Performance reviews and related BS

I’ve written before about performance reviews. I’m still at the same company, and we’re still doing them badly. We now have a system, and what would be a better idea than to complement a bad performance review process with a bad system?

I think someone in our IT dept wrote the system. I find it hard to imagine that we’d pay a supplier for this crap, although then I remember that we do frequently buy crap…


Days gone by

I had a review about a year ago with my previous manager, who has since finally taken the hint and resigned before they got around to firing her. In that review I was branded as a failure for not getting on with people, including – !NEWSFLASH! – her! I probably reacted with something pointed, something implicitly about her abilities but ultimately I didn’t see the point in fighting this meaningless measurement.

Incidentally, I had a disciplinary as well. I admit it was mistake actually telling my manager that she was useless, sucking up to her boss, hiding how bad things were and just generally lying. And through the disciplinary process (which almost turned me into a whistle blower) I got to meet with her boss, and discovered he had been completely taken in by her lies. I don’t think he even considered for a second that I might be worth listening to – her web of deceit was that effective.

All change… or not

So now I have a new manager. He’s really nothing to do with me, and it’s just a temporary thing because of other things going on in the organization. I kind of feel sorry for the guy, especially as he’s had to do my performance review.

I insisted on writing my own objectives. Call me paranoid, but I feel like I’m about to be f*cked over by the changes that are happening, so I’ve done my best to word the objectives they want me to have in a way that to some extent allows me to achieve them but not necessarily in the way they want me to. Clever, huh? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile I’m still a failure, kind of. I’ve given all my team an overall “good” rating but all he could muster for me was “satisfactory”. Now I can live with being called satisfactory, especially when it’s only a subjective review, but really, he couldn’t even bring himself to say I’m “good”? I’m not asking for “excellent”, just a little recognition of how hard I work and all the innovation and efficiency I bring to this shitty little company.

Everything in the detail of the review seems good, so I can’t help wondering if this last-minute downgrade is more to do with a couple of incidents that came to his attention just at the wrong time…

Incident #1 – the non-expert

I’ve been helping a colleague from another dept with a policy document. His catchphrase seems to be “I’m not an expert at [insert whatever topic I just mentioned]”.

I couldn’t help myself – I did a bit of formatting and created a contents page in his Word document to make it a bit easier to use. He ‘got confused’ and reverted to a previous version and then thought it would work to just paste in ‘my’ contents page, which does not work.

I used ‘track changes’ and comments (as did another contributor). I did substantial rewrites on parts of the document that impacted my team, as well as correcting grammatical errors. I apologized for being fussy about the grammar but he said it was fine as he was fussy about that too. However through his non-expertize at Word, a lot of the changes and corrections were lost and he hasn’t corrected a single grammatical error himself.

Eventually he rediscovered the version of the document I’d formatted, although he still messed up the formatting a bit. I could not be bothered to try and help with that – I was literally exhausted, and a key paragraph that I’d asked to be deleted was still in the document. This paragraph was badly wrong and I’d written a replacement, which was also in the document immediately after it! For reasons that escape me he wanted me to edit and send back the document. My patience was all gone, so I replied with a very clear and concise instruction to delete the paragraph.

I bruised his feelings one too many times I guess. He actually said at one point how he felt he’d done a lot of the work on the document himself. Even if that was true, it was his damn document!

My manager didn’t really know what to do with the detail I gave him in response to the complaint he’d received. He didn’t tell me I was wrong, but he didn’t accept that I was right either.

Incident #2 – paying for mistakes of others

Financial data has been provided for nearly three years by another team. They were given a process to ensure that the data they supply is correct. Sometimes that process meant they would have to refuse a request from another dept, but they were able to direct the refusee to my team for further assistance – yes, I would deal with any complaints.

Now suddenly the data supplied is not correct – not just once, but over a number of weeks. They readily admit what they’ve done wrong (not following the process) because they don’t realize it’s wrong, and don’t see the flaw in the approach they’ve adopted, even though it’s now caused my team to reject the data a number of times.

Along comes a senior manager from the other team, who is too senior to understand what her team is doing. I set out the process as originally agreed – the entire logic that had prevented errors until her team had deviated. What issues had caused this deviation?

The response – can I come to a meeting? No explanation. I respond that I can only repeat the process in a meeting – what issues are they having with the process?

My manager got a call from the senior manager of the other team, and has now asked me to attend this meeting, which is interesting as I hadn’t refused to go. He hasn’t told me to go, and I haven’t agreed to go. I told him it was a poor use of my time, that they’d been given clear information in writing, and that I feel under enough pressure with just the objectives on my performance review, let alone everything else I do every day!

Well I will probably go to the meeting – I will only get in trouble for making more effective use of my time…


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