“Good luck with your layoffs, all right? I hope your firings go really well.”

image I’m not sure which activity I find most distasteful this time of year–taxes, or my annual review at work.

I guess at least with taxes, I can determine when I do it and how much of its crap I’m willing to put up with at any given time.

Not so with personal reviews.

Both CareerMom and I have reviews at the same time each year, so I would imagine that it’s nearly the same for other companies. For my company, imagine that there’s this big pool of cash (or not so big, depending) that they have to divy out in the form of bonuses. There’s also a scale running from…I dunno…like 4, 3, 2, 2+, 1, or something like that. I don’t claim to understand it; all’s I know is the closer to “1” you get, the better you are and supposedly, the more money you get. (psst…I happen to think it’s all a bunch of crap. I mean, if the company as a whole, has posted sucky numbers, then how can you give anyone an excellent rating?)

For two years now, I have gotten a “2,” which my company defines as:

Solid Contributor
Consistently meets job responsibilities; is reliable in doing job; demonstrates appropriate levels of knowledge, skill, effectiveness and initiative.

Doesn’t sound too bad right? Considering the next step is someone who:

Goes above and beyond job responsibilities; outperforms most peers; finds ways to grow scope and impact

…I can live with it. But I think what grates me though, is that I’m the only person who does what I do in my entire wing of the company. So, even if I were only skating by, which I’m not, there’s no one around who is qualified to say whether or not my work is up to par with others doing my same job. And considering these ratings are looked at when you apply for another position in the company, it’s kinda a big deal.

Anyway, a rather curious outcome of my review recently was that my Director stated, “The only negative I have about you, is that you’re not assertive enough.”

*I’ll wait for all of the snorting and guffawing to die down before continuing…*

Yes folks, I apparently let people walk all over me.

A colleague of mine postulated that in fact, I was assertive, just not in the right way, no doubt referring to an outburst I had year before last after being transferred to my 6th manager in 12 month’s time. But no, there’s been no such outburst this year and if I’m honest, my Director might be right. I have been quieter this year, but only because I have gotten so tired of beating my head against the wall trying to get things done, that I just sort of shut down.

In my manager’s advice to me, he told me I shouldn’t let people of a lower band (our jobs are given “bands” based on pay scales and duties) dictate to me what I can and can’t do. I’ll agree with that, except there’s a flaw in his advice. He, as a Director, is privy to other people’s bands; I am not. All I can go by is a person’s title, and here at my company, a person can pretty much give him or herself whatever title they please. So it’s hard to know if little Suzy Blowhard is a band 10, or a band 6.

But this all has me considering new job titles for the new year. Feel free to vote on your favorite:

  • Super-duper Writer Man
  • Editor of all things relating to stuff my company sells
  • Manager of everything I touch
  • The guy who just wants to do his job and go home
  • Head Word Czar
  • suggestions?

(P.S. Yes, I know. I am VERY grateful I have a job at all, much less one that pays bonuses. In fact, this is my first company, in nearly 17 years of work, that does.)

Phy-sychiatrist phriday

image Sorry, I couldn’t find any compelling pictures to support “Picture Phone Phriday” so we’re trying something new today, and probably today only!

But folks, I need your help. We…need your help. See, I have a friend, let’s call her Mary. Mary and I have known each other since 6th grade, when I moved from the relative high-society of Mobile, AL. out to a po-dunk part of town called Semmes, AL. Of course, this meant changing schools and being a 6th grader meant I was the new boy at the bottom of the heap, since the school started at 6th and went up to 8th. As such, I got picked on…a lot. Which might explain my drive to exercise today, but wait! Phy-sychiatrist Phriday isn’t about me!

Anyway, Mary and I became sort of unspoken friends, and for a couple of years there, we alternated between liking each other and completely ignoring each other. For some reason though, the stars never aligned and we never hooked up. But we have remained good friends to this day. She is one of the only people from my childhood that I still keep up with, with any kind of regularity. She even lurks around here and on the very rare occasion, will leave a comment.

I hope she doesn’t mind, but she needs our help and I’m going to plug into the P&P brain-trust and see if we can help her out.

Here’s the deal:

Mary is currently single, and has a son nearly the exact same age (and with the same name) as MLI. It was a strange coincidence to be sure. She’s been married once and, let’s just say, it was kinda weird and that we’re glad she got out of it. She’s been dating a guy now for a while. He has kids of his own and from what little I know, his previous marriage wasn’t all that great either.

Mary is a traditional kinda girl. Meaning, she likes a commitment. She wants to be married. She wants the “dream.” Is that so wrong? Well, it apparently is for her current boyfriend, who claims one minute that he doesn’t want to get married again, while another minute saying, “Give it time, when it’s right, we’ll know,” to yet another time telling her that he loves her deeply and needs her and all that good stuff.

Mary is stuck. She really likes the guy (loves even I would say), but she has a son and a life, and dare I say, parents that she doesn’t want to let down. She wants to be married, but at what cost?

So, she recently asked me, “So do you think I’ve fallen for another man who says he loves me but has no intention of every marrying again?

Now, you can probably guess what I told her, but I’m going to refrain from posting it so that I don’t skew your comments any. But, I pose her question to you. What do you think?