I have also heard you spend too much time chatting with customers about topics not related to work. And havent you spent a lot of time on the phone recently during office time?
I felt blindsided by this. Where was this business about being too chatty with the customer and being on the phone during my review?
Well I thought it was important to build relationships with the customer and as for the phone, we are building a new house and it is taking some time during the day.
Now I was on the defensive. This wasnt going well.
He leaned forward, folded his hand across his lap and smiled.
Your job is to write code. If the customer likes your code, then you are doing your job. And you need to build your house on your own time, not the customers time. I thought arguing about this point was useless, so I went back to my coding ability.
You said I was creative with my coding, right? And my assignments are always done early, unlike many of the others on the team. I know my skills are more advanced than Joey (the new hire) and yet he got a bigger increase than me! Why?
He produced another thin-lipped smile and said, Thats true, however, your assignments are easier compared to the others. And the others have more years of experience than you. As for Joey, his six month increase was negotiated when he came on board.
Damn. Okay, I was going to make one last push.
I understand your points and appreciate your honesty, but I dont believe Im getting enough credit for helping the other developers. And why not give me harder assignments so I can prove I can excel at them?
What I wanted to say was More honest feedback would have been appreciated during my review! But I chickened out.
My manager said he would think about it and get back to me. He thanked me for returning the spreadsheet and reminded me to keep the information to myself.
In retrospect, there were some lessons learned that I have applied in managing my teams and in my personal career growth.
1) It would have been helpful to have peer input to annual reviews so my manager would have had insight into my helpfulness to fellow developers.
2) If a developers deadlines are easily met, dont wait for them to ask for more work. Instead, push them to excel by challenging them with more difficult work.
3) Dont hold back on providing constructive criticism during reviews. Its a managers responsibility to have these tough conversations.
4) There will be life events that require some more personal time during business hours. Ive learned to be more flexible and worry more about managing based on outcomes.
5) A developers best chance at achieving a maximum salary increase is to negotiate during the hiring process. Once you are on board, you are at the companys mercy unless you bail.
How did it work out for me? My manager came back with an extra two percent increase and did provide me with a more challenging workload. Sometimes I wonder if he did it because of my great arguments or to ensure I would keep the salary information to myself.
Oh, one last lesson learned. Always double check annual review printouts to make sure there arent any extra papers stuck together.