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Archive for December 14th, 2007

QOTD: Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself

Friday, December 14th, 2007

“Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
— Doris Lessing

Evaulation time already?

Friday, December 14th, 2007


That was the first thought I had when my boss handed me a form this morning and said, “Self-evaluation. It’s due Dec. 27. Just attach any narrative at the end.”

Um. OK. I can do that. Even though I’ve never done it before. Ever.


How do I do that? Narrative of what? What am I supposed to do with these pages? What do these questions mean? Where does this form go? Who sees it? What do my answers matter? What if I’d rather explain than rank? What if I really fall between two rankings? What if I don’t want to play along? What if I just fill in all 1s and set my expectations low? What if I overshoot, and he really thinks I’m terrible and will wonder WTH was going through my mind? What if I undershoot and he realizes I think I suck? What if I do suck? What if he regrets hiring me? What if he lets me go? What if… I’m blowing this all out of proportion? I know.


I knew this day was coming. A year ago this weekend, I graduated. A year ago next week, I was interviewing for this position. A year ago next month, I established residency in the Hoosier state.

  • What have I learned over the past year? (Too much to put into words, and yet, never enough.)
  • What have I accomplished with my rookie year? (A lot, but not as much as I hoped.)
  • What have I to show for the first 52 weeks of my professional life? (More bylines than I thought possible — lessons attached to most. Connections I couldn’t have fathomed. Golden opportunities I lucked into. But too many questions unanswered, lessons unlearned, personal goals not met.)

But what’s more, or at least, all I can think of at this point:

  • What haven’t I learned that I should have? (A lot, I’m sure.)
  • What haven’t I accomplished with my rookie year? (Too much.)
  • What haven’t I got to show for my first 52 weeks of my professional life? (More than I’d like to admit.)

I don’t like this feeling of uncertainty. It’s unbecoming. I am more a “pull off the band aid quickly” type of person. When I sit around and actually dwell on this, I grow less confident instead of more. I don’t like that.

Am I proud of what I have done here? Hell yes. I should be! I’m working way too hard not to be.

I stumbled my way through many difficult tasks/stories this year with gusto. I do feel like I am doing well overall, though certainly I have room to improve. (Hello, if I didn’t realize that I’d be delusional.) But just today, four different people on my beat commented to me — one through e-mail, one passing in the hall, one in an office as I was signing into a school and one in a phone conversation — on what a “great job” I have been doing on this beat. Three of the four have been part of less than positive coverage within the past month — so it’s not even me doing a great job making them look good! I don’t look to external validation, but I do feel like to the readers and to the members of the community I cover, I have proven myself and made a positive impact.

But that’s not the point of the self-evaluation. Is it? The real challenge is have I proven myself to my toughest critic: me.

And after the self-eval, have I proven myself to the powers that be?

And beyond that, to the entire point of an annual review: What can I take from all I have learned and how can I apply it to making me better?

I wish I could pull that band aid off right now. But ah las, maybe it’s best to leave it on a little while longer and let things fall as they may. Good, bad, indifferent.