After a long day of marking, an email one rainy Friday afternoon hit me like I’d been punched in the back. ’It is time to organise your annual review.’
That’s a great way to end a week, and also a great way to end the semester. Annual review time does, of course, correspond with the marking stress fest that is the end of the academic year. It also marks yet another round in the ongoing professional development battle that academic staff face, except perhaps those who have reached the dizzy heights of seniority and are no longer required to care. This year has been distinguished by many professional development requirements, making me wonder where the time to just do my job has gone.
It should be easy, right? Just put together some information to fill in the forms about what I did right, what I did OK, what I ’failed to adequately achieve’ and what I wish to attempt next year. Like many early/mid career scientists, my ego has not yet swollen to the proportions necessary to extol my virtues to anyone prepared to sit and listen. Similarly, I’m not yet comfortable enough in my current position to be candid about my failings. Let me tell you, my plan for next year is largely the same as this year: survival! And I’m going to start with surviving the annual review.
The Undercover academic is a university lecturer in the UK