Posted on 2007/11/26 13:09:19 (November 2007).
[Monday 19th November]
When I first wrote this entry it was just a title with no body, and this seemed to garner some concerned enquiries from a few people. So I'm now filling it in a couple of weeks hence, with the benefit of hindsight and so on.
The title - review - refers to the fact that I had the official feedback from the annual review process at work today. Or at least, it was the bit where my manager sits down and provides a high level summary. As it happens my manager changed a few months ago, so I actually had a meeting with both my old and new managers at the same time - the former via video conference, and the other was actually in the office.
The general tone was very positive, and yet I left the meeting feeling somewhat dissatisfied. I think part of the problem was that it was so short - my old manager had loads of people reporting to him, so he could only really spend 20 minutes or so with each person. On top of that there was no point at which they said "so how have you found this year?" or anything similar - i.e. I didn't really have any opportunity to air any of my concerns.
Another gripe I had was to do with the bizarre job ladder structure we have at my company. Apparently on joining you are assigned a job level, presumably based on your previous experience and qualifications (although in practice from talking to other people on my team there seemed to be a certain amount of randomness in this). However, to start with this assignment is only tentative - the idea being that at the first major annual review after you join a committee will look at how you've performed and then make a firm decision one way or the other - you might go up or down a level, or alternatively they might decide that the initial judgement was right and then you'll stay where you are. In my case, the committee had decided to defer the decision until the next review cycle, which is apparently a bit of an unusual outcome, and left me feeling a bit like I was floating in limbo. I guess the initial level I'd been assigned did seem a bit on the high side to me, but then all the feedback I'd had was that I am doing a great job. So a bit of a mixed message really - on the one hand they were saying I was doing great and exceeding expectations. It was a glowing review sprinkled with references about how I'd single handedly saved the project from almost certain collapse etc etc... but then on the other hand there was this uncertainty about whether or not I was really up to the level I'd been hired at. Oh well, I suspect it probably doesn't actually matter - these job levels seem to be pretty much meaningless - the level that you're on never really comes up on a day-to-day basis, it doesn't give you any extra power, it doesn't particularly define your role, and seems to have no real bearing on salary either - it seems there are wide overlapping ranges at each level, so somebody on a lower level could quite possibly be earning more money than you. I couldn't help but wonder what the point of it all was. I guess that only added to my frustration with the meeting, that a significant portion of it was taken up with that conversation about levels which, as far as I could tell, was essentially meaningless.
So I guess that was the other thing I was a bit disappointed with - the subject of filthy lucre didn't come up in the meeting at all. In the equivalent meeting at my previous company I'd been told straight off about my bonus, stock award, pay rise and so on. In this meeting though that didn't come up at all. I learned later on that apparently I wouldn't actually find out about the money side of things until next year. I found this a bit frustrating really, when technically the decision has already been made - or at least my annual performance score (or however they rate it) had been determined.
I guess the take home from this is that getting this kind of HR stuff right is actually very difficult, and no company is perfect in that respect. Despite the place where I work being progressive and ground breaking in so many areas of how they treat employees, it seems it is pretty much impossible to do a perfect job of it. Oh well.
As long as you're not filling anything in _with_ a body that's ok!
Posted by Simon at 2007/11/26 14:44:24.
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