Well, my annual performance review is in. Essentially, I got a "B." Given the hardcore overachievers on my team, that's really about the best I expected. And, now I know more precisely why everyone at Microsoft is excited for their September 30 paycheck, when bonuses and pay raises go into effect.
I've worked here for more than two years with the same manager, and I now know the key to getting a good review—or at least avoiding a poor one. Status reports. Lengthy, agonizingly detailed status reports. My manager loves them. I don't think he reads them, but he loves seeing tons of text there. I haven't really done anything different this past year than the one before it. The only real difference is that I talk about every little stupid thing that goes on at work. I hate it, and I hate that he wants me to brag about every little thing I do. It's just not me. But, I've got to do it, and I've finally started to get over it. My status reports actually go into a blog, but seriously—if you thought this blog was boring, you should see my work blog.
"Last week, since I haven't had any bugs in any of my features for the last six weeks, I went through Simon's bugs and took one of those. I'm waiting on the UX [user experience / design] guy's feedback before I can finish that one. I also talked with Joe about his bugs, and we decided that he didn't really have any to give away. I'm waiting on a code review from Alex for those two FTP checkin/checkout bugs, but I expect them to be checked in this weekend..."
It's basically like that.
And that's really all I've got about my review. I'm happy about the outcome; about ten times as happy as I was last time. I'm disappointed that, based on my own impressions, the reason I did better this year is a pretty stupid reason. But oh well.