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Performance anxiety abounds

From the moment we are born until the day we die, someone somewhere is evaluating our performance.

So why, in this era of governmental transparency and against state law, is City Manager David Fraser upset with Tuesday’s open review of his performance?

Before the job-performance evaluations began, he complained, stating he thinks “open evaluations are inappropriate.”

However, City Attorney Dave Olsen, who received far more criticism during his last performance review, welcomed the opportunity, knowing he had listened to what council members had said and made changes.

Good for him.

Fraser, who said council members would not like it if their job performances were evaluated in public, was clearly not thinking about how their actions and work are actually judged every time one of their constituents heads to the ballot box or sits in the gallery during their bimonthly meetings.

Politicians and city leaders are constantly under scrutiny, especially as elections approach. Daily, thousands of calls are made to registered voters asking them who they plan to vote for or to give an approval rating of a politician’s performance. Isn’t that a type of evaluation?

The results of these surveys and polls are almost always made public.

So are many other types of performance reviews, if you stop to think about it.

As babies learn new skills, even something as simple as sitting up, their parents celebrate these accomplishments through calls to relatives and posts on social media.

When babies become children and head to school, star students are singled out to share their “A grade” work with fellow students. In performing arts classes, those who excel are given starring roles and solos. These, too, are public evaluations.

And once those children grow up to become adults and continue to perform in concerts, movies and plays, their performances are regularly reviewed by critics. In fact, critical reviews are often crucial to them advancing their art or getting accolades in the form of Grammy, Tony, Emmy and Academy awards.

Putting star performers aside, on an everyday level people constantly review performances, just maybe not in the same way you would think about what a review is.

For example, whenever a person chooses to buy something, he or she is making a choice to praise the performance of the manufacturer or retailer or service provider. When you get a new Ford or a Honda, you are essentially giving a positive review or vote of approval to Ford or Honda.

Granted, those purchases are not always the best choices and sometimes we have to make repairs or returns. Yet, if you stop to think about it, isn’t that kinda the same as getting a job-performance evaluation and being told there are areas where you need to make improvements?

No one likes being told they are not doing a good job, especially in front of others. Would the complaints still exist if they were expecting glowing reviews? Perhaps. But that should have been a consideration when making a career choice. If you enter the public sector, expect the public to watch and comment on what you do.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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