Earlier this week, I had my annual ‘performance appraisal’ at work, which, having been with my current employer for a little over twelve years, meant two things:
- This was the eleventh appraisal I have participated in, since I started working here in the latter stages of 2006 (we missed a year);
- It was the eleventh time I have been asked to fill out the same cringey appraisal form in advance of the meeting, and therefore the eleventh time I have offered almost exactly the same responses as a result.
It’s not that I am necessarily averse to performance analysis, and I do acknowledge that it can be beneficial for some employees to assess both themselves and their role within a company – as well as offering feedback to their employer – but I just find the whole process extremely awkward and uncomfortable.
This is by no means a criticism of my boss, as I suspect he sometimes finds the appraisal process as tiresome as I do (particularly now that our firm has grown in size, and I for one keep offering the same tedious responses every year), but the only thing I detest more than discussing my strengths – I’m not really one to blow my own trumpet – is airing any issues I might have.
I hate any form of confrontation at the best of times (just ask my wife), so even though my boss would never see a grievance as anything other than an opportunity to address and resolve the issue (well, within reason), I would personally find it very difficult to raise and discuss, and I much prefer to bottle things up and stay quiet instead. I’m extremely passive like that, so even though it means I rarely get what I want, and my career hasn’t progressed much in over a decade, I do tend to avoid any unwanted disputes (which makes my chosen profession as a litigator all the more confusing).
I am like this most of the time anyway, so it’s not necessarily a work-related issue, and I accept it makes me sound weak; but I’m nearly 39 now, and too old to change my ways by suddenly becoming opinionated and vocal. If anything, it’s sheer laziness on my part, as I just want an easy life, and have very little ambition left these days. Well, apart from writing, which – as you may have gathered – is my main passion.
Anyway, partly because I never really express my true feelings or concerns; partly because I often see this blog as an opportunity to vent my spleen at you fine people (many of whom are strangers and can’t answer back); but mostly because I hope it will be somewhat amusing and I have fuck all else to write about this week, I have decided to repeat some sections of my recent appraisal form below, with what I wish I had said at the time. Just don’t tell my boss.
Appraisal – 22nd January 2019
Date of last appraisal: How should I fucking know? It’s not like I keep a record of this. I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night.
State your understanding of your main duties and responsibilities:
- I think I often provide light relief for my colleagues (not sexual relief, mind);
- Tea and coffee making;
- Organising work nights out;
- Legal stuff.
Has the time since your last appraisal been good/bad/satisfactory for you, and why?
Hmm, that depends really.
Some days I get bogged down in the sheer futility of it all, and question my place – not just within the firm, but in the universe as a whole.
I only really like three of my clients, which means I dislike 97.3% of my current caseload, and that makes waking up in the morning a struggle to say the least. Which is odd, because Isaac usually has us up by 5.30am anyway.
I hate my commute, and I have more chance of finding Lord Lucan each morning than a fucking parking space, but I do like most of my colleagues. I’m not saying which ones I don’t like, as you’ll probably get us all together to discuss the issue, and I’d rather shave my gentleman’s area with a breadknife.
Looking back, what do you feel you have done well?
My tea making is impeccable, and I honestly believe my coffee is getting better by the day.
My organisation of work nights out is pretty impressive (if we forget that time I spent the drinks kitty on Jagerbombs, because I was so pissed I forgot everyone’s order when I got to the bar).
I now have a better understanding of which ties go with which shirts, and that it is ok to sometimes mix colours up a bit.
What would you like to improve upon?
I would like to be a better husband and father sometimes.
If I could shave another minute off my 5k time at Parkrun, that would be nice.
I need to eat slower, as I often find that I get indigestion and heartburn after meals.
I could probably recycle more and use less plastic (as could we all).
What elements of work do you find most difficult?
Just getting through each day, frankly.
Also, I could do without Julie’s constant sexual advances*
*I’ve disguised Linda’s real name to preserve her anonymity.
What could be introduced to improve your day?
We could turn the meeting room into a bar?
What do you see as major challenges to our profession?
Do you have any idea about how we can overcome those changes / challenges?
If I knew that, I’d be running the country (which, incidentally, I think I would be fucking awesome at, and I’m not ruling it out).
What training do you think would benefit you over the next year?
Mostly cardio-vascular, but a little weight-training on the arms wouldn’t go amiss. They look like two matchmakers (white chocolate, obvs).
And finally, what do you consider to be your biggest achievement in the past year?
That one time I ‘almost’ fit in the tea/coffee cabinet
NOW do you see why I don’t give my honest opinion (or even the first thing which pops into my head) when I have an appraisal?
Thanks for reading x