"I know it's stupid," my boss said, "You've been here two weeks."
"It's my third week," I said.
We had run into each other in the hall just a few minutes before the review was supposed to start. He seemed on the verge of making a phone call and was already turning away from me.
He shook his head and rolled his eyes, "I know. Two, three, whatever. You just started. I don't have anything to say." He smiled, patted me on the shoulder, "You're doing great."
I threw up my hands, "Oh um, well, thanks," but he had already walked off, phone at his ear.
I walked back to my desk and sat down. Might as well take it off the calendar. It was the only appointment I had on my own calendar - a small red box that said Annual Review: Betty - though my calendar screen was bursting at the seams because I had to keep track of all the meeting rooms and two executive calendars.
There were too many to write out here, but among them:
Areas I "met expectations":
Do they strive? 3
Do they take initiative? 3
Are they fearless? 3
Do they deliver? 3
Areas I "surpassed expectations":
Do they listen? 5
Do they take responsibility? 5
Do they care about the company? 5
That's interesting. If these had translated to actual grades I might have come up with a C+ average. The sort of thing that would have made me panic in high school and mildly irritated in college. Now, in the real world of working, I shrugged.
My boss had obviously not given me these marks - he didn't seem to be around half the time. A few times I'd left the building to run an errand - drop off broken computers at the Apple Store or deposit checks at the bank and whatnot - I'd seen him standing in the front, taking calls. There was little privacy in the incubator, which we were outgrowing, but still, it seemed sometimes he was gone for hours. When I noticed, that is. Most of the time I minded my own business, and apparently, so did he. Good. I wanted to keep it that way.
So no, it wasn't the guy who just patted my arm like a seldom seen uncle and said, "You're doing great" - that guy would have written '5' and drawn a line down the rest of the columns to indicate that as far as he was concerned, I had exceeded all his expectations simply because he had none for me. It was someone else. I wasn't sure, but I had a pretty good idea who.
I looked up. One of the former admins and newly minted HR girls smiled sweetly at me, "Could you do a favor for me?"
I wanted to say, "You really ought to look up the definitions of 'favor' and 'job.' You seem to misuse the former quite a bit." But I smiled sweetly back and said "Sure." There was another errand to run. Some swag to put away and after, some boxes to break down. There were drinks and snacks to order and some conference rooms to tidy up.
I added the "favor" on my to-do list and said, "I'll get right to it." I deleted the calendar invite and got up to get a bottle of water and a snack. Then came back, sat down and pulled up the article about freelance writing I'd been reading before. Favors could wait.