I have spent much of the last 4 days considering the request that I formulate my goals and objectives for the year so that I can adhere to “company policy”. The first thought that comes to mind is that my goals and objectives are to pay my bills, feed my kids, and keep the lights on at the house. Additional goals include losing weight and improving my bass playing skills. However, I am relatively comfortable assuming that none of these goals will be acceptable.
That brings me to my second thought. Why should a group of people that do not know me now, and likely never will, demand that I describe for them what I would like to do with my life? Why should those people have the right to decide if what I would like to do with my life is acceptable? Lastly, and perhaps most important, why should those people have the power to hold me accountable for my goals?
I have filled out PDR’s for years. My managers generally come up with some easily attainable BS for me to add to my goals and objectives. Career enhancing things like filling out my timecard on time find their way on to my list of goals, because the whole point is to “check the box”. But, when I put in actual goals relating to the track I find myself on I get moved to a different track, or laid off.
When I state that my goal is to move in to a security related role, specifically IA, I get warm smiles…and a Sys Admin job. When I say I want to get a security related certification like CISSP, I have simply tasked myself with a lot of reading, studying, and preparation; on my own time and at my own expense. Generally, there is little or no support from the company. They sometimes offer to reimburse me for the cost of the exam, but that’s about it.
Then, at some prearranged time (usually on the third or fifth try) some person who does not know me as an individual sits down to assess my progress and performance in attaining the goals I have written down. And this individual decides whether or not I get a raise in my pay, and if so how much, based on these objectives and whether I achieved them or not.
So let me stipulate the following:
I make plenty of money. I don’t need your raise.
My career “goal” is to remain employed until I reach my objective, which is to retire. In the midst of this I hope to be a good friend, loving husband, and great dad. I want to build my gaming group (Infernal Gamers), learn the bass guitar, ride my motorcycle, build a saltwater fish tank, have fun with my wife and kids, and live a good life.
I have no goals or objectives as it relates to employment. I am here to finance my life, period. I spend 40 hours a week earning the money I need to do everything I do during the hours I am not at work. I trade my time for your money, and that is the only contract that exists between us. We agreed ahead of time on what my time was worth. I am showing up and doing my job as best I can. There is, to my mind, no further involvement or engagement needed.
If you must have something on a piece of paper so that you can demonstrate compliance with some regulation, write something down and I’ll sign it. If, in the course of living my life, I am able to meet the arbitrary goals that management deems worthwhile, so be it. If not, I’m okay with that.