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Old 06-12-2009, 08:24 AM   #21
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Gotta agree with Johnnie as far as not blowing off your evaluations just because they are a pain, subjective, insulting, and lacking in value.

One of my annual dreaded chores is to evaluate a gaggle of nurse practitioners and physicians. I take it seriously and try to stay positive and constructive but it's hard. And from time to time action is necessary to protect patient safety; if deficiencies are not documented along with communication with the offender, efforts to coach and remediate the behavior, disclosure of consequences for noncompliance, etc. it is very difficult to do much about it without getting into legal hassles.

So, someone is messing up and you are chastised if you are too critical, and blamed if you fail to act and something bad happens. It's a fine line, not fun, but if you're not careful someone can get hurt.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:21 AM   #22
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One of my annual dreaded chores is to evaluate a gaggle of nurse practitioners and physicians. I take it seriously and try to stay positive and constructive
This likely means you are a good reviewer and are trying to produce objective and valid reviews. In my experience in MegaCorp, that is sometimes true, but often the review process is not used that way. In those companies (or in those years) management is directed to produce at least X% negative reviews or to produce negative reviews for this list of X people. In those reviews, the positive work is ignored, negative incidents are given prominence (or invented) and the use of the review as a tool for feedback and growth is abandoned in favor of the use of the review as possible future legal defense.

If the negative evaluation is accurate - you may have a chance to turn around the situation by learning what they want and doing it. If the negative evaluation is inaccurate and laying the groundwork for a future action such as firing and layoff, then you have early warning what's coming, but no real ability to influence the action.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:36 AM   #23
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There is little that can be done in the corporate sector about an evaluation by a superior that has already been written, maybe around the edges but not at its core. My suggestion is to write your own evaluation and present it to your evaluator about a month in advance, or, alternately, add it to an evaluation already written. Which approach is most appropriate depends on the human dynamics of your org.

As I said earlier, the best time to find a better job is when you have a job. I realize that this is difficult but one way to preserve sanity is to develop and work an exit plan.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:44 AM   #24
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We were conditioned from a very early age to shiver under those in authority, usually our teachers, and to take their evaluations and critiques of us very seriously. Essentially our psychies are "hardwired" into this condition.

Consequently as we took jobs, the upcoming evaluation brought dread due to the lack of control you have sitting there and taking it, and the abundance of control the evaluator had. Just like waiting for your report card, or being called into the principles office for a "one on one".

Evaluations IMHO are nothing more than exercises of control, and have not much bearing on what you can really do as most workers are average with a few bummers who should have been weeded out early and a few overachievers who are looked at by management as the chumps.

It's hard to shake the feeling of being evaluated, and it's either a power trip or an embarrassment for the one doing the evaluation. Real evaluation comes as the actual work progresses and is monitored whereby a "nudge" may have to be given casually to put the employee back on track.

Ever notice upper management evaluations, it's like peering into the mutual admiration society populated by mythological G-dlike figures for whom a bad evaluation is impossible.

The myth today is that some of these high flying G-dlike figures on wall street/banking are essential. Nothing further from the truth, very few people are essential, and behind each and everone of these narcisissts are other narcisissts waiting to fill their shoes at a fraction of the price.

Many times an employee would go years with a great evaluation, then all of a sudden things get bad, he pisses someone off, and whammo, his work performance turns to crap over night. This is an organizations way of purging out people who fall out of favor for personal rather than performance reasons.

In essence, it's humiliating to evaluate someone formally and put negative permanent remarks in writing, but yet it is managements way of control, since in their mind a little fear and humiliation keeps you in your place and acting accordingly to your place on the food chain.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:52 AM   #25
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So true jug....so true.
I would take the evaluation as a grain of salt....but know that every year of stress will take a physical retaliation on your body. You have many options available to you....and you don't have to stay there for 4-5 years.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:58 AM   #26
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In essence, it's humiliating to evaluate someone formally and put negative permanent remarks in writing, but yet it is managements way of control, since in their mind a little fear and humiliation keeps you in your place and acting accordingly to your place on the food chain.
This is a corollary to the idea that employers HATE having folks who are FI working for them. You lose a lot of control. As I've mentioned before, when my dad turned 55, he was already FI (with the pension he could start receiving at that age). His w*rk experience changed almost overnight; instead of getting a lot of crap, his superiors shielded him from the crap because they didn't want him to quit. So he stayed on for another 2+ years until a too-good-to-pass-up early retirement incentive put him out to pasture.

Fear is a powerful motivator, but it only works on people who have something to fear. If someone is FI and no longer fears being fired or laid off, all the employer has left is carrots; the sticks become ineffectual. That's why they prefer to employ people who NEED the j*b.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:48 AM   #27
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Unfortunately, most workplaces use fear as a tactic, but we have not yet evolved into a system that is more collaborative in nature rather than adversarial. Most people hate their jobs, despite what they say. When you see a 21 year old facing 40 plus years of work, with evaluations, dodging bullets, shame and blame, it's kind of sobering, knowing what we on this board know.

Fortunately for the yungins, they have ideology and hope, with the usually false belief that if they do the right thing, whatever that is, everything will be ok.

But many of us on this board have been in this position and in many cases doing what was right did not produce the results we anticipated, so we go into denial, and as we age, we suffer the daily grind, to pay the mortgage, put the rug rats to school, and go further into denial as our disappointments mount.

Those of us with some foresight, intuitively know all of this, as the denial recognized, reality faced, thus we prepare to FIRE, and get off that treadmill ASAP to preserve our physical/mental integrity. Some are fortunate to have jobs in Government that do not take such a toll and are more or less a place to go, where they can socialize, hide, keep the head down and regard upper management as furniture.

I had such a job, well paid, very comfortable I could have stayed there till I dropped, but I guess the boredom got to me, the same old same old got to me, and my departure was more influenced by health and external reasons than anything else.

You have only so many good years to live, you can be disabled or drop at any time, and in my case, I felt it was necessary to try something different. So far 3 years is starting to bore me, but going into a grind scares me. A dilemma, but something I have to solve.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:36 PM   #28
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Thank everyone for your kind responses.

The job is secure as long as we have at least one outside project. This means we both have jobs for four and maybe five years. If one is unable to obtain an outside project, there is a contractual obligation for three additional years of employment, i.e. severence.

What was unususal about my evaluation is that I was unexpectedly told that we needed to get a second project. I have worked at this company for over twenty years and typically only had one project. I don't know whether this is the "new normal" or my boss is trying to manipulate/scare me as Jug suggests. My boss has a long history of this type of abusive behavior. My department had an evalutive meeting with my boss's boss several days ago, and nothing was said about people needing two outside project. The evaluation is a conversation with my boss. I don't even know what he does afterwards. If there is a formal written evaluation that is sent somewhere in the company, I have never seen it or heard about it.

If I were in my thirties, I would definitely be looking for another job. I certainly should have left this company years ago. At this stage of our lives (54 and 60), in this economy and having highly specialized jobs, this approach is not pratical. It seems to come down to developing a mindset which allows us to comie in, do our work and then focus on life outside of work. This is an adjustment because our work used to be a passion for both DH and I.
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:08 PM   #29
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Thank everyone for your kind responses.

The job is secure as long as we have at least one outside project. This means we both have jobs for four and maybe five years. If one is unable to obtain an outside project, there is a contractual obligation for three additional years of employment, i.e. severence.

What was unususal about my evaluation is that I was unexpectedly told that we needed to get a second project. I have worked at this company for over twenty years and typically only had one project. I don't know whether this is the "new normal" or my boss is trying to manipulate/scare me as Jug suggests. My boss has a long history of this type of abusive behavior. My department had an evalutive meeting with my boss's boss several days ago, and nothing was said about people needing two outside project. The evaluation is a conversation with my boss. I don't even know what he does afterwards. If there is a formal written evaluation that is sent somewhere in the company, I have never seen it or heard about it.

If I were in my thirties, I would definitely be looking for another job. I certainly should have left this company years ago. At this stage of our lives (54 and 60), in this economy and having highly specialized jobs, this approach is not pratical. It seems to come down to developing a mindset which allows us to comie in, do our work and then focus on life outside of work. This is an adjustment because our work used to be a passion for both DH and I.
OK....no formal written evaluation, no signature from you. I suggest the following:

1. Request a copy of your evaluation
2. Call the corporate office and find out what the company's strategy is re: second projects.

Could be your boss is a bluffing bully.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:13 PM   #30
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Ah, reviews...oh joy.
1st 8 years - 2 good bosses, nothing but Excellents and 8s and 9s out of 9. Bonus every year.
Last 10 years - boss from h*ll, gave me same numerical marks but zero bonus. So I stopped signing my reviews. Never argued, just politely declined signing them. Then moved the conversation back to current taskings and the need to return to my desk to get them finished.

Is there any way you can transfer away from this boss? Sounds to me like you are being baited.
Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:44 PM   #31
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Ah, reviews...oh joy.
1st 8 years - 2 good bosses, nothing but Excellents and 8s and 9s out of 9. Bonus every year.
Last 10 years - boss from h*ll, gave me same numerical marks but zero bonus. So I stopped signing my reviews. Never argued, just politely declined signing them. Then moved the conversation back to current taskings and the need to return to my desk to get them finished.

Is there any way you can transfer away from this boss? Sounds to me like you are being baited.
Good luck!
Agreed! Never sign an evaluation if the boss can't explain why it was what it was. I was once in a situation like this and I refused to sign. I put a note on the evaluation requesting a review with my boss' boss. I got it, and the boss got canned.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:01 AM   #32
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That approach is like s shoot-out at the OK Coral. Success depends on your knowledge of the environment and your ability to hit your target.

Frankly I like the 'help me understand' approach at the next level. More managers impale themselves trying to explain their position than other techniques I have seen.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:58 AM   #33
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I got it, and the boss got canned.
I would say that going over your bosses head is a pretty risky strategy. You have to be pretty sure of your true value to the organization to do that.

I used to have to fire quite a few people as a function at my last job. It was amazing how some people really had no clue where they stood in the company. Managers are often under pressure to give poor reviews and lean on poor performers to quit because upper management wants them gone. So going over your manager's head might just reinforce the reasons for the poor review and hasten your eventual termination.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:51 AM   #34
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"Work abuse: How to survive it" by Wyatt and Hare.

This book is golden, complex but a good read on the subconscious reality going on in the workplace that makes bosses and their staff do what they do. If you can understand and hardwire this book into yourself, then you will understand much more than just the workplace.

People basically act towards other people based on sense of entitlement or most likely cover up of shame experienced in youth. Parental relationship and the nature of the parents was essential in forming this. Shaming others plays a big part in keeping staff in line. On the food chain, contempt is usually thrust downward, and power deferred upward.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:41 AM   #35
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I would say that going over your bosses head is a pretty risky strategy. You have to be pretty sure of your true value to the organization to do that...
Of course. This is why I deflected the confrontation this boss was so badly seeking. By turning the conversation to the pressing w*rk at hand and demonstrating I knew my deadlines, I disarmed the boss. Now he had to explain to his boss why my review was unsigned, i.e. he gave me good marks but zero bonus. His boss had been one of my previous bosses who had given me very good reviews (um...with bonuses) in the past.
I was one of 4 individuals who had been placed in the group during a reorganization, and he made it very clear to all of us that he didn't like that. These things happen...and the person on the receiving end has to be a quick thinker and a "perfect" employee. No mistakes.
It is a delicate chess game with high stakes.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:08 PM   #36
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Jug, thank you for the book suggestion. I will definitely get a copy. Unfortunately, there's no possibility of transfering away from my current boss. There's a lot of flux in upper management right now. I'm taking the general approach of "keeping your head down in times of change."

About ten years ago we made the decison to stay at this company primarily due to the retirement health benefit. It seemed unlikely that we could change jobs and qualify for similar benefits at another company. As Zippy99 keeps mentioning, its hard to retire early or even retire at all without a defined pension. We had been in the stock market for most of the bull run and the retirement health benefit would have made an earlier exit from our jobs possible.

I always thought of this decision as a sure-fire route to an earlier retirement. This same strategy worked for friends and relatives, but it didn't work for us (because the company discontinued the retirement health benefits). I now realize it was a gamble. We chose to stay at this company because of a carrot that dangled in front of us. That carrot wasn't a guaranteed benefit, just a promise that might or might not be fullfilled. Moreover during that time, we got our new/current boss. Fortunately, we have good-paying secure jobs and work independently most of the time, so it is possible to adapt to this change in fortune.

What concerns me are the governmental benefits to retirees, i.e. social security and medicare. These two benefits are only promises. It's inevitable that they are going to be reduced over time. I've always known this at the intellectual level, but after being forced to adapt to this change, I realize that these reductions (especially in medicare) have the potential to impact my life in retirement dramatically. All of this leaves me a little unnerved.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:32 PM   #37
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About ten years ago we made the decison to stay at this company primarily due to the retirement health benefit. It seemed unlikely that we could change jobs and qualify for similar benefits at another company. As Zippy99 keeps mentioning, its hard to retire early or even retire at all without a defined pension. We had been in the stock market for most of the bull run and the retirement health benefit would have made an earlier exit from our jobs possible.
Not sure if I'm "Zippy99" here, but yeah -- when my first Megacorp out of college froze the pension on me and took away retiree health insurance when I was in my early 30s, it was the event that made me more likely to become a "mercenary" and look for higher pay if the only "retirement benefit" I had left to work for was a 401K. I had already lost 10 years of potential seniority in a public-sector system, so by that time going the government route was less attractive.

In *some* sense it was a blessing that it happened to me early in my career, since I had plenty of time to know that the writing was on the wall that I'd have to save/invest my own butt off until it hurts if I wanted any hope of a decent retirement.

Some people never bothered to save for retirement, figuring that their pension would be more than enough after 30+ years in a secure job. But as more and more of them see their own pensions frozen or retiree health insurance yanked away from them, they looked and saw almost no retirement savings of their own, making retirement (at least before SS kicks in, if even then) a very difficult hurdle to surmount.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:05 PM   #38
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Been there! Done that! I quit my last job because the guy gave me a bad evaluation because "I could have worked harder". Now, I will own up to a lot of things such as being a weirdo, having a dirty mind, and having a borderline sense of humor, but lazy? I don't think so. I was working crazy hours and going to business school at night. After the semester was over, I worked a regular 40-45 hours week for 6 weeks just to get a breather, and that was the 6 weeks he wrote me up for in my evaluation. This supervisor you must think was some kind of a workaholic. Nope. He had 40 years on the job and had so much vacation time that he worked 2.5 days a week. By the time my Tuesday was over, I had already worked way more than his entire week of work, but he was the boss, so he got to do the evaluation. I made sure that I made an official objection. After that, I was never going to get a raise from him, so I left.

Like growing_older said, the evaluation can be used for real feedback or grounds for future layoffs. If it's the latter, there isn't much you can do other than use it as a sign that a) you're not a franchise player, b) maybe you make too much money, c) maybe you're too old, or d) you didn't kiss the right asses at the right time somewhere along the line.

There are good days at work, and at times you ask yourself if FIRE is the right goal, but then stories like these come up, and you're reminded why it's a good idea to reach at least the FI part of FIRE.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:18 PM   #39
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I w*rked many years as a mainframe computer programmer. For a while I had a boss who didn't know anything about computers and didn't like women who were 'out of their place'.

Ignorant cretin tried to give me a bad evaluation and I told him I would call our clients and ask for their opinion. ISOB backed down.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:29 PM   #40
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Like growing_older said, the evaluation can be used for real feedback or grounds for future layoffs. If it's the latter, there isn't much you can do other than use it as a sign that a) you're not a franchise player, b) maybe you make too much money, c) maybe you're too old, or d) you didn't kiss the right asses at the right time somewhere along the line.

There are good days at work, and at times you ask yourself if FIRE is the right goal, but then stories like these come up, and you're reminded why it's a good idea to reach at least the FI part of FIRE.
Buns, I hear ya!

After 3 years of FIRE I'm getting a bit bored, but still scared crap out of going to a j-b and actually taking it seriously.

Sooo, the only thing I can do is play games with it. I told my wife the first year will be "Year of the numerous W-2's" Here I will flit from job to job and see how many I can collect in a year.

Next we'll crank it up a notch to "year of the moon" Here when I get even a nasty look from a supervisor, I will show him/her the moon. Then when they let me out of the psyche ward, which is what they do in Vegas if you get silly, I will get another job and moon em again.

The year after that, we'll I'll cook up some Heinz beans with garlic added and eat it the night before. You get the picture....... If I ever make it to an evaluation, I'll have to add old broccoli to the picture for the face to face with supervisor. Life can be fun ya know......

Ju
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