All I want for Christmas is for my dad to get something he calls a good performance review.
I know, I know. It’s a strange request coming from a 9-year-old kid. You were probably expecting me to beg you for that sweet BMX bike I’ve only been dreaming about since forever. Don’t worry, dude, we’ll get to me soon enough.
Let’s talk about my dad first. I’m coming to you on this because from the way dad talks when he comes home from work, his boss must have learned a lot about management and leadership from you. How so? Here’s my list. I even checked it twice.
You both only come around once a year
You’ve got a pretty sweet gig, Santa. I know that when Thanksgiving comes around, so will you. You show up for a little while, hang around for a bit, get everybody to dump their wish lists on you, then split and have your elves do all the work while you get all the credit. From what dad says, that’s kind of what his boss does.
He’s really only around when it’s absolutely necessary to talk to everybody, which dad says is at the yearly review time. I would think that would be really exciting for dad and everybody else because that means the boss is there to give out presents because they’ve all been good. But from what dad says, that doesn’t happen because…
You both are kind of confusing
You see, instead of everybody pulling a Santa and climbing into the boss’s lap to tell him what they want – something dad calls highly inappropriate and legally actionable, apparently – the boss gets in each person’s face instead, tells them all the stuff they screwed up on over the year, seems to remember the bad stuff that happened right before the review much better than anything else, then makes excuses about why he can’t be more generous. That stinks. I guess that goes back to what the boss learned from you about something dad calls feedback.
I think I speak for the entire world here when I tell you that I never really know where I am with you on the whole naughty/nice scale until I wake up on Christmas morning and see how much you did or didn’t bring me.
That doesn’t seem quite right but it seems right to grown-ups. I guess that’s how adults do that whole management thing that dad talks about, though, because that’s how his boss works too.
Since dad never really sees or hears from his boss except around review time, he doesn’t really know if he’s done a good enough job until that meeting. And most of the time, the boss didn’t even witness the stuff that he busted dad’s chops on during the review; it’s all the stuff other people told him about dad. Looks like this company has copied your little Elf on the Shelf strategy, too. That may work really well for you, Santa, but it really stresses dad out!
That’s where all his gray hairs have come from lately. I told dad that he should ask you for something I saw on TV called “Just for Men.” He said he’d trade every single one of them for a few encouraging emails or phone calls or visits from his boss every once in a while, but then he mumbled something about “a snowball’s chance” and walked away looking very sad.
Just my two cents here, but it would be nice to get some feedback from you during the year to see if I’m cruising for coal or not, to give me a chance to fix stuff before the big day when you show up. I’d be able to enjoy the whole Christmas thing a lot more if you were more, you know, in touch. I think my dad would enjoy his time with his boss a bit more, too.
We don’t know if you’re real
My friends and I have been talking about you a lot, Santa. Got to be honest here, big guy, but the older we get, the less we believe in you. You say you want to hear from us but when we write to you, you don’t answer. When we visit you to hang out and tell you what we want, you don’t even remember our names. You don’t tell us what it takes to stay on your good side, and all the older kids who grew up idolizing you now act like you’re a joke when your name comes up.
Maybe that’s why dad’s confidence is shot because it looks like you taught his boss everything he knows. He says all the right things when everybody is around but hardly talks to dad one-on-one, doesn’t remember his name or accomplishments, has lost the belief of virtually everyone else around him, won’t tell dad which list he’s on during the year, or even let him know what it takes to jump from one to the other. It’s no wonder he hates the work he used to love.
On second thought, Santa (or whoever you are), don’t worry about the bike. Have your guys put something extra in dad’s stocking this year instead. He’s had enough lumps of coal.
Andy Janning is president and founder of NO NET Solutions.
317-727-9657 or andyjanning.com