Monday, March 4, 2013

I Contemplate Attachment

I was contemplating attachment today. Attachment is a sticky thing (bad pun intended). We attach ourselves to things, to objects, to conditions, without being conscious that the attachment is forming.  One moment we are not attached.  The next moment we are attached. In yet another moment we are no longer attached.  It is a continual testimony to the transitory nature of life.
I’ve been wrestling with work attachment here in 2013.  I really find myself torn.  I enjoy my work (the substance of it), I enjoy my co-workers (with the rare exception). I even like the work I do in the greater strategic and metaphysical sense. I happen to have a very bad director, who may or may not be reflective of very bad VP’s above her. Inside of this world, I find myself measuring my attachment to my job.  When I step back, when I take a deep breath, when I settle in I realize that I should not be attached to it.  I realize that the attachments I have to it are very tenuous. But when I am in the moment, when I am right inside the hurly-burly of a working day I sure react as if I am attached.  Physically, psychologically and emotionally I am attached and when those strings get pulled, I dance. It is almost involuntary. It is such a strange thing.
We’re currently going through our performance appraisal cycle and the company recently adopted a new process and that new process is pretty much a dismal failure, lacking transparency, furthering distrust, and serving to demotivate and divide employees.
I guess one of the things that always amazes me is how people can make such terrible mistakes.  How they can start out with good intentions and then go so terribly awry.  Our system has two components - absolute performance (did you attain your objectives, how did you get there, etc.) and relative performance (how did you perform against other employees is similar positions).  It is the relative performance that they have so badly mangled.  Process wise, the employees provide input on their absolute performance, which is them supplemented and bolstered by their manager. Then, the whole thing goes to the Director level for the directors to sit down and determine the relative performance factors. It is this later part that is entirely opaque to the individual contributor.  We have no idea what goes into the decision, or how other people we are compared to are rated and why - we simply are told our rating.  We don’t even know what the rating criteria is.  It is an amazing disaster of a system.

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