Recently at work I received my 1st quarter PE (Performance Evaluation) from my Manager. I've never received a quarterly PE before as a Supervisor, so I didn't really know what to expect. On my first reading of it I was moderately disappointed. Sure I was rated as "Meeting Expectations" in all categories. But in each of the last two years I have received an Annual overall PE rating of Exceeds Expectations ... so this felt like a huge step down.
I wondered what I was doing wrong. I wondered if my new Manager (we've only worked together for 3 months now) was disappointed with me. I wondered if this was going to be a terrible year where I was not going to be recognized for the hard work I always strive for. I wondered if my previous Manager had been too generous in his assessment of me.
And I wondered and wondered and wondered.
I lost some sleep over it. I never shed any tears, but my emotions were stronger than I expected. I sought counsel from peers and a former Manager (not the one who gave me exceptional reviews). I re-read the PE and tried to look at it through different eyes. But nothing seemed to help.
Today I met with my Manager and we discussed it. Long story short, I was getting worked up and worried over virtually nothing! He reassured me of my good works and helped set expectations for how to get to "exceeding expectations" by the end of the year, if not within the next quarter or two.
So why didn't I have faith that this was going to turn out okay? Why did I just assume the worst possible meaning? Why did I labor over how to approach my Manager for clarification? I don't know. But the experience has taught me some valuable lessons, both as a receiver of PEs but also as a giver. I think I'll do a much better job empathizing with my direct reports than I have in the past if and when they have strong emotional reactions to their PEs.
And maybe, that was the point of the whole experience ... everything happens for a reason!