Change is Good?

As mentioned last week after my BART interview, I was asked to provide my dependability calender for the previous year. Wouldn’t you know it, the ONLY time in the past 11 years I played hookie from work and it comes back to bite me in the ass. No big deal, as I see it. I still consider myself very dependable. But that is not what this is about.

In my search for my calendar, I ran across my 2005 Performance Review on a new Intranet based system the company uses to move away from the traditional paper reviews. I quickly scanned the review and noticed a discrepancy that quickly frustrated me. Recall this is my 2005 Performance Review, not 2006. This is from the past year, which as far as I can tell has been over for…oh 7, damn near 8 months. But what I found pissed me off!

It seems someone…no wait, I won’t be that vague, it seems the department manager has it in for me. Because it is my assumption [and yes I know what assume means] that she has maliciously gone into my 2005 review and changed the ‘Communication’ selection to reflect negatively against me. We are judged on a 0-5 scale, with ‘3’ being considered ‘Successful.’ I read that section closely and most of was the same as presented to me back in February:

Steve, you translate organizational direction and goals in a simple and meaningful way. You share information as appropriate in an open manner.

Steve, you convey technical information in a clean and concise manner and answer questions both clearly and concisely.

That was how it originally read, with Communication receiving a ‘3’ or ‘Successful.’ Unfortunately, there had been some alteration along with a score change to ‘2’ or ‘Needs Improvement.’ to what was originally written that included,

One caution, sometimes your concise sytle of communication can be perceived as both abrupt and terse, so please try to keep that in mind when answering phones. Stephen, you do not consistently sustain or support an environment where people feel able to express themselves honestly, You communicate effectively to some employees, but not all. You are generally respectful but can be abrupt with others when their viewpoints differ. Steve, you convey technical information in a clear and concise manner, but once again, at times you come across rather abrupt.

It seems management loves to repeat themselves, as if that gets their message across. Regardless of what has transpired since 2006, I find it wrong to reflect that information on a period of time that has expired. I also point my finger at the department manager, because she [the empty skirt] is the only one who calls me by my full name. You know what, my mother never called me by my full name, Stephen unless I was in trouble. Last I knew, this woman is not my mother. She might see me 5 minutes a week. A week! I have usually left prior to her arrival. So these comments are somewhat odd since she is never around when I am working.

I only bring this up because our company is going to “reward” its employees with a pay raise in the coming week. These raises will be based on your performance over the past year [that’s 2005] and a portion of 2006. While the raise, as I was told will be between 4% – 7%, those negative comments alone are sure to cut me out of a few percent of this small pay raise.

This is the same company that took, at will damn near 30% of pay since 2001 and now we must prove to them again, we are worth a 4% to 7% pay increase. *cough* Bullshit! *cough* I guess this is better than a swat in the ass, right? They could be taking more from us since for another quarter they will not be making money. *sigh* I have brought this to the attention of my direct supervisor who presented the review to me earlier in the year. If he is not willing to do anything about it, then I will escalate the issue to Human Resources if need be. I don’t believe this is any way to treat any employee.

Just one more reason why I cannot wait to get the hell out of here. The resignation letter is already typed up, just need to add the date and sign it.

Interview: Day of Reckoning

After nearly two and a half months since submitting my resume at BART, I had my three part interview today at 11AM. Now, I have never been a big fan of interviews, on either side, administering or participating in them, I always get nervous and my head is a jumbled mess of thoughts. Up until now everything at BART has been going my way, I guess I could call Paula my “guardian angel” so to speak. All I do is say her name and good things seem to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am qualified for the position I interviewed for and I know I would make a damn good employee [regardless of current attitude I have at my current job].

I arrived about 60 minutes early, because I always fear something will happen, so I need to give myself plenty of extra time in which to arrive. So I arrived quite early and just hung out, waiting…and waiting…and waiting. I was approached by a well dressed man who asked me if he could help me and what I was doing. He introduced himself and oddly enough he was a manager in the department I am trying to be hired to, so he understood my plight. He did say, “based on how you are dressed, you should get the position.” That was a positive thought that I took with me into the interview.

Once I was inside, there were three individuals who would administer the oral portion of the interview. There was a fourth individual who was an “observer.” The interview was very structured from the greeting to all eight questions including the writing assignment and typing skills test. Now due to the fact that I could be disqualified if I actually go into details, I won’t risk it. You never know who’s eyes will see what I type. Remind me to relate another Internet incident that nearly got me fired back in 1996 from my current employer. If you have spent any time taking interviews then you can figure out the basic line of questioning. A panel of people who want to see if you have what it takes to be a successful candidate.

I breezed through the writing assignment and finished the typing skills test. Hopefully I am not docked points because I did not capitalized any of the characters as they were denoted on the paper I was to follow. Of course all my keystrokes were 100% correct, I had time to check them all over and I did not have any mistakes. Then again, I did not think I would as my typing skills are very strong.

So the last two items I had to do was get them a dependability calender [number of days missed of work] from June, 2005 to June 2006 and god damn, wouldn’t you know I missed 2 or 3 days at the end of May and early June. Three days in the last 11 years! But they do not know that and I have no way of conveying that information to them since they only want 12 months because that truly does not reflect my dependability at all. I am nails when it comes to going to work…all the time. I don’t use sick time if I don’t have to, but under those circumstances I had to. So, hopefully that does not go against me.

Now we play the waiting game again. The list of candidates was short, if indeed that was the full list. There were 5 or 6 total people interviewing today. I don’t know if there were more yesterday or tomorrow. All I know is that I did my best, came prepared, made a good impression and went above and beyond what was needed to be done prior to the interview. I had read numerous manuals relating to the operation. I had spent 7-10 hours observing in their operational control center and spent time observing in the train cab, with a friend of mine who is a train operator. That is more than some outside candidates could even hope for. So keep those fingers crossed for me, I do see the light at the end of tunnel. As I said, hopefully it is the end, which would be the start of a new career and not a train coming to take me out.

Performance. Reviewed.

Okay, so it’s only 3 months into 2006 and company management FINALLY got around to handing out our performance reviews for 2005. I guess it doesn’t matter that of the three managers who had input, two of them were not even in our department. In order for management [and I use that term loosely] to effectively evaluate each individual, they wanted us to write a synopsis of what we accomplished in 2005. I actually did this, but never turned it in. Why? Because anything I was to write would have ended up on my evaluation. So wouldn’t that have defeated the purpose of being reviewed?

In all honesty, the performance review is not worth the paper it is printed on. How can a manager possible review what I have accomplished [or not] in 2005? Word of mouth, talk to other supervisors or managers. Okay, I guess that is logical.

So the first statement for the “Overall Summary” reads, “Steve, you are a solid anchor for midnight’s.” Here is another one, “you communicate well” or better yet, “You have the ability to accomplish all of the assignments and tasks given.”Getting back to the point I made about this review not being worth anything, we won’t see a raise because of our performance. One thing that I am surprised [again!] that is not included, but I feel is important is my dependability. It will be 11 years in June I have been with this company and still, I have not missed a day of work on account of sickness. Now THAT is saying something! This actually still means something to me, may not mean a damn thing to my employer, which is rather sad, but nonetheless not a mention of it in my performance review.

So all in all, I rated a “3” that is considered “average” I guess since its on a scale of “5”. I have yet to see anyone in our department rate anything higher, unless you really go above and beyond and kiss some dingus, then you might get a “4”.

The manager who gave me my evaluation did not set expectations for 2006. I was told to “stay focused” as we move forward. Also that I was sometimes “short on the phone.” LOL! Guess this guy did not realize, this is not a friggin 900 service, this is an operation, I can’t take 10 minutes to explain something to everyone who calls. The shorter I can be on the phone, the better. I found that comment rather humorous. Then again, I find this entire process a joke.

What’s that smell? That is the bridges burning, I cannot wait to get out of this shithole!