S07E07: Performance review

Yes, that’s right. It’s time to ask for feedback, trying to phrase a request that starts out like this:

“I’m looking for your opinion on my strengths and, perhaps more importantly, my weaknesses areas for growth”

…and is iterated to

“Hurt me. Tell me you hate me. Tell me I’m terrible at my job. Please just give me some critical feedback, anything, because this parade of nothing but lovely compliments must be what Hell is like…

…and then you reflect that actually you have had some valuable critical feedback and you’re over-correcting, so you end up with:

“It’s review season!”

Bernie is once again asking for feedback on his (my) performance

“I know we have an instinct to say nice things, and I respect that, but I’d really like to hear where you think I could have done better. It doesn’t mean I’ve done a bad job, but there’s always room for improvement. If you feel bad saying it to me, please email my line manager, ‘best-job-in-the-world@domain’. Thanks!”

As it happens I’ve had some really good feedback. It’s that I am slightly unfocussed in the projects that I attack, and that I need to commit to something and follow it all the way through to implementation. No more skipping around every year or so. Write the strategy. Implement the strategy. Recognise where the plan is going wrong and realign it to the strategy. Do this before the strategy is out of date.

It’s good feedback and I recognise the failing area for growth: I do tend to flit around a lot. On the other hand I’ve got an interview next week for a great role that would give me experience in a bunch of areas that I know I need to grow – oh, but this current role is so good, and so exciting, and I’ve just got my hands on a Big Hairy Problem that really needs fixing. It’s difficult and is going to take at least a year and will improve the working lives of like…8.7% of the wider Civil Service. That’s some cool shit. Maybe I should take that approach – pick the job that will help the most people. A brutally utilitarian approach to my own career.

The other thing that’s encouraging me to stick around is the suspicion that there’ll be someone new joining my team, or at least moving into a similar orbit, and I may get to manage them. I’ve missed managing people – it’s an area I really love and get a lot out of. Anyway, I dunno team. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a problem for sure.


This week I am thinking a lot about socialism.

This is partly because it’s my (our) base state

Communism GIFs | Tenor
*Marxism intensifies*

but also because I’m trying to work out how to implement massive organisational change across a slice of people in my organisation. I want people to do things a certain way, because I believe it will have an incredible impact on the wider organisation. That way, though, is pretty – well, let’s call it socialist. It’s basically “To each according to their need; from each according to their ability.” I’m obviously already bought in, because I’m a sparkling wine socialist, but I need to convince other people in my massive organisation that they need to build something that will cost them more for the sake of everyone else. This is a noble goal that runs right up against a responsibility that I take seriously, which is demonstrating value for money. And I’m really struggling with this, because the value is so fuzzy, so…vague. I’m envious of the Notify team because they just count all the events they process – but how do I put a number to, for example, a community of people who consequently don’t spend money? Who never even consider spending money? It’s sort of like going back in time to kill Hitler, because when you come back people will say: “What? You spent four gazillion dollars to kill a kid trying to get into art school? What’s wrong with you?” and then they’d make sure you never got any more funding.

How do you get people to take a leap of faith with you, against all their better instincts, when every incentive is against them?

Views from cult leaders, the Nudge Unit, etc very welcome


And finally this week: I got in a spat with Innocent Drinks this week because they’re hiring for a social media manager, and they haven’t put the salary in the job description. It’s my absolute bugbear. It winds me up no end, and a close second to that is corporate bullshit from a “cool” “ethical” “millennial” company, because it reminds me that actually these social media accounts are just the little lights on top of angler fish. We – my fellow kids – look at old adverts I suspect in much the same way as we look at the lights dangling off angler fish. “Lol” we say [Do we? Are you sure?], silly fish, silly boomers. Can’t they see it’s a trap?

And then we let Weetabix break the internet by putting beans on biscuits.

Of course the trap doesn’t work for you. The trap is not designed for you. A trap designed for you that you could identify would be a very bad trap, and likely a distraction from the real trap, which even now closes about your ankles, your shoulders, your throat…

Corporations are not our friends. Internet culture, like punk before it, has been acquired and commodified by capitalism. Everything you love will be either assimilated or eliminated.

Pin on Midlife Humor

Anyway, have a great weekend.

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