by Gina B.
I become anxious around the time of performance reviews. Even though I work for myself, there’s always someone – a client – who evaluates my work and identifies areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. They’re scary, but I’ve learned to appreciate them. My rating dictates whether I’m regarded as a valuable team member, or a resource to be replaced. It also determines my compensation – the better the work, the higher the reward. Performance reviews flag my attention to work on things that could take me from good to great.
I always wonder what would happen if performance reviews were used in relationships. How many people would get fired? Would we behave differently?
It might sound crazy, but I’ve decided that relationship performance reviews (RPRs) might help a lot of people. Some folks don’t understand what they’re doing wrong, or they have significant others who don’t communicate their needs. An RPR would get to the bottom of what’s important, and each person would be apprised of what it takes to be successful.
Have you ever known the guy who excels at work, but can’t sustain a relationship to save his life? He works diligently to meet his corporate agenda, but his personal agenda is falling short? An RPR could remedy that problem. Maybe he and his next girlfriend should agree on what’s important in their relationship and have an annual or quarterly RPR. Would his rating be a phenomenal “exceeds expectations,” or would he get a crappy “falls below expectations”? Would she reward him for a job well done, or put him on probation and a performance plan until he gets his shit together?
He might learn things similar to what I’ve learned during my many corporate performance reviews over the years:
You have to want to be there. There are obviously positions that we take strictly because we need the money, benefits, stability, etc. The best employees, however, are the ones who really love their jobs and have passion for their work.
Likewise, there are people who are in relationships for the fringe benefits, rather than their true excitement for that person. Either they don’t want to be single, or they’re enjoying the other perks. This will eventually grow old for both parties.
Sometimes, it’s about making the effort. At work, if you try something and fail, you get credit for taking the initiative. Hopefully it was a learning experience and you’ll do better next time. But if you don’t try, you’ll never be rewarded and you’ll never grow.
The same thing applies to relationships. For example, a good friend was very hurt because her boyfriend botched her birthday celebration. It was an important day for her, and her birthday came and went without a dinner, a gift or any planned surprises. When they discussed it, he said he was low on funds and unable to do what he would have liked to do for her. So, he chose to do nothing. From her perspective, he deliberately opted to disappoint her. In reality, she wasn’t expecting an elaborate display. She wanted the gesture; she wanted to feel important to him. She would have been over the moon if he had taken the time to select a thoughtful card and plan an inexpensive picnic. As it turned out, the birthday was an omen. They broke up after she noticed that he had a general problem with putting forth a good effort.
You need to have the desire to be great. On the job, there are people who amble along and are satisfied with doing just enough to maintain their role. They’re not doing anything wrong, but they’re not blowing the doors off with their accomplishments either. On the flipside, there are employees who are intent on exceeding expectations and getting on the promotion fast-track.
In relationships, it’s the same thing. There are people who are content to do the bare minimum, and no more. And then there are those who are going in for the kill. I had a friend who challenged himself to see how many ways he could make his then girlfriend happy. He was addicted to the elated expression on her face and loved the fringe benefits of her reactions. When he proposed, she had nothing to consider. The answer was an emphatic yes.
You have to put in the work. If you get a spotty performance review, it’s up to you to work on the areas where you’re lacking. If you don’t put in the necessary work, you’ve been warned and actions will be taken.
Relationships are no different. If your significant other introduces an issue that you don’t address, you’re communicating that you don’t care. Relationships will only work if two people are invested.
This might be the wrong position. If, at the end of the year, you decide that there are expectations that you can’t meet, or if you’re looking for a promotion that you’re never going to get, it might be time for a career change.
Again, in relationships, it’s a similar scenario. If you’re with someone who is on a different page, and constantly wants things that you can’t or won’t provide, it could be an indication that you need to move on.
Ask yourself – if your significant other gave you a rating, what would it be? If you decide to try a Relationship Performance Review, visit us on Facebook and let us know!