As summer winds down and Labor Day quickly approaches, many will be heading back to work with vacations a fond memory and the final four months of the year ahead. After a few more holidays, we can all look forward to the least favorite American workplace ritual: the annual review. The darling process of HR and the bane of the rest of us, performance evaluations are a fact of life.
If you work for a company with a solid culture of feedback and frequent check-ins with the boss, this is no big deal. You probably get recognition and criticism throughout the year and you know where you stand. If you work for a different kind of organization, you may have only this one opportunity – as painful as it is – to present yourself and your accomplishments for the year. So what are you doing to get ready?
Review the past eight months and ask yourself this question: If you had to write your self-evaluation today for the year, what would you say? What have you done to deliver more value than your paycheck? What have you done to help your boss and your boss’s boss? Are you struggling with this question?
If you have not done anything special, now is the time to get working. You still have time to do something above and beyond your job description that can define your year. If you have done some great things but can’t remember the details, start making notes. As I write this, I think about the Yankees/Rays game of Saturday 8/13. Jorge Posada came off the bench after a manager-directed time out and went three-for-five with a grand slam. Do you have a similar story? If not, get serious and finish the year strong.