Week 15: Forget the Million Goals and Objectives

Countway managers received a note about moving into an abbreviated performance evaluation process due August 31st. You may wonder why we are even doing this at all. After all, there is not an opportunity for raises or merit increases this year. What’s the point?

First and foremost, as the Director of Countway, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the tremendous work you have done this past year, especially under the most difficult circumstances. I recognize how disruptive this year has been. During the construction, some of you were moved a number of times before getting permanent office space. No one had the opportunity to get settled before the pandemic hit, we all packed up and walked out the door. Additionally, we had the challenge of adapting to working remotely. Then, there was a flood in a section of the administrative suite which will force several team members to regroup their workspace all over again.

As a result of the pandemic, there is the unfortunate realization of an economic downturn. Some of you and your families are experiencing financial stresses. Schools and daycares closed making it very difficult to manage family responsibilities and at homeschooling and child care while trying to maintain productivity for work. Then there is the blatant racism, police brutality against Blacks, and the documented health disparities related to who gets and who survives Covid-19. And now, we are restarting onsite work at Countway and it’s wicked hot out in June. It’s enough to try anyone’s patience and perseverance.

Through it all, you have kept the library open remotely, providing outstanding services to the LMA Community. Access to our electronic resources, classes, consultations, training, have doubled and in some cases tripled. LMA researchers, faculty, and students have been well-served and new voices have found us. The stories you have reported about helping students complete their thesis project or faculty input papers into repositories for greater access to Covid-19 research are testaments to your work.

So, what I would say during this evaluation period is to forget the numerous goals and objectives we measure our selves against during a usual performance evaluation and focus on the bigger picture. What brings you passion about your work? What is the purpose of working at Countway? As a leader, I have been taking this time to think about these questions myself. I have learned some things about myself and this time has verified some things I already knew about myself and my approach to work. This time of working from home and now preparing and returning to Countway has been a time of reflection for me. It is my hope that you will take this time to think about passion and purpose and not worry too much about checking the boxes.