I work for myself so day to day I don’t have the regular office shenanigans but I’ve been there and I recognise this advice from Fast Company:
You show up to the office on time, you’ve never missed a project deadline, and you always refill the coffee pot when you’re done.
What could you possibly be doing wrong?
The mistakes include not asking for feedback except at your annual review – oh, my lights, how I loathed annual reviews. Wow. Flashback. My very first annual review at a company ended with me fighting over every tick box on the form. I couldn’t see why I was being marked down for things I knew I’d done better and it turned out to be an early form of the stack ranking that truly idiotic firms used. (Microsoft used it, then abandoned it. Staff have to be graded as something like above expectations, on expectations, below expectations and it has no connection to how they actually do. Get a team of three dedicated, passionate geniuses and one of them is going to be in trouble because of that system.
With me back then, my boss got progressively more annoyed that I was arguing and how the session was taking hours longer than he expected. I think now and I thought then: tough shit. Eventually he told me that he couldn’t promote everyone, so I wasn’t getting a promotion.
It looked then as though he’d picked me because I wasn’t the sort to complain. But of course I fought and while it took me a long time to get out of that firm, I stopped working that day. He lost a worker who had been exceeding expectations and gained one who did 9-5 for the first time in his career.
So while I’m surprised at the level of passion this memory has brought back – I’m struggling to remember his name, that’s going to bug me – I suppose I’m really saying that bosses can be arses too. And that what goes on in an office is magnified. I’ve forgotten the man but I’ve not forgotten the review and even on the strange contracts I had with the BBC I would have an annual appraisal and I’d go in ready to defend myself.
I want you know now that I never got a review again that wasn’t superb. But the bad one stays. It’s like public speaking; I died at one event and cannot forget it.
But where were we? Fast Company’s list of mistakes you may be making at work – and fortunately how to deal with them all. It’s a good read, I hope it doesn’t bring back bad memories for you too.