The Self-Performance Review – How Great am I? #Careers #Cubicle Life

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It’s time to close out last year, and all businesses have kicked it into high gear on two major fronts – year-end accounting close and performance reviews for employees.

Rarely will a manager perform a review without first receiving a year-end summary of activities from their direct report accompanied by a personal assessment of their performance and accomplishments.   The personal assessment always feels awkward; people in general do not like to talk about themselves positively because it feels like bragging.   Watch YouTube interviews of the 2014 National Champions The Ohio State University Buckeyes. (I just love saying that over and over).  Urban Meyer, Ezekiel Elliot and Cardale Jones are trained in crediting the team for success, but if these three outstanding individuals weren’t star performers, this Buckeye team may not have won the Big 10 championship game against Wisconsin where they made the case for the college playoffs.   It is not easy to talk about how great you are, but you must! You need to believe in yourself before others will believe in you!

Here are four tips to make your self-assessment easier. 

Restate Activities – If you follow my blog, you know that I emphasize goal setting and action statements in order to provide a clear roadmap for activity throughout the year. If the planned activity levels are detailed and the employee followed then, self-evaluation can be a “cut and paste” with a completion mark at the end. If you followed this plan, your self-assessment is nearly complete.   If you didn’t, go back now and write a retrospective plan.  Add the finishing touch with an anecdotal statement of the quality and timeliness of those activities, and two additional comments describing lessons learned.

No place for self-deprecating remarks – Don’t like talking about yourself? For just once doing your year, get over it.   This is not the time to be laughable or self-deprecating. Use positive action words like completed, managed, delivered and executed, and use adjectives like dedicated, customer-oriented, informative and timely.

Provide evidence that you are accountable – If you were disciplined last year and completed an activity plan, you can now restate it, demonstrating that you did everything you said you were going to do. You are accountable and organized. If some of the activities were incomplete or changed, document why, provide a guess on % completion, and relay how and when it will be completed this year. Show that you can be a reliable producer.

Demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement – End your self-assessment with your plans for personal growth and professional development. Whether you had a modest or exceptional year, there is always something you can work on. Showing your willingness to improve and learn will give you and your boss something to talk about comfortably during your review.

Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1, Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates. To purchase, visit

Can I Shop on #CyberMonday during #Worklife ? Advice about #jobs & #IT policies

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With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, most of us will be picking up coffee on the way into work Monday morning with five days of work in front of us.   However, the Monday after Thanksgiving can also have a “holiday-feel” as retailers hype up Cyber Monday – supposedly THE DAY to shop online.  If you are tempted to browse in between meetings, have you considered whether it is OK to shop online at work?

Every workplace has different norms and policies.  What is your company’s IT policy?  Using company hardware or the web  interface for personal use is often strictly prohibited, or at best, it can only be used for a limited time during the day.  Most companies will have the capability to monitor every email, every website visited, and all documents created and stored on your computer.  One time I called the help desk and the service representative asked me if I owned a Harley (which I do). He had tracked the websites I visited where I was looking for new shocks for the bike. Cyber attacks are on the rise and the company has every right to protect their equipment, their information and intellectual property.  Company security is everyone’s responsibility – not just the IT department, and your mobile device, tablet or laptop may become a gateway for hackers.

In addition to the cyber security issues, we need to be mindful of keeping up our productivity as the holiday season kicks off.  What do you need to accomplish before the work year ends?  Most work place activity slows down to a crawl during the last two weeks of December, so this is your time to kick it in high gear and wrap up some projects.

I suggest making your Cyber Monday wish list tonight, and hitting the GO button when you get home.  The good news about Cyber Monday is that it lasts until 11:59 p.m.  I wish you a great start to the holidays, and if you decide to shop online on Cyber Monday, here is a quick link to get you started!



Summer is slipping by…are you keeping up with your work?


IMG_1415During the summer it is difficult to stay motivated. After Memorial Day, coworkers with families begin to disappear. Both parents ands kids are anxious to escape the routine of school and all of their extra curricular activiites. From June to midJuly, work productivity can slow way down. New employees, who may not have yet accumulated significant vacation time are left behind. The buzz in the office slows down and motivation to keep up the pace disappears. Summer feels like a good time to slip out early and enjoy friends, family and fun. So what’s the worry?

The summer teaser can turn into trauma if you find yourself way behind on meeting goals for the year when up north, the leaves start to fall.  From September to December, the year feels unbelievably short. Hard to count December as a full work month since many people are out once again enjoying the holidays. It becomes a short work month. Projects and deliveries are hard to accomplish after Halloween because frankly, you just run out of time to properly wrap things up.

The best thing to do is to recognize the potential for a work slow down midyear with a little extra effort in the Spring. But if you find yourself after the baseball All-Star break concerned about how the year is passing you by – from a work perspective, it is time to begin climbing out of the hole now, instead of waiting till Labor Day. Think of your summer as a valley. If activity at work declines from Memorial Day to Independence Day, then through each week in July and August, increase your productivity by 10-15% through Labor Day, so you can be at your best during early Fall. You won’t be cheating your summer fun, but you will start climbing back into the full swing of things and be positioned to hit your targets for year end goals.

Stand out during the goal setting process – Step 2


Most companies have a form or a system where employees memorialize their goals.   Sometimes the system or format itself provides so much structure that devising goals becomes more about documentation than ties to actual performance.  Completing your goals is another task you can check off of your list! The act of goal setting provides many opportunities for networking and visibility that most people rarely take advantage of.  The author of this blog is also guilty of this!  View your goals as a contract, between you and your supervisor, another department, or your “customer” which can be an internal or an external customer.  Take the opportunity to share your goal “contract”, and ask for feedback on whether or not the goal and the activities documented will provide value.  By including your peers or your customers in the goal setting process, they will automatically be more vested in helping you achieve those goals, especially if they know they will benefit.