That time: Review Season

It is review season, and the Dude will once again do the heavy lift for his boss. It is the least rewarding part of working in corporate America. He just wishes that management would do their job.

It is time for the annual performance review. And the one thing that the Dude hates is the theater of the the performance review.

In theory, the performance review and the granting of raises is a good thing, a chance for an employee to shine, and to get their kudos, compensation and other rewards.

But, as the Dude is totally aware, there are a lot of downsides.

You might work at one of the places that uses stack ranking to feed an annual culling of the staff. The ol’ GE under Jack Welch (and Microsoft and many others who cloned the practice.

This leads to cutthroat behavior among the staff, a beauty show so to speak, where you don’t want to end up at the bottom of the stack.

Or, perhaps you work at one of those places that doesn’t have a fixed schedule for reviews and raises. They claim that this means they can respond more frequently and reward people at any time. Of course, the Dude’s experience with this is that they use this as a justification to never give raises.

But, regardless of the sort of system that is in place, it is very likely that you, as an Individual Contributor will be expected to do most of the drafting of your review. Your boss might couch this as a way for you to highlight your “business impact”, or to ensure that you get credit for all your hard work.

But, in reality, it is just your manager putting the onus on the employee to do their work for them.

The Dude fucking HATES that.

Why you might ask?

  1. Your manager makes a lot more money than you. Probably 20% more in base, and a far more generous bonus, likely 50% higher than yours. That is because they are more “strategic” and people managers are more valuable.
  2. Your manager gets a lot more stock. Like a LOT more stock. Two or three times your grant. If you get 500 shares of RSU’s, they will get 2,500. Count on it.
  3. Their primary job is to manage their staff. Sure, they drive strategy, alignment and focus, but their principal value to the organization is to recruit, groom, and maintain a high performing team. And that means that they ought to be expected to know what their team is doing, the strengths and weaknesses, the wins, and where development is needed.

Alas, with only one exception in the Dude’s lengthy experience in corporate America, he has had to do the heavy lifting at review time.

Of course, this is couched as “my chance to sell myself”, or “how I can influence my career” or any one of many other trite justifications.

The Dude is sure it is rank laziness.

Oh, he will “do” the ask. He will be honest. He will not over-inflate his achievements. He will be brutally honest about his misses. His manager will be “thankful” for the honest assessment, and give him a good review.

But at the end of the day, it will be an event that is devoid of value to this IC.

The Dude is tired of this shit.

Loading comments...
You've successfully subscribed to The PM Dude
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.