Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Silent treatment

On Monday I had to give my underachieving employee a rather uncomfortable review. My boss sat in. She read it, she could not believe it. I was hesitant to post anything on here for fear that she would "find out". But number one, she doesn't read my blog, and number two, even if she does what is she going to say, I can't believe that Jenny was uncomfortable giving me that review?

The bottom line is I really like this girl. I hired her a year ago, she graduated from U of M like me, she has an 8 year old son, she is smart and sharp, she's kind and has good energy, but she is not doing the job even close to par. Even if you took away all of the mistakes, her work is mediocre at best. And after a year, you can't separate out the mistakes because they almost define her work at this point. At the beginning of this summer, I realized the importance of separating friendship and work, because I actually thought that maybe her work was declining as she saw me as more of a friend. In effort to be a better manager, I stopped cold turkey with the friendship. Niceties in the office, but no more lunches out together, not working out together, less chit chat about life stuff. It went well, though the work stayed less than fine. She did go above and beyond for me when my foot was broken. She is nice, kind, thoughtful, but her work is not where I need it to be after a year, not even close.

Conflict is not my strong suit. My heart was beating out of my chest the entire day on Monday. And during the review there was one point that I felt she and my boss could probably HEAR my heart beating. Many of the issues listed on her year end review have been discussed at length, in hard-on-me conversations and talking-tos throughout the year. Apparently she was shocked, shocked that I listed these same issues on her review. She was floored. She could not believe this is how I saw her work. She said everything written in the review was accurate but that she felt is described her in a bad light (um, true) At the same time she said that she felt our history revolved around me telling her that she isn't doing a good job. We talked in circles, her arguing that "this mistake" only happened once or "that mistake" didn't ever get to the customers. None of that matters and her excuses did nothing to help her case. They did however make me feel very uncomfortable.

And then the bomb dropper, the thing that is just repeating in my head. She said, "Jenny, there is not one good thing listed on here". And she was right. And still the review was right. And that's not right. Right?

The questions were 1. How can this employee improve? 2.Comment on their self review? and 3.Goals for next year. No where to list, how did they meet their expectations... and if she'd gone above and beyond in ANY area, I would have listed it, but she did not. So I did not. I have to stop trying to be nice. People need to carry their own weight. This is business.

I got through it, Addie said I bub boo when I got home, and the stress melted away. I'm not the one whose wrong, I'm not the one who isn't doing their job, but I hate to hurt people's feelings. It makes me really sad.

She's giving me the silent treatment now, and hasn't talked to me in two days...I'll give her to the end of the week to come around, then back to business. I'm taking the morning off tomorrow to go be class mom at preschool and I'm really looking forward to that.

I need to go home and get an I bub boo now...


  1. wait... this is still going on?? Or has the panic attack driven experience from 2 months ago repeated itself??? Or are you just blogging from the 2 mos ago event.

  2. Her annual review was this Monday, and I wrote this today. Yes, still going on. Two months ago was just one of the talking-tos. The anxiety continues...though I do have a better handle on the situation, I had to give it to her at her review and now she's not speaking to me. Apparently she thought that if it had been discussed during the year, it was exempt from inclusion on her annual review.

  3. "Apparently she thought that if it had been discussed during the year, it was exempt from inclusion on her annual review."

    Gee, what part of 'annual' didn't she understand? I suppose that you don't have to include 2nd quarter on the 'annual' financial statements because you already reported them for 2nd quarter.

    OK, I'm done being snarky. I have all these other things I could say--I have worked for you, after all--but they're mostly in the vein of "You're awesome!" so I'll just leave it there.