Three

I’m supposed to complete a self-evaluation at work. You’ve seen one of these, I’m sure. A long series of questions covering various aspects of the job and how good you think you are at it. It’s divided into categories and subcategories: How organized you think you are, how careful, how accurate, how skilled. One to five, line by line. The bosses fill out the same assessment, and afterward you get together and compare the answers.

What kind of sadistic shit is this? Imagine the horror of rating yourself a five in personal appearance and the boss clapping back with a two. Or you think you’re the bomb at interoffice communication only to learn that no one can make head or tail of your cryptic email humor. I mean, unearthing these disparities is the point. I do understand. But for fuck’s sake, this?

For a while I sulked. I did a first draft of the thing, in which I went vengefully down the center column and gave myself a three on every line, in as blunt a response as I could muster given the circumstances. Fuck no, is what this says. I’m checking out.

I’ve sat with this unhappily for weeks. Weeks, I tell you. Why can’t I just play the game? If I’m honest—and why not? where’s the harm?—I’m very good at my job. It’s not a difficult one, but it does need a skill set and mine is pretty good. However to say that, to put it in writing, goes against every inclination. I don’t want either of us sitting around judging me, assessing my worth, giving it a number. Can’t we just have a normal conversation? Why the multiple-choice rigmarole? Why can’t the boss just say, one human to another, “Stop using words like ‘kerfuffle.’ Nobody knows what that means,” or “Quit overspending on pens and use a Bic like everybody else.” Do we really need the one-through-five? My boss is my son’s age, are you kidding me?

I think what I’ll do is pretend to have lost my homework. With any luck she’ll only ask once, and I’ll promise to turn it in but won’t. And if she asks a second time, I’ll say, Look, can we agree that things are ticking along? Yes? Then maybe we can just move on.

I won’t actually come back with that, of course. My boss has bosses and she’s probably supposed to collect this stuff, and she’s a nice person as well so there’s no reason to make her job harder. I’ll bullshit my way through the assessment so she can turn in her own homework, but let it be known that I feel surly about it and don’t wanna boogie.

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