Goals. In corporate-speak.

I got a performance review coming up. One of the things I think they’re going to ask me is to name three goals I have for myself concerning my job. I’m very bad with corporate jargon, and I can’t think of a good way to say:

  • stay employed
  • keep earning a paycheck
  • not kill any co-workers in a murderous rage

But really? Those are my goals. There is NO other position at this company I would want to have, and my position isn’t exactly a career track anyway. It’s a job. Just a job. A job I mostly … well, enjoy is too strong a word. I have all the skills I need to do it, so “learning new skills” is out, too.

Would anyone like to suggest a nice way for me to phrase something bland and inoffensive to tell them?

Are there certain types of projects you find more interesting/rewarding than others?

Are there other teams or individuals that you would like to get to know better, do more projects with, or create a new or better relationship with?

Is there external training that you’d like? Forget that you’re already competent at what you’re doing. What skills would you like to have as a professional, or just as a human being? Think along the lines of communications (Dale Carnegie or others), software, business writing, etc.?

Are there professional associations you should consider joining? If you’re not ready or interested in joining any, are there seminars or webinars you’d consider attending?

You want to:

  • Invest in my core competencies so that I can continue to deliver excellent results on my primary tactical initiatives. (AKA “I want to do more of the same”)

  • Develop a results-oriented focus, with an eye towards driving customer value and enriching my contribution to my operational unit. (AKA “but I’ll try hard to do a good job”)

  • Partner within cross-functional teams to create a value-added cultural focus and harmonize within the corporate paradigm. (“I promise to not kill these people plus I’ll think about the bottom line and act like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid”)

One excellent goal is to increase your skills in some area. You clearly want to express it so that it sounds like you are doing this to add value to your employer, but you actually want to make it easier to find another job.

If there is anything you do which is theoretically measurable say you’ll do better, knowing full well no one will ever check.

Does your company/boss have goals? Theoretically you need to align your goals with the company goals - it might not make sense, but it is a good way to write them.

Pure Gold.

Best wishes,

Nit pick: Continue developing - you don’t want to imply that you’re not doing it already.

Wow. Y’all are way better at this than I am. Thanks so much! I just got an email from my supervisor that she wants to meet next week about this, so keep e’m coming, folks!

She phrased her email as “how we can work together to achieve this? What do you need from me? What can I do?” which, while sweet, kinda threw me. She’s a great manager - I don’t need anything else from her. :confused:

What I’ve noticed about this corporate practice of setting your own goals is that it rewards mediocrity. Say you set your personal goal to be able to run a marathon by the end of the year (while starting the year as a couch potato). But instead for whatever reason, you’re only able to run a half-marathon by year-end. So you get marked as unsuccessful, or at best “partly successful” even though going from couch potato to someone able to run a half-marathon is pretty good. So instead, you set as your goal to run a one-mile race.

The corporate goals process is just a subset of the general corporate culture which is built on an eleborate mythology that requires constant phony blabber to comply with.

When you go for your first interview you have to pretend that you’re genuinely excited about working for this particular company in this particular job - you can’t say the truth that you’d like to make as much money per work done as possible and you’d just as soon take another job if that becomes available. And so on. And it just continues on from there.

Whenever the company rolls out its latest acronym-titled initiative or insipid slogan, you have to pretend to think it’s very exciting and likely to be really helpful, even if you think it’s just the latest bunch of nonsense that the empty suits in the C-suite dreamed up to justify their existance and outsized bonuses.

And so you come to the performance review. It’s just more of the same. What you need is to brush up on your corporate-speak blather. Read Dilbert.

A lot depends on whether your particular supervisor has drunk the kool-aid or not. I’ve had supervisors who knew the score and just said “you need to get these key words in there somewhere”, but the true believers are harder to deal with.

One of each, actually. My direct supervisor, as you say, knows the score. Her boss, however - I’ve complained about her many times here - has either drunk the Kool-Aid or is a way better actress than I give her credit for. Possibly 50/50. Her boss - the VP of our department - is also involved in the performance review, so you’d better believe I need to bring on the blather and jargon.

My real issue is balancing honesty with my own, um, lack of ambition, I suppose. I’m the corporate version of the couch potato in Finn’s analogy.

Exactly. It’s that time of the year for me and I’m going to be scored down for not meeting a self-imposed deadline.

Ask your direct boss about what goes on in performance reviews. I’ve been to a lot, and goals were rarely if ever discussed. Accomplishments during the the year were. Someone who hit it out of the park but had bad goals didn’t suffer in the least. In the places I’ve worked, though, things change so quickly that the goals were pretty meaningless by the end of the year.

BTW, that your supervisor asked how she could help almost guarantees that she is doing it already, since that is the way she thinks. If you work with her as a partner in goal setting, she’ll know what her boss wants, and you’ll be fine.

I absolutely agree with that. In the many end-of-year rating sessions I’ve been to, goals were never discussed. It’s a corporate-level thing that you need to comply with.

But if your boss is telling to do it then you’ve got to do it. If you tick off your boss you will be hurt EOY, even if the goal process itself is not directly taken into account.

They may not discuss goals, but whether or not you’ve completed them will figure into the calculation used to determine whether you get a bonus and how much you get.

Every job should have objectives associated with it. I’ll bet you are involved in many processes without possibly even knowing it. Can you share with us briefly what your specific job is?

Lady, will you write my resume and go on interviews for me? “Invest in my core competencies.” This is such perfect bullshit. I’m terrible at all the corporate jargon myself. When they ask me what my weaknesses are, I try to avoid saying “I hate everyone.” Also, when they ask me about my goals, I’m not sure how to say “Get out of this soul-crushing job as soon as humanly possible, because I hate it here, and have only stayed this long because I don’t want to come across as a job-hopper when it’s time to go for something I actually do want.”

This is absolutely beautiful. You should hire yourself out as a resume consultant!

Not in any place I’ve worked - not individual goals. Corporate and major group goals, yes. I suspect if you are high up enough in the ladder it is different.

BTW, I am not saying to not do it - just to not worry about it all that much. Goal setting is a good time to sit back and think what you want to do in the next year, and it can get management buy-in for training up front. But they are seldom if ever make or break things.

ETA: The BS goals are funny, but don’t even think of using them. The real world is neither Dilbert nor Office Space, and most managers can recognize the BS as well as we can. Trying to pass it off as goals will not work very well.

I perform strongest when operating as an individualized functional unit, based on my strengths as a self-starter and aptitude for independent achievement. (I hate everyone.)

I continue to exhibit a high level of commitment to the organization, achieving a demonstrable forward-momentum in my skills-based development, while continuously benchmarking against industry best-practices and standards, in order to better ideate against my future career trajectory. (Get out of this soul-crushing job etc.)

Holy cow. I’m … I’m speechless. Oh, you are good. If I wore a hat I would take it off for you.

I’m mulled this over some more and talked with a friendly co-worker who already did hers. There is, in fact, one other department whose function I wouldn’t mind being cross-trained to do, so I will bring that up. There, something ambitious-sounding!

A slight tangent: If they ask me what I need to improve about myself … in all honesty, it would be punctuality. I’m habitually a little late in the morning, although I stay to make that up if there’s enough work to stretch out. But a tiny little voice is telling me that it’s a bad idea to draw attention to my lateness in the first place. Do I listen? Is it a good instinct to avoid bringing this up?