This post is dedicated to a topic that many of us struggle with in our everyday lives – that of expectations. This topic may be a bit personal for the My Fisher Grad Life blog, but it’s one that recently reared its ugly and ever-present head, and I’m guessing it’s one that many of you have struggled with as well.
I was recently promoted at my job after being in the same role for quite some time. I didn’t actually physically move – I am still working with the same people in the same group. The promotion was more of an acknowledgement on the part of my employer that I am a valued contributor to the organization, and thus, at some point must be recognized as such. It came with a welcome title change, more responsibility, and perhaps some more respect from my peers. And, of course, I also expected it to come with a nice financial boost. This is where the expectations come in.
I had a certain percentage in mind for what I thought was a typical, standard promotion. Not having gotten a true “promotion” at my company before, I expected the number to lie close to that percentage. And so, when the number was lower, and even though it came with a good explanation and positive reinforcement, I was upset. I expected something different from what was reality. After stewing over it over the course of the weekend, and discussing it with a peer and mentor, I realized that, in fact, I really didn’t get “the short end of the stick” as I felt I had. Rather, my expectations didn’t match up with the reality of the situation. Another conversation with my manager showed me that, much to the contrary, the raise I was being given was actually quite fitting. In giving me that raise, he felt that he was doing right by me, and paving the road for my continued growth at the company.
I am not suggesting that one should never have expectations. Having no expectations is a difficult state of being, and in fact, can lead to a state of mediocrity. Setting expectations for yourself and others means that you care, and expect a certain level of performance, which is far from being a bad thing. So the goal is not to not have any expectations, but rather, to learn how to manage them. This philosophy is extremely relevant in the WPMBA program. With busy lives, we have to learn how to manage our expectations for ourselves and our peers. Setting realistic and manageable expectations ensures that we will rise to our potential without being disappointed in the process. It’s easier said than done, but I will continue to work on it every day!