Getting a Performance Review

Getting a yearly performance review at your job can seem if not capricious at least stacked against you.

At one corporate insurance job in the 1990s I wasn’t given a pay raise. At all. Zero. Zip. Nada in compensation.

At the job in the law firm library I wasn’t given a promotion. That’s when I obtained my union job. Here the pay raises are set via negotiation for all employees in the union.

Going over my performance review printouts was a case study in how to earn what you’re worth.

It’s been my experience that if you have a union job it’s hard for you to be fired. Unless you have a city job and low seniority and the city is experiencing a financial hardship. Like the coronavirus pandemic that shut down New York City. Then there might be “LIFO” layoffs of the Last in First Out.

Reviewing the performance reviews of two different supervisors can be illuminating.

How is it that one person can give you only a “Satisfactory” overall rating and another person gave you a “+” rating which is better with a few “Superiors” checked off?

You need to have a stronger constitution to deflect not getting a positive performance review.

If you don’t work in a union your job might be on the chopping block in the future if you keep getting sub-par performance reviews.

See: Kennedy Rolland, Florence. The Persuasive Negotiator: Tools and Techniques for Effective Negotiating. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2020. and Dawson, Roger. Secrets of Power Salary Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator 3rd edition. San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2010.

Ideally, you will negotiate a higher salary when the company makes you the job offer. They wanted you and only you. So getting into the habit of negotiating up front is key.

Role-playing this kind of negotiating with a friend or therapist or practicing if possible with a professional could help you become comfortable asking for the money you’re worth.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about creating a side hustle for yourself. I recommend having a second job or income stream to bolster the pay you get from a “day job.”

This is because any time you work for another person your career–and its trajectory and eventual success–is often in their hands.

Finding the Right-Fit Job or Career

It’s a myth that you can do what love and always be paid what you’re worth.

The solution is to have what’s commonly called a “side hustle”–a second job or income stream. In addition to your “day job.”

The fact is that when you work for a business or for anyone else you have no control over the trajectory of your work history.

How to gain control?

To be proactive in choosing a career that is the right fit with your personality.

In this blog I wrote about a year ago about taking a detour.

In my own life I spent 9 years in corporate and legal jobs. The first 7 years in insurance offices. The second 2 years in a law firm library.

Figuring out quick that though the new job was in the library field I wouldn’t get ahead playing by a supervisor’s rules. I was passed over for a promotion there. This turned out to be a good thing.

Today I’m a professional librarian in a public library. For close to 9 years I had a second job as the Health Guide at a mental health website.

The point is I didn’t recover until I found this job that was the right fit with my personality.

Wherever you work whenever you are subject to having a supervisor give you a performance review your career path is in someone else’s hand.

Thus my enduring urge to tell readers and audience members to have a second job or income stream in addition to our day jobs.

The yearly evaluation your supervisor gives you can seem capricious.

Though I favor acting true to yourself I remain skeptical about always disclosing your mental health issue to your boss and coworkers in the workplace.

This is because it can influence how your supervisor rates you and how much money you get in a raise.

Is this universally true? No it is not. Yet it is a distinct possibility.

Coming up in the next blog entry how to navigate what happens when you receive a performance review.

The better you like your job and what you do for 7 hours 5 days a week the easier it will be to take your yearly rating in stride.

My experience has been that different supervisors have different personalities. Their worldview and their own quirks in how they perceive other people factor into how they rate your performance.

I will use a “case study” approach from my own files to demonstrate why working at a job you love and having a side hustle could be the way to go.

Acting with Radiant Defiance

Today I value as I did when I was a disc jockey in the 1980s having the radiant defiance to be unusual.

I’ve read the book The Next Millionaire Next Door shown above. Those of us who are financially well-off have what’s called “social indifference.”

I’ve coined the term “radiant defiance.”

Individuals who have social indifference to the trappings of acting rich become millionaires.

“Keeping up with the Joneses” is the route to a miserable life of mounting debt.

The millionaires next door become well-off through hard work, discipline, conscientiousness, and integrity.

They don’t live in luxury homes in upscale neighborhoods. They don’t drive a Mercedes Benz.

These millionaires are frugal as a rule.

Why am I writing about this? It’s to get readers to value doing your own thing, not what others are doing.

Millionaires don’t follow the crowd. They don’t (and I don’t either) spend time on social media or watching TV. They don’t spend hours getting worked up over political issues.

In short, the millionaires next door act differently from how most people live.

The point is that I urge readers to reject having what constitutes success in America–the mindset of earning more and more money to be able to buy material goods that make you appear rich.

Real millionaires don’t succumb to “affluenza” the disease of consumerism.

Nor does where you start out in life determine how far you can go. It’s the habits you adopt along the way that determine whether you succeed or fail.

In the book shown above the authors corroborated that individuals who have disabilities often go into business for themselves and do quite well at this.

To wit: your SAT score and college GPA don’t correlate with whether you’ll be successful later in life. See under my Book Reviews category my review of Late Bloomers, which also denounced the early “conveyor belt” of SAT scores and elite colleges as being predictors of future achievement.

It’s commonly called social indifference. I call having the guts to act true to yourself radiant defiance.

Being normal isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. What makes you different gives you an advantage.

I’ll end here with one thing the millionaires next door share:

They chose a career that is the right fit with their personality. They saw a need in the market and capitalized on filling that need.

Coming up in the next blog entry I’ll talk about my own work history to give readers insight into how acting with radiant defiance can help you succeed in any goal..

Working Versus Shirking

I wanted to write about this topic because all of us will experience this fate on one of our jobs.

It’s not ever a good idea to be lazy as a coworker.

Doing the bare minimum. Or not doing anything at all.

I’ve worked with individuals who don’t do their fair share of the work. Not only that they don’t do any work. They even try to pass off their work for you to do.

Wait a minute. You shouldn’t be doing your coworker’s job.

It’s a double bind: if you’re perceived as being a hard worker more and more work will be dumped on you.

In Betting on You Laurie Ruettimann talks about this dilemma in detail. I reviewed her book here. You can click on the Book Reviews category to read this review.

Ruettimann tells readers how to be a “slacker” in a good way on the job. So that the pressure you’re experiencing doesn’t steal your energy and sanity.

In an ordinary work day all of us should have the free time to take 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon as a break and breather.

Sadly, a lot of coworkers treat the full seven hours of the day as a “break” to do nothing.

This can be demoralizing. You can be tempted to join them in serenading the water cooler every 10 minutes. Or scrolling your Facebook account instead of doing any numbers crunching.

I say: as hard as it is to work with lazy coworkers refrain from ratting them out to your boss about their behavior. You’re not the schoolyard monitor for a fourth-grade class. You and your coworkers are adults.

For women especially [and particularly at law firms for female attorneys] we can work twice as hard thinking we have to prove ourselves. We’ll get twice as far even though we’re better than the men.

What is the solution when dealing with the not-acceptable kind of slacker behavior in the workplace?

I say: do your job and be great at what you do. Be different. Refrain from being tempted to do the work your coworkers fail to do.

The fact is that not everyone who gets a promotion will be the best qualified. As multiple women who experienced sexism as female attorneys in law firms have attested.

The remedy is to do your due diligence. Research the company you’re interviewing at. Go on GlassDoor to scope out employers. Arm yourself with the typical salary, working conditions, and other criteria.