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Nasty Canasta: End of Year Burlesque Self-Assessment

Nasty Canasta: End of Year Burlesque Self-Assessment

Nasty Canasta: End of Year Burlesque Self-Assessment

Nasty Canasta invites you to undertake an End of Year Burlesque Self-Assessment…

2013 Year-End Performance Review: Self-Evaluation

(With thanks to the several naff business-form-online sites that provided inspiration and/or wording.)

This Self Evaluation form is an opportunity for you to provide input into your Performance Review Process.*  The form assists you in focusing on specific aspects of your job performance, including your unique strengths, talent and development focus for the future.

The good news is that as an independent performer or producer (or kitten, or costumer, or whatever the hell you are) you will not be required to show up to some dreary fluorescent-lit corporate hell-hole at 7 a.m. so an MBA fifteen years your junior can mouth businessspeak at you off of a checklist while you try desperately not to swear or say “boobs.” Rather, your personal Performance Review Process can be conducted naked in your living room with a bottle of wine in one hand and a different bottle of wine in the other; what’s important is that you take a moment for a little quiet professional and artistic reflection as the year draws to a close (why not). To that end, I invite you to use the following form as a starting point; not to share with anyone or the general public (unless you want to), not to obsess over and spend hours crafting essay-answers for (again, unless that’s your jam), but simply to help start the process of taking stock of your past year, professionally and artistically, and looking forward to the next. And if I did the internet right, you can even print it out. If that kind of thing turns you on.

* Well, actually, no, it is the opportunity for your Performance Review Process. Being as we are in the relatively unique situation of a completely unregulated and non-hierarchical industry where any sort of professional criticism or feedback from peers, employers or consumers of our product (other than the frankly useless “OMG you are the gratest sooooooo pretty! Luv youuuuuuuuu!!!!”) is highly likely to be automatically received as persecution, the only actual Performance Review Process in which any of us will participate has got to be self-initiated. And honestly attempted, too.

Most of us fall to one absurd and unrealistic side or the other of “Well obviously the reason I don’t get booked is because no one can deal with how perfect and amazing I am and they should all go swallow glitter and die,” and “Well obviously the reason I don’t get booked is because I’m worthless and hideous and I should go swallow glitter and die.” Objectivity is difficult to maintain for us sensitive artist-types: I hear a lot of self-deprecating or frankly libelous reasons-why-I-don’t-get-booked (many of them, I am not happy to say, coming out of my own mouth) but very few honest-assessments-of-my-own-skill-level, pragmatic-understanding-of-my-uniqueness-and-marketability, or what-I-have-actually-done-to-get-that-job-beyond-‘deserving’-it-and-waiting-for-it-to-come-to-me.

About six months after I started performing I got a regular Saturday gig, go-go dancing from 1 to 3 a.m. at a venue that also happened to be the home of one of the only regular, highly-regarded burlesque shows in the city. One night I asked the booking manager when he was going to hire me for that show. Without malice, he replied, “When you’re good enough.” I’m sure I looked as nonplussed as I felt, because he then explained: “Listen, you’ve been getting better but you’re still really new. Right now I couldn’t put you onstage next to Julie or Amber, but when you’re good enough, I will.”** I cannot imagine this conversation taking place today without the immediate indignant FaceTube post that Everyone DESERVES to get booked in EVERY SINGLE SHOW and no producer or booker should think that ANY PERSON is more experienced or skilled or that their particular style is more appropriate for a particular show than ANYONE ELSE and that guy deserves to be KILLED. Well okay, then.

Until the format exists within a professional context for skilled, thoughtful feedback to be both given and received,*** it is up to us as individuals, and as working artists, to occasionally take stock of our work and our selves – as honestly and as dispassionately as possible, and without straying either into the Swamp of Self-Loathing or the Desert of Divadom.**** Because self-awareness is an invaluable thing: it can help us avoid everything from particularly unflattering styles of underwear to murderous depressive rage every time a show is announced that we’re not in. And most importantly, like a big giant multi-vitamin for the soul, it’s essential for healthy artistic growth.

Nasty Canasta.  ©Alex Colby
Nasty Canasta. ©Alex Colby

To be completed without pants.

• What is your job title?
Why do you use this title in particular? What does it say about what you do and about how you do it?

• Why are you doing this?
Why are you doing this? What do you specifically contribute to your artform and profession that is unique or innovative?

• What are you the most terrified to do, artistically speaking?
Have you ever done it?

• What is your greatest strength?
What do you do to capitalize on this strength?

• What is your greatest weakness?
What do you do to minimize the negative effects of this weakness?

• What single accomplishment, event or product from this past year are you most pleased with or proud of?

• What single event, action or product from this past year are you least pleased with or embarrassed by?

• What skill or talent would you like to add to your resumé?
Could you realistically learn or acquire this skill? If so, are you willing to expend the time and/or money that that would require?

• In the past year how (if at all) were you Part Of The Problem?
How were you Part Of The Solution?

• What is a single, achievable goal for the upcoming year?
What specific actions can you take to achieve this goal?

• What is one magic-wish, fairy-tale, genie-in-a-bottle totally-absurd-dream goal?
What’s one specific action you could actually take, now, in the actual real world to begin to achieve this goal?

• How did this past year differ from your expectations?

• Where do you see yourself at the end of 2014?

** I am proud to say that eventually, I was, and eventually, he did.
*** I do not, I freely admit, know what that format ought best to be; nor do I have any interest in being the sole motivator or administrator of it so don’t ask, thank you.
**** Ugh, sorry about that.

Nasty Canasta

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