An article in the November issue of Toastmaster magazine puts under a humourous light the normally unnerving experience of oneself under an evaluative microscope.
The author relates a traumatic instance of a job performance review. When he hears about the subjects he expects to be discussed, namely effective performance, efficient specializing, and exhibiting professionalism, what he hears his boss really talking about is ‘doing his job well x 3’. Focusing on strengths is still in vogue, but what used to be weaknesses are now potential improvements.
When it comes to evaluations of a theoretically serious nature, two beacons which shed foggy light are euphemisms and cross-purposes.
For instance, in Toastmasters, evaluations are taken seriously, but people being people, sometimes there is whitewashing. In the article, the author relates how linking individual performance with group success can cloud a personal review: being a good performer one-self means being expected to be a good mentor – except that part of good performance means not spending time showing others how to do their jobs. Such a conundrum puts a kink in getting proper credit, not to mention stressing one’s relationship with management.
Of course, evaluation being affected by outside factors can have numerous complications:
- If asked to fill out a satisfaction survey after a lodging experience, factor in how many toiletries and pens have found their way into your suitcase
- When tasting flavours at an ice cream shop to see which is best, realize the full gamut of produced flavours is never going to be there
- If one is a judge in a drinking contest, beware of concoctions which come with Tums smoothies
- When going for a dental or medical check-up, maintain hope there is little space between the truth and the comfortable truth
- Accept that going along with judges’ results at sporting competitions means having to deduct points for their political correctness, but adding some back if a family member benefits
- If testifying under oath, always respond fully and accurately, unless it makes you look bad and you can get away with it
- If asked to provide an evaluation of your superior, be sure to have an exit strategy