Realpolitik reviews

May 25, 2017

In the article “Take charge to ensure that you ace your appraisal” (News, 18 May), Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman counsel academics about how to negotiate their annual performance and development review. I would like to submit rejoinders to suggestions they provide:

  • Do the paperwork: Bear in mind that the performance criteria, the appraisal process and the self-assessment form will bear no resemblance to last year’s. Check through your deleted emails from the past three weeks to find what it is they’re demanding this year
  • Seek advice from colleagues: But be aware that everybody gets treated differently. It’s probably a good idea to adopt a stance of concealed menace towards your assessor if you want to get through this unscathed
  • Curate some evidence: Are you kidding me? This is academia – nobody gives a rat’s ass about your evidence. And anyway, see the first point above
  • Do some self-evaluation: “If you submitted an outlandish promissory note in last year’s review”, then you’re an idiot. Never include anything in your action plan for next year that you haven’t already completed
  • Use the time wisely: Look, your assessor has 20 other people to see and she’s already missing the Wimbledon semi-finals to fit you in. Just keep it short
  • Negotiate your score: You can bet that your assessor bought all the bragging vomited up by the last unashamed self-promoter they interviewed. You don’t want to seem like an under-performer, so this is no time for modesty. You have a mythology and a brand to create. How do you think your assessor got there?

Liz Morrish

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