Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Blue Book Week

So - it's been a week since I blogged. No - I'm not on vacation, and I'm not dead - yet.

Our company does annual performance evaluations in one fell swoop every August. I take people's evaluations very seriously, and take pride in making them valuable and personal. I've only been here 5 months, so it is patently unfair for me to evaluate a person on an entire year's worth of work when I've only been working with them for less than half that time. To that end, I have involved many other people in this process.

Nevertheless, I have spent an entire weekend, as well as many late nights watching the Olympics or the DNC Convention, reviewing HR records and trying to craft some well thought out comments for more than 24 managers. I have to admit, despite every effort at personalization, after a while, some of the comments just require a name change, cut and paste, and voila! You have an evaluation.

Now I know what my sister goes through grading hundreds of college level art history Blue Books, trying to be original and thoughtful in your comments for every student. It's draining. Especially the first time out.

The harder part is the delivery. With blue books - you hand them out and post the grades and you're done. There is nothing personal involved unless the student wants to speak to you afterwards.

These evals are personal. Very personal. You're not getting a grade - you're getting a raise. The stakes are higher, and people respond to them very differently. Some of my best performers can't take even the slightest constructive criticism, and some of the worst performers are utterly oblivious to their suckitude. The easy ones are joyful, the hard conversations ("Honey - we need to talk...") are utterly painful.

And so it goes. I had them scheduled back to back on a 45 minute schedule all week.

Last night, I went to a terrific Baltimore Foodies dinner with friends for some relief. PLEASE go to Woodberry Kitchen. It's another home run for my buddy Spike Gerdje as head chef. Everything he touches is just wonderfully crafted, and Woodberry is no different.

Tomorrow I get on a plane and head to New England to float in my BFF's pool, drink her award winning wines, eat the bounty of her garden, and attend the Rythm and Roots Festival. Perfect tonic for this week.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:48 PM  
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