Thursday, March 11, 2021

Annual Review

      It's annoying.  No, more than that: it's a source of stress.

      In my line of work, the Annual Review is a feature of working in the big time.  Smaller outfits, your "review" is every day, and the results arrive every payday: did you get paid?  Good.  Did you get fired?  Bad.

      It was pretty immediate feedback; there was none of this saving up a year's worth of failures, omissions and -- if you're lucky! -- one of two shining moments of triumph.  Back then, if your boss invited you to a meeting to discuss your job performance, you were in deep trouble.*  Anyone coming from that background dreads annual reviews.

      The modern employer has now added Choose Your Mode Of Death: you have to propose your own projects for the coming year, with deadlines and performance goals -- even if you're an hourly employee working a combination of routine tasks and on-demand repair.  Time well spent, especially since the projects are required to be blue-sky stuff, not a part of your core duties.

      This is enforced thinking outside the box -- and what's outside the box is mostly panic.  But, hey, the hourly rate is the same, no matter if it's a useful core task or drafting a proposal to create a corporate center for the housing, feeding and equitable redistribution of owls.  Predatory Nightfowl Central, here we come!

      Or not.  Either way, I have to go dress like a grown-up and practice smiling.
* Such a meeting was when (years ago and at at a different job) I learned the downside of my habit of concealing all the wiring and ensuring that operating controls remained where the people who did the operating were used to finding them, unless they were unhappy with the arrangement, and leaving the setup usable and safe at the end of every shift: I had done a significant and lengthy rebuild of a control room that resulted in measurable improvement, but if you gave it a glance as you walked by, nothing seemed to have changed.  This led my boss to assume I'd spent a month goofing off.  Yeah, bad plan, and a lot of fast talking and hands-on demonstration to avoid being fired...for doing my job.


Cop Car said...

The pits is when one is required to write her own review! Better were the reviews that had a section for one to write her accomplishments - which was passed to the boss before she wrote her evaluation. It's been 18 years since I had to worry about receiving or giving reviews since I retired in April 2004 at age 66.

Refreshing was the attitude of one young engineer who came to work for me in 1978. He asked that I not wait a year to evaluate him. We settled upon his receiving an evaluation at the 6-month point. He was concerned that his stuttering would present a problem. It did not. He gave me a real compliment at the end of that 6-month review, telling me that my speech pattern was what he aspired to emulate. Wow!

George said...

One company I worked at, I filled the annual review out like this:

Achievements in the last year: Didn’t f up and get fired.

Short term goals: Don’t f up and get fired.

Long term goals: Don’t f up and get fired.

(I used the whole word, not just the f.)

I think I was the only one in my group to meet the individual goals.

wrm said...

Same thing in IT. If you do your job really really well the system never goes offline, there are no support calls logged, so they figure you're redundant.

I found one has to go on long leave every now and then so things can go wrong in your absence.

RandyGC said...

yeah, a big problem for folks that keep the infrastructure up and running: If they do a good job the suits and non-tech worker bees never notice it. It's only when something goes wrong they even remember you're there.

And apparently they don't like it when it's proven that it was their actions/policies that caused the problem. Who knew?

jefferson101 said...

The last few years before I retired, I developed something of an attitude about Annual Performance Reviews. I was at the top of the pay scale for the top Hourly pay grade, so it made it easy.

I get called in for my review and my Manager announces that this is my annual Review. I reply: "Are you going to fire me"?

Answer: "No".

Second question: "Are you going to write me up"?

Answer: "No".

My response: "Well, you can't give me a raise, and you aren't going to fire me or write me up, so I guess that about covers it, doesn't it"?

After having disgruntled them, we then proceeded to review my performance. The only thing I ever bothered to argue about was how they rated me for Attendance.

'Bout half the time, I'd get someone doing the Review who would rate me as "Meets Expectations" for attendance when I'd had perfect attendance for the year. That'd get them grouched at massively. "If you can tell me how to improve on something, I'll accept a less than stellar rating on it, but if you can't tell me how to improve on it, I expect to be topped out in the category."

rickn8or said...

George, I would settle for "Not set fire to anything major."

Robert said...

rickn8or: What's an acceptable maximum for the number of minor things set ablaze? Asking for a friend. Do rented houses count?

Matt said...

In theory, you should have been made aware of any problems with your work ongoing, so your review shouldn't be any surprise. The only thing seems to be if you meet or exceed expectations, and how many 1/2 percent raise that might get you.

It really doesn't matter much to me, though. I still have a job to go to, even though it's not great. I've been on the other side looking, and that's way less fun.