A performance review? Don’t sweat it!

Caught off guard by a poor review at work, one employee took an approach he’d found helpful during other challenges: He prayed. Here’s some of the inspiration that helped him move forward in a productive way and tangibly improve his performance on the job.

I felt blindsided. Two years into my new job, I thought I was doing well, but my annual performance review said otherwise. What hurt all the more was that I loved the organization I was working for, and the poor review made me feel I was letting everyone down.

After the initial shock, I contemplated my options and considered disputing the review or justifying my position. But I realized there was some merit to my boss’s evaluation, and I ultimately had to resolve this a different way.

As a lifelong Christian Scientist, I have seen many healings through prayer, including those of personal relationships. And at the root of this issue was my relationship with my boss. I enjoyed working with her, but at the same time I was tempted to be angry with her about the review. Recognizing that her motive was to help make me a better employee was a good first step. But it didn’t heal the sense of injustice I felt.

So it was natural for me to take a prayerful approach to this situation. I decided to use my morning commute time on the subway and on foot to read and ponder the weekly Bible Lessons found in the Christian Science Quarterly. Every Lesson is comprised of selections from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. I’ve always found them to be so timely and to provide valuable inspiration.

On my walks I reflected on the spiritual ideas in the Lessons and on the nature of God and my relation to Him. These Lessons reinforce that God made everything good, including man made in His spiritual likeness. This means God did not make poor or ineffective workers. Christian Science also explains that God is divine Mind. As Mind’s reflection, or idea, we each include the intelligence that enables us to do our work well. Qualities that are desirable in an employee, such as patience, diligence, order, efficiency, and thoroughness, are inherent in all God’s children, and we can appreciate them in one another.

I also asked God what I needed to know to be a better worker. Science and Health says, “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1). To me, this meant that since my desire was to be good at my work, I could trust God to help me know and do whatever would make me a more effective employee.

I thought of Solomon, a king in the Bible, who asked God, “Give me now wisdom and knowledge” (II Chronicles 1:10). Solomon was young when he became king of Israel, and he was unsure of his ability to lead such a great nation. However, he relied on God’s wisdom to lead him, and I realized I could do the same. Solomon was rewarded with wisdom because he did not ask for material things such as riches or success in battle. Likewise, I did not want to be a good employee simply to get promoted and make more money. I genuinely wanted to do well for my organization; I knew this was a pure motive, which would be rewarded with the wisdom to do my job well.

This openness to listening for God’s guidance helped me to improve at my job, and I was encouraged by colleagues along the way. While I did not instantly become an expert in my field, I did start enjoying my job more and felt more confident. Before, I had shied away from questions from co-workers about my work because I was unsure of myself; but I no longer did this, because I found that I knew the answers. With the next two performance reviews, I received excellent reports and was promoted.

Fundamentally, our real job is to express God’s qualities, such as intelligence, wisdom, accuracy, and creativity. And as the individual expression of God, the outcome of His wisdom, each of us has the ability to do this more and more each day.

Adapted from an article published in the July 15, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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