Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Self promotion

I've just finished drafting my personal assessment of my work performance for 2008. It's an annual year end appraisal exercise. I will need to send my personal appraisal to my manager, have a conversation with her and then she will take it to the management with a grade for my performance. This grade will determine how big/small a bonus I am entitled to! So, it's essential I "win" her over in order for her to agree with me that I am a valuable asset to the company.

I've been working on this draft since Monday and had to put it off as work demands increased. I worked on it all of this morning from about 7am till an hour ago (of course, stopping every now and again to get some work done!). It's an uphill task for me. As you can guess, I'm not good at "selling" myself. Some folks do it naturally, being able to sing their own praises and blow their own trumpets triumphantly - toot…toot…toot.

When I was younger, Mum used to tell me that if I work hard, people will recognise that and will reward/appreciate me accordingly. I have lived by this belief for as long as I can remember. As much as I love Mum, this advice hasn't served me well in my own career path. In the corporate world, you are not judged by the work you do but by how well you packaged yourself. I believe that this isn't just a unique feature of the company I work for but is prevalent everywhere.

As I was busy trying to "package" myself by using sentences such as "I have successfully done that…", "I enabled this to happen…", "Given my expertise, I built upon…", etc., I hear this voice in my head and it sounds very familiar. It's the voice of a difficult superior I deal with on a daily basis (he's a manager from another department). I hear his voice challenging every positive thing I write. "No, you didn't do that", "No, you weren't proactive enough", "No, it was you who caused the delay" and the tiresome voice just goes on and on!

I had to take a breather and call DH at work. DH took 15 minutes out of his busy work schedule to reassure me of my strong points and gave me pointers to refocus my thoughts.

It worked and I managed to silence that voice. This whole incident made me think about another voice which is always in my head and this time, it's a feminine voice. It's my own inner voice. My own inner voice of negativity, of low self esteem, of self pity.

I've often let this voice sabotage my own happiness and skew my perception of my self worth. I've recently made a decision not to let this inner voice get the better of me. I intentionally "switch on" and tune in to a more positive mode of living. Like switching on a light switch, I switch into a positive mode whenever I am faced with a difficult, stressful, annoying and frustrating situation or person. It's not easy but instead of getting all uptight and wound up or starting to blame myself or others or losing my temper or wallowing in self pity, I stop and ask myself some questions.

"Is it worth it for me to get so upset?"

"Will being negative solve anything?"

"Will this matter to me 1 year from now, 5 years from now?"

I don't have a standard set of questions but as soon as I am able to switch into this mode, my outlook changes. It's akin taking a step back and reevaluating it from a more objective perspective.

I'm not saying that I have this act nailed but I am determined to continue practising it. It's definitely better than giving up and listening to my negative inner voice.

Now, I've got to draft the email to send off my personal appraisal to my manager…I am woman, hear me roar…heh heh…in a quiet confident manner, of course! ;)

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