Greetings loyal readers. It’s that time again. Time for one of you, the people to ask me, the voice of wisdom (you poor souls) a question and have it answered in a legally questionable way. Today’s question comes from Angelina Jolie (which, I suspect, may not be her real name) who writes: Hey Jack or Rob or whatever you’re calling yourself these days, my LPO just tasked me to write my eval. Isn’t that his job? How do I go about writing an eval anyway?
What a great question. Writing a performance evaluation is one of the most important and most difficult tasks you will do in your naval career. The Navy uses your periodic evaluation when selecting you for competitive orders, to assign points for the advancement exam, and, when you get more senior in rate, at the selection boards. Additionally, after your military service is complete, the civilian world also uses it to see who is dumb enough to submit their eval as part of their resume.
Let’s answer your first question first. Isn’t it your LPO’s job to write your evaluation? No. It’s your job. I know it seems logical that your leading petty officer would write an evaluation on your performance, since as your boss, it is kind of his job. In fact, this is not the case. Your LPO has no idea what you do most of the time. Sure, he knows what he told you to do at quarters in the morning. But he has no idea all the hell you had to go through to accomplish those tasks.
For example, imagine your LPO has tasked you to run an aloft chit. So you went down to CSMC and found out that they didn’t have any of your personnel’s aloft qualifications. So you had to go to your workspace computer to log on to RADM to print out your quals. But the computer was being used by the RPPO to order supplies (for which there was no funding and were not even authorized aboard ship). So you went down to the engineering log room and paid (yes, you actually paid with your actual money) to use one of the 3 (completely free) engineering department computers. But while you were still logging on to the network the Top Snipe dragged in the engineers to yell at them because they screwed up clearing the danger tags on the engines and told you to get the *@%# out of the log room. So you went to the boatswain locker and convinced the BM2 who was watching YOUTUBE videos, to let you use the computer. But then you realized that you were still logged into the computer in the log room and the network wouldn’t let you log onto another computer. So you went back down to the log room to log off the computer and the Top Snipe took a break from yelling at the engineers to yell at you for your failure to follow simple instructions. Then, when you finally got logged onto the network you found out that RADM was down for maintenance. So you went down to Radio and had convince the ITs to bring RADM back online. After you finally printed out all your aloft quals and delivered them to CSMC you found out that they were not authorizing any aloft activities today because the engineers are lighting off engines (which turns out to be the reason the Top Snipe was yelling at the engineers).
Your LPO doesn’t know any of this stuff. Your LPO has a half dozen collateral duties to worry about and when it comes to your job is mostly concerned with you getting it done and keeping the chief off his back.
Another reason you need to write you own eval is for practice for when you are an LPO. Eventually when you are running a division you are going to have to make your sailors write their own evaluations and need to know what you’re doing.
On to your second question. How do you write your eval? I’ll tell you as soon as I figure it out. No, just kidding. Before you write an evaluation you need to fill out a brag sheet, which is a form (but not a standardized form… there are thousands out there) that no one will ever look at. A brag sheet is just what it sounds like, a piece of paper where you brag about everything you have accomplished (both real and, more often, imaginary) over the past year.
“What,” you may ask, “do I do if I don’t have any accomplishments to write down?” What a great question! I’m glad I pretended you asked it. If you didn’t do anything worthwhile this year you have a few options.
First thing to do is to take credit for your subordinates accomplishments. Anything one of your sailors did can be attributed to a result of your leadership. You might feel uncomfortable about taking credit for someone else’s work but remember that time you got chewed out when your entire division was hung over and the ship was getting underway in an hour? Well it works both ways.
Second thing is to take credit for anything the ship or command did. This should be stated in such a way that even the most pedestrian task was intrinsic to the command accomplishing its mission. Even if the only thing you did was to refill the vending machines once a week (despite the requirement to restock daily) it was integral to the nutrition and morale of hundreds of war fighters launching missiles against a hostile force.
The third thing to do is lie. Just boldly make up anything you want. Think about it, would your LPO be having you write your eval if he knew what you did anyway? That said, lying is a tricky thing. There are facts in play that you don’t want to contradict. For example you wouldn’t want to claim that you sacrificed your life for your shipmates. The chain of command would probably follow up on that. Likewise you wouldn’t want to claim that you received the Medal of Honor. People would want to see the medal, and you can’t just pick that up at the uniform shop.
I know you may have some moral qualms about blatantly lying on an official document, but here’s the truth about the eval system. Everyone lies on evals. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s a fact. If you were to just tell the truth, that you show up on time every day in a clean uniform and work a full day keeping up on qualifications without complaining within earshot of your chief, the chain of command would assume that you’re a dirtbag. To be taken seriously, you are going to have to exaggerate enormously.
What to do if you are caught in a lie. Deny it. No matter what is said, stand your ground. You want to emulate Shaggy in the song “It wasn’t me” where the singer is caught, and even filmed, red handed, by his girlfriend, in numerous acts of infidelity. His friend’s advice is to deny it saying, “it wasn’t me” repeatedly. The song was number one on the charts so there must be something to it.
Once you’re done with your brag sheet it’s time to write your eval. All you have to do is transfer the best information from your brag sheet to the evaluation form using the NAVFIT98a program and cry yourself to sleep when the program crashes.
If you have a question you’d like to ask just click this link and I guarantee an answer… eventually.
Here’s were I beg for hits: Check back often. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE and SHARE. Did you catch that SUBSCRIBE and SHARE. SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Parler or whatever has just popped up out there. Especially those of you with lots of followers and friends. C’mon, hook me up.
Follow me on Twitter: @rob_hoops