Work Goals?
January 23, 2013 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I am supposed to come up with a few personal and a few team goals for a meeting at work. I am someone who always leaves the "Objective" section of resume blank because this stuff is alien to me. Anyone have any insight into management expectations with this stuff?

I work in graphic/document design. I deal with internal employees only, who need design work done for the outside clients. Mostly formatting documents. I've only been here 5 months, but have a good handle on the job and our processes. I can't think of anything that would streamline or make these proceses more eficient, really. The examples my boss provided were from HR and just had things like "Bring in $amount revenue in this quarter" - things that are not at all applicable to my group or job.

Anyone have anything that might serve as inspiration for this? What kinds of things you'd expect your employees to come up with or you came up with if you were ever asked similarly?

Maybe I am overthinking it.
posted by polywomp to Work & Money (12 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
If processes are efficient, perhaps you can work on building a databases of templates to make your own life easier (although this may not work if your work is always one-off) and documentation of protocols etc. NO one in any business ever has their procedures well documented and up-to-date, but man that data is extremely useful if someone is ever sick, quits with less than 2 weeks notice, you need to cover for someone due to an emergency.

You could make it both a personal and team goal- first document your processes, standardize the stuff you work on, and then say 3m from now, work with a colleague to cross cover on their work/document their work. The cross training is usually tedious, but pretty often having to explain your work to someone from scratch forces you to take a good hard look at your process and you find ways to make your own life easier.

Of course if cross training is built into your job description, then it's not so easy to implement.
posted by larthegreat at 12:10 PM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: Well, I suppose there are different kinds of goals. One way to look at it might be to start with the "goals I am expected to meet" -- what it means to be successful in your day-to-day work. A place to go for this is to look at your official job or position description, or what you saw when you applied for this job. Past that, you could have "goals I would like to aim for in the future" -- things you could improve on for whatever reason, or things that in an ideal world would be better or more streamlined.

It sounds like you are having trouble visualizing the second half of that equation. But by examining the first half, you could look to the future and start thinking about the second half. What if you could do everything a little faster so you could build more time into the day for Project X? Project X could be anything from personal professional development (taking an online copyediting class, maybe?) to shadowing another employee to learn about his or her job and how it fits in with your own.

What do you like about your job? Is there a direction you'd like to go in the future -- would you like to train people, or go into management, or work with interactive sites instead of static documents, or what?

The sky's the limit here, but you don't need to be intimidated. Think about the everyday, then think about what you would do if you were in charge of the universe (as it applies to your office). Then try to figure out some steps to take to get from one part of that to another.
posted by Madamina at 12:12 PM on January 23, 2013

The processes that you use, do you think they are documented well enough? Are there parts of your job that are not documented anywhere? Those are my fallback goals when I don't have anything else.

Goals can also be personal development related, such as taking a class or attending a seminar or something. These seem go over best with management when they are clearly aligned with your work, such as a training class in a piece of software that you use.
posted by cabingirl at 12:13 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I should also add that if you're in a place where your job is extremely specifically defined, that doesn't offer a lot of room for expanding your duties, this is still an important exercise to do every so often. If people see you do even a simple job more elegantly and with more collaboration between you and your colleagues, you'll have a much better chance of moving up or elsewhere in the future. Take "easy time" as an opportunity to learn more. It pays HUGE dividends.
posted by Madamina at 12:15 PM on January 23, 2013

If all else fails, my father observed to me once that the key words to use in HR exercises like this are "....continue to".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on January 23, 2013

Personal Goals can be things like:

1. Take Advanced Framistanie Class.

2. Attend the Boondoggle Users Conference in Las Vegas.

The other thing is that these things typically have to be SMART Goals.

Think about other projects you might want to become involved in, or a process you don't know now, but want to learn, or a skill you want to develop (like public speaking)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:21 PM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, these are indeed SMART goals. Part of the problem is that I am kind of sequested in my job; I don't really interact with people except when gathering project details, and there is a list of things that are considered specifically my area (well, my team's area) and other responsibilities are delegated to editors, etc. How much can one expand one's horizons in such a case?

Software training is a good one for personal development. There's a point of no return in learning such things though where one is effectively learning esoterica and processes, rather than function.

There are some good leads here. My introverted self kind of resents all of this thinking "Just let me do my job and stop wasting my time with mumbo jumbo!"
posted by polywomp at 12:29 PM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: We just did this - I'm about 5 months in to my new job too, so one of my goals was to observe/learn a particular piece of my job that I know I am supposed to do when it comes up, but it's infrequent so it hasn't happened yet in the time I've been here.

Others were:
- To meet [upcoming big project deadline] on time and have it meet the users' needs (I believe I actually said "and have them be happy or at least not outside my door with flaming pitchforks" but you can adjust the wording depending on the tone of your meetings.)
- To plan a review of processes sometime in the spring. You don't necessarily have to know how your processes could improve - the goal could be to research this, by talking with others, researching competing organizations, reading relevant publications, etc.

Others' goals were things like reviewing and updating their template forms, taking steps to improve our organization's relationships with another organization that is prickly towards us, providing better training/supervision to our work studies, coming up with better metrics to track workload, learning more about job function X, improving turnaround time, blah blah blah blah.

I sympathize. This stuff doesn't come naturally to me, either.
posted by Stacey at 12:30 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

My introverted self kind of resents all of this thinking "Just let me do my job and stop wasting my time with mumbo jumbo!"

No, that's your common sense self. Don't take it very seriously, and make them all relatively easy to accomplish.

I hate those damn things, and not only do we have to dream them up, we have to update them and respond to them twice a year! What a PITA!

It's all very pointless, but it's supposed to give them the justification for our annual evaluations and (raises?)

Honestly, keep the extra 1% raise and relieve me from the burden of this crap.

Once you acknowledge that it's just some stupid thing you have to do and that it means nothing. It gets easier.

My goals included:

Give 4 presentations regarding the (CRM) in 2012. I got to go to London for that one!

Attend DreamForce in San Francisco. I got to go to San Francisco for that one!

You get the idea. I didn't put one thing on there that was hard or unachievable.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:35 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Career goals exist so that management can feel like you're going to stick around and grow with the company. If you're exceeding expectations, they want to know that you're happy and won't leave for better pastures. If you're kinda new and flopping around, they want to know that you see a clear path to handling the ropes.

So for graphic design, you would want to show that you're interested in developing your skills to reduce time spent working and take on more roles, understanding the business better so that your goals better support their needs, developing management skills, etc.

Essentially you advertise that you are making room for the next big promotion with that company, whether that means sr. graphic design, management, or moving into a different department. Conversely, you make the argument that you are extremely happy at your level and do not need to grow. This is trickier, because it can signal to your employer that you're ready to bolt, or that they overvalue your contribution to the company. And with most careers, there's usually some upkeep that involved just keeping your skills to date either due to technology or regulatory changes.
posted by politikitty at 12:42 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, you don't dislike this because you're an introvert, you dislike it because it's stupid to be forced to invent goals you don't actually care about when things are already fine. Just make up some bullshit with enough corporatespeak to keep them happy and make sure they're "goals" that you can do, and that won't make your, or anyone else's job significantly more obnoxious. I mean, unless there's a legit problem or change or goal that needs addressing.

They're just going to keep making you do this so my advice to you is to make up as many of these at once as you possibly can and save them for next time. Also, whenever you notice something that needs change or improvement- even just a passing thought- and you're going to deal with it, or you have to deal with anything even slightly outside of your normal duties, write it down. If it seems feasable and not too irritating, make it into a "goal" and then "accomplish" it. Then you have a nice heap of accomplished goals behind you.
posted by windykites at 1:34 PM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

At my job, you're supposed to come up with these with your supervisor. My supervisor always decides at least half the goals as far as I can tell.
posted by SMPA at 3:11 PM on January 23, 2013

« Older Am I Being Crazy About Shiny Fabric?   |   Dance dance dance! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.