Wednesday, September 12

Big Girls Don't Cry

Once a year, at work, I'm expected to report my list of objectives for the coming year. Six months later I'm asked to submit a self assessment on my progress. It's a nagging process but one that, in the end, proves to be quite helpful. I mean think about it, how often do you look ahead 12 months and list what you'd like to accomplish? It's easy to decide on objectives then forget all about them so a self assessment can be a great time to prioritize.

This year's self assessment is due this Friday so today I sat down with my boss to go over it all. We're expected to have a conversation about my accomplishments then agree on how to report them all. I've had a very good year and am on track to grow my business 11% over my initial projection. Yea me! As a result, my self assessment is glowing. Well come on, if your boss asks you how you're doing, it's a smart idea to drag out the self congratulatory attitude. I believe I used the term "rock star" at one point.

My boss and I had a very good meeting on my progress. The only problem is that I'm under the distinct impression that I'm at the lower end of the pay scale for my position. At the end of our discussion I told her I felt I had performed at a level worthy of at least the mid range of the pay bracket for my position. She immediately agreed. I asked if it was too late to effect the next pay raise period and she said "absolutely not". She was in complete agreement with my request... thank God! I'm so glad I told her how I felt. Our annual raises don't come until next year but I'm happy I spoke up in time to (hopefully) make a difference.

During that conference last month, I learned that one of the good qualities I possess is being outspoken, which is why I have little problem asking for a raise. The down side of being outspoken is that I can be (how can I put this?)... overwhelming. I was in a meeting today with about 10 women. We get together once a month to discuss how our business is going and to share best practices. We have worked together for a while now and tend to give each other a hard time while we learn from each other. Well, someone sent their 22 year old associate in alone with some controversial product. Somebody pointed out that the product had been approved, to which I rolled my eyes and said "Let's be clear, that product got in through a back door, went against our strategy and really screwed a lot of us over." (All entirely true.) I wasn't speaking to the girl but she misunderstood my tone and assumed I was angry at her. I was ticked off at the situation but certainly not at her. Later, while walking down a hall one of the girl's co-workers said "Wow, I heard you really ripped her a new asshole." What?! Eventually, I heard that from every member of her team. Finally, I went over to the youngster and explained that I was annoyed with the situation but that it had nothing to do with her and that I was sorry if she misunderstood me. She said "Well, are you ok now? You seemed really mad." Good Lord! I sort of gave up at that point. I mean, how do you tell a 22 year old to get some thicker skin? This is corporate America. This girl is going to face confrontation from time to time. Later, a friend, who was in the meeting at the time of the "asshole ripping", laughed and said "Ya know, somebody's got to tell her if she wants to play with the big girls she's gotta not take it all so personally." She's right, but I don't have the time or patience to stroke anyone anymore.

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