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Performance Review Realness

End of year career chores are in full swing.

Vacation days Blocked. Office clean-up. In Process.  Performance Review Pause.

The yearly sit down with the boss is still the predominant indicator of performance, and in many cases, bonus numbers. To be completely candid, I have not gone into a review, plagued with concerns, in over a decade. For the most part, I receive high marks from my managers and stakeholders. Feedback is comprehensive and constructive, and include improvement areas. That being said, I'm used to walking out of the office, feeling pretty good about myself, and my wallet.

This year, I Ieft my manager's office feeling a bit different. Since self-reflection is my mantra these days, a few thoughts came to mind that I want to share:

1. I'm a professional, first and foremost.

My organization is undergoing substantial change, for a variety of reasons. As a result, tough decisions had to be made, specifically in terms of priorities and resources. My role was impacted, which meant that my priorities were scaled back. This is not a new phenomenon, priorities fluctuate and resources are reallocated, in almost all organizations. But, this time I knew it was permanent. Despite my disappointment, my manager commended me for being a professional during the tumultuous period. Yes, I had a pity party on the couch a few times, but I quickly dealt with the reality. Most days, I came into work and pushed to add value wherever I could.

2. The review was dead on accurate.

I've already admitted that I'm used to receiving high ratings in my performance reviews. This time, however, I received a solid rating. Translation, I did a good, not a great, job in 2016. Initially, I was not pleased. I read through the document, feverishly looking for areas to challenge. But, when I took a breath and removed my defensiveness out of the thought process, I realized the review was accurate. I had been fighting the same uphill battle for 3 years and I was tired. Truth be told, I hit a wall when announced changes confirmed the battle was lost. So, I scaled back my ambitions and focused on projects I could influence. I honed in on small, incremental improvements, which is not my M.O. I hesitate to document this, but acknowledging success and failure, is part of the journey. I did not meet my expectations for my role. I did not have the level of influence needed to change minds and budgets. This is why the work to reclaim my career, is so vital to success.

3. Shifting my focus opened up new experiences.

When my priorities were scaled back, I made a conscious effort to find other avenues to demonstrate my value to the firm. I immersed myself in employee coaching and took on leadership positions in my firm's Diversity & Inclusion initiative. As a result, I participated in associate panels, assembled a communications committee and built programs that have been recognized by the firm. These experiences forced me out of my comfort zone, uncovered new skills and enriched my life. Its also important to note, that these experiences probably would not have happened, if my role had not been in flux. Life opened up new doors for me this year, and I'm glad I walked through them.

How did your performance review turn out? Share in the comments below!

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