Thursday, May 15, 2008

Performance Evaluations Can be Like Playing Strip Poker -- Only You're Blindfolded

I'd like to meet just one person who came out of performance evaluation saying, "Gee, that was a swell experience. Can't wait to do it again next year!"

Managers hate performance evaluations. Employees hate performance evaluations. They stare at each other across a table and try and remember all the Oprah shows that talked about how to read body language.

But what it comes down to is this: The employee is supposed to bare his/her soul, so to speak, while the manager tries to look wise and supportive and doesn't let on what he or she is really thinking.

It's sort of like someone asking you to play strip poker, only you have to wear a blindfold. The boss has all the advantages. The employee is forced to bare all, but never even gets a glimpse at what the manager might be thinking.

So, I think it's time we evened the playing field a little bit. Got rid of the blindfolds, and made performance evaluations -- if not enjoyable -- at least a bit more enjoyable. (And no, I'm not talking about taking off any clothes. That was an analogy, OK?)

Some rules for performance appraisals that should be enacted by Congress immediately include:

* No surprises. Every employee should have a pretty good idea of the areas where they're not living up to expectations, because the manager has been saying so for some time. At the same time, the employee should have an even better idea of what improvements need to be made.

* Walk the talk. No manager should be allowed to be late in performing an evaluation. Employees get in trouble for being late with stuff -- the same should be true for a manager. Further, no manager should be allowed to be sarcastic, belittling, grumpy or unprofessional with an employee during an evaluation. Managers should be evaluated on how well they handled the process. Paula, Randy and Simon from American Idol could serve as judges for manager evaluation performance.
Randy: "Dog, that was hot!"
Paula: "Oohh...wonderful, fantastic. I also liked the second evaluation the best. What? There was no second evaluation?"
Simon: "Sounded a bit karaoke to me."

* No sticks allowed. The evaluation process should be a chance for the manager to provide some inspiration to the employee, to emphasize how his or her performance is really important to the bottom line. Employees who come out of the process re-energized and recommitted to their jobs should be the norm, not the exception.

Ever have a bad experience in a performance evaluation? How should the process be changed? Please share your thoughts.


Digg!

del.icio.us

Subscribe with Bloglines


Add to Technorati Favorites

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Four Steps to Finding What You Were Meant to Do

Would you like to be the next Tiger Woods? It's possible.

Woods is a competitor. He doesn't let anything get in the way of sinking that little white ball into the hole every chance he gets. He wants to do it more times than anyone else on the golf course that day. He's passionate about what he does.

While you may not be able to play golf like Woods, there is no reason that you cannot feel that same passion for what you do.

So, maybe you love to play golf or tennis or won't walk away from a game of Monopoly until you've won. The point is that such a competitive spirit, which is a natural passion, can be turned into finding a career that you love.

The key is looking at what makes you feel excited, whether it's helping other people, bringing order to chaos or pitting your talents and skills against others in the marketplace. But how can you discover what you were meant to do?


Begin by:

1. Giving yourself permission to find your passion. Talk to family and friends about what they believe the source of your energy to be. Look for common themes. For example, maybe you love the thrill of competition and could use that passion to launch a new company or head up a new project at work. The key is looking for themes that get your blood pumping.

2. Embracing the bumps in the road: Marriage, death and divorce are all life-changing events that can help you re-discover where you really want to be in life. Think back to how you felt during those times, and what seemed really important to you. Brian Clark wrote a great post about this on Copyblogger about a snowboarding accident.

3. Trying something new. Get out of your comfort zone. Take some risks. Try something out that you've been intrigued by but perhaps afraid to try. During this process, evaluate how you feel. Do you lose lose track of time? Does it just feel right? These are all signs that you are on the road to finding your passion.

4. Evaluating: As you investigate these new avenues, you can feel overwhelmed. Set goals for yourself along the way so that you can take a pause and see where you’re going. This will help the situation not feel so out of control, but rather a natural progression toward something exciting.

Are you living your passion? Do you feel you're doing what you were meant to do?


Digg!

del.icio.us

Subscribe with Bloglines


Add to Technorati Favorites

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Moms Are Not Getting Paid What They're Worth...and Neither Are A Lot of Other People

Are you getting paid what you're worth?

According to Salary.com, I sure as heck am not. Let me repeat: I'm not getting paid what I'm worth.

In it's annual Mom survey, it has been determined that "the time mothers spend performing the 10 most popular 'Mom Job' functions would equate to an annual salary of $116, 805 for a Stay-at-Home Mom and $68,405 for a Working Mom."

The report says the job titles that best matched a mom’s definition of her work are (in order of hours spent per week): housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, laundry machine operator, computer operator, psychologist, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and janitor. (At my house, that's just what I do before 9 a.m.)

So, I'm not getting paid what I'm worth as a Mom, and I'm not getting paid what I'm worth as a freelance writer and author. Why is this? Part of it has to do with the lousy economy. Part of it has to do with the fact that I'm a woman and am just now learning how to ASK for the things I want instead of just waiting for them to happen. And part of it has to do the fact that I need to quit giving away so much stuff for free.

While many of us job hop in order to get more money, I know of one incident where someone learned a co-worker doing the same work and was making quite a bit more money. He went straight to the boss with it, and immediately received a raise that put him on equal footing.

Will this always work? If you're not doing a great job, no. But if you're really adding value, then there's no reason to just take what you get. Even in this tough economy, employers are willing to pay for talent to keep them ahead of the pack.

Here are three things you need to do today in order to get a raise you deserve:
* Pinpoint specific things you did to earn your company money. Maybe you spotted an error that everyone missed and saved the company money and/or time.
* Find out what everyone else is making. Call some employment agencies, check with your alumni group, Twitter, ask a professional association -- just get a good handle on whether you're making what you're worth.
* Get a mentor. Quit putting it off and think of someone you can ask to coach you and help you grow enough in confidence and skills so that the boss would be a complete fool not to give you a raise.

Do you feel you're getting paid what you're worth? Why or why not?

Digg!

del.icio.us

Subscribe with Bloglines


Add to Technorati Favorites

Labels: , , , , , , , ,