They call it a “PDR”.  Though to be honest, I have no idea what PDR stands for.

It’s a “performance” document.  But I don’t know if it’s personal development, professional development, or what.  And the R remains a mystery in either event.

It strikes me as appropriate the this is a “performance” document, because everything surrounding it is one big performance.  Part comedy, part tragedy, mainly slapstick.

You are supposed to get together with your manager and write out goals and objectives which are attainable and measurable.  You are supposed to shoot for improving yourself, doing a better job, increasing your qualifications and furthering your career.  That is what is supposed to happen.

What actually happens, at least down here in the trenches, is quite a bit different.

In the past I have been given such lofty goals as turning in my time card on time, and maintaining my mandatory certifications.  That was when management cared.  I do not get the feeling that management cares these days, so I expect not to get any input whatsoever this time around.  Though it is possible that managers are rated on how well their employees (known as “direct reports”) do with regard to their PDR’s.  If that is the case I will likely get an email with 10-12 goals on it.  5 of them will be a different way of saying the same thing.  All of them will pertain to making the manager or the contract look good.  None of them will have anything to do with advancing my career.  None of them will have anything to do with an actual goal of mine.

The word is passed down from the next level or two up, that no one will be getting a “5” this year.  Or any year insofar as I can tell.  You see, we are rated on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is “you suck” and 5 is “you’re awesome”.  They take your PDR, look at your goals and objectives, and rank each one on whether you failed to achieve it, partially achieved it, wholly achieved it, or exceeded it.  Theoretically, if you were to exceed all of your goals, and if they were sufficiently difficult, you would get a “5”.  Which, translates in to a 5% pay raise.

But the system is, as they say, “rigged”.

You can set good goals and objectives and meet or exceed all of them.  But, they will find some way to rate you as “average” on one or more of them so that they can justify not giving you a 5.  Because the word came down before the review process ever began, that there would be no 5’s.

So, ask yourself this.  if you knew before you began doing something that no matter how hard you work, how much you contribute, or how far above and beyond you went, there was no way possible for you to score above “average”, would you do all those things anyway?  If you knew that you’re getting a 3 and so is everyone else, would you work harder than they guy next to you?  Be honest…

It is common these days to hear people refer to things as “first world problems”.  It is their method of acknowledging that whatever they are dealing with is not the worst thing they could be dealing with.  I have never subscribed to this line of thought.  Because I am not lying on a mat, in a hut, with bloated belly and covered with flies, does not mean that I should embrace the situation I do find myself in.  I was born in the “first world”, and so these are my problems.  The impact and effect of them is not mitigated by the knowledge that someone else is dealing with something worse.

And so my first world problem is the fact that I cannot quit this job because I have bills to pay and mouths to feed (including my own).  But, I hate coming here.  There is no sense of team.  No desire on the part of management to see anyone succeed.  And my coworkers are so desperate to leave behind their spot in the field for a comfy spot in the house, that you cannot say a word to anyone that doesn’t spread throughout the organization.  This attitude is so prevalent, and runs so far, that when I sent an email to the Director of Global Operations discussing my dissatisfaction with my management team, he simply forwarded the email to them and took no other action.

I used to be proud and happy to work where I work.  When I first started here I was encouraged, supported, and rewarded for a job well done.  I had engaged management.  I worked at a remote site and my manager did not have unescorted access to the site, but they made the effort to come out and spend some time with me and the others from our company at least once a month.  My current manager sits literally one flight of stairs away from me.  I have been here since July.  I guarantee I have not spent more than an hour with this guy.  But he’s going to rate my PDR?

It has gotten to the point that I cannot enjoy the weekend because every passing minute is a reminder that Monday morning is coming.

Something has to change…soon.

I wonder what they’d say if I wrote on my PDR that my goal for this year is to get the hell out of here…..


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