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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

The Honest Self-Review That No One Will Ever Really Write

Have you ever sat down to fill out your self-evaluation during performance review season and asked yourself, “What if I answered honestly? What if I used this form to confess everything I have and have not been doing at work this year? What if I threw all caution to the wind and told my boss what I’ve really been up to?”

Well, ask no more, because this is probably what it would look like. (Spoiler: It’s probably not going to get you that raise.) 

What Are You Doing Well in Your Current Position?

What am I doing well? That’s a great question. I would’ve thought the answer would be shorter, yet this text box feels so very large. Are other people able to fill it out in its entirety? You know what, I’ll just make the font bigger. Shoot, that doesn’t seem to be an option. OK, that’s fine. I’m sure I can think of something that I’m doing well. 

For example, I’m very good at coming into work every morning and spending the first 30 minutes of my day looking busy at my computer. Very few people would know that I’m actually mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, pausing only to take quick power naps until the caffeine kicks in. I’m able to accomplish this by utilizing the old “Type Rapidly and Occasionally Pause to Say ‘Hm, interesting’” technique.

Truth be told, some days I’m not in the mood for Facebook, so I just go through the motions without even turning my computer on. Come to think of it, my acting abilities are also worth mentioning.

What Accomplishments Are You Most Proud Of?

This year, I’ve really excelled at finding new ways to get the heat off of me after I’ve messed up. For example, when I missed that deadline last month and failed to tell anyone until the client complained, I quickly came up with an excuse that made everyone forget.

That’s right: Remember how I turned to you and said, “I would’ve hit that deadline, it’s just that my son has rabies”? Guess what! I don’t even have a son. That should definitely earn me points for creativity. (Is there a points section on here?) Do you know how hard it is to come up with a fake child’s entire backstory on the spot?

Speaking of on the spot, I’m really killing it at presentations. Remember the one I gave to the team last week that you assigned two months ago? You didn’t know this, but I actually completely forgot about it until 30 minutes before the meeting. So I quickly threw together a PowerPoint filled with enough meaningless graphs and numbers that no one could even tell I hadn’t completed any original research. I didn’t receive a single complaint that the pie charts often added up to more than 100%! 

What Strengths Do You Bring to Your Team?

I’ve really been nailing the whole delegating thing. In fact, I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to only respond to emails when I can pass responsibility off to someone else.

For example, if you email me and ask me to run numbers, I’ll respond with, “This sounds super exciting, and I’d hate to hog all the fun. Alicia, do you want to take the first stab at it?” Or if the graphics team requests copy, I’ll say, “Thanks for being on top of this project—Alicia’s actually our resident Word-a-holic, and I’ve cc’d her so you can follow up.”

In fact, looking through my inbox now, I’ve not taken the lead on anything in months. Besides, of course, accepting compliments from the leadership team on how well everything turned out.

What Areas Would You Like to Improve Upon This Year?

In 2017, I’d like to use all of my vacation, sick, and personal time, as well as sneak a few additional out-of-office days into the mix. Furthermore, I plan to always be the first person to get to the kitchen on mornings when Carol brings in cookies.

Oh, and productivity-wise, I’d like to meet with Gary, find out how he leaves at 4:30 every day without getting into trouble, and replicate his strategies.

What Are Your Goals for 2017 and How Do You Plan to Reach Them?

As far as goals go, I really only have one: Get a raise without putting in any more effort than I currently am. I know that’s ambitious, and that’s why I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to appear more passionate about our company than ever.

To kick this off, I plan to schedule several emails to go out at 3 AM that say things like, “Here’s a revenue growth idea that’s been keeping me up all night...” and “I just read this really interesting New York Times story on where the industry is heading.”

In addition, I’ll make sure to spout off nonsense like “It’s so much easier to get a spot closer to the office on Saturday mornings” and “Tim, being your mentor’s my greatest joy” when I know when you’re in earshot.

Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Add?

As I’ve said a few times now, I truly am sorry about what happened at the holiday party. In my defense, I’m not the only person who thought it was a toupee.

Honesty is not always the best policy after all, huh! That’s why I always recommend you write out a first draft of your self-review, set it on fire, and then write out your second draft. Kidding! No need for matches.

Instead, use this as an opportunity to brag about your biggest wins (especially any your boss might not know about) and really think about your goals. This might be your only chance to lay it all out there for your manager as to what you’re working toward and what you’re working on to get there.

Feel like I read your mind here? Tell me on Twitter!

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