Thursday, May 15, 2008

Diffident

I am diffident. Or so said my boss, during my annual evaluation session, which was done today. 

Evaluation sessions have to be the most awkward of social situations possible. You have your bosses in front of you, and you have to endure an hour or so of criticism (usually constructive and good-natured) while trying very hard not to shout back (for some), to cry (for others) or to turn beet red from the embarrassment of having so many people talk about no one else but you, in front of you, non-stop (for me).

I was quite happy with my evaluation: I have "grown very much", I am "a joy to work with", "eager", "confident", "hard-working", "adaptable" and "intelligent". As expected, there were the criticisms (which I don't mind, really):  I need "to do more deals to properly develop the skill set", be "more proactive and assertive" and "think of how to grow the business."  

What caught me off-guard was however a remark by big boss, who said that I am (insert British accent here) "quite diffident". He said that people thought I was "very quiet and reserved", and that I needed to speak out more and let myself be heard. To help cure this, big boss suggested I give a presentation to the rest of the department on English finance law versus New York finance law (You can imagine my immediate panic. Lecturing to a room full of lawyers with profiles as varied as the United Nations General Assembly! Gaaah.) 

Never thought of myself as quiet, but maybe I am. J., who I had lunch with, suggested that maybe its an East vs. West thing - I am one of the few real Asians in the department (the other Asians were born and raised in the West) and everyone else is used to speaking their mind.
But then again, maybe its just me.

I'm going to practice not being diffident. I am me, hear me roar.

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