Thursday, February 02, 2006


Today at work I spent most of the day working on my self-evaluation. I hate it. Hate. It.

It's not that I don't know what I did all year or know how to write about it. In fact, that's what I spend the majority of my time doing. I write about what I'm going to do (proposals), I write about what I am doing (analysis), or I write about what I did (reports). So it's really no problem to go back and read all of those and summarize. Objectivity is the easy part.

But then, being the touchy-feely organization we are, you have to write about your competence as well. Not only how you go the job done but what or worse, who, did you leave in the wake while doing it? And no, you don't just get to say "no coworkers were harmed in the making of my year." They ask questions. They make you contemplate life. Ugh.

One of the best and most-hated questions is: What has been your greatest learning experience of 2005? Please elaborate.

Seriously? Do they mean this?

So, being one to over-analyze (it's my job, thank you very much) I listed about 7,000 items that are in the running as my "greatest learning experience of 2005." While I enjoy my job and work my ass off to do it well, none of these experiences happened at work. While I stewed over what to make up for my evaluation, I thought about all those "great learning experiences." And, how they came to be in 2005.

Just a brief glimpse of the 7,000 would include: watching my little sister start her own life and family, watching a family member go through divorce, watching her children go through it with her, watching a friend repair her marriage, watching another destroy herself, watching my grandmother use a walker, watching what would be her last trip out of the house, watching my own mother take on a new love and, to a degree, a new life. There was a lot of watching and I learned.

There was also a lot of doing. I ran, and ran, and ran some more. I ran on rolling hills for miles longer than I'd ever thought possible. I ran up mountains, around lakes and through the streets of my own city. I ran. There was some breaking up, too. I learned that everything perfect on paper does not equal love. There was some losing. I lost bets, I lost at poker (often), and I lost a good friend to a bad guy. I'm still hoping on that one. There was some cooking, baking, cleaning and mending that taught me a few things. I vacationed, I dated, I met new friends and found old ones. I did what I could and maybe more than I should. Yes, a lot of doing that caused a lot of learning.

I learned at work, too. But nothing like this. It just doesn't compare.

Now that this is all out though, I'll just go back to my evaluation. It won't be the same but I'll somehow find a way to write about how wonderful it is to write report specs, learn to code resource management database records and upgrades and patches, oh my!

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