3 min read

it’s time to go to war

it’s time to go to war

I received a 2 on my performance review in December.

“Below Some Expectations.”

If I receive another 2 in June… that’s not good. So I’m working on that.

Thankfully I have a lot of support from my manager and I know what I need to work on. It’s mostly around project management/execution skills.

Still, this has been a big freaking struggle for me though and I have decided to be vulnerable and share it here.

Here are some of my notes from this experience:

  • I have so much ego tied to my work performance. Gosh, I was not comfortable sharing this struggle with friends. I didn’t share this much. When I did, I never shared the details. Eventually I did set aside some time to share the feedback from my manager with one friend. When I did I was so nervous and embarrassed. I’ve never been good at sharing problems in the midst of them, I tend to only share them once they’re resolved.
  • It feels good to share your full self with people. I don’t understand how this works mechanistically but I believe if you have vulnerabilities / important parts of yourself you don’t share with loved ones, you might find it hard to feel deep connection and intimacy with them.
  • When a friend has a situation and needs help, ask a lot of questions. IMO you might give the wrong advice otherwise, context is everything. I received some wrong advice.
  • A form of avoidance I have is to ponder other career paths. There’s a time and place for this, for sure. I just don’t think it’s during the workday. Sometimes, I forget that it’s a form of avoidance (for me). It tricks me again and again.
  • I need to be more rigorous about what I liked and didn’t like about the careers I’ve tried. Otherwise, I’m at risk of switching careers when I could have just modified my existing career path. Relatedly, I started keeping a daily journal of what engaged me and what drained me at work (aka a Good Time journal).
  • I’m more attached to money and employment than I thought. In one particular thought spiral, I felt terror at the possible case that PM was not the career path for me (and that I’d have to try another path that wouldn’t easily make money). I want to let this go. I don’t want to be tethered to a job in this way.
  • I see the point of an emergency fund now. And it’s good to keep a pulse on how much runway you would have if you quit.
  • Am I less of a person if I’m not currently a great product manager? No. Yet it feels that way. I don’t know why I can’t shake it. Specifically I feel the need to be “effective” as a human being.
  • Getting up again is not easy. In the trenches, sometimes you don’t know that getting up again will lead to any success. Sometimes truly quitting is the right choice and you’re not sure if you’re in one of those situations. Sometimes, you’ve mentally quit already and need to reverse that mental choice.
  • It’s time for me to let go of my image on a whole ‘nother level. I’ll have to accept that my performance is visible to my coworkers. I’ll have to accept that if I did quit or get fired (hypothetically) it would be visible to friends or others.
  • Grit, growth mindset, high agency. Not so simple in practice.
  • In this situation I was challenged to be kind to myself when I basically objectively didn’t do work well. In this challenge, I found an incredible insight. I learned it from my therapist. Basically, I discovered I have this tendency to constantly run retros in my head (“what could be improved about what I just did”). It’s this problem solving/perfectionist mindset. This is useful (and relevant, considering I had a lot of improvements to make in this situation). Yet, simultaneously, I can hold another mindset. I can remember that I tried my best in the past, with the resources I had. Yes I know I could have done XYZ but didn’t. Still, I tried my best with the energy, patience, wisdom, willpower, skill, resources I had at the time. And that’s all I can really ask for from my past self. Trying my best.

Anyway I’ve decided that “it’s time to go to war.”

I’ll do what I can within my ability and make the most of the situation.

Yet, I want to be unattached to the results.

Who knows what will happen.

All I can do is try my best and accept God's plan.