Callaghan: If you have to self-evaluate, at least make it interesting




It is that time of year that every employee dreads. No supply of “just-be-glad-you-have-a-job” reminders is enough to make it better. About halfway through this task, I start to fantasize about the alternative. I wouldn’t have any money and that might be a problem. But I wouldn’t have to write a self-evaluation, either, which would even things out. Easily.

It’s not like what I say makes any difference. My best self-praise never finds its way into my actual performance review. And not once has my self-eval moved my raise from fractions to whole numbers. Yet failing to submit a self-evaluation costs serious points in the “administrative functions” category. And that’s where I usually make up a lot of ground. Best then to just get it over with.

This company values “teamwork.” Give three examples of how this employee exhibited “teamwork” in the time period covered by this evaluation.

There is no “I” in team. There is, however, a “me” if you take out the “a” and the “t” and read it backward. That said, I value teamwork as much as the next narcissist. Over the last year, I (1) high-fived a co-worker after she promised to stop talking to me, (2) always hit the cutoff man when the other papers hit one in the gap and (3) looked on approvingly while my “teammates” took part in the ceremonial Gatorade bath of the executive editor after we won that big award.

This company expects employees to give feedback and receive constructive criticism. How has this employee fulfilled this expectation?

What? Why are you asking this? Do you think I have a problem with criticism? Maybe if you just did your job and stopped bugging me all the time about how I do mine, everything would be fine.

Does this employee dress appropriately for the office?

Define “appropriately.” I mean I nearly always wear long pants. When my socks don’t match, it is not an accident but a fashion statement. I always wear a tie, even on days when I don’t wear a shirt.

Does this employee treat all co-workers with respect?

Yes, except that one guy. You know who I mean. He’s a jerk.

This company values solution-oriented employees who try to solve problems with those involved or at the “team” level. How has this employee worked to further this value?

I feel that everyone on a “team” has a position to play. Not all “players” have the same talent but the “team” is “successful” through the blending of those talents. You wouldn’t want the center trying to complete a pass, would you? I think we all agree that’s best left to the quarterback. Therefore, I feel my special talent is pointing out problems that others can then work to solve. Remember, without problem-finding, there is no problem-solving.

Our employees strive to be punctual and have good attendance. How has this employee met these goals?

I have mentioned to building maintenance many times that I think the clocks are fast. I think that means everyone else is, in fact, early. Besides, Greenwich Mean Time is so last century. And I would have had perfect attendance if it weren’t for my unfortunate string of run-ins with epidemics. I mean, who could have predicted that one person could contract SARS, MRSA, whooping cough, bird flu and brown-bottle flu all in one summer? The New England Journal of Medicine is preparing a case study of me that should make for some pretty interesting reading.

Employees are responsible for filling out forms such as insurance claims and expense reports in a timely and accurate manner. How has this employee met this standard?

I certainly appreciate human resources letting me know that it is NOT OK to list my lawn guy as a dependent for health insurance purposes. Roger has always been like part of the family, but I now realize that the term has some sort of special meaning when it comes to things like insurance and, say, the law. As far as expense accounts are concerned, I now understand that swizzle sticks do not constitute “receipts.”