Once again, it is the time for performance reviews.
This year I do not have 12 people to review, but only 3. On the down side, I had to review and provide comments back on several of the 20 reviews these three generated for their staff.
The company for which I work provides a standard review form, which contains very minor variations to suit each general position. Programmers are reviewed on one form, managers on another, and those above still another; they are all very similar in look and feel, and offer the same benefits and suffer the same deficiencies: they are brief (a benefit), and they are too brief (a drawback).
I have never before worked for a company which doesn’t provide some space on its review forms for narrative feedback. Here, we are expected to provide that feedback verbally. A feeble five lines are available to list the development goals for the upcoming year, which encourages one to be vague while forcing a brevity bordering on impoliteness.
Still, given the current economic situation I am grateful to have a job, and a good one at that. I like my job on most days, and many of my colleagues are interesting, intelligent and dedicated. There are worse places to work. The company is very young and lacks polish, but it has potential. And perhaps as the company evolves, growing up into an organization which finally recognizes the sophistication of its customers, it will leave the sad one-page review form behind and let its managers loose to create something a little more encouraging.