Journeys with Julie-A Life Without Grades

In school, how well or poorly you were doing was easily measured by the grades you received in class. An “A” meant that you should keep up the good work while a C or below usually meant that there was room for improvement. Although these grades weren’t always fair, they reflected how the professor viewed your work and it gave you a pretty accurate indicator of how you were doing in the class. In the real world, however, there are no such report cards.

Now that I have begun my career, a part of me longs for that report card again when it was clear to me how I was doing based on the number/letter in front of me. Unfortunately, what I’m realizing is that, in the workplace, no one is there to score your every assignment or give you feedback on every last thing. Instead, your reward is your paycheck, which reassures you that you are working for something. However, if you’re like me, you crave more reassurance that the job you are doing deserves that same feeling as the A you received in school. To that I have a couple of things to say…

1) You’re a big kid now and you might not always get the feedback you want immediately. There isn’t always some form of instant gratification for a job well done. However, over time, a good employee is typically rewarded through promotions and/or salary increases. But don’t expect that in your first week!

2) Establish a relationship with your boss. If you want a better indicator of how you are doing, make sure to talk to your supervisor or boss who’ll likely tell you how you are doing on the job.

3) Being free of grades is a good thing. Now that you’re an adult, measure your success by how YOU feel about your work. You were hired because the expectation was there that you knew what did and did not qualify as good work. So, trust your judgment.

4) Consider that there’s always room for improvement.Things are ever evolving and there’s always time to change how you’re doing something. Your job assignments are often revisited and improved upon unlike those essays you hand in and are done with forever.

5) There is value in intangible rewards. For me, working with children is my reward when I see how they’ve learned and grown under my care. For others, it might be the feeling you get after providing quality care to a client/patient/customer/etc. This feeling is almost always better than getting an A.

-Julie Wagenblast
Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm™

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