It’s mid-year review time again, and this year I’m resolving to do my review by the date that it’s actually due instead of when I usually do it, which is maybe two days before the actual review discussion. I’m generally positive about the review process but, I have to say, the part that gets old the longer you work here is the “Top 3 Strengths and Weaknesses” section. Back in the “old days,” when I had only been at the company, say, three years, this section was actually a very useful opportunity for me to reflect on what I did well and what I could improve on at a more general level. For example, in 1995, a new weakness showed up on my list – delegation – that reflected my move towards owning more areas in the product and beginning to have some management responsibilities. That was a good opportunity to think about why I had issues with delegation and what I could do about it, above and beyond the more targeted goals that I had for the next year.
But, c’mon. This is my 13th mid-year review and I’m running out of things to say. It’s not that I don’t have strengths and weaknesses to talk about, it’s just that they looks suspiciously like last year’s strengths and weaknesses. And the ones from the year before that. In some sense, over the course of 13 years I’ve managed to work my way through the easy weaknesses and now am engaged in the long twilight struggle against my more intractible weaknesses. I mean, I expect that I’m going to be working on my weakness concerning “dealing with ambiguity” for the forseeable future – I’ve improved a lot in the last year, and I expect to keep improving, but this is the kind of thing that is as much a part of my personality as anything else. Over the course of, say, the next ten years of my life I expect it to continue to improve, but it’s probably going to sit there on my “strengths and weaknesses” list for most of those years (assuming I’m still at Microsoft in 10 years, you never know…).
So this year I’m probably going to end up just copying last year’s list, but I’m not feeling particularly good about it. Nobody likes to feel like they’ve plateaued. So I’m choosing to view it as a sign of maturity. Yeah, right. I guess we’ll see what I come up with next year…]]>