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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris


Do you ever have those tasks, personal or professional, that will drive to complete any other task before the ones that actually need completing? I’m talking will clean the end of summer grill at a community park with a toothpick before painting a room, packing a box, filing taxes….we all have those dreaded, bane of our existence responsibilities.

Personally, I am letting a dreaded professional task drive me to complete some unnecessary tasks around the house. My annual review at work is due tomorrow; this morning I have organized the cabinet in my kitchen that contains all of our cups and water bottles. This cabinet is always slightly chaotic. It does not matter how many dedicated water bottles I have purchased my children; ransacked with finger print proof left behind, the chaotic cup cabinet is decidedly how you get to Narnia. It has been this way for three years…Digory Kirke will have to forgive me.

In the 16 years I have received “annual reviews” they have, always been, for the most part banal. I am a solid performer, check the boxes, and go about my merry way. I have truly enjoyed the bosses I have had the opportunity to work for, with some exceptions. For those who know me, you would never describe me as corny or hokey. I am cynical and skeptical. With that being said, I truly love my career. When people ask what I would do outside my current professional niche, I cannot answer the question. I am literally at a loss for words. Maybe I would be a full time writer, maybe I would plan intimate dinner parties, and maybe I would become a park ranger, who knows…

Establishing my “connect to purpose” is crucial to my success. Getting me to complete something without a connection is useless. My family has to be close to naked status for me to do laundry. I. Hate. Laundry. Washing, folding, sorting, ironing, blah, blah, blah…it is miserable. I would rather clean the grill at the community park. However, I do it, because public nakedness is frowned upon and would likely traumatize anyone I would come across.

This past year my career has been pivoting while still in healthcare and academic medicine, it has not been fully in the world I have called home. While I had hoped to get my feet under me a little better, it has been rocky. It has been hard for reasons that should not be making it hard. It has been challenging in all the wrong ways. Yes, I have absolutely had successes in arenas I have never set foot in before, which is great. I am proud of myself for that – for those wins. I have pushed hard this past year. Harder than even before, trying to chase that connection, attempting to tackle it with the force of Ray Lewis; yet, as hard as I have worked, it has not felt like a great year. I feel like I have yet to figured out the combination on the lock, or maybe I need a key, perhaps a spell and magic wand.

I have never been at a lost for what to answer in terms of what goals you reached, what areas you want to develop professionally, what company values are you aligning with and representing. Sure, I could wordsmith, turn it in, and call it day. That is not my style. My reviews are obnoxiously laid out and organized, quantitative examples provided, ridiculous. Right now, I can only think of snarky comments and a professional goal of hand counting the number of cells in an Excel worksheet. I already know the answer (17 billion plus…) but still seems like a solid goal. I doubt any of my colleagues who share my boss would write that down, so I am going on the platform of originality (or insanity). Most likely the latter.

Perhaps being a park ranger is my next step professionally, likely not. I don't know one snake from the next or what bear you run from versus climb a tree. Maybe these could be my professional development goals, how not to die in nature, seems valuable. Not applicable, but useful none the less. And learning how not to die in nature will be how I spend even more time avoiding writing my annual review. Relearning my passion and purpose within my profession has clearly pushed me towards (or well off) the platform of insanity.

I have 35 hours left until HR says evaluations are due. l. So far, I have written a blog post and organized the pathway to Narnia. I’m sure my charming overthinking self will spin the annual review questions in my head for at least 18 more hours until it really is the final countdown. Perhaps I will figure out the combination, magic spell, or find the lost key via a secret treasure map by morning.

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