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Performance appraisal

Few days ago I had my first performance appraisal ever. Boy, what a degrading experience it has been ...

Basically, all the individualistic qualities that drive people to excel and achieve were demoted to the lowest rank. They were considered unimportant, and even worse, harmful! Instead, what got praise were things that would make a perfect "sheep". Such as not rocking the boat, not speaking up your mind, saying "yes" regardless, agreeing to the opinions of others however ridiculous they were, ass kissing, etc. Pretty much Dilbert 101.

The amazing thing is that since the moment I gave up to actually try to *DO* something at that place, and just tried to create an appearance of some activity, people claimed that I've improved considerably. Doh, what a revelation !
All the people at that place don't give a sh!t, and you aren't gonna fit until you don't give a sh!t either. Or possibly I am too overqualified for the place, and what others think is a normal situation is too mandane for me ...

Of course, the problem is that I just can't get out of my bed in the morning if I do not see anything interesting that I'd work on and care about during the day. I guess I am one of those fools ... The paycheck just does not cut it for me.

And I am not so sure that I am gonna get rid of my individualism, that is what I actually like in myself. Needless to say, I'll be seeking other opportunities.

Future cunning politician
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

This experience should give you some good questions to ask during the part of the interview where they ask you if you have any.  (Questions, that is.)  One of my favorites is, "What do you like about working here?"  It's set up to presume that they do (which means you get to stay positive), but you can still learn a lot from the answer you get.  ;>

Sam Livingston-Gray
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

This has been happening to me lately.  Besides the fact that I don't feel that I get to work creatively enough, my job does have its benefits, so I've decided to stick it out for a year or maybe longer.

Since being creative and "acting like an owner" is more often said than required, I've taken to working on side projects of my own.  I find that really rewarding.  I realized that I've wasted too much energy worrying about a job situation, when in the end I would better off just ignoring it and putting that energy to productive use. 

I give my employer the benefit of the doubt.  I propose solutions with the intention of giving the company my creative energy.  If the say, no we'd rather have you this mundane thing, I turn that into a positive rather than a negative, and invest more energy into projects which directly benefit me and not my employer.  I feel this is acceptable, because I give them a chance to accept my proposals. 

If they do accept my proposals, which they have done, great I get to do what I want in a professional environment, if not not that's fine as well.  Either way I get work on what I want, at least part of the time.  I figure that working on side personal projects has a few benefits.

1) maybe a product will have legs and generate enough revenue so I can quit my day job.  This is my ultimate goal, and I don't think it is that far fetched. 

2) The product isn't competive or I decide that the risk of investing in marketing in a mature market is too great.  Fine I can still give the software away, and use it as resume builder, which may lead to a lucrative consulting career, etc.

I take the projects I do on the side seriously and even try to hold myself to the Joel test as much as possible.  Sometimes it isn't possible to have a schedule, etc., but not having source control is no no even if you are talking about a couple web pages. 

But again my job situation isn't horrible.  I just need a creative outlet to prevent from going a bit batty and sometimes I just can't get that from my day job. 

The one thing that would light a fire under my butt and get me seriously think about finding other work, is I thought that  my employer's business was in trouble, and was getting worse as a result of not taking my advice.  Right now I just do not believe that is the situation, so it all works out to my advantage.

haggar the horrible
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I don't know if you're interested Haggar, but I find myself in an identical situation.  Shoot me an email if you'd like to discuss this in more detail offline.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Don't do it man -- Elephant is your boss incognito!!

He's trying to entrap you!

Mister Fancypants
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

You gotta love performance appraisals really.... I did some recently, and when they have 4 "ratings" for technical skills out of about 40, and a significant number of the rest are for things like "valuing diversity" you know it's a joke.

I await my results with eager anticipation, hoping to achieve the coveted "meets expectations" :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

My favorite trick on Performance Appraisals is the old "Ding you for doing something and also ding you for not doing it." 

My last one I got dinged simultaniously for jumping in to help teammates and keep the project on track (let them fail so they'll learn) and for not taking the initiative and taking over roles of people assigned to the project where the role wasn't being done sufficiently well (for the good of the project.)

Unfocused Focused
Thursday, August 21, 2003

I have worked for some of the largest and smallest companies in the country. I have yet to see a performance appraisal process that makes sense. First of all, it's just about going through the motions. Few managers even care what's on the forms and figure that you'll be working for someone else soon enough so why bother. The best managers follow the process but go on to say what's on their mind and give you the raise/promotion you deserve regardless of what the corporate guidelines are. The worst managers make you feel like the dirty sheep previously described.

When I was a manager, I didn't do anything to "manage" people at all. I took them out to lunch every month or two and told them they were all great. When they screwed up I told them what they did wrong. When they exceeded expectations, I promoted them or gave them raises or bonuses. My people probably thought I was lazy and didn't deserve the manager title, but they never complained about anything and are mostly still all employed.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

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