Pause. Reflect. Self-evaluate

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

At the beginning of the month, my company began its annual performance evaluation process. If you’ve worked for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with this process. It’s also known as a performance review or appraisal. Depending on where you work, your relationship with your manager and/or colleagues this might not be your favourite two words or time of the year but hear me out. defines this as “a regular review of an employee’s job performance and overall contribution to a company. A performance appraisal evaluates an employee’s skills, achievements, and growth – or lack thereof.” Okay, so the real question is why am I even talking about performance evals? Like I mentioned before, it’s that time of the year at my company and I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of this process. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand its importance, but it doesn’t mean I have to love it. I think part of it is because of the format it tends to take –  you first evaluate your own performance and then share that with your manager for “validation” before it’s approved. One thing I am looking forward to in this process, however, is the goal setting which involves having a conversation with my manager and setting goals for me to accomplish over the next year. While there is a modicum of pressure that comes with goal setting, it also gives you something to look forward to. You can come up with a plan to help you hone your skills and keep you on track to delivering the highest quality work possible.

I tend to struggle with the self-evaluation part of this process. I would prefer it if the burden of evaluation rested on the shoulders on my manager and I would just listen to what she thought of my performance and then take it from there. I find self-evaluation challenging for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that I’m not sure I have mastered the art of assessing my performance at work without being overly critical or too lenient. I always feel like I could be better, do better etc. So, when I’m asked to evaluate my performance, my instinct is to stay in the middle – meeting expectation but never exceeding them. The last thing I would want is to rate my performance highly, only for my manager to bring me down a peg or two. I also think that part of my struggle is the fact that I’m still new-ish in my career and I feel there’s still a lot for me to learn so I haven’t built the confidence to say “I’m killing it in my job” yet. For my mid- and late-career professionals, do these evaluations get easier with time as you develop expertise in your fields?

While trying to figure out how exactly I was going to rate my performance, I came to another realization – I constantly evaluate my performance in other areas of my life and always rate myself as “doing okay/satisfactory” and if I’m being brutally honest a lot of the time “unsatisfactory.” I have high expectations of myself and it’s always difficult when I’m not able to live up to them. Then I fall into a pattern where I just procrastinate because if I wait till the last minute to get anything done, then I can justify the lower quality work by saying “oh I did this in a rush.” I know – I’m working on this. All this to say that  this period of work performance evaluation has taught me an important lesson.

No matter how uncomfortable it is, it is always good to set some time to pause, reflect and self-evaluate.

Set aside some time to pause and think. Think about where you are, what you’re working on, the areas you’re doing well in, scratch that, the areas in which you’re excelling and the areas that could use a bit more work.

Celebrate the successes and remind yourself of how amazing you are. Develop a game plan for the not-so-great parts but don’t beat yourself up over them. And if you feel stuck or unsure of what you’re doing, that’s okay too. Lean into that and think about what you can learn about yourself in those moments. I get it. I’ve been there. I have found that no matter what stage or season of life you find yourself in, there’s always something to be grateful for and something to learn.

Be patient with yourself and take it one step at a time.

So, are you going to make some time this week to pause, reflect and self-evaluate? If you do, let me know how it went.

Until next time!

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