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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review Day

"To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing and be nothing"

- Elbert Hubbard

For the record I don't know who Elbert Hubbard is, and I'm neither motivated or interested enough to find out, but I like the quote never the less.

Anyway, today I participate in that once in a year ritual known as the "Annual Performance Appraisal". I'm not sure what's worse, giving these things or getting these things. I've given all the reviews I need to already, with the last being finished on Tuesday (although I do have some follow-up I'm working on).

Why is it so bad?

Well first, it's really not that bad. Honestly, the discussions tend to be very cordial and it's always been my opinion as a manager that there should never be any surprises at review time. If there are, that means that the manager didn't do a good enough job throughout the year to talk to the employee about his/her performance. It's like most things in life: if you put bad things off until the end, it's usually more difficult. Regardless, I don't anticipate much in the "bad things" department. In fact, I expect a fairly cordial discussion.

What I don't like about these kinds of things is the very notion of having to talk about myself. I'm simply not comfortable with that sort of thing. Mind you I am a very introspective kind of person, but that introspection is just that: on the inside. The act of having to verbalize this kind of thing is is annoying at best, frightening at worst. I simply don't want to sound like a dork, and of all the things that involve awareness in the this world, I'm often most confused about the "outside looking in" deal. I know how I see me, but I have a far tougher time understanding how others see me, and reconciling the difference between the two has always been a difficult process for me, if for no other reason than consistency: I'm fairly consistent with my own view of self, but the outside view tends to vary widely.

So what do I do to prepare for this monumental event?

Well I've had my review to look at since Tuesday. Note that I haven't actually looked at it yet. Why? Well I've been very busy, and plus I don't necessarily want to obsess over it for days before hand. So I'll look it over this morning. I've also researched things like past compensation decisions & ratings, so I'll have that handy for reference. I don't plan on actually using that kind of things during the discussion, but rather it simply helps me put into context what I hear. In point of fact the whole money thing isn't an enormous issue to me, as I've always had the philosophy that if I feel I'm being treated fairly then I'm okay...if I'm not, then it's war. Oh, and I feel that I've been treated fairly by and large for most of my career with my current employer. Truth be told, I'm not sure what my annual salary is anyway, so obviously I'm not in the business of counting that sort of thing down to the penny.

Lastly, as someone who also gives annual performance appraisals and who strives to live by the "treat others as you would like to be treated" motto, I do try and make this as painless of a process as possible for my boss. No sense causing him any grief, as I think he genuinely tries to do the right thing. In this day and age that's a good thing.

So there you have it, today is review day. The actual big event is this afternoon, I think at 3pm via video conference.

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