P.U. Performance Review

The ongoing saga of my part-time job journey continues. I have been working for an insurance company from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM Monday through Friday since the middle of July. One of the soccer moms, who was aware that I was looking for part-time work, had mentioned that there was a part-time job opening in the Customer Service Department where she worked. I went in for the interview and was hired.

For the most part, I liked the job. There was an awful lot to learn, though. I had to be able to answer all sorts of questions regarding the insurance coverage, enter new enrollments on the computer, charge credit cards in B-Mart and put together VIP lists in Excel and other general office duties.

It was rough working during the summer when all of the kids were at home. It's been a struggle to get out of the house in the mornings on school days when they are just waking up and want to be hugged. In fact, I even got in a bit of trouble for getting to work a few, like maybe three, minutes late, even though I would stay at least ten minutes after my shift and forfeit my ten minute break. But all in all I liked the job. The people I work with are fine, the office is clean and not too far away, and the schedule worked. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the pay. It's just a tad over minimum wage, which is almost insulting. My college education is not really "paying" off for me. At least not yet. The checks seemed miserly for the amount of effort I had been putting in trying to learn every nuance of what might or might not be covered in the event of a foreseeable hurricane. I never would have thought there could be so many ways a single sentence within the policy could be interpreted. It was a daunting task for my supervisor to train me and my co-worker to be able to answer the phones with a bit of competence.

I was also given the task to reorganize all of the office supplies. Physically move them from the middle of the office to the back of the office, organize where they should go and label the drawers. That was my favorite assignment. I knew what was expected and it was just a matter of getting the work done. I don't mind lifting and moving boxes. I was built for it, I suppose. But I finished it too quickly and was placed back on phone duty again. I am supposed to do data entry and answer the phones. It is frustrating at times when I am about 30 seconds shy of completing an enrollment, and the phone rings, and I have to dump it, only to do the same thing for the person who is on the phone. But there are also times when the phones do not ring, and I can read my email and relax.

I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I admitted to being a bit slow to learn new things, but once learned, I am able to do them well. So when they told me it was time for my Performance Review, I was relaxed. First they emailed me the form that listed the areas of professional performance. I was supposed to list all of my duties, and rate myself on a scale of 1-10 on eleven areas such as "Grasp of instruction", "Understanding Customers", "Ability to Meet Deadlines", "Quality of Work" etc. I rated myself between 6-10 on most of the items. Next came the Personal Development and Leadership Skills, which consisted of things like, "Dependability/Credibility", "Attitude towards Firm", "Professional Demeanor/ Appearance" and the like. Again, I rated myself between 8-10. I was then asked to give myself an overall rating, and I gave myself an 8, which I felt left room for improvement, but also noted that I was a good employee. On the backside of the form, I had to list any areas, which I felt I needed to improve, and any ways that my manager could help to improve my performance. I didn't dare list any suggestions for her. Not a newbee's place.

So it was kind of like the interview, when they ased me what I thought I ought to get paid by the hour, and I had no idea what the pay scale was. I hate stabbing in the dark. Why not just lay it out on the line and say, "This is what we have to offer. Are you interested?" What is the point of making the prospective employee guess at a salary range? It sure felt like they were trying to trick me by hoping that I'd guess lower than what they wanted to pay. Not so in my case. I mentioned what I had been earning 13 years ago and increased it a bit for inflation, and then had to settle for a bit more than half! But that's what happens to moms who choose to stay home and raise their own kids rather than remaining in the work force and letting someone else raise their kids. Now I realize that not all moms have a choice, but I was one of the luckier ones, and God forbid I would have had to go back to work eight weeks after giving birth to premature twins!!!!!

I put in several applications at the nearby college to no avail. I finally got one interview, but only because a relative worked in the office. Then my neighbor arranged for an interview at a drug testing lab which paid $10.00/hr. I worked there for a few months and had a nice experience. Next I worked at home doing interviews on the phone, which was great but only sporadic work. Afterwards, I worked part-time in a new gym that opened up down the street, but that didn't work out for reasons that are too long to explain here. Then I was out of work for a few months, and then started my current job. Tax time should be fun.

So I woke up early, got to work on time, and walked into the conference room with confidence. My supervisor and the VP of the company sat across from me. They had my review turned face down and explained that I had done what every other employee before me had done, rated myself way too high. Oh boy. What was I in store for? They went on to explain that on a scale of 1-10, a 5 is considered average, and anything above was considered excellent, and that no employee of only three months was going to rate much higher than 5 in any area. That was just to prepare me. They then turned the review over, and we went through their ratings of me one by one. I was crushed to see so many "4's". Was I really below par in so many areas? They had given me 4's in areas they hadn't even seen what I could do. Like "Written Communication". How could they give me a "4" when they had never even seen a writing sample of mine? Shouldn't it at least have been a "5"? and a 4 in "Appearance"? How could I not take that personally? The only areas I received anything above a "5" were"Verbal Communication" and "Attitude". Well after that I think my "Attitude" went down to a "2". They gave me an overall rating of "4.5" and asked if I had anything to add. I was so taken aback by the entire process that I excused myself to return to the pile of papers on my desk without further comment. I had to excuse myself and go to the rest room and shed a few dragon tears. How could they treat me this way when they were paying so little? Who were they going to get to do a better job for that amount of money? I guess our economy is in such a state of distress that there are folks like me chomping at the bit to work for whatever they can get so long as the hours are right. Geez.

The whole thing ruined my day completely. I came home and cried again, and I rarely cry. I don't know if they were tears of anger or hurt or shame or maybe a bit of each. The truth hurts, and the truth shall set you free. First came the hurt part. Now comes the freedom. I have since looked into other part-time job opportunities, and my cup runneth over with invites. I will have to decide whether to stick it out and really show them what I am made out of, or to go on to greener pastures once again.

My hubby made me laugh when he said that he questioned the value of Performance Reviews in general. He said his always angers him so much that he shuts down for two weeks before he can get over it and get on with it. Me thinks a much better way of handling the process, would be to simply have a conversation, with nothing in writing to be misconstrued and misinterpreted, and let the employee know that you want them to stay on, or that you want them to go. Then discuss areas of improvement together, without a rating schedule to choke on, in a less threatening manner. But then again, I am not the boss.

Maybe I ought to devise a Performance Review for my kids, have them rate themselves, and then have my husband and I rate them in areas of attitude, cleanliness, ability to follow instructions, meet deadlines, etc. I wonder if it would make them strive for the "10's" or sink to the "1's". Of course I would be biased and lean toward high marks from the get go. I think praise is a much more inspirational tool than criticism. Okay, my diatribe is now over.

Happy Turkey Day!

Remember to VOTE!!




In the beginning, God covered the earth with broccoli,   cauliflower and spinach, with green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then, using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's and Krispy Kreme.     And Satan said: "You want hot fudge with that?" And Man said: "Yes!" And Woman said: "I'll have one, too . . . with sprinkles." And lo they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane, and combined them.   And Woman went from size 2 to size 14.

So God said: "Try my fresh green garden salad.      " And Satan presented crumbled Bleu Cheese dressing and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said: "I have sent you heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them  ." And Satan brought forth deep-fried coconut shrimp, butter-dipped lobster chunks, and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man's cholesterol went through the roof.

Then God brought forth the potato,   naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.  Then Satan peeled off the healthful skin, sliced the starchy center into chips   and deep-fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt. And Man packed on more pounds.

God then brought forth running shoes   so that his children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan introduced cable TV   with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light   and started wearing stretchy lycra jogging suits.

God then gave lean beef   so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and the 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then Satan said: "You want fries with that?"  And Man replied: "Yes! And super size 'em!" And Satan said: " It is good." And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed . . . then created quadruple by-pass surgery.   Satan chuckled and created HMO's


Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash with Wylie Post in 1935, was
probably the greatest political sage this country has ever known.  Enjoy
the following:

 1.  Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.

 2.  Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

 3.  There are 2 theories to arguing with a woman... neither works.

4.  Never miss a good chance to shut up.

 5.  Always drink upstream from the herd.

6.  If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

 7.  The quickest way to double your money is to
fold it and put it back in your pocket.

8.  There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading.  The few who learn by observation.  The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

9.  Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10.  If you're riding' ahead of the herd, take
> a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.

11.  Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier'n puttin' it back.

12.  After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.  He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.  The moral:

When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

ABOUT GROWING OLDER...                        First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when
you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things
seem worth waiting in line for.

Third ~ Some people try to turn back their
odometers.  Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way.  I've
traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would
like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when
everything either dries up or leaks.

Sixth ~ I don't know how I got over the hill
without getting to the top.

Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells
you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how
> splendid the day has been.

Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old
> is comfortable.

Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the
> ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.  Today it's called golf.

And finally ~ If you don't learn to laugh at
trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old

November 1, 2004
Next Post date December 6, 2004
Why the Dog Left Home
Muslim Toilet (Remind me never to visit!)
One step at a time!


When you are annoyed by something you could not avoid, don't aggravate it by useless worry.

- Mendel Lefin, Heshbon HaNefesh


Adversity introduces a man to himself.

-  Anonymous


A monk asked, “The mountains, the rivers, and the great earth-from where did all of these things come forth?”

Tiantai said, “From where did this question come forth?”

-Zen’s Chinese Heritage


The mind of each is different from that of the other, just as the face of each is different from that of the other.

- Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 58a


When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.

-  Rabbi Harold Kushne


It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up.

-  Vince Lombardi


Good conjecture is a gift from divine grace.

-The Prophet Muhammad, as reported by Abu Hurairah


Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

-  Aristotle


As a flawless crystal absorbs what is placed before it, so the settled mind is transparent to whatever it meets--the seer, the process of seeing, or the object seen.

-The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1:41


You must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience.

-  Stanislaw J. Lec


Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.

-  Thomas Dewey


There are too many things in this world to be learned, and life is too short to learn everything, so we should complete that which we have begun rather than dabbling in many things.

-Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, "Advice From a Spiritual Friend"


Be not like a bird that sees the grain but not the trap.

- Ibn Tibbon, Tzavaah, 1190


Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.

-  Voltaire


If you can dream it, you can do it.

-  Walt Disney


Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light.

-  Jennie Jerome Churchill


If you're respectful by habit,
constantly honoring the worthy,
four things increase:
long life, beauty,
happiness, strength.

-Dhammapada, 8, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The only people to get even with are those who have helped you.

-  Anonymous


We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

-  Winston Churchill


Beware of a pious fool, and of a wise sinner.

- Ibn Gabirol, "Mibhar HaPeninim"


When you learn not to want things so badly, life comes to you.

-  Jessica Lange


Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.

-  St. Francis de Sales


If you look at zero you see nothing;
but look through it and you will see the world.

-  Robert Kaplan


When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, "I used everything that you gave me."

-  Erma Bombeck


Hunger: the foremost illness.
Fabrications: the foremost pain.
For one knowing this truth
As it actually is,
Is the foremost ease.

Freedom from illness: the foremost good fortune.
Contentment: the foremost wealth.
Trust: the foremost kinship.
Unbinding: the foremost ease.

-Dhammapada, 15, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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