It's my favorite time of year again.

Ever since I've graduated from college and worked full-time, the end of the year has meant that I need to set aside some time to fill out forms as part of a formal review process. The idea being that I assess myself, my manager assesses me, and my peers provide feedback. This all gets stirred together by my manager and then results in a rating of some sort and possibly an annual raise.

Today I'm spending a bit of time to learn about how our annual review and self/co-worker assessments are different from last year. The biggest change is that we now have klunky web-based system. But every cloud a sliver lining, and this one comes in the form of humor.

Our on-line tool offers a "writing assistant" that suggests language for expressing how good (or poorly) a job you think you're doing. Here I present some of what it suggested to me for your collective amusement. They're like like little positive/negative/neutral fortune cookie sized bits of feedback which can be increased or decresed in severity.

Jeremy can synthesize a set of opportunities and goals into a common vision that he communicates to others. He simplifies complex issues so that others can understand and get behind what needs to be done.

Hmm. I do tend to simplify things, but "common vision" isn't quite right. Let me click the "more positive" link and see what happens...

Jeremy has a good understanding of our vision and values and communicates them to others. He can tailor the message so that its meaning is embraced by different groups, and he uses his excitement and passion to get others moving in the same direction.

Well that one used the word "embraced" so it must be better.

Let me choose "expemplifies values" from the "exceeds" column now.

Jeremy represents the organization with the utmost professionalism. He can always be relied upon to adhere to and promote organizational policies and standards in dealing with customers and others both in and outside the organization. He is always supportive of management decisions and encourages others to follow his example.

I wouldn't say that I'm "always supportive of management decisions", would you? :-)

It seems like these things get longer when I ask for the more positive ones. So let's try something on the negative side. *click* *click* "acts contrary to values"

While Jeremy seems to understand organizational values he could be more consistent about applying them on a day-to-day basis. I would like him to think about this as he plans his work and as he deals with others, especially those outside the organization.

Ouch! It really makes me feel like I ought to be trying harder when I read that!

Okay, moving on to the "Getting stuff done" metric:

Jeremy is a conscientious worker who can usually be relied upon to handle unforeseen obstacles. He is able to analyze new problems and develop action plans to deal with them.

I don't believe I've ever used the phrase "action plan" before when writing about myself. Let's see what else I can get this tool to invent...

Jeremy is often unclear when defining roles and responsibilities with his team, and as a result team members have been confused about what is expected. Jeremy should regularly meet with his employees to discuss their responsibilities and resolve any misunderstandings.

You know, someone needs to collect all of these and make a board game for office workers. That'd be fun. I could play with the "writing assitant" all day but wouldn't want to "get caught up in low-priority tasks", as the tool said to me a few moments ago.

Posted by jzawodn at November 01, 2005 01:23 PM

Reader Comments
# Ted said:

> but wouldn't want to "get caught up in low-priority tasks"

Which doesn't include blogging?

on November 1, 2005 03:54 PM
# Bryan L. fordham said:

makes me want to write an automated performance review generator to go along with the automated mission statement script.

really I think much of HR's stuff could be replaced w/ scripts.

on November 1, 2005 05:13 PM
# rr said:

In other news, "to role model" is now a verb.

on November 1, 2005 08:59 PM
# kosso said:

This is great! Can we have this released on!? ;)

Is there a search for all the reviews submitted which check to see how many some stick to those stock sentences?

This reminds me of all those funny-generator sites out there.

Can we have one for blogging? "Click button one for happy and positive : button 2 for cynical and derisory : button 3 for attack the competition .. etc. etc..

on November 2, 2005 03:27 AM
# Steve Friedl said:

This is certainly going to make you a winner at Bullsh!t Bingo ;-)

on November 2, 2005 08:09 AM
# Adam said:

Where is this tool of which you speak? :)
I'm writing mine in a word doc!

on November 2, 2005 10:11 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

It may be a US only thing this year. One can only hope we're gonna work out the usability issues before inflicting it upon more Yahoos...

Or something like that.

on November 2, 2005 10:15 AM
# Angsuman Chakraborty said:

You guys are into 360 degree review? They are royal pain.

BTW: I am interested in this review generator. It looks handy. It will surely remove lots of effort in choosing the proper, good sounding, yet meaningless verbiage.

BTW: What kind of voodoo ritual is this writing your first name each time? If you are into CAPTCHA, please provide a stronger one.

on November 2, 2005 10:42 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

What makes you think my captcha isn't strong enough?

on November 2, 2005 10:46 AM
# Nick Arnett said:

> I wouldn't say that I'm "always supportive of management decisions", would you? :-)

Supportive != mindlessly agreeable.

You support them without question when they finally get it right, don't you? ;-)

(Don't let my bosses see this.)


on November 2, 2005 11:30 AM
# Absconditus said:

I find Catbert's Performance Review Generator to be most useful in these situations:

on November 3, 2005 12:47 PM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.