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Adult Report Cards

March 7, 2013

school-report-cardsI know this will come as a shock, but I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. I’m also a little insecure (I know, I should have warned you to sit down before all of these revelations…), so one of my favorite things as a kid was … report card time!

A few times a year, I got feedback. I got to read, in black and white, what someone of authority thought of me. I got to see if my strengths and weaknesses were recognized, and best of all? There was always a comment section. Someone had to think and write, usually positive things, what they thought about me. Even just thinking about it now makes me giddy.

Some of the joy came from being a quiet, shy, book-smart nerd and knowing that most of it was going to be positive and that teachers loved me. My grades were generally good – so nothing on the report card was ever a shock, and even when I did poorly – my low grade was expected (I’m looking at you, 11th grade pre-cal).

But once you graduate school (and really – elementary school ….) that kind of feedback falls off. Sure, you still get grades, but those handwritten notes about how lovely it was to have me in the class, and the common refrain of wishing I’d work to my full potential — became a thing of the past.

So, what’s a nerdy, insecure adult to do? What clear-as-day metric can do look forward to?

Performance Evaluations! YAY!!!

I’ve been lucky that,,with one major exception, to always have had good or great managers. I have frequent check ins, and just like that 4th grader – I generally know where I stand. But damn if I’m not still addicted to the report card.

I just had my first performance evaluation at the new job, and it was heaven. I expected it to be positive, and it was, but what I really enjoyed was the perfect mix of a great boss, actual “letter” grades and a copious amount of “Erica masterfully does X, Y, Z” and “Erica is a creative thinker who has already contributed A, B, C” — it was just what I needed.

Even the parts that weren’t so positive were expected (because I have a great boss), and I have a clear path to improvement. Just the way it should be.

So, in between official performance evaluations, and subtle begging for positive, written feedback, I’ll have to content myself with hoping that people are inspired to write me an endorsement on LinkedIn (does anyone else love those as much as I do? God, I’m such a narcissist…), and reading my dog’s daily report card from the dog-sitter.*

Do you love performance evals and report cards as much as I do?

*Yes, I seriously check it every single day. I’m such a proud and pathetic dog mom.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2013 12:18 am

    You might be the only person in the country who loves performance evaluations. (Although given how many people have trouble getting feedback from their bosses, you’d think more people would welcome them.)

    That said, I am a huge fan of all feedback conversations directed toward me, and I always wanted more of it from bosses.

    • March 8, 2013 12:21 am

      I know. Maybe I’ve just been lucky to have always received really helpful, insightful evals? Or maybe I’m just so drunk on the intoxication of feedback that it doesn’t really matter what they say, I just want MORE!

  2. March 9, 2013 1:12 am

    I’m afraid I agree more with Alison; it’s rare to find someone who loves performance reviews this much. Most employees and managers I know look toward these with dread and many articles are writing advocating improvements… or chucking the whole idea in favor of simple continuous feedback.

    You have been very lucky to always have received really helpful, insightful evals and had great managers. I had one manager who made something up for the “Needs Improvement” section. When I called him on it, he admitted it and added “no one reads that stuff anyway.” The more common irritation has been managers who hang onto a minor issue that occurred and was resolved months ago, just to bring it up again at review time.

    I’m pretty sure I will never look forward to performance reviews. I am, however, delighted to know that there is someone out there who does.

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