Mid-Life Self-Evaluation: okay / sorry / not sorry
I’m turning 34, and reflecting on my path through the world so far. The work I’ve chosen is not getting easier, and one of the few things I miss about having actual jobs is the structure for constructive feedback from colleagues and superiors.
So I put together an evaluation survey (if you’re reading this, I figure you likely know me, so I hope you’ll take a moment to fill it out).
And I also conducted some self-evaluation. Specifically, I took stock of a number of instances in which I received positive or negative feedback, and analyzed it: Do I really consider this positive feedback to reflect a strength? Does this negative feedback carry an important signal? Or is it the kind of negative feedback that one should expect one way or another when engaging in creative disruption, just by nature of the undertaking?
People’s feedback often conveys as much or more about them as it does about you. And at the same time, strengths and weaknesses are weirdly interrelated. So to sort through my reflections, I tallied out in three columns — a kind of plus / delta / deal with it matrix. As I more continue to collect feedback from colleagues and friends, I’ll see what changes. Anyway, see below and let me know what I missed.
|I do what I say I will do.||I start things that I can’t or won’t see through to the end.||I bring urgency to my work.|
|I like figuring out what someone wants to do, and helping them do it.||I tend to push people into situations in which they feel like they don’t have control.||I expect people to be capable of reason and learning.|
|I treat people with respect.||I talk too much shit.||I hold people accountable for their words and actions.|
|I ask questions and listen carefully.||I sometimes respond too promptly, without pausing to reflect.||I broach conversations that others might wish to avoid.|
|I write good memos, emails, and even essays.||I don’t write as much as I wish I would about what I’m experiencing, learning, and thinking along the way.||I live my damn life.|
|I hold a vision in one hand and reach for next steps in the other.||I am reluctant to prioritize some work to the exclusion of other work. FOMO.||I disdain distractions.|
|I say YES whenever I feel like I can.||I don’t say NO as often or effectively as I should.||I often say MAYBE.i|
|I put time into learning new things.||I’ve never really learned another language, human or machine.||I act without complete information, and with a willingness to be proven wrong.|
|I grapple with complexity.||I overload people with TMI.||I suspect that simplicity is not always a virtue.|
|I account for my mistakes and take action to redress.||I hold grudges.||I express disappointment when others screw up.|
|I am conscious of the ‘full house’ that is my hand of privileges.||I perpetuate the white male savior archetype.||I deliberately use my privileges to go places, say things, and take risks that might be hard or impossible for other people — so that we may tear down barriers and lift up marginalized voices.|
|I analyze systemic dysfunction.||I hold people personally responsible for situations that might be outside of their control.||I articulate critique.|
|I’m not a great dancer or anything, but I can get down.||There are reasons why more than one friend calls me Eeyore.||If and when I do get down, things will get sweaty.|