Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Shit My Job Says: The Homunculus

Do you love your annual performance review?

As The Artist Formerly...I Mean, Now...Well, Sort of Nobody Ever Stopped Calling Him Prince once sang, dig if you will a picture.

At my IRL job, I'm due for my annual performance review. Or perhaps I should say overdue, as I was told it was review time almost two months ago, and my actual job anniversary was in November.

How time works in the business world.

Here's everything you need to know about me and performance reviews: I hate them.

I'm insecure, have a massive guilt complex, and don't respond well to criticism. So yeah, once a year, put me in front of the person who decides my professional future so they can list my faults for an hour while I don't get to stab them. This will be a growth experience.

See how my mind has expanded?

It's been a while since I've had to worry about a real performance review:

2009: Company was dying in the recession; no one gave a damn how anyone was performing. Did it really matter if the drinks were chilled properly on the Titanic when there was a fucking iceberg right in front of it?

2010: Got a new job - woo-hoo!

2011: I had done nothing for a year, and everyone knew it and was good with it. Did I mention the government was funding us?

2012: Got laid off, then landed a new job - woo-hoo!

2013: Review was a lovefest; my boss and I were friends as well as co-workers, and she had already decided to take another job elsewhere, so what the frig did she care?

So I haven't had a real, meaningful performance review in six years. That's a hell of a long coast, and I've enjoyed the shit out of it.

Pictured: Wheeeee!

But this year, things are different. As I said, my boss/friend is gone to a new job, and her office is occupied by the Homunculus. I can tell he works for the company because he comes in every day and sits in front of a computer and speaks with a vocabulary of approximately 6,500 tired business cliches that have literally no meaning.

Note to the Homunculus: You are using the term "begs the question" incorrectly, every damn time. Also, the phrase is "the eleventh hour," not the "the twelfth hour." And if the client hasn't responded, just say that, because "it's been crickets" may be the single most annoying idiom I've ever heard.

The Homunculus entered our office eight months ago. None of us knew what he was doing there, and he never told us. Well, he never told me. In fact, in eight months he's never once:

  • Explained what his job duties are.
  • Asked me what my job duties are.
  • Discussed what he expects of me.
  • Told me I'm doing a good/bad job.
  • Given me any responsibilities.
  • Provided any feedback on my work other than "That's stupid" and "Why would you do that?"

This time, dead serious.

For the last eight months, I haven't considered him my boss. He created such a huge leadership vacuum that I literally couldn't approach the place where I could consider him my supervisor. I adopted the lead administrator in the corporate office (who is an amazing woman) as my boss and mentor, and it never raised any red flags, you should pardon the tired old idiom.

So it came as a pretty large surprise when I learned that the Homunculus would be conducting my performance review. He who doesn't actually know what it is I do, and does his best to stop me from doing it whenever he glimpses a piece of my daily routine because he thinks I'm incompetent, is now in charge of evaluating my performance and recommending my salary for the next year.

This, pretty much.
Does it come as any surprise that, given this responsibility, he's blowing it off to the extent humanly possible?

I was talking to my mentor/quasi-boss today and told her that the review hadn't happened yet. My office is right next to the Cave of the Homunculus, so I couldn't say much more than that. Being very perceptive, she got it and was concerned and asked that I call her when I could discuss things more privately. But what am I supposed to say?

"Yeah, the guy who thinks I'm a moron and doesn't know what the hell I do but is pretty sure he doesn't approve of it is delaying my review so he can avoid giving me the raise he's not going to recommend because he thinks I'm a moron but won't tell me because he doesn't talk to me unless he's complaining about something I/the company/the rest of the world did that he thinks is worse than the way he would do it, which he doesn't bother to share with anyone because then he might have to stop complaining and actually provide the leadership he apparently was hired to provide but hasn't gotten around to in the last eight months."

I have mild asthma; I don't think I could get the words out, even if I bothered to try.

This might happen.
In the meantime, the fucking review is hanging over my head, and that's almost worse than just sitting down and having the damn thing.

I will say this. All the professional drama is distracting me from my personal life, which is basically a Ty-D-Bowl commercial right now.

That means "in the toilet," children. Look it up.
It does feel better to write about it, though. So thanks for letting me vent. I hope my distress was moderately entertaining. If not, I'll write about the actual review if it ever takes place. It should be hilarious.

I'll call it "The Curse of the Homunculus."


  1. Oh, sister. When I moved to Nashville I took a job that was a bad fit, but I liked the manager. As part of this company's review process, they got feedback from peers and reported it back to me with no context, anonymously. So I spent several months wondering exactly who exactly called me "Eddie Haskell-like".

    As a result, I tend to stress out in reviews, even though they're never exactly bad. I get dinged on the same things year after year, and praised for the same things year after year.

    But they make me feel physically ill for the week leading up to them. I prefer when my boss surprises me and says, "We'll do your review in 15 minutes".

    So, oh, do I feel you!

  2. I would be thrilled to be called "Eddie Haskell-like"! Is it wrong that I consider that a bitchin' compliment, and one that totally suits you?

  3. Reviews are awful...even when they aren't. My very favorite boss left and when the new guy came on he was expected to give me a review after only two months - he hadn't even figured out his job yet, much less mine!

  4. Good that you have an ally, though -- is she equal/higher ranking than he is? Can you ask for a second reviewer? We often have them, in cases where there is someone who knows the particulars of a person's job better than the boss does...


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