What makes an occasionally above-average employee question his above averageness? What makes an occasionally-confident employee sink to new depths of self-doubt and paranoia?
Filling out their own self-evaluation.
Much like another ritual for people of a certain age, job evaluations also require setting aside private time for uncomfortable personal probing committed by person or persons not in your immediate family.
Imagine saying what you really mean about your job if it didn't mean the end of your job:
Please list your accomplishments in the past year:
Slow down, Mr. Team Leader. What exactly do you mean by "accomplishments"? Is that some dig at me for finally remembering to get my time card in on time last week? Or finally learning how to transfer calls?
Also, you refer to the "past year." Do you mean human years or dog years? The difference is whether I'm being asked to cite my accomplishments for the last year or for the last seven years -- and if the latter is the case, then clearly, I'll need a lot more room than this dinky space.
Please list the training and job skills you developed in the past year, including team skills:
In team settings, I have learned it's not productive to hurl a loaded stapler at colleagues even when they are so wrong they're practically begging to be hit by a loaded stapler.
Please list the barriers that keep you from accomplishing your individual and team goals:
1. Contact with other humans.
2. The industry standard known as the 40-hour work week.
3. Lack of summers off.
4. Cheetos that get hung up in the vending machine after I pay the dollar.
5. Lack of current sports magazines left on lunchroom bookshelf.
8. Expected goals.
9. When certain area sports teams fail to meet their goals thus ruining my weekend.
10. Additional contact with humans.
These are the skills and training you feel are necessary for you to achieve your goals:
I've always wanted to play tight end in the NFL.
Please train accordingly.
Do you want to revise your performance plan for 2014? (You do.):
OK, I suppose the NFL is out of the question if the point is to crush my dreams.
Please list ways your team leader can help you improve your performance:
1. Don't crush my dreams.
2. Offer praise (both verbally and in writing) when I accomplish tasks that fall under "above and beyond." I've heard of this above and beyond stuff. Sounds suspicious and tiring.
3. Offer unjustifiable raises to me. The kind of raises that if my co-workers found out, they'd throw loaded staplers at me.
4. Renew subscription to Sports Illustrated in lunchroom. Maxim optional.
5. Please observe my "quiet time" between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
6. In the event of another polar vortex or 1-3 inches of snow, I'll be working remotely from Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West. Call after 4 p.m. when my "noisy time" begins.
7. Discount Cheetos in vending machine!
8. Re-adjust my performance expectations to meet the talents and maturity of a 13-year-old boy.
9. When communicating detail-oriented tasks for me to perform, please speak slowly and softly. If possible, light incense and put on James Taylor to increase my comfort level. Also, think of deadlines not so much as specific points in time but as Einsteinian concepts of expanding, infinite units of so-called time. Or let's just shoot for next week.
10. Optional Attendance Fridays.
Yours in above and beyond performing,
R. Hiaasen, valued employee