I am currently stalling in filling out a self-evaluation form at work. I really hate these things. We have two systems--one tied to our salaries and a set of "business goals" that we set up, and another that is supposed to be for personal development. The personal development one is not supposed to have any bearing on your salary, but rather "to help you enhance your knowledge, skills, and abilities through personal development". We are encouraged to include areas that go beyond our current job. This is supposed to be for *my* personal benefit. Yeah right.
I think the idea behind it is good: require that managers provide time for their employees to figure out where their career is going. There are two problems with this, in my opinion, 1) that it is *required*, and 2) that it must involve discussion with your manager. How many employees are going to be completely honest with themselves under those circumstances?
For example, one of my longer-term goals is to find a way to switch to part time hours, or stop working altogether in order to take better care of my family. That goal does drive many of my decisions about training and my career, but not in ways that I'm willing to discuss with management until I feel comfortable asking for the part-time hours or to quit. How do you phrase, "I'm just here for the money" in a way that doesn't sound negative? Another of the things that I've kicked around is going back to school--cullinary school. It sounds like a lot of fun. Again, how do you phrase, "I'm considering a total job switch that would keep me from being employed by any part of this company in the future" on a plan that you discuss with your manager? If I were being totally honest about what I see as my personal development, I might mention that, but how would I honestly be treated by management if they don't believe I have a vested interest in sticking to my job?
When I left my previous job (at 8 months pregnant), my boss said that he wasn't sure if I was planning to come back to work anyway. I had originally approached him asking about taking 12 weeks maternity leave (*not* about quitting after the baby was born--that wasn't even a consideration given our finances). He assumed that since his wife, and many of my (99% male) co-workers' wives, were stay-at-home mom's, that I wanted the same thing. This sort of discriminatory attitude does not appear to be prevalent at my current job, but nor do I want to sow those seeds in case I change my mind later. I don't want to face another conversation like *that* again.
So, having gotten that off my chest, I suppose I need to go evaluate my strengths and weaknesses...