I'm Nahuel, and these are my work experiences, ideas and thoughts as a web developer working on the eCommerce industry.

#Work experiences
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Prepare your self-evaluation before your performance review

Prepare your self-evaluation before your performance review

Don't we love having a good performance review, from our bosses to ourselves, every now and then? Of course we do! Is that moment were we get to be told how great of an employee we have been (finger cross that's the case) and to potentially get a salary raise (and I don't have to ask how much we love that).

Thing is that our performance review, appraisal, catch up, or whatever you would like to call, it is about having a conversation where you should also bring something to the table.


This is an opportunity to not only get feedback from your company, but also to help shape your role into it, to define a roadmap for your own career for the next cycle up to, let's say, your next performance review.

When you are not part of this conversation, when you are just a listener, you leave your future in the company up to whatever other decides for you. If you are "sort of lucky", the company you work for might already has defined a plan for you, and if you are "very lucky" you will like that plan. You would be betting, twice.

But, again, that's oddly the case when we don't have a say for our career.


What I like to do for basically all meetings I have (and my performance review is no exception) is come prepare with notes and bullet points to discuss.

For this particular scenario I recommend doing a self-evaluation, ahead of the meeting, to know were we stand and were we would like to go from there.

Depending on our role in the company we can also cover where the company stands, where we would like it to go, and how we think we can get there.

Average is officially over, so don’t be that at work
There was a time when you would learn a skill and that would be enough to succeed, but nowadays what you learn has an expire date as much as the milk in your refrigerator.

I divide my self-evaluation, self-assessment, auto-evaluation, or, again, whatever you would like to call it, into different sections starting with "What I like to do and what I don't like to do".

This is a reflection time opportunity for me to know, up to this moment, after everything I went through from the last catch up, of all the things I've been doing so far what I actually like to do, and if I think I would like to continue doing them.

For example, let's say I've been doing a lot of documentation since the last time we had a catch up. Did I like that? Or was it more of an emergency role I had to take on that I would like to dodge from now on? Can I think of any available role I might like to fulfill with this skill that I think I'm good at and also like to perform?

The "what I don't like to do" part is to identify if the tasks I've been performing were those sort of a one-time-only tasks due to an emergency, or if they are in fact part of my job description.

If the stuff you don't like to do outnumber the things you do like, then you have a bigger problem here. But that's just another good idea for doing a self-evaluation: you can get yourself aware of how happy (or not) you are at your job.

The second section is called "Things I should put more attention at", which basically means "what I've been doing wrong" (but let's keep a positive tone here and not sound that radical). Now is when I need to be truly honest with myself in order to be able to identify where I have room to improve at work.

It's not only about telling where I could be better, but also to discover why I wasn't doing my best so far, and what I think could increase my performance on these areas.

I consider important to demonstrate that I'm able to tell when I'm not at my best before somebody points that out to me, and that I'm also capable of being part of "fixing" this situation with ideas and suggestions of my own.

Third section is about "Things we should keep an eye on", which involves the company itself and it's my chance to talk about how I see the place I work in.

You are, supposedly, at a different position than your superiors, therefore you might be able to provide another vision at how things are: what do you think the company is doing well, what things would be good to avoid losing, and what things do you think the company should put more effort in.

Clearly, this would be attached to your bosses' willingness to get some feedback on a meeting designed mainly to provide it to you. But, if you have the chance to give it a shot, just go for it.

Since my role is more technical I do have a fourth-ish section which is more like a twist for the last one, and I call it "Things we should keep an eye on... from a technical point of view" (the title speaks for itself).

This is my opportunity to say where I would like things to go, for the company, on the technical side, which is allegedly my area of expertise.

Following on the example of me doing a lot of documentation, I can bring ideas on how we can make this behaviour part of the company's culture.

Up there you can see a real self-evaluation I did on March 2019 before a performance review I had, and two more on the sidebar.

Keeping them works as a log to retrace my steps when I feel overwhelmed to assess if I'm on track regarding my latest self-evaluation of my performance or if I need to adjust something.

Basically, my idea is to avoid working blindly from one catch up to the other.

Screwing up badly at work

Screwing up badly at work

Recently I changed some configuration on a client's site that triggered thousands of emails to different customers, forcing our client's Customer Service to handle the same amounts of customers calls on a day that they would have on a normal week, and finally having our client writing an apology email for all affected users saying that there was no data breach in the site.

It was a long day.

Admit it

Shit happens, and people make mistakes. I did on that occasion, I probably will again in the future or somebody else will, but I will be happy if we as a team don't make the exact same mess I did.

The first thing to do when you screw up is to admit it: tell somebody that you screwed up and tell that person how you screwed up exactly.

If there's a big problem, and you alone caused that problem, chances are people will be chasing ghosts to fix something they won't understand completely how it started (if you don't come forward and tell them exactly what happened).

You are the only one that knows, basically (until everybody finds out).

The idea is to change everybody's mind from panicking about a mystery error to focus on how to put down the fire and doing some damage control. Back to my example, everybody was wondering how the emails went out but when I told them it was me changing a setting then everybody move towards finding a solution (emails were still going out at that point).

Really, trying to cover up something is really a stupid idea because, again, shit happens and it shouldn't be the end of the world, and people will find out rather sooner than later.

Say sorry as you should be

Being on the defense on this type of situations is pretty common, but you shouldn't be. You made a mistake, you admitted it, now apologise without making excuses or blaming something (or somebody) else.

As individuals and as a team we should learn some stuff starting with the fact that human error is an actual thing. Saying sorry is as important as learning to accept someone's apology.

Keep in mind that if you didn't screw up this time you could be the one causing the mess next time, so don't believe you are so perfect. At the same time, if you were the cause of all the problems today, relax, somebody else will take the leading role next time.

Not the same mistake twice

When the adrenaline is over and the problem is solved do everything within your reach to avoid the same mess to repeat itself.

Let's try to have new problems, not always the same ones (it's boring that way).

While all human errors can't be eliminated (unless there's no human in the equation) we can always reduce the chances for them to happen by identifying what mechanism we (the team) can put in place to prevent them.

Back to my emails, the setting I changed wasn't on the Live site but on a testing environment, that happens to contain real customer data. In this case the problem was on how we create those testing environments (a fault on the process we have in place for doing that).

The problems could be prevented by improving the processes, adding any necessary documentation, and most important by spreading the information across the team.

Learn from a mistake is not a cliche phrase but instead it's something "tangible".

If you really learned from a mistake you will ended up with more documentation available to the team, a better process in place, and everybody informed of what happened and what can be done to avoid it happening again.

Always keep in mind that La La Land was announced the winner of the Best Movie category in the The Oscars ceremony because somebody handed the wrong envelope. And they improved the process for the following events.

No more bs against working from home thanks to a pandemic

No more bs against working from home thanks to a pandemic

It's still amaze me, you know, and hit me by time to time when going to sleep or taking a shower, a "" moment, like a slap from reality: the world pressed pause a few months ago.

Not a bunch of countries, not a far far away continent. The whole world stopped because, well, you know what happened: Coronavirus.

Companies reorganized quickly to continue working with their employees from home... Well, they were forced to act quickly to be honest, not like they went through a deep analysis about the pros and cons of a remote scheme for their staff, no meeting between HR and the business management branch happened at all.

The bs was cut immediately, the scepticism towards having people working from their homes disappeared. It had too, because Plan B was to close until further notice, so the discussion about it became pointless, and frankly nobody has nothing to lose. Wasn't that beautiful?

Month ago this was considered only a benefit a company would offer, or a sometimes exception for particular circumstances. Internal company processes would decide how and when somebody could work from home like, for example, one day a week after three months in the company, and two days a week after a year.

It sounds crazy now but we all, at every level, agreed to that scheme.

Work from home forced itself and nothing bad happened, nothing catastrophic at all. Objectives are still being reached, and, most important, employees don't sleep the whole morning pretending to be online on Slack, which I believe was the biggest fear of them all.

I found it interesting that even on very objective-based companies, when thinking about offering the possibility to work from home, the mindset changes to a time-based one. In an office we thought about what to accomplish when (objectives), but then when talking about remote working we thought about how the time was going be consumed without direct supervision.

We trust developer with Live server side credentials, but oh no home will make them Facebook too much.

And even today, with a lockdown in place and a forced work from home scheme, even if an objective is not reached you know that's not because the employee is working to close to the bed. It's always something else.

You are quarantining yourself now, and everybody in your company is doing it too. Work from home is happening whatever you planned it or not, so it might be time to fully embrace it. Take the (forced) opportunity and make it a permanent thing.

It is a chance for us all to recognize that working from home is as possible as working from an office. And, sorry, my experience is always based on my role as a web developer so my focus is pointed in tech-related companies, but you can decide if this whole concept applies to you as well.

I worked, until now, as the only one remote developer of the company I'm part of, and the rest of the team was based in UK, working from a beautiful office in London. Now everybody is remote, everybody now works from their homes, and the office is entirely for a fridge they already planned to set on fire because God only knows what have been left inside months ago.

Again, nothing changed from the day to day operation of the company, there's no trough at all in the productivity graph. If anything, I think people is working more because nobody is used to work from home, yet, but that's a problem for a different post.

Having a successfully work from home lifestyle
Working from home is the new normal, get used to it and get ready, because what’s now a benefit will be a requirement in the not too distant future.

It was discussed internally, basically, the feelings towards this new forced normality, and while everybody misses the office and the social side of it, all of us are considering working from home a positive thing. Even one admitted that during lunch time takes a nap, which is fine because who cares if you are delivering at the end.

It was also raised that we might not seen us working from home, without going to an office, for ever, so I'm sure flexibility is what's coming after everything that's happening comes to an end.

Let me be clear that flexibility doesn't mean an extra work from home day to your now old internal company process. Flexibility means having an office, and go there if you want. Nothing less than that, which is perfect, which is good, fine, there's nothing wrong with that. We should have learn that already.

Imagine a hot seat scheme, with a few desks for those wanting to leave the house some day, or a more co-working spaces-based normality.

I don't know, I'm brainstorming, this is my first pandemic, but I'm sure that those, somehow still appearing, job offers from LinkedIn offering something like "2 work from home days a week" as a benefit are hilarious now and they should have gone already.