Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional.
It's all terribly sober going into your pre-bonus review, isn't it ?
I mean who likes to be told just what you're doing wrong at work ? Sometimes I sit there in a sense of shocked disbelief. Is this really happening to me ?
The last time someone told me, 'Could do better', was on my report card at prep school. However, that's the awful thing about work. While you're there, you have to play by the rules. Even if you're a top executive, it doesn't mean you can go around doing exactly as you like as in days of yore. I mean, there are now human rights, 'elf and safety, sexism, racism and all sorts of other 'isms' to deal with now, aren't there ? You can't even tear a strip off someone in front of the rest of the team these days, because HR will be after you if you do.
I once had a boss who lost his rag on the dealing floor after a lovely long lunch. He was 'terribly tipsy', and got all angry all of a sudden (it's a well known problem after too much Chablis). Anyway, he suddenly stood up and started yelling at , well, ALL of us on the floor. Seems we weren't working hard enough and there wasn't enough NOISE in the dealing room. Sadly he'd forgotten that this was a Friday afternoon, and this was in the middle of the summer period.
So on the Monday, of course, someone complained and the big boss had to go down to HR and have the riot act read out to him (in private, of course.) He then returned to the floor all sheepish and called us round in a huddle so he could go all mea culpa and say sorry and whatnot. And this, of course, was even worse for us trench warfare guys on the dealing desk - it's bad enough when the boss behaves like an a'hole, but to have him debasing himself because HR has told him to.. Well, that just about takes the biscuit.
So when I sit in a management review these days, there are a few things going through my mind. One of them is that I'm Morgan Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption when he goes up before the parole board. You know, all that 'I'm too old for this shit, and you're not going to let me out anyway', kind of stuff. And it's all the usual 'soft' stuff that makes me cringe though - be more of a team player, be more accurate, improve your technical competency (I can hardly spell it), give more feedback, make less jokes on the desk, get your finger out and take less time for lunch (other than that, I'm perfect!).
Although it's true that none of us is too old to get some constructive criticism, I sometimes wish that it was me doling out the advice and vitriol for a change (and controlling the bonus pool too). Wouldn't that be a nice way to spend a work day?!