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Lessons Learned
Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want
Motivation 
12th-Sep-2014 02:25 pm
Caremeter
Every year, stupidvisors are required to submit official performance evaluations of all their minions. It's an organizational requirement without any purpose, since there are no bonuses to earn. Salaries and promotions are not tied to ratings, and the budget rarely includes raises but when we are occasionally blessed with increases, they are handed out at a flat rate for the entire workforce. Given the known pointlessness of the exercise, most managers assign the writing of the evaluations to the underlings themselves, then slap on a final rating, sign it, and mail it to whatever black hole in HR they are consigned to.


The Surfer Dude Employee Rating System has 5 levels that indicate roughly this:

1 – OMG you're FABULOUS. No, really, you're a god. I am not worthy to be your boss.

2. You're so much better than anyone had any right to expect that if I had any way to make it happen, you'd get a raise. Damn good work!

3. You did what we expected. Occasionally you did a super good job of it, but I sort of expected that too.

4. You didn't manage to do the stuff in your job description. Hopefully you get better at it soon because I'm tired of the complaints from anyone who has to deal with you.

5. You totally suck. If we had any way to fire your ass, you'd be out the door before lunch.

One of the known problems is local variability of application. For example, here in EHS I don't think anyone ever got a 1, unless maybe they were sleeping with the boss. The year that I was simultaneously chair of the corporation-wide ergonomics working group, chair of the employee morale committee for this division, participated in the CEO selection committee, and still did everything else I was supposed to, I got a 2. Meanwhile, down in the custodial department, everybody always gets a 1, no matter how well, badly, or even if they do their job. If the manager dares to downgrade that in any way based on thorough documentation of the most egregious failures or unacceptable behavior, the aggrieved employee trots straight over to labor relations with their union rep in tow and lodges a complaint, which invariably results in the manager having to retract his rating and issue the higher one.

This year, our PHB has decided to "standardize" the ratings in his department. The result is that after over ten years of routinely being granted a 2 and therefore feeling like I had earned some sort of recognition, in lieu of more spendable compensation, for regularly getting in early, staying late, and doing everything with a certain sprezzatura, I have been downgraded to a 3. He readily acknowledged that I was better than average, did a good job and knew safety stuff better than anyone else around. But as the safety programs manager that's my job, so it was what he expected. I was too dumbstruck to inquire as to whether, since everyone expects DW to not do anything at all except cause trouble, and that was exactly what he'd done all year, if therefore he also rated a 3.

Upon reflection, my mistake is obvious. I cared about doing a good job despite all the encouragement to the contrary, which was naïve and self-defeating. The new plan is to stop stop trying so hard to excel and let the boss expect a lot less. The end result will be identical, minus my dismayed feelings of betrayal and injustice.

Yeah, yeah, I know I came to the same conclusion some time ago and have not yet managed to implement a substantial change in my working habits. But now I'm motivated!
Comments 
16th-Sep-2014 11:19 am (UTC)
I will certainly remember to send you pictures :-) Penny says she's pleased to hear that her workmanship is appreciated by Uma and Travis!
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