Saturday, July 7, 2007

Performance rating in the Civil Service and why it's a big pile of shite

I hate the whole process of performance rating.

I don't disagree with it on principle, I think it's a good thing in theory, especially when you have the right to tell your manager about any problems you have with them, and they have to listen (a process called upward feedback), but the practice is very different.

Why I hate it:
Reviews etc tend to have impossible deadlines set by senior management, usually around peak work times in my area. And I supervise quite a few clerical staff, and must meet individually with all of them, amidst doing our other work.

A quiet, private space to discuss things is a must. Not having your own office is a serious disadvantage, and the number of meeting rooms is rapidly declining to make more large offices for senior management. Grrr. So if someone else has booked the meeting rooms that are left, you have to wander the corridors like a besuited hobo for a vacant AP's office to use.

Managers don't always listen to the upward feedback you give them. Mine didn't listen to the complaint I made about "pestering me with stuff that isn't even relevant to my area, particularly when I'm busy, makes me want to scream." I listened to my staff's upward feedback. It wasn't a critique of me, they were expressing their dissatisfaction with the HEO and the AP's management styles through me - the "proper" chain of command. I'm not sure what I can do about it, but I wrote the comments down and filed them for future reference. And I will use them. I'm still idealistic enough to think that I can help to change how things are done in my area.

Alternatively, I could just sit back and do nothing. I would still get paid. But I would lose the respect and adulation my clerical officers hold me in. They would stop buying me coffees laced with alcohol and giving me shoulder massages while I labour over complicated documents. Also to go would be the CO standing behind me with a giant fan on hot days. And the one keeping the toilet seat in my favourite stall warm on cold winter mornings.

It's a hard life.

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