Monday, January 13, 2014

Project cycles

I’m sure everyone has been on virtual tenterhooks wondering if I was able to roust myself from preoccupations over the alarmingly cold weather last week long enough to complete my dreaded annual self-evaluation for work. As it happened, I was so able. A factor working in my favor was that I have finally reached the point where I more or less trust my supervisor to recognize the valuable contributions I make (in the sense that I’m the only person who could make them, given the distribution of professional skillsets) to the contract, and that means that as long as I don’t make my supervisor’s life any harder, he will wave me through with another boilerplate “exceeds expectations” recommendation for salary increase and blah blah blah, every year. I would make my supervisor’s life harder if I failed to complete the self-evaluation by the deadline, or if I completed it only in the sense of filling in every required field with gguyhfuyhgfvhjlbhljgvh or somesuch. So those are the only pitfalls I needed to avoid, and avoid them I did. In fact, I submitted the online self-evaluation form two days before the deadline, so that on deadline day when some of my colleagues were stopping by my desk asking if I could run special metrics reports for them for their own self-evaluations, I was not put out at all.

But, again, I was able to get through the process ahead of schedule because I didn’t put much thought into my critical assessment and description of the year’s accomplishments. The one exception to this was that I was sure to include as an accomplishment my completion of the Big Long Terrible Project that dominated the bulk of the last twelve months. That sucker is done, and it may have been anticlimactic at the time as it was slowly rolled out in stages (all while I held my breath to see if things would function properly or fall apart) but I admit it felt pretty good to stick a definitive fork in it by consigning it to the past tense in an annual self-evaluation.

Meanwhile, I do seem to be settling into a new Work Project So Large It Will Probably Show Up On Dozens Of Weekly Status Reports, but this one has a couple of upsides, at least. One is that it is a team effort, which both eases the burden and helps keep me honest. Another is that it’s not a straightforward task, by which I mean inherent to the task is a fair amount of up front figuring out how the task is actually going to get done (as opposed to something cut and dry with nothing to it but to do it). And I honestly enjoy that kind of visualizing/strategizing and whatnot, so thus far it hasn’t been too much of a trial. Ideally I’ll stick to my new year’s resolution to find a new job and move on from here, before the project descends from idealized modeling of the optimal approach and into ugly reality.

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