I’ve posted a lot about my job. Earlier this year, I had to conduct my annual self evaluation, which factors into my salary increase for the year. I’m required to rank my performance across institutional metrics and submit the justification to my boss and human resources for their input. If the agree with my responses, my boss will submit the requested increase in salary which will be approved that fall. 

I struggled this year. I wanted to write an honest evaluation, one that called out the conflict I have with another colleague. I wanted to explain why my attitude has declined because of her behavior. I wanted to explain that I’m a nice person who works hard, but that I’ve been saddled with this woman who was, in my opinion, dangerous. Not in the violent sense, mind you, but in the ruining people’s careers and livelihoods because she feels justified in doing so. 

But I didn’t write that. I didn’t mention it at all. Growing up in, and subsequently breaking away from, a dysfunctional, alcoholic household leaves little in the way of patience when there’s an obvious pink elephant in the room. It felt like stifling my karma to ignore it. But to do so would potentially backfire, so I said nothing on the matter. 

On the teamwork metric, I emphasized my work with others, figuring if my boss intended to contest this skill, I would let him make the first move. He didn’t. I also took the opportunity to indicate the shared tasks assigned between me and this shunned person were completed from my end, whereas she hadn’t. I never mentioned her by name, sticking to passive voice statement of fact. 

In the end, the boss didn’t feel like going there either. I’d like to think he was grateful that we didn’t have to deal with it. His review was glowing, and had nothing but kind things to say. Last week my raise came through and it was nearly a full percentage point higher than the standard from previous years. It was much higher than expected and I was very surprised. 

At the end of it, I marveled at how much I stressed this process, worrying I’d somehow be found out as the asshole fraud my abusers have always trained me to believe I am. But, I see how the expectation to sell myself short can be so damaging. My takeaway was to continue my practice of self-care, because the precedent we set for the way we treat ourselves is the standard by which others learn to treat us. And it’s so important to be your own biggest cheerleader.