Get Your Grand Slam Yet?

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.


Where is Your Media Coverage?

The Super Bowl is behind us (congratulations, Green Bay) and pitchers and catchers report for spring training in five days. For those who are struggling to get through this endless winter – and who isn’t? – this is welcome news, indeed. Let’s stay with the sports theme and think about your career in this context. Think about some of the biggest headlines in sports, and you realize that they often focus on money. Player “X” is getting “Y” millions of dollars for “Z” years. The bigger the paycheck, the bigger the headlines.

Why do these players get such huge paychecks? Because they have proven themselves with performance when it counts, top players are in limited supply, and their new teams see that the benefit they bring is worth more than the money that they will have to pay. It’s really that simple. And the same thing applies to you. What’s the biggest difference between you and Derek Jeter? OK, there are many, but one difference is that he has sportswriters and other media watching his every move and statisticians and their computers tracking his performance. You have you.

So what are you going to do to ensure that you get the big contract from the best team when you make your next move? One thing is to ensure that your performance is documented and reported so that your next employer will see you as someone worth more than the paycheck. Be your own reporter. Keep a log. Create a journal. Instead of another round of Angry Birds, use your phone to update a notes file about your day’s accomplishments. And don’t forget to be specific.

Which sounds better?

“Aaron Rodgers reported to work every day and played his position as Quarterback.”


Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to win Super Bowl XLV in commanding fashion, taking the lead early and never looking back.”

The second statement sounds a lot more exciting, doesn’t it.

How about this?

“Managed team of 10 customer service representatives to service inbound calls from customers.”


“Improved customer satisfaction scores by 17% in six months by training, developing and leading the best customer service team of 10 representatives to President’s Club award.”

You get the idea, right? The problem is that many people don’t take the time to record these accomplishments. Be your own ESPN, New York Times and agent all rolled into one. Challenge yourself to perform better, deliver results and record your accomplishments. Only good things can happen, like getting a good performance review and a raise or maybe landing the fat contract with that best company in your field. Go for it!