Monday is a holiday for most of Canada, yet here I am providing more intricate details of my life in a tasty and compact blog form.

Last week, I had my very first performance review as a software engineer at EA. The review process at EA is quite structured and is designed so that every employee in the company must go through the same steps to get their performance evaluated. A lot of times EA is faulted for having too much bureaucracy but it’s cases like this that it makes sense. I’ve been at smaller companies where their mantra is, “we’re small, we don’t have crazy bureaucratic processes!” Yeah, that’s great, so when review time comes around, different managers are reviewing employees using wildly differing standards.

There were no big surprises in my review. I meet up with manager enough to get a good idea of how I’m doing. I was pleased with what my manager had to say and with what my peers had mentioned as well. Then, came the fun part… compensation. Yes, I did get a raise but it wasn’t a “I’m-gonna-buy-a-trailer-home-now” type of raise. Actually, I think you’d be surprised at the amount. Anyways, the big deal was my bonus. It was easily the largest bonus I’ve received in my entire life. Keep in mind though the largest bonus I’ve received previous to this was $700 (pre-tax), so it’s not like EA had to break the bank to eclipse that number.

I’ve heard people at the company refer to EA as a meritocracy, where rewards and status are acheived purely by ability and performance. I know this is true now. I’ve worked my ass off for months to be a competent SE and I’ve been recognized for that.

Though I have no doubts about my decision now, it’s interesting to note last July that I nearly turned down the EA offer because I didn’t think I could hack it in the “big leagues”. Had I not taken a leap of faith (in myself), it would have been a really bad choice on my part.

So if there’s one thing to be learned here, it can be said with mangled cliches: believe in yourself, be your own wind beneath your wings, get your own groove back, and don’t cross the streams.

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