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Assess Your Own Job Performance and Know What You Expect

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Joining a corporation is to gain a group identity, but that does not mean you have to lose self-identity. If we keep looking to the faces of coworkers to estimate their approval of us, something is lost, something intimate and vital: our image of ourselves. Our boss does after all carry a lot of clout: his place of authority gives verve to his words, and perhaps we align ourselves to his vision of what we should be.

Remember though, that before you had this job, and after you leave it, you will still be yourself, you will live with yourself, you will have yourself to answer to. Your boss is living in a position where he must evaluate you in terms of what you are intrinsically not: a stable resource for the company. Certainly you can give that to the company, but in the marrow of your being, all that is a secondary consideration.

It helps, then, to distance yourself from this grid-wire of evaluations from others, this doglike lolling for a “hiss a good boy” and a pat on the head. Ask yourself what you expect from yourself as a worker. Why did you choose this job, what is your goal, and is your performance aligned with that goal?

Holding these personal goals for yourself are what drive your career course, what made you become this sort of worker, doing these sorts of things, and not that. The praises and blames of others are mere distractions, in the grand scheme: your own purpose is what matters. Of course you must politely work with others in working on a team, on being generally cheerful and agreeable — teams thrive on such attitudes — but remember that you joined the team for a reason, and beyond being a team member, you are your own man or woman: that individuality is the part that endures, when the team fades, when the next job beckons, when retirement welcomes you. Having pleased your coworkers or turned a profit for your boss will matter less in such times: having done the best you can to achieve your own goals and to grow in the way to become the sort of person you most value to be will be the determining facts at that time.

It was good advice, whoever gave it, who said to strive for excellence, not happiness. Happiness is a gift bestowed capriciously by the gods. Excellence, and its attainment, however, are a matter of will and persistence, in your own efforts. That after all is what we are seeking in life and in the job. Holding to that self-estimate of excellence, and being only moderately interested in what others have to say, listening patiently and gleaning what we can from outsiders, from others, will steer our course through sometimes placid, sometimes stormy waters of career advancement.

Self-determined people may not always be the friendliest, the most agreeable, or the warmest, but they at least have the sort of self respect that is also universally self-respected. Know then that you ultimately answer to yourself, you are finally your own boss, and hold to that.

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Assess Your Own Job Performance and Know What You Expect by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes