Friday, November 11, 2005

Where Did that Damn Time Machine Go?

Don't get me wrong, getting married ranks highly in the smartest and/or most fulfilling thing I've ever done department. Only good things to be said about married life so far. Superduperfantabulosrific.

I do have moments, though, why I let myself play the what-if game, as far as poker and jobs and life is concerned. I like assorted safety nets, so I can't say for certain that I'd have leapt by now, but I'd put the odds at about 50/50 that if I wasn't obligated in assorted ways, I might have quit my job and moved to Vegas by now. Or more likely Mexico or Costa Rica or Thailand. Basically anywhere not the US, where I could grind out a more than comfortable living from all my schemings and poker playing.

And yes, indeed, it is time for yet another chapter in the ongoing saga that is MY Life as a Corporate Monkey.

The latest wrinkle is that I just had my quarterly review. And as reviews go, it was decent enough. I've mostly kept my mouth shut and not shaken my head in meetings, so I wasn't too worried about what was going to go down.

Except a few hours before the review was scheduled, my boss suddenly set up a meeting for us to discuss the review. Immediately my monkey warning system started going off. So we go to the meeting and talky-talk for awhile, and the upshot of it is that as of that meeting, the guidlines for my review (which was right after) had been changed, as far as the criteria upon which my performance was judged.

(Keep in mind that this was a review for the 3rd quarter, which has been completed for a month and a half now. The 3rd quarter ended roughly 45 days ago and has been in the books for quite awhile now.)

We have this really Byzantine grid-like system for evaluating performance, but it basically boils down to getting a number between 1-5 for assorted tasks and goals, with 1 being awesome and 5 being sucky. So if you met all of your goals plus a little extra, you'd get a 3. If you did a lot more than was expected, you'd get a 2. They make it physically impossible to get a 1, so no worrying about that. If you need to improve and didn't meet all your goals, you get a 4. If you really suck, you get a 5.

They basically decided that too many people were getting 3s, so to combat inflation they introduced a ton of new expectations that will now be part of our goals and upon which we'll be graded. Okay. Except they decided to apply it retroactively to the last quarter. Which has been finished and done for a month and a half.

So, suddenly, as of the meeting preceeding my review, I suddenly went from achieving and exceeding all of my goals to retroactively falling short on a bunch of them. Then we had the actual review, in which we talked about that while I did good in many areas, I also fell short in multiple categories, due to not being able to travel back in time and address the new goals that were added and applied retroactively.

And I did all the things I was supposed to, smiled, nodded, agreed that my performance needed to improve in this areas, and all that stuff. Because at this point it's just not worth getting worked up about, as the finish line there is definitely in sight.

But I can't remember any time my mind has been in such a different place than my actual physical location, with my body sitting there, nodding, pretending to be very interested in on improving my ability to Lead with Innovation, while my brain was off on a beach somewhere, sipping pina coladas, watching string bikinis frolic on the beach.


ThatGuy said...

I know the feeling, its quite hard to pull off the ole "I give a damn" look when you've checked out long ago.

chipper said...

Sounds like you had to sit through a session like Neo did in The Matrix where his boss pulls him into the room. Neo was simply not really interested in what the boss had to say.

I too, am a corporate cubicle monkey. I get an annual performance review and then have to dodge bullets and layoffs the rest of the year. Been doing this for near 22 years now. Sooner or later that bullet is going to hit and I'll be out looking for another job. GL on the corporate grind. It's the daydreams and poker at night that keep ya going.

BSN said...

Nah, just call bushit on them. I never had trouble at work until I started keeping my mouth shut and toeing the company line. That happened along the time the kids came along. I used to get mediocre reviews but was always given the promotion/raise. Now that I'm a good boy, I get the great review and the pink slip.

There's something to be said for naked aggression in the workplace.

My $.02...


Michael said...

Reading this was a nice reminder of why I left the corporate world of working for "the man". :-)

Grinder said...

I have actually gone so far as to stick myself with a nail every 5 minutes in some of those "vision" meetings.

I was told 6 months ago that the $100 million system I have worked on for the past 16 years, that started with 14 people and now has 4 keeping it running . . .will be phased out in 3 years.

Luckely this will also make ME 55 and a 20 year employee and thank god Poker will ease me into early retirement.

MVilla888 said...

I swear that sounds like my employer as well...they're trying to force everyone to just 'accept' a 3 on their rating after years of 1 & 2's in a culture of a successful small business. Now that we're huge, they need to curb spending and such to make the big suits their bonuses, so they tighten up on the working stiffs.

Sucks balls....

He's to poker and winning the MegaMillions tomorrow night.

Human Head said...

If the end is in sight, start calling mofo's out. There is nothing that middle corporate overlords hate worse than someone speaking in plain specifics and not taking the bullshit.

Start raisin' hell and watch them scurry around in fear, it's loads of fun.