I received my first annual review at work today. I was pleasantly surprised. Let’s set the record straight: there were no grandiose raises, no exceeding complements, no gilding the lily. But, it was a review, and it was my first. I’ve worked since I was fifteen. That’s almost 19 years. I’ve been in some semblance of corporate life for almost two full decades. That’s a lot of business acumen accumulated. And, in every single job a review was stated as a part of the annual policy, but it was never acted upon.
I’ve worked for the government. I’ve worked in non-profits. I’ve worked in franchises. I’ve worked in small mom and pop resorts. I’ve worked in firms that had as many as 3 employees besides me and upwards of two hundred. Every single place I have worked said, “Annual Review” commiserate with annual hire date. Again, none, not a single place of my previous employment actually went through with this annual review.
I began to conclude they were a bad thing. Like getting report cards. Now, for the most part, I am a straight-A student. Yet, I still dreaded report card time. Similar to how I dreaded standardized testing (which, really, only test how well you test, right?). What will the review say? Will I be surprised? Will it suggest something that I’m not? Will it imply that I’m not smart? What will this review say?
So, when my current employer actually wanted to go about acting on the annual review, I was surprised. The form became simpler. The process was painless. It was a 30 minute discussion of what went well and what maybe didn’t. I found constructive criticism helpful. (I am the type of person who prefers a red pen, though, when someone is grading my papers.) I prefer constructive criticism. I want to improve as a person. I want to get better. I have a vague notion of where I want to be in 5-10 years, and I won’t get there doing the same things. So, if a review will offer the chance for me to improve, I welcome it.
And, that’s what this seemed to be. I was pleasantly surprised that after nearly 20 years in the workforce, I finally had a review, and it was a good thing.
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