April showers bring May flowers and annual performance evaluations. Being slightly narcissistic, I always get more worked up about the reviews than I ought to. The evaluation itself consists of 20 performance categories on which we are rated from “does not meet expectations” to “exceeds expectations.” A numeric rating was tried a few years back but deemed to be too harsh. Who said engineering is an uncaring profession?
Up to three managers will complete an evaluation form for each employee. Their responses are then aggregated into one sheet via a spreadsheet that I helped develop. I have to admit that it has crossed my mind to rig the macro so that I’ll always receive perfect scores. Then again the multiple-choice doesn’t seem to carry as much weight as the comment section.
After all of the reviews have been compiled, we’ll meet one-on-one with our local sector principal – who isn’t nearly as scary as the 1984-ish title would suggest. I’ve been fortunate to receive very good reviews since working at Thornton Tomasetti. However, what they said about reputations in high school applies equally well to the office. It frustrates me when comments about personality receive more attention than quality of work.
At this point, we’re about two minutes into the review meeting. Some people take pride in finishing up the remaining accomplishments and goals sections quickly and getting back to work within five minutes. I’m different. I figure this is my chance to really sell myself; this is, after all, about the only time that it’s not terribly uncomfortable to communicate my hopes and dreams to my boss. Caution: I have recently learned that this approach is not always interpreted as intended.
I really feel like it has been a significant year for me. I’ve been involved in some cool extra-curricular projects, worked on over 30 jobs, and even become a father. After seven years at the same company, I want to grow professionally and take more control of my daily assignments. I also believe that my genuine interest in (environmental) sustainability could provide an opportunity to carve my own niche within the company.
How should I handle my performance evaluation this year? Do you have a story about a very good or bad review experience? Please share your comments.