A self-review to knock the boss' socks off January 3, 2014 • Russ Batenhorst
You might have to keep a watchful eye on me this week. It can be a problem at times when different writing assignments converge at one point in time. And, while it might not always be obvious, when it is this column, I’ll try to be creative at times — and maybe even factual.
So I’ll try not to get confused with the other writing assignment I just finished.
In one of the annual burdens of working in corporate America, I just finished my end-ofthe- year “self-review.” Many of you just nodded in recognition. Those who did are familiar with the annual performance review. It’s when you are assessed for how you’ve done at your job for the past 12 months.
At my workplace, it’s always preceded by the self-review. It’s when you tell the boss how you think you did.
It usually follows the same format as the actual review, so you know you’re going to be feeding the boss with some of the same information they’ll be using. So, the writing can get a little creative. I’m not going to say mine sometimes borders on fiction, but if I could find that guy I just wrote about, I’d hire him in a heartbeat.
You want to be a little careful not to get too carried away.
For weaknesses or challenges, what do I say?:
“I guess I just can’t get myself to leave work at the end of the day; I want to stay for however many hours it takes to get everything done and even start on what’s coming next.”
Think they’d see through that one?
Maybe I’d say, “I just can’t get started on anything until around noon or so.” Or better yet, both.
And let them decide just where in the middle the truth lies.
The self-review can get a little difficult, too, when the company comes up with guidelines from the past. Something along the lines of, “Here are the goals you set for yourself at this time last year. How’d you do?”
Wow, I really said that, huh?
I guess I had forgotten that I pledged to be the top performer in a five-state region, all the while washing the boss’ car at least once a week. I hope I don’t look too bad when I scale down the goals a little bit for the next year.
Maybe that’s why our self-reviews are due at this time of year. They know we’re also being pressured to make New Year’s resolutions. Setting performance goals at work and making New Year’s resolutions are cut from the same cloth.
Maybe I can confuse them if I say one of my work goals is to get all the laundry and storage boxes off the treadmill and use it 10 times a week in order to lose 50 pounds. That sounds a little like “increase customer satisfaction and sales growth by 1,000 percent over the next six months, so I can coast the last six months of year and still make it look like a good year.”
Come to think of it, though, that might not be the goal they want me to set. It seems like I remember some training along the way about setting goals.
Since it was given by a human resources guru, you know it involved acronyms. Something about SMART goals. They say it can be used professionally (work goals) and personally (New Year’s resolutions). So, be SMART.
I’m pretty sure that means my goals are supposed to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable and … um, something that starts with an R and a T.
There you go, there’s a New Year’s resolution and a work performance goal for me wrapped into one: I’m going to improve my memory for acronyms.
Now, if I can just work that into my selfreview. I’ll just have to wait on that, though. It’s in the boss’ hands now. It should take a couple months for the process to work through and result in my actual review.
I can add it in there in the small space they leave for our comments/replies. That’s where I usually have to ask, “Didn’t you read my selfreview? I’m a much better guy than this.”