The Review

Like many companies, United Systems did annual performance reviews, where each supervisor writes a standardized, fill-in-the-blanks form about the work of each person they manage. Despite the spotty work they had given me since Hank became my manager two years earlier, these had gone well enough. But not this time. He accused me of never doing anything and had written a review so bad that I wondered if he was going to fire me. It actually said, in writing, that I hadn’t done any work, which was a lie.

“What about the Access database I created for Alan?” I asked, feeling defensive. “That took me two months, and he said he loves it.”

He nodded in realization. “I forgot about that.”

“You forgot? I send you a weekly report on everything I’m doing.”

“Don’t get snide.”

I wasn’t sure what to say about that. He was an imbecile and an asshole. “I also programmed that system for Bill’s group.”

“Oh yeah. I remember now.”

I stifled frustration. For the next five minutes, I reminded him of one project after another, some of them documentation ones. The list of completed work was quite large, partly because most of the projects had been small. His negative attitude toward me lightened as it increasingly became apparent I had done quite a bit of work. He began to laugh, and the tension disappeared until I asked a question.

“How long will it take to redo the review?”

Surprised, he chuckled. “What? I’m not redoing it.”

I scowled. “Why? It’s wrong. We just covered everything I did and none of it is reflected on the review.”

“Paul already signed off on it.”

I didn’t see what that had to do with anything. “So?”

“I’m not redoing it, Randy. Just sign the review and we can get out of here.”

“I’m not signing that. It’s all wrong, and we just went over exactly why.”

“You have to sign it, Randy.”

“No, I don’t. Signing is like agreeing and I’m not endorsing such a negative, and wrong, performance review.”

“Don’t be a pain in the ass.”

I was sick of him talking to me like that. “That’s really not appropriate, Hank.”

“Look, if you have a problem with it, you can write a rebuttal and we will include it with your file, but you still have to sign it that I went over it with you.”

A moment of tense silence followed. “I want to talk to HR about it first.”

He glared at me. “Goddamn it, Randy, stop being a crybaby all the time.”

“And while I’m at it, I’m going to address you calling me names like that all the time.”

“Sign it!”

I got up and walked out instead, leaving him cursing at me behind my back.