Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Write Your Own Report Card

I've come to find real value in the annual job evaluation process.  It's a pain, sure, and having to revisit the successes and failures of the past year and plan for the next is never easy.  But when you are able to put it all into words, there are revelations that you don't always expect.  When given an honest effort, an annual assessment can become a real foundation for your daily operations.

Currently, my department does not perform annual evaluations.  Our resources at present do not allow for the time and effort required to go through a valid assessment process, and that's unfortunate.  I was astonished when I discovered this.  My immediate reaction was "How do we know if we're doing well?  How do we advance?" and it was kind of paralyzing.  It had been some time since I'd had a job that didn't come with the expectation of professional growth.  I'm still getting used to it. I see this situation as having two very specific components: 
  1. My superiors are unconcerned about how I and my co-workers perceive our jobs.  That sounds kind of touchy-feely and needy, but really, how we see ourselves in a role that is such a significant part of our lives is important.  Employee job satisfaction is simply not something this department is willing or able to discuss.
  2. My superiors are unconcerned about how I and my co-workers perceive THEIR jobs.  A good evaluation is a conversation, not just "here's what I liked; here's what I didn't".  When one staff member succeeds, it's because sufficient support exists from above, around, and below.  They're not even going to ask me this year if I have what I need to do well, and if not, how can they improve for next year.
It's disheartening.

Part of getting a grip, for me at least, is taking the words and deeds of others less personally.  Here's my chance.  This is not personal; it's business.  That's something that I have heard more than once as decisions were made and transitions were set into motion.  All righty, then. 

I'm still going to do a personal assessment.  I will honestly evaluate how I did this year.  I will make specific goals for next year, based upon my job description and expectations as I understand them to be.  I will break down the good and the bad, objectively.  I will, without commentary or accusation, assess my strengths and challenges in my current environment. 

I will be the only one who reads it.  And that's fine. There is value in how I perceive my job.

There is value in how you perceive yourself in your job, whether your job is in a corner office or in the home.  You know if you're doing well or not.  If you're not, having a plan for improvement or change can be groundbreaking.  Set goals, broad ones if you're not sure of what's coming next or specific ones if you're on a well-defined path.  Without goals, we don't grow.  When we set goals, we are envisioning an improved self.

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