Lint-Trap 2/1/01: Performance




When I started this journal, I set myself the goal of updating daily. That has been very hard to pull off--my respect for those who manage it has grown considerably.

I'm sitting here this morning, waiting for the phome people to show up yet again. If I can get either my home or my work line stable, it will make a big difference in my ability to update, as well as my ability to do almost everything else.

So it's our annual performance review time. Some companies give performance reviews on the anniversary of the date you started. This makes performance reviews a sort of rolling background noise to one's work as a manager. It is very easy for people to get lost in the shuffle, and harder to compare someone to their peers to make sure they are appropriately paid.

Doing performance reviews for the whole company is in some ways fairer, but also stressier for everyone involved. And of course, several companies I've worked for in the Valley have not done performance reviews (or given raises) at all.

The problem with big bang raises is that it stresses the managers out pretty badly. This in turn leads to stupid things being said and done. It can get ugly.

In the last year I've worked for three bosses--my most recent one for only 6 weeks or so. So I got my review on Wed. and it was clear that one paragraph was written by one boss, another by another, etc. And that together they did not compute.

I quite like my current boss (and I have far more experience in this kind of thing than he does), so I gently pointed out the top four of the dozen or so contradictions in the document and suggested that if this went into the permanent record, neither he nor I was going to look good. The upshot of this is that I have an appointment with boss #2 and my current boss today to discuss this situation.

Asking a young company to be coherent is asking a great deal. But lack of coherence is a very serious problem that should be stamped out wherever you find it. I'm "happy" to be doing my part.

Meanwhile, I'm checking out other things I might do in the company.

We are at that painful adolescent stage where the founders' limitations are becoming obvious to everyone but themselves. One by one they are being shuttled onto sidings. If our stock does well, I expect some to leave in the next year or so.

Then they get replaced by more experienced managers, but ones who don't understand our company's cultore, product, or personnel. It takes a while to get back on an even keel. Six to nine months, I'd guess. And that doesn't count the painful time before the founder is replaced.

Right now, my choices appear to be to do things I don't want to do for a manager I respect, or to do things I do want to do for a manager I don't respect.

So, I'm off to meet my fate, head held high. I tell myself that there's my performance, and then there is the review of my performance. For a year in which I finalized a divorce and settled into a new house, not to mention put up with a bunch of painful botches on the work front, I think my performance was more than adequate. Let's hope the review can reach that level as well.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.