Preparing for a Job Performance Evaluation

When we don’t know what to do, we fall back on rituals. We try to find the closest ready-made approximations and jam it in as a fix. By conveniently assuming dissimilar things are identical, we can treat them the same.

Most people have no capability to evaluate, so apply frameworks conceived by others and assume those serve some useful purpose.

With a mix of all of these mistakes, we have the performance review ritual, which we take seriously like a priest magically absolving us of sins and blessing us with holy water.

The ceremony of evaluation is treated with reverence. First we fill out sacred forms and provide considered answers to absurd and pointless questions. Yearly goals are declared as if we control the future.

To get through the nebulous uncertainty of it all, we defer to ritualistic steps.

Human Resources declares a need to provide completed forms before a particular date. We schedule a short meeting with the priest. Upon that date, he passes judgment and decides how much money to grant. On another date, this bonus or raise is paid.

It’s all deliberately mechanical to remove human rationality and the realization of what’s hiding behind a complicate smokescreen where no one knows how to measure the enterprise being worked for.

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