I’ve been a developer for the last fifteen years, and this is the first year that I’ve written an I Luv Me book. It’s been one of the best things that I’ve done regarding my professional development since I left megacorp (not a good one) for a smaller development firm.
The basics of an ‘I Luv Me’ book is that you collect everything positive that you do into one place throughout a given year. Remembering such things on an annual or a quarterly basis is essentially impossible, and I’ve historically had managers who had no idea what I had done over the last quarter or year, as well. Thus, having this information in one place and ready for a manager during the review cycle does both of you a huge benefit. I work Production Support, which means that any given day might be development work or a bunch of random problems, or any mixture of the two. This means that without some database of what I’ve done in the past, I’m really not going to have a good time when I finish the year trying to remember the things that I’ve done and learned.
The “I Love Me” book came to mind for me the first time when I ran into a discussion on Reddit, where a military member was discussing the certifications they had completed and placed in their book, and several others discussing how important such a book was, as it was impossible for the chain of command to remember such things for you.
My first ‘I Luv Me’ book was organized according to how I saw the work that I did separated. However, in the future, they will be organized by the review points that my company reviews (at the advice of my team lead, actually, as they also organize this information on an annual basis).
The most valuable result that I discovered from maintaining this book was not that my company got better information from me based on my book, but instead that I was able to actually see myself in a better light. Imposter Syndrome is real, but being able to see your accomplishments that you completed during the year goes a long way to resolving those feelings when you are tasked with reviewing yourself at the end of the year (if that is on your assignment list during review period).
Checking and maintaining this book makes certain that your daily work is inline with the expectations of your company and team as well. It won’t be long before I have the expectations for my current employer memorized, because I look at my book at the beginning of each day, and I fill in information (if relevant) at the end of each day.
I guess my argument and conclusion would be: Failing to maintain a book or database of your accomplishments is basically subcontracting your review information and potential pay to the management chain. Of course, the management chain still has power over both, but if reviews are part of your workflow, then it is essential that you take over as much of it as possible. If you aren’t maintaining such a book, then don’t make the mistake that I made and wait fifteen years to start one.