Damn, I'm good
| I think everyone who has worked in the corporate world has had to face evaluations. This is where your boss lets you know what you are doing right and, more to the point, just what you are doing wrong. Or, let’s be kind, what you could be doing better. Hell, no one’s perfect, right?
But, where I worked, part of the process was to prepare a self-evaluation. This way you could remind your boss of all the accomplishments you made over the last period. (Since he or she may have no idea what you’ve been doing, this is a good time to let them know how valuable you are.)
Part of the evaluation booklet is a section called STRENGTHS. That’s where, when doing your self-evaluation, you pat yourself on the back and say how good and indispensible you are.
The next section is DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY. Well, that is a euphemism for Improvements. In other words, what you did wrong – ahem, what you could do better. And for every Development Opportunity, you have a Development Plan. But let’s face it, do you really want to admit that you could have done a better job on that last project, or that you tend to micro-manage. I don’t think so. So I always put in meaningless comments that still made me look good. Did I really want to tell my boss that I was less than perfect? Of course not.
But I always thought that my boss, in all likelihood, never even looked at that part of my self-evaluation. He would use whatever I had written regarding my work assignments and accomplishments to fill out my evaluation booklet, and then write whatever he wanted regarding my Strengths and Development Opportunities and Plans.
I decided to put my assumption to the test. I did not get along at all with the last boss that I had before retirement and I sincerely doubted that she had any interest in preparing a favorable review for me. So I handed in the following:
I am open-minded, yet focused. I am strong, yet sensitive. I am intelligent, yet not afraid to ask, “What the hell are you talking about?” I am generous, yet fair. I can condense even the most complex issues into a sincere shrug. I can be witty, yet wise (You’ll have to take my word on this.) I can listen to all kinds of nonsense and maintain a straight face (usually; I’m still working on this one). I am aware, yet I can remain aloof. I may make mistakes, yet I seldom mention them. I am patient, yet persistent; practical, yet performance oriented. I excel at alliteration. I am confident, but modest. I can think outside the box, but it usually gets me into trouble. I can rebound after making a mistake and I have proven this time and time again. I am steadfast, in a subtle sort of way. I persevere.
I have heard that taller people are more successful in the business world.
I’m trying to look taller. This is really a perception thing. I really think it would be awkward to wear platform shoes or high heels but if I’m in a crowd I can stand on my toes for a little while. (I’m in training for longer durations.) Sitting at a meeting is a lot easier – I can simply raise the seat to the highest level and then look down on others. That should work.
Another thing that helps you get ahead is being a good speaker.
I’m not very good at speaking and it’s because I really don’t like it. But I think that if I can get other people to say what I want, then that will be even better. I’m practicing to throw my voice – ventriloquism. It’s really just a matter of sitting next to the right person at meetings and then saying things like, “Jim did a great job on that project.” I can’t get my voice very high so I have to pick the right subject. But I’m having a hard time sitting up straight to appear taller while I throw my voice and you can still see my lips move. This will take practice.
And smiling. People tell me that I don’t smile enough, that I take things too seriously.
The plan is to smile more. Actually I think that helps me with the ventriloquism. You don’t see my lips move as much if I have a big smile. When I practice in front of the mirror it looks like I’m in pain and I’m grimacing instead of smiling., but that’s because my back hurts from standing or sitting up so tall. By the end of the year people will be saying, “I heard Jim is doing a great job and he’s always smiling. And I didn’t realize how tall he is.”
There was a final, one on one, discussion of my evaluation with my boss. She never even mentioned what I had written. Not even a smirk or snide remark. But I did get a lousy rating.