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Career Corner
Review yourself

(The American Salesman) -- From time to time -- maybe once a year -- you may want to give yourself a job performance appraisal.

For one thing, it may help you prepare for a formal review by your manager, if your employer conducts these regularly.

For another, it could help you see yourself as your manager sees you -- and, thus, enable you to decide whether putting in for a promotion or raise is justified. At the very least, it can give you a feeling about areas you need to shore up to make you worthy of a better job or a pay increase in the future.

A self-appraisal will work best if you put it in writing. Think back and list your strengths and successes, your failures and weaknesses. Then, put your first draft aside for a day or two and come back to it, perhaps several times, until you are satisfied you have touched all bases.

To make such an appraisal worthwhile, though, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to look at yourself critically. Making excuses or glossing over faults will render the exercise meaningless, a waste of time.

But don't be too hard on yourself. You should make allowances for circumstances beyond your control -- as your manager probably would. Changing conditions or unforeseen developments could make it impossible to meet target dates. But don't let yourself off the hook too easily, either.

Here are the questions you should be asking:

Overall, how have you been doing your job? Have you lived up to your manager's -- and your own -- expectations? Have you been accomplishing what your job description calls for? Did you accept the responsibilities prescribed and did you fulfill them?

How did you do on major, specific assignments? Did you comply with all requirements? Did you meet all deadlines? Did you have to be prompted or reminded to get going?

Have you improved on the job, learned additional skills and taken on greater responsibilities?

What can -- or should -- you do in the future to improve your job performance? Be specific.

After you're finished, ask your manager for a few minutes for a private discussion of your job performance. See if this appraisal matches yours. If it does, you may be ready for bigger and better things. If it doesn't, you may want to do some rethinking about what you can do about any shortcomings that are pointed out.

(c) 2001 The American Salesman

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