The unintentional raise

A new job, office culture, team (with 2 staff changes already), and an ever-evolving position had me a little apprehensive about my job review this time. It really didn’t help that I wrote up my accomplishments and had them immediately handed back for revision due to totally missing the mark (how many pages? wow.). I mean when you fail at writing your accomplishments for your review isn’t that a bad sign? Apparently, No.

The review went well, I’m on track, and she likes where we are going building the program. SCORE! I mean seriously, it’s 6 months in and there was a pretty huge culture shock (in a good way) so reading this group isn’t easy for me yet. The thing that got me though was the paragraph summaries of my work. The paragraph format of a “Gold Star” lasts a very long time for keeping me emotionally invested.

Words are my currency and when people customize something specific for me it makes all the difference in the world.

If you are brave enough… ask for recommendation letter. They are awesome as a snapshot in time. I still have some from high school even. My favorite though is from my last position, I asked the boss for a letter for a new project I was applying to. Her letter and her insights into my skills really opened my eyes to change my perspective. Skills I dismissed as “meh” she highlighted with respect. She had me pegged better than I could have described myself.

To me a personalized letter or evaluation with prose translates to more investment in my position than a coffee cup, lunch out, or a myriad of other things. But it’s not just words that matter, it’s a balance of what is most important to me- time off to spend with my loved ones and training.

Time off is self-explanatory but how is training a raise? Training allows me to expand my knowledge, to get to spend time with colleagues interested in similar skills, and honestly to get out of my cubicle. My varied interests are typically considered non-traditional for my position. Allowing me to explore new paths that intrigue me is something I truly appreciate. I understand the value of five work days.  I know the opportunity cost. When a boss trusts me and allows that diversion from the software giant’s checklist of push button courses… that is a raise.

So today was a win- I received the bonus that means the most to me: thoughtfully written words and openness to my eclectic training plan for the year. It’s why I live the gov life.


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