Average is the New Orange

Review forms have 4 ratings you can give in the “Comparison” field: Outstanding, Above Average, Average, and Below Average. I’ll let you in on a secret. This field is largely irrelevant. And yet, sometimes it is all you can see when you get a review, like a giant flashing light with siren, especially if you’ve ever gotten that last one.

Below Average.

It stings. It hurts your pride. We judges are a group of individuals who strive for excellence. We want to be the best, or at least the best we can be, and to be told that we are Below Average can be a crushing blow. Even getting an Average comparison can hurt.

When I first started judging and receiving reviews, I took every Average comparison as a personal challenge to be better, to be Above Average. And when those Outstanding reviews would come in, I rode that high for days.

What do those 1 or 2 words even do? What are they for? The field is called “Comparison.” A comparison to what/who? If I review a fellow judge, should I compare them to all other judges I’ve ever worked with? All other judges of the same level I’ve ever worked with? All other judges on staff at the event? All other judges on staff of the same level? A comparison to their performance in the past? And on and on and on.

Stop. Just stop. Don’t worry about on either end. If you’re writing a review, don’t spend days debating whether to enter it as Above Average or Average. I’ve done this. It isn’t healthy. If you get a review with a comparison of Below Average, don’t contemplate quitting judging. I haven’t done this, but I can see it happening. (And yes, I have received a comparison of Below Average.)

That field just doesn’t matter that much. What matters is the content of the review. What matters are the details written there and the path towards improvement. Reviews aren’t report cards. You aren’t going to be evaluated based on how many Averages you receive. Really no one cares about these besides you. The sooner you stop stressing about this field, and start focusing on the actual feedback being given, the better. I know from experience. Besides, look around at the Judge Program. Look at your community. Take a good look at your next staff. What an amazing group of people. What’s wrong with being Average?

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