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Grading and the Workplace January 2, 2009

Posted by A Texan In Grad School in Personal Development.
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My earlier post on Generation Y and the workplace got me thinking about a discussion I had recently with a friend of mine.  Like me, she finished her undergrad in May ’08, but she has just started a research job in television.  We discussed the weird disconnect between task performance and evaluation in the professional world.  The most difficult thing for me to get used to in internships was a lack of formal grading and evaluation.

This is two-fold.  First, I won’t lie, turning something in and then getting a big A on it feels good.  It’s like watching the final seconds tick away on the clock when you win a game.  Secondly, when you don’t get an A, you get told why.  The very first thing I ask about a professor is not how difficult their class is, but what kind of feedback do they give.  If a professor just flips through your paper, then writes B or C on it, that doesn’t do anybody any good.  A good professor helps you understand how the paper could/should have been better.

In the professional setting, managers don’t have time to give detailed feedback.  A professor is paid to grade.  A manager is paid to manage.  the two are different.  But, especially when you are starting out, a manager ought to set aside more time to constructive criticism of your work.  It’s an investment in the company’s human capital.

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