Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Grass Eaters of the World unite !

Today I took part in the appraisal of one of my "team". I say "took part" as in my current job I am the Gordon Brown to a much older Tony Blair. The analogy doesn't really work as my boss, who I am due to take over from next year, and I get on fine. Also he's around 30 years older than me. The final flaw in the analogy is that our realm extends to a small part of the finance team in a law firm. Neither of us is Prime Minister of anything.

The "appraisee" was a 46 year old man called Barry. He's worked in the firm over 20 years and is understandably rather cynical about his place in the firm and probably the world in general. Nonetheless Barry has a heart under his cynical exterior and it was actually quite a relaxed occasion. No one was pretending the appraisal was a particularly serious event. After all appraisals are designed by HR departments to show that they have a necessary role. There was none of the tension seen in the hilarious episode of "the Office" when David Brent appraised Big Keith who listed one of his personal qualities as "accounts".

Barry is a good worker despite his cynicism so there wasn't really much to say. However there is one project he has been given that is not very clear. It has been given to him from "on high" and relates to something obscure like changing the way we classify our clients. It's tiresome stuff and Barry has been given the job without clear directions. John (aka Tony Blair) concluded "Barry- you've been told to go and do the garden but there's no mower, no sheers, no tools at all. All you can do is try and eat some of the grass". With that John let out a laugh that revealed both an Essex accent and 40 years of smoking. At that point the appraisal ended. The joys of "professional" life.

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