Where are you going?
Posted by Sri Subramanian (@whosissri) on June 17, 2011
It is performance review time, and you are asked to write a self evaluation. What a complete waste of time, you think. Your manager knows what you have done, or should know, anyway. In any case, nothing you write is going to change the fact that there is probably no bonus this year. You are pretty sure she’s already made up her mind about your rating too – not that it matters, given the bonus situation. You tell yourself that she just wants you to write stuff that she can cut and paste into her evaluation.
I have heard a hundred variations of the above. There are hints of truth in there, but it entirely misses out the point of a self evaluation. It misses the point that we OWN our career, and our successes. We depend on others in many ways, but ultimately we own it.
Think of how a grade school home work assignment is different from an assignment at work. At work, we own, but we do not control every aspect of our assignment. So, we learn “soft skills” like communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, prioritization, alignment, and such, to navigate the dependencies, and be successful.
Similarly, we own our careers. However, we don’t control opportunities, openings, job markets, etc. Periodic self evaluation, 1:1s, goal setting, are some of the tools that we can use to be successful in charting the course of our careers.
Next time, try approaching your self evaluation, not as a chore, but as a means to measure how far you have come, where you are heading, and where the winds have been taking you. Next time, do your self evaluation, not as a favor to your manager, but as something you would do just for yourself, like a spa treatment. See if it makes you feel differently – not about the process of self evaluation – but about where you are going, and where you want to go.
[Photo by: passlotte]