Go review yourself

On Brett’s blog this week, he wrote about performance review time at work, and it cracked me up so much that I had to share it with some of my coworkers, all of whom feel his pain.

Like Santa, the review fairy has ways to know whether you’ve been naughty or nice. One of the ways is called “The Self Review”. It sounds important but really all it is is a way to take your balls and put them in a vice and give you the opportunity to tighten the screws. See, I told you she was magnanimous. Three things can happen with self-reviews and like throwing a pass in the NFL, two of them are bad. Those two things are you’re honest and you tell your overlords about all the internet you surf at work which then results in you getting a bad review or you totally oversell yourself and the overlords figure that you’re a self-promoting prick with an agenda.

In the end, it shouldn’t be my damn job to review myself. They are bloody well paying my boss to know what I do every day (trust me, he drops by enough that he should). The Self Review is a ridiculous piece of HR double-speak so that the Man can find new ways to screw you….

(click here to read the rest, it’s worth it)

And I responded:

We have to do something similar, except we rate ourselves on ten dimensions (called The Expectations) – things like “Manages Conflict Effectively”, “Handles Problem-Solving Wisely,” and “Builds Trust,” and write paragraphs on how we’ve performed up to scratch. We are required to utilize ridiculous patronizing language (called The Rating Levels) to do it too. For instance, instead of Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, we have to say Excelling, Learning, Doing, Absent. I guess that’s so we don’t feel bad about ourselves if we get a rating less than Excelling. Personally, though, being forced to dance around the issue makes me want to shove the Learning and Doing up their Absents.

And then our supervisors do the same rating bullshit for us, and we have a come to jesus meeting where we sit down and make sure our answers match. If they don’t, then we have to have a fun conversation about why exactly WE think we’re performing better than they do, and why we are wrong.

(Caveat: my own supervisor is fantastic. I think he secretly feels the same way I do about this process, and he makes it as painless as he possibly can. Thanks, Ben!!!)

And as if that wasn’t enough to make you want to choke on your own vomit, then we have to write The Goals, basically our plan of action for the coming year, listing out What Will I Do, How Will I Accomplish It, and How Can My Supervisor Help Me. How can your supervisor help you? You get to choose from a list of ways called The Supports…. things like Teach Teamwork, Remove Obstacles, and Develop Self and Others. And god forbid you actually put specific projects as goals; your goals have to be touchy feely crap like “increase my interpersonal skills by attending more human resources seminars” or “try to be at work on time”… things that have nothing to do with how well you do your job.

And guess what happens to all this paperwork? It goes up to a file in HR and I’ll eat my own underpants if anybody ever actually reads it.


  1. joel

    I wish every employer did what we do. We have no mamby-pamby employee “reviews”—no forms to fill out, no goals to set, no useless management conversations to endure. Instead, each one of us has a letter grade, known only to our supervisors and based on the average grade marked on a confidential list by everyone we work with directly. Your letter grade determines your raises and bonuses, and whenever we need fewer employees, we fire all the D’s and C’s and keep all the A’s and B’s. And we have no human resources department: amen!

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