therefore, understanding investment basics can serve just about any investor well, whether an individual is a beginner or a long-term player.

If you’d like to hone your understanding of the stock market and other investment basics, the following Web locales might be worth a visit.

•?American Association of Individual Investors: Answers frequently asked questions on an array of investing topics. Site: www.aaii.com/investing/article/investing-basics-faqs.

•?CFA Institute: Covers investing basics and insights in pdf format. Site: www.cfainstitute.org/about/investor/Pages/index.aspx.

•?Investopedia: Serves up investing 101, broken into several categories. Site: www.investopedia.com/university/beginner/

•?TheStreet.com: Features a primer to stock investing, bonds, mutual funds, taxes and more. Site: www.thestreet.com/tsc/basics/index.html

•?U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Offers a guide on investment products, avoiding investing scams and seeking assistance with an investment concern. Site: www.investor.gov/investing-basics.

— By Chuck Myers

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

REAL ESTATE

Condo owners have rights

Q: I live in a condominium for seniors, and the building needs repairs. The board has decided to hire workers for the job without consulting the unit owners, who would prefer to put the project out for bids. What are our rights? — Nora

Q: My condo board approved an assessment of more than $1.2 million in one building and $650,000 in another for a gated parking lot that the unit owners don’t want and didn’t vote on. Our bylaws say any special assessments for alterations or improvements to the common areas must be approved by 75 percent of the unit owners. — Natalie

A: Natalie, because the board appears to have broken the rules, I recommend speaking to an attorney about suing the association and/or filing a complaint with the state. Nora, your situation is more difficult because the board likely can take this action. Unless there is some sort of kickback or insider relationship, you probably will have to persuade the board to your way of thinking. Unit owners who want to make real change need to run for the board and work from the inside. Show up at board meetings and politely voice your concerns.

— By Gary M. Singer

Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel