It’s that fun time of year in my office, time for annual reviews! If you’re anything like me the thought alone evokes a mix of fearful anxiety and emboldened hope. This is my one shot to learn what my boss really thinks of me and my work — for the next 12 months. Annual reviews are the closest things many of us get to report cards in the workplace. We only find out once a year if our boss considers us an asset or just a responsibility.
For 12 to 16 years (more for you overachievers), we as a society are conditioned to complete work assigned to us and await a grade from someone more knowledgeable than us. When we begin working in a “real job”, those daily, weekly, monthly, even bi-annual check points and measures are gone.
With the exception of people working toward strict performance measures or sales, many of us lack regular formal or structured reviews of our overall performance. Sure when issues arise or amazing things happen, we may hear from our higher ups. But it is rare those conversations involve a long-term, track-able plan. “Keep doing what you’re doing unless I tell you I don’t like what you’re doing.”
As I’ve spent more personal time researching generational perceptions and more professional time inching up the ranks, I am struck by a new, slightly concerning question/consideration. Do I require more time, energy, cajoling? Does my boss consider reviewing me to be a special challenge because I’m a millennial?
One of the central themes in millennial-focused media is the idea that millennials want access to and regular, if not immediate, feedback from management. According to a recent Millennial Branding study, “Gen Ys don’t get enough feedback at work and want mentors”. While I’m sure this desire for more regular feedback could be dismissed as immediate gratification or self-importance, I believe it actually has more to do with improving, shockingly enough.
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