DEAR HARRIETTE: I worked extremely hard on a pitch for my company throughout the winter. We presented it last week to our client, and my boss said he was very impressed. In the end, though, we did not get the business. Because of that, I am sure that I am going to lose my job. I work in advertising, and there is no project for me now. How can I leverage the goodwill that I gained from the work that I have done, including on this project, as I begin to search for work? Should I proactively ask my boss for a letter of recommendation? -- What's Next?, San Francisco
DEAR WHAT'S NEXT?: Starting with your boss is wise, but do not assume that you are automatically out of a job. Instead, believe that your boss will vouch for you because he sees your value. Go in and pitch yourself to him. Tell him that you are sorry that your company did not get the account that you worked so hard on, but you remain committed to doing great work and would like to continue working with him. Ask him what your chances are at the company and if there is other business that you can work on. Ask if he can see a way for you to have longevity there after this loss. By being frank and honest, you create space for him to do the same. Then you will learn how viable you are there and whether he will go to bat for you.