6 weeks down, 6 to go. And time for mid-internship evaluations. Performance management evaluations make me want to lock myself in a bakery and camp out in the cupcake case eating the icing only (who needs the cake part of cupcake anyway? overrated). I decided to calm down by making a supplementary list of workplace items I *am* pretty good at that I could potentially leverage. For instance:
- Very good at leaving my desk tidy, with everything aligned at right angles
Don’t get me wrong – performance management means feedback and I’m a big fan of feedback, although I prefer to receive it indirectly. By “indirectly” I mean an email I can put off opening. If it must be delivered person, you’ll excuse me if I just cower under my desk with my eyes squoze shut till it’s over. I firmly believe that candid feedback is necessary to improve, and I honestly do want people to tell me straight up what they think I should work on and how to get better. Give me a list! I love a list. One year, my boss told me my development need was a “lack of finesse.” I think I snorted aloud when he said so (doh! How unfinesseful!) . Once the initial indignance faded (finesse? Who has finesse? What could one possibly need finesse for?), one trip to the self-help section of the bookstore and a few phone calls to tactful friends for pointers put me well on track to cultivating more finesse. (don’t ask where that’s gone nowadays. It likely was muscled out of rotation by something like basic accounting standards).
But the self-evaluation part of performance management is what really gets me. For my Summer Employer, I have to rank myself on the corporate culture and competencies, with NO room for editorial comments. Big organizations need this type of system, in order to stack-rank people. I get it, I just don’t necessarily like it. Here there are four choices, which essentially net out to Awesome, Semi-Great, Doing Fine and Not Awesome. Considering I won’t give myself a Not Awesome during this process, that leaves 3 choices. And a ridiculously neurotic internal dialogue going something like this “Teams? I like teams, but I don’t build teams. How can I build teams here? I’m not in charge of any teams, but I guess theoretically if I needed to build a team, I’d be at least Doing Fine and potentially Semi-Great at it. I do like to surround myself with pretty fantastic people. But if I rank myself Semi-Great, won’t my manager demand evidence? And I don’t have evidence because I’m an intern and I haven’t built a true team yet. So should I rank myself Doing Fine? Why is there no Not Applicable? Maybe I don’t know how to build a team. I probably need remedial team-building. Where can I do a trust fall and learn to build a team better? Wait, the last time I did a trust fall I fell on the ground. That must mean I have to rank myself as Not Awesome.”
And that’s just one of the 7 competencies I have to rank myself on! It’s exhausting, this performance management stuff. Maybe I can streamline the process by just asking my manager “Hey, I think I might be awesome. Do you think I’m awesome? Check yes or no.”
[Unfortunately, two cupcakes were harmed in the creative process of writing this blog]