Thursday, November 4, 2010


I hate writing performance reports. It's an exercise in frustration. I have X lines to summarize a person's performance over the last year, in a few specific areas. But I can't just come out and review the performance. No, I have to say it in specifically formatted, space-limited, bullet statements.

So I can't say,

"Joe is an outstanding mechanic who always comes to work on time and does his best. He's the most reliable person here, and knows everything about everything we do. He should be promoted immediately!."

No, the format I need is bullet points, specifically in the form of:


So instead I have to say:

Repaired 25 school bus engines; maintained the entire fleet at top readiness--pivotal to the success of section's mission

Which, due to space constraints, has to be whittled down to something like:

Fixed 25 bus motors; maintained rdyness of fleet--pivotal to msn success

Then my boss has to look at it, and after he edits it, it becomes:

Repaired 25 bus motors, kept flt at top rdyness--key to msn accomplishment

Then HIS boss looks at it, and she prefers this:

Maintained 25 bus engines; flt kept in top shape--guaranteed msn success

Then her boss will look at it, and he likes this better:

Fixed 25 bus engines; maintained fleet readiness--key to msn success

Then his boss will ask,

"How exactly was he key to mission success? Was the fleet 100% ready at all times, or do you mean we met tasks even if we had some broken buses? Did he fix them by himself or did he have a helper? Did he really fix all 25 engines, or did he just do maintenance on some?"

And it just goes on and on. Oh, and I have to adjust these because the bullet has to fit exactly on the line. No "white space" at the end allowed... ok, MAYBE one space.

And there are some 20+ lines on the form.

It's annual performance review, Twitter-style.


SusieH said...

Oooh, it IS like Twitter. But with extra added GroupThink :)

Kaylen said...

Yuck, that sounds like a lot of wasted effort!!!
I work on the backend of our performance review cycle, which we do electronically in an online system for our 800 employees. I spend about six months on this system-helping prep it, allow user access levels, change wording on the forms, figure out timelines, etc (with a team of 4 people).
I suspect it would be a million times more efficient to have people handwrite perf reviews in calligraphy. But who am I to complain....this is job security right?