Ask Jack: Self-Reviews, Downtime Projects, and Job of the Week

Os looks da série Mad Men  (Peggy Olson)

It's evaluation time for AOL Jobs reader Jared....

My boss lets me write my own performance review. I thought that was a good thing until I watched a recent episode of Mad Men, in which Peggy Olson went to her boss and asked for a proper review of her performance. She believed that the company was avoiding its responsibility to review her performance, thereby avoiding giving her a real chance of advancement. Does Peggy have a point? Should i go into my boss's office and do the same thing?

True story, I briefly reported to a woman who I'd been dating; now that was an awkward "performance appraisal".... Being asked to fill out one's own performance review has become increasingly common in the past decade or so, and frankly, I think it's completely absurd. On the big list of office responsibilities, evaluating performance falls squarely on management's side of the ledger. They get paid more, and that's one of the not-so-fun tasks they should be required to do in return.

So, I say, if you're asked to review yourself, give yourself an extremely positive evaluation. Scale of 1 to 5? Fives across the board, baby. You kicked world-class butt this year; let them tell you otherwise. In a case where you genuinely feel you're due for a raise and/or promotion: 1) list your accomplishments in detail in your self-review; 2) mention the possibility of a raise/promotion in the review; 3) ask for a meeting with your supervisor to discuss the review; and 4) be sure to get a signed-off copy of the review at the end of the process. Then, when you're done doing their job, you can go back to your job: hanging out by the water cooler discussing the latest Mad Men.

Meanwhile, Sammie says:

What do you think of employees who do another job while on the job, like hypothetically, writing a novel on downtime?

Now, Sammie, I can't say that I have any personal experience with, ooh, can you hold on a second? ...OK, so that's two Triple Cheezers, one without pickles, medium Choco-Blocko shake, and large Why-Fries, that'll be $15.62, drive up to the window and please have your payment ready.... any personal experience with sneaking in outside work while on the job. There are hardliners who would say, while you're at work, concentrate on work, and if there's not an immediate task at hand, do related research, organizing, reviewing of past projects, etc. etc.

But I say, write that novel! Of course, make sure you complete all your work-work first, and get it done on-time. (If outside projects start interfering with your day job, that's when problems arise.) But during genuine downtime, I think it's fine to spend some time on something personal, and it'll refresh you for getting back to the drudgery. Plus, writing a novel is way more productive than just screwing around on the Internet like everybody else in your office is doing.

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

For the Resource Director at the Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, there will be performance reviews involved. And when we say the appraisal sign-offs go up to the top, we really mean to the top. For thousands of other great job listings across the country, do your own search on AOL Jobs. We think you'll give the results very high marks!

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