Since June of 2009 I’ve sorta been on probation here at the zoo. For too many reasons, my performance suffered for a couple years or more. My lackadaisical approach to work crossed paths with a new plan rolled out by my employer – identify the bottom 10%, slap them upside the head to wake them up, then provide them an opportunity to shape up or ship out. Loss of employment for cause – not a layoff with a cushy 2 weeks per year of service termination package.
I have been on an aggressive personal improvement plan here at the zoo since that June “slap upside the head” meeting. Every month, I’ve been looking over my shoulder, wondering if security and HR would be showing up to show me the door.
In December I asked the two people most involved with my parole what my status was. The development plan we’d worked on was drawing to a close. It seemed that my plan was running out of steam. I was told that I’d made it to the PA process. Appraisals would be done, people would be ranked, actions would be taken. Everything would be settled by February.
You can imagine the anxiety I felt as February progressed. My work was done. I had to continue using the effectiveness techniques I’d learned, stay more aggressive, but my body of evidence was sealed. For January & February, I couldn’t improve my standing, but I could definitely hurt it.
I plodded through February. Spent late nights working on things, spent time on weekends checking in on emails or piddling around on projects – in my head if not in my computer. February came & went. The first two or three nights of March I slept like crap. Anxious? Nervous? Me? You’re durn tootin’ I was.
I wouldn’t want to play poker with the people I work with. Good lord, they’re hard to read. Well, unless you REALLY strike a nerve or catch them off guard, but for every day things or stuff they’ve prepared for? Blank canvas.
Late last week our company’s AIP (Annual Incentive Plan) payout was announced. Based on how our group (of about 100 folks) performed as compared to our group goals (i.e. schedule & budget demands from management) we were awarded a 5.3% (of our annual pay) bonus. Payable only to people who received a ‘satisfactory’ or better rating on their PA’s.
Tuesday I received an email/meeting notice from my supervisor. My in-person PA review was scheduled for Friday @ 11am. More anxiety. Another night of lousy sleep. Yesterday, while I was working on a task that had me feeling like the mission control group of Apollo 13, I received another email from my supervisor. My PA complete and posted on the company HR site for me to review prior to our sit-down on Friday.
Of course, I immediately suspended all tasks and focused my attention on the HR web site. After 4 or 5 clicks and a password or three, I got to my PA. I read enough in the first couple blocks to actually lower my blood pressure by about 10 points. It was actually a pretty nice PA. I didn’t get rated an “Exceeded expectations” (warrants an extra 2.6% on that bonus), but I did get a “satisfactory”. The only other rating possible was NOT satisfactory. Been there.
I think this means purgatory probation is over. It also means that I’ll get a nice little bonus payment next week and even a pay raise. Much better than the alternative.
The only bad part about all this is up until now, nobody, (outside of the few work people that HAD to know) knew a thing about this. Not Cindy, not my mom, not my Al Anon groups, nobody. In retrospect, that was a bad move. I should have been more forthcoming from the beginning, but we were not in a real good place then. I wonder what would be the impact of revealing it all now. Probably not good. So, do I keep mum about it forever? I think I’ll reveal it all now and take my medicine. That has to be the next right thing to do.
Now that I’m trudging through the mess of settling an estate, let me give you some advice. If you have a 401k, make sure you name your beneficiaries. Bob’s 401k, which I have electronic access to, does not have any named beneficiaries. Now, instead of being able to move those funds directly to the named beneficiaries, I think the funds will have to go through probate. In Bob’s case, this won’t trigger estate taxes or cost gobs of money in surrogate court fees. It just delays the payment of some funds, makes more work for the executor and as a bonus, increases the executors commission. Woo hoo!
After all that serious stuff, here’s some fluff – a Random Dozen from Wednesday:
(Stolen shamelessly from Another Suburban Mom)
1. Do you prefer even or odd numbers? Any particular reason?
I like odds. There’s a certain asymmetry that is pleasing to me eye.
2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being Carly Simon-worthy, how vain are you?
4? I usually dress for comfort. I’m not a slob, but I’m no mirror hog either.
3. Among these Irish stereotypes, with which do you identify most closely? Talkative, Proud, Inquisitive, Love to party, Hot-tempered
Inquisitive. Yeah, that’s the Irish part of me.
4. How lucky do you consider yourself?
Very. Being American, healthy, a home owner, employed – things could be much worse.
5. What is the subject of your favorite post that you’ve written?
6. Describe March weather where you live in three words.
Sloppy, muddy, windy
7. How apt are you at detecting blarney when you hear it? (Smooth talk, flattery)
I’m a softie at first. Fool me once and you’re done though.
8. How “green” are you, environmentally speaking?
Not too bad. We recycle as much as we can, use the re-useable grocery bags, drive reasonably fuel efficient cars, try to re-use and/or waste as little as possible.
9. What is your favorite song this week?
I have had a musically poor week. My Sirius subscription ran out. Seems like all I hear on the radio now is ads and talk radio. Boooooo!
10. You are walking along and see a coin on the ground. What denomination does it have to be before you will stop to pick it up?
Hell, I’ll pick up a Canadian penny. No offense meant to my neighbors, but Canadian coins tend to get rejected by Coinstar.
11. Complete the sentence: “Every time I look outside my window ….”
I want to be out there.
12. What was the #1 song on the day you were born? See this site to find out.
(I’m almost ashamed to post this)
The Chipmunk Song – The Chipmunks
With that, I’m out