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Who decides if you’re good enough?

Every time after I finished a course, the participants have to fill out an evaluation.

There are questions about things that I can’t really change, such as the food in the canteen or the fact that there is no heating or ventilation in the classroom.

Other questions are about their opinion on the course, which I have only a little influence on.
I am not saying that I am amazing, but if they would let me develop the course, it would be visually nicer to look at.
Even though I am not a fan of “death by powerpoint”.

Then there are question where they can rate me about my performance and knowledge.
I’ll be honest, this is the part where I am often a bit nervous about.
Often you can pretty much guess who will generous and who won’t.
But I have also been doing this long enough to know that there can be surprises.

Today, was not that day.
This team really seemed to like me.
We laughed and had fun, but since they had a large interest in the topic, I went a bit deeper in the material.
I was confident this was going to be good one.

The fact that I am writing a blog about it now, you can guess that it wasn’t as all I expected.
Now since this were Scandanivian people,  I did know they wouldn’t give me a 5 star evaluation.
But if a Northern European says something is OK, they actually are very satisfied.
So, surely it was going to be 4 out of 5.

My face turned red when I saw some scores of 2/5 and 3/5 on my knowledge.
And even a comment that I couldn’t be taken serious as a teacher.
I somehow held in my tears and kept on smiling friendly.

“I can’t see the evaluations”, I lied, “So is there anything you would like to add to the course? Or any tips for me to improve?”.
It stayed quiet, so I let them go.
As soon as I closed the door behind them, I bursted out in tears.
How could I have been so incredibly off?

Who decides if you are good at something or not?

Are it in this case, my participants?
Can my manager, who has never seen me perform, say anything about it?
Or can you evaluate yourself a bit as well?

I once told my manager that the topic of Electrical Safety is the only thing I will ever be arrogant about.
I am good at it and how could I not be?
It’s been my career focus for 9 years in 3 different major Wind Power businesses.
I have basically seen it all.
And then to be told by someone who only just started in this business that my knowledge is a 2 out of 5?
Sadly, my dick manager will take his opinion over mine.

Self evaluation isn’t always fair.
Not only it is sometimes hard to admit that you need to improve on something.
But when you are stuck in a certain routine, it’s also hard to see why something that always has worked, wouldn’t work now.

Being Evaluated by someone can be nerve wrecking, but if done properly, it can be very beneficial.
But let’s not forget that if you are too hard on people that obviously did try, it will leave a scar on their heart.
And this is yet another one I have to heal.
I’m running out of duct tape.

What is your opinion about who can say if you are good at something or not?

Categories: Blogs

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Me & my Skeptical Heart

4 replies

  1. Wow. That completely crushed MY spirit. I can only imagine what it did to yours.

    Brace yourself. This will be a long comment.

    I wish you were able to converse with these people and find out what they really thought. I’ve gone to presentations after which I am to fill out an evaluation regarding the presenter’s knowledge. Honestly, unless someone asked a question they weren’t able to answer, I would not hesitate to give them a 5. There is no way for me to know what they don’t know. If the presenter has trouble with questions, I might give them a 4. Anything below that? I could not imagine. I mean, after all, you are the instructor. You got that job somehow. You must know something. I am in awe. And not taken seriously as a teacher? Were they 10 years old? I definitely prefer someone who laughs and gets along with the students than an arrogant person.

    Is there someone in the company that you like? Technically, you cannot ask those people about their particular answers. But what if there was someone who would come in after the evaluation and talked to them without you being present. Then, they would take that and give you the feedback. That way, you would know what to improve. And also, it would give others the chance to see if those scores are real, or just a random mark on a piece of paper.

    It reminds me of my recent evaluation. My boss wanted to late me low on efficiency, because they thought I didn’t have enough work to do. Ummm…. What? I had to argue about that.

    Self-evaluations can go either way. I always praised myself, but was told that no one gets max points and that I would have to be Jesus and walk on water. Well, why are there “5”s then? Stupid.

    My boss also mentioned that I did not know how to do something. The reality is that they never asked me to do that, so I didn’t know they wanted it that way. Can you hear my eyes roll?

    Your final paragraph was golden. So poetic. Well written.

    You’re right, we can have a skewed perception of ourselves. I believe in taking feedback from various people. The thing is that not everyone will like you. Someone will always find something to improve in you. It’s up to you to figure out if they are right or not. I am a strong supporter of candid conversations, but I am aware that does not always happen. Ideally, two people would sit down and talk. They would tell you what they think is wrong and WHY. You would then think it over and reply, potentially correcting their perception. Too often we don’t give others the chance to clarify things so we can see their perspective.

    Oh, I just remembered. I received an evaluation for one of my co-workers recently and all the categories were “5”. The overall score was 3. … WHAT? Thankfully, I had this person’s contact information and reached out to them. I was told that the 3 was because they didn’t get to spend enough time with my co-worker. WHAT??? And that’s why you graded them lower????? Now, imagine I didn’t reach out to that person and didn’t get this ridiculous explanation. Someone would pull out my co-workers evaluation and see that they are only a 3 out of a 5. That doesn’t look good, does it? My co-worker would surely wonder about what went wrong, unable to pinpoint anything.


    1. It was terrible.
      He was in my class today as well. I decided that I would do no jokes this time, but also not “give away” any test questions.
      He still gave me a 2/5 and wrote that I did not keep focus on the topic and wasted his precious time.

      I might not know you in real life, but what you said about “confronting” the person who rated you like that sounded totally like you!
      You might try to stay anonymous, but you definitely show your personality.
      It made me smile.
      Perhaps it even gave me courage.
      I might confront this guy tomorrow.
      What do I even have to lose…

      There is a few in the company that I like, but I am not close to anyone in particular.
      I have heard that one other colleague did this, but honestly, the participants don’t really care. They just want to get the hell out.

      I am not so mad that he didn’t like my teaching methods. But rating my knowledge poorly is what really got me. Now I am wondering, why did I try so hard all these years?
      He might have gotten 100% on the written test, but during the practical exercise he was VERY slow and had no clue.
      But did I make him look bad in front of everybody? NO!
      I said down next to him and talked him through the exercise.
      I could have failed him right there and then.
      But back them I didn’t actually realize how much he hates me.

      I hate this “the manager will rate the employee” culture.
      Managers usually have no clue how you perform. They all only care about successful results, especially in the $$$$ department.

      Thanks for praising my last paragraph. I liked writing that one :))

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe that’s his personality then. Some people are just very salty, no matter what you do.

        “That sounded totally like you!
        You might try to stay anonymous, but you definitely show your personality.” – That made me chuckle. This is a great compliment. Thank you.

        Let me know how it goes if you do happen to talk to this guy. I’d recommend taking the emotions out (if you can) and talking to him very matter-of-fact.


  2. You have to respect somebody before you can respect their opinion.
    Also keep in mind they may be getting reviewed about their reviews. I’ve had bosses tell me their bosses take evaluations very seriously, even if they didn’t.


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