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My formal evaluation was today
Old 06-11-2009, 12:58 PM   #1
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My formal evaluation was today

As way of introduction, the last 2.5 years at my job has been very stressful. Think "crunch" time with no vacations, 60-80 hrs per week, lots of stress, threats of job termination etc. Ultimately we were successful and obtained the outside project needed to save the jobs for myself and my DH.

Today I had my formal evaluation with my supervisor. There was no acknowledgement of the effort I had put in to obtain the outside project. His only comment was I was deficient because I had not yet started seeking a second outside project. To be successful at getting the second project would require another two years of "crunch" time, while maintaining progress on the first project all with no additional personnel. I cannot imagine taking on this extra stress. By the time I got the first project funded, I was completely burned out. I suspect that if we don't try for a second project, there will not be any more salary raises.

My husband and I had previously decided to RE in two years when both of us qualified for early retirement health benefits. Since our company recently discontinued early retirement health benefits, this plan no longer works. DH has some health issues. We need 16 years of health insurance (between the two of us) to get to Medicare. In my state, health insurance similar to what we have now, would cost $10,000 per person per year. This would increase our rate of withdrawal in retirement by about 30% and makes me very uneasy with the high inflation in healthcare costs. I think there may be high inflation overall in the future due to the current deficit spending. There is no possibility for part time work in our area. It would be impossible for us to get other high-paying jobs at this stage of our lives, so changing jobs is not an option.

The most reasonable plan of action seems to be to suck it up (swallow the anger), maintain the first project, reduce the stress levels by not trying to get a second project, and accept the fact that we will have health insurance, but our salaries will stagnate. This would also mean that we would constantly have to deal with criticisms that we are not living up to our job expectations. Using this approach, we should be able to last for another four to five years and increase our nest egg to hedge against inflation. If inflation doesn't pick up and the ecomony heals, there is still the possibility that we could leave earlier. DH agrees with this response to the situation.

Has anyone on this forum ever had to deal with this type of situation? Can anyone suggest any approaches for surviving in this type of job environment?
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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Sue, I am so sorry to hear about your rotten work situation! This type of situation is sadly becoming more the norm than the exception but that doesn't make it any easier to bear. I have a couple of thoughts about it.

First, through the years I have found that whether an evaluation is good or bad, is more likely to depend on the supervisor doing the evaluation than with my work performance. So don't take what your supervisor says to heart (you probably didn't, but if you did, don't!).

Second, it sounds like the second project involves putting up with too much baloney to actually go for it. You are probably going to get plenty of misery, criticisms, and overwork from this supervisor whether you take the second project or not. When management loves to dish out criticisms, your actions may not necessarily affect the amount of criticism that you get. And, you might not get any raises even if you did try for the second project. There are no guarantees as far as I can tell. So, I think you are doing exactly the right thing.

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The most reasonable plan of action seems to be to suck it up (swallow the anger), maintain the first project, reduce the stress levels by not trying to get a second project, and accept the fact that we will have health insurance, but our salaries will stagnate.
I agree 100%. This is what you need to do. Start counting down the days, and keep your eyes open for any other health plan options that might present themselves in the meantime.

Edited to add: I am assuming that your job is relatively secure, and that you will be unlikely to lose it if you don't take a second project. If you think that taking that project will allow you to keep a job that you would otherwise lose, then sadly you might have to do that.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:37 PM   #3
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Ick. My sympathies. This is, in a nutshell, what drives some of us so passionately to FIRE.

Unfortunately, given the health insurance situation, I think there's little responsible choice other than suck it up and keep grinding for a while. You know your limits better than any of us, and if the second project would create unhealthy levels of stress, then stick with the first project, especially if you know you can milk it for a few more years. If the market improves again or if the health insurance situation is resolved for you one way or another, then you can tell 'em to pound sand because you're gone...
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
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Man...Sue, I'm sorry you're going through a rough time.

DH hung in there to get a larger pension and health benefits (he retired 3 months ago). But it was NOT pretty.

Regarding evaluations....at DH's Mega Corp (I was there for years as well), it used to be that everyone was given a fair evaluation of their job performance. Sometimes this meant everyone would reach "Excel" or above. Then the rules changed a couple of years ago. There had to be a certain percentage that had to be evaluated "at or just below expectations". This drove DH bonkers.

In the end, he didn't have to worry about the evaluations much as he had to cut his staff from 47 direct reports to 2.

Sue, try to stick with it if you can. Imagine yourself saying one day, "Man..that was tough...but I finally made it", as you sip your cool bev enjoying the bliss of retirement.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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Get out the udder cream and milk it until the milk gives out. If it is a done deal that salaries are stagnant unless you work extremely hard to get another project and that is unlikely to happen, then just do the bare minimum. Show up, put in your honest 40 hrs/wk, and clock out at 5:30 just in time for happy hour. Assuming you would be ok with the outcome of getting let go eventually. Could you find replacement work relatively easily at similar compensation?

If the boss gives you lemons, make them lemonade. But pee in it first.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:16 PM   #6
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After years and years of putting up with evaluations I finally got where I couldn't care less about them. My yearly raise is attached to mine too. I just go in the office sit down glance at it sign it and walk out with a smile and in a nice way. It actually doesn't matter to me what grade or raise I get any longer. I always write something in the comment box about what a great year it was at my place of employment. I refuse to give them (management) the pleasure of thinking I give a good rip. Keep in mind I plan to retire soon and have known for several years I was just doing time. Seems like I get just as good of raises if I care or if I don't. Never seemed to make much difference.
Just skin & Grin. Do your time and go.
That's what I'm doing.
My thoughts,
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:08 PM   #7
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Watching my peers go thru this (in an aerospace, then financial industry software development environment) is one of the main factors that turned me from a Dilbert to a Wally. They put in tons of unpaid overtime for very little in the way of return. I turned down promotion attempts and remained a programmer with no underlings until retirement. I made as much or more than most of them when I retired. What little overtime I worked was always comp-timed.

I agree with your plan of action to suck it up and lower the stress levels. Do what it takes to keep your job and no more. Do not take anything at work personally - at this point it is just a job, not a career.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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"Just skin & Grin. Do your time and go." Keep a positive attitude. Look forward to the 15th and 30th because that is the most important thing you get from the J-O-B.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #9
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Do you and DH work at the same place (and in the same department)? That sounds like a bad idea to me -- it's giving too much power over your financial lives to one potential @@shole.

Sucks about the healthcare, but I don't see any way around it. Most people need to plan for their own healthcare in early retirement, if that makes you feel any better.

Hang in there.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:13 PM   #10
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Just to add a little funny.
A guy I had worked with for several years got promoted to a position where he now does my Eval. The first one he did, I told him I would not give him any trouble and would sign in agreement with what ever he put down. I actually told him to give me a zero if he wanted, it didn't matter to me. I really meant that, I gave up years ago. There was a time when I appealed all the way to the personnel board on this crap too. In my early years.
I guess you guy's and gal's can tell, I'm many years past ready to FIRE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By tha way, he probably did the last one anyone will ever do for me in April but no one knows it but you folks.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:28 PM   #11
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My boss at Mega Corp had me write my own evaluation. He'd glance at it, then sign.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:49 PM   #12
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Our evals get rubber stamped by two levels of management then stuck in a drawer. They have no bearing on compensation or bonus and are typically conducted within a month AFTER raises and bonuses are awarded. Query that.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Can anyone suggest any approaches for surviving in this type of job environment?
Can you live on one salary? It is easier to have a stressful job when one spouse is taking care of everything on the home front and has dinner waiting for you every night. Plus then you still have health insurance through the spouse at work.

Can you become self employed? Change careers to something lower paying but less stressful? Go back to school to help you change jobs or careers? Retire some place with a lower cost of living?

Quote:
My husband and I had previously decided to RE in two years when both of us qualified for early retirement health benefits. Since our company recently discontinued early retirement health benefits, this plan no longer works. DH has some health issues. We need 16 years of health insurance (between the two of us) to get to Medicare. In my state, health insurance similar to what we have now, would cost $10,000 per person per year
So all you really need in two years then is an extra $20K a year to cover your health insurance costs. Between the two of you couldn't you still semiretire in two years and find a way to bring in an extra $20K a year between the two of you, doing something les stressful one or both of you enjoy?

If you become self employed health insurance can still be expensive, but it is a tax deductible expense so that reduces the after tax cost, plus the insurance cost would be offset by your self employment income.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:44 PM   #14
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I am in a very stressful job situation as well, with long hours and not a lot of pay. I am only in my early 30s, but I don't think I can last another 10 years. Given your description, I think staying in the job for another 4-5 years will not be good for your health and well being.

Are two high salaries critical to your goals at this point? There are plenty of jobs with lower stress and good health insurance, but the pay may be less. It seems that at least one of you should consider it.

Everyone is different. I have a hard time thinking that I am only "doing time" on my job. My job should not be a prison and there should at least be some joy. There are a lot of opportunities out there. It doesn't hurt to start looking.

Also, I don't know about your job, but at my job, it's not possible to keep it to 40 hours. There is a lot of travel and deadlines. I can't just say I can't do something because I already put in my 40 hours.

I agree with the earlier posters who suggested part-time jobs that pay $20K/year, or being self-employed.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:38 PM   #15
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At my (former) mega-corp, an unexpectedly poor performance review usually means you are targeted for the next round of layoffs. Companies are very nervous about wrongful termination suits, or claims of discrimination in layoffs. They often build a paper trail of poor performance reviews that will be used to justify their decision if there should ever be legal action. I would suggest you reconsider very carefully just how secure your jobs really are, and plan accordingly.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
Our evals get rubber stamped by two levels of management then stuck in a drawer. They have no bearing on compensation or bonus and are typically conducted within a month AFTER raises and bonuses are awarded. Query that.
That was our mega-corp.
  • Bonus came Jan. 31
  • Employee evaluations were due March 30.
  • Salary adjustments handed out June 30th.
  • HR browbeat us for evaluations by Dec. 31.
  • HR filed whatever they got, never to be seen again.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:55 PM   #17
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The best time to find a new job is when you are employed. Let people you trust that you are interested in hearing about opportunities.

Back up your contact file to your own memory stick and remove it from the premises. Likewise anything else that doesn't breach confidentiality agreements and would be useful in seeking another position. If you are RIF'd that information not be available to you.

Frankly your situation does not impress me, they are not good managers. Find another employer.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:09 PM   #18
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Hi, I'm the other "Sue" here.

My husband is in a similar situation. He's been in his current position as a public employee with our county for almost 21 years and has another 5 years of service from an earlier position. He's been there through ups and downs, personnel and administrative changes and he's always liked his job, he always had very good reviews.

Now things have changed and the new trend is that no one gets a good evaluation. Upper management rules by fear and intimidation. Middle aged, middle managers are being targeted for elimination. Like another poster said,

Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
At my (former) mega-corp, an unexpectedly poor performance review usually means you are targeted for the next round of layoffs. Companies are very nervous about wrongful termination suits, or claims of discrimination in layoffs. They often build a paper trail of poor performance reviews that will be used to justify their decision if there should ever be legal action.
Yep, he feels he's in line for the next round of cleaning house. He's gone through phases of anger, sadness and paranoia. It's been going on for about 2 years and he's still there so he's gotten to the point of trying to let it roll off his back. If they wanted him gone, wouldn't they have eliminated him by now? Is that axe still hanging over his head?

He'd like to stay until he has 30 years of service (Nov 2013), the pension and health care benefits increase every year from 25 - 30 years of service, so he's sort of in the home stretch. But he hates being second guessed on every decision. He hates feeling like they are just looking for a reason to get rid of him. He hates feeling like he is being set up for failure. He hates that his place of work no longer sees any value in the experienced employees.

As for looking elsewhere, the field he's in is fairly small and all the agencies know each other. If he started to look for another job in his same field it would get back to his current employer very quickly. Also, employment in our area right now is atrocious. He'd have a really hard time finding something with comparable pay.

So he's just hanging in there trying to get by week by week. He tries to keep his job in a separate compartment from the rest of his life.

I do what I can to be emotionally supportive. He appreciates that a lot. I've also shown him how we need to be in "emergency mode" financially until he feels better about his job security, or until he loses his job.

Just having a plan gives you some of your power back.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:32 AM   #19
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Play the game. I work in a mega-corp now (about 4 years) so that is my perspective. But my 25-years before that was primarily "manage my own business".

I know that 10 years in my middle ages in this corp world would have killed me. Now in my mid-50's, I simply take my meds and "go with the flow".

I suggest you do what most do. Execute the work that's in front of you. Put in 40-45 hours, go home, love your family. It's that simple.

As a new hobby, polish your resume, then post it to every job board you can find. Of course do this from a new home mail account, so you can keep things sorted. Eventually you will get an equivalent offer.

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Old 06-12-2009, 07:45 AM   #20
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You should all look at annual reviews as ammunition for management to get rid of you if and when the time comes. I used to review forty people salaried every year (acturlly my supervisors did) and every person had to sign the review or you marked it "refused to sign". If the situation arose where you had to fire someone, the review file had better be in order and any reprimands, notes on performance and annual reviews had better be signed or they were thrown out of the process. The employee could always say "I wasn't aware of that" or "he never told me". That's the way it was in our company. The few that refused to sign had that note made in front of a witness for documentation. I'd take the reviews as SERIOUS. Your job could depend on it.
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