Annual reviews are on the horizon. ‘Tis the season to be jolly…and to purge, praise, or promote talent. In short, it’s time to campaign!
Romney and Obama have nothing on Wicker, Franklin, and Steinman. These three young and bucky Analysts are all vying for the same Sr. Analyst role. How do I know? Because just yesterday I received an invitation for coffee from each one individually and there were homemade cupcakes on my desk awaiting my arrival. The note attached read as follows…
Oscar, please enjoy these cupcakes from my wife Amy who is not feeling well due to a difficult pregnancy, but stayed up all night baking you these velvet cakes because I told her that you, of all people, could appreciate such a delicious treat on such a cold, fall morning. – Steinman.
(Empathy! – 9 out of 10 Directors recommend a good dose of empathy as a way to get promoted. *This study is not scientific.)
See, I am high enough on the upper-mid-level management Jenga tower to have influence as to who gets promoted vs who simply gets praised or purged. It took me a decade to reach cupcake level status, but here I am. And Yours Truly has a few free coffees coming his way!
It shouldn’t be this way. Employees’ performance should be tracked throughout the year by their managers. But The Box! does a shitty job of management training and employee development. This, combined with the fact that the facilities maintenance guys haven’t switched out the air filters in 5 years, leads anyone over the age of 30 to have long-term memory limits of 6 weeks. Therefore, the employees’ 52 week work-year is for naught, because it isn’t documented. What matters is the asskissery between Oct 1 and Dec 15th when all reviews are finalized.
LET THE ASSKISSERY COMMENCE!
The following are tell-tale symptoms that someone is trying very hard to either not get fired, or get promoted. The signs are the same. Outcomes may vary.
- Their car is parked in the very first parking space closest to the building’s entrance. This is a sign that they were here before anyone else. Today, I noticed all three of Wicker, Franklin, and Steinman’s 2nd hand BMWs were parked in the 1,2,3 spots respectively.
- Got a birthday in the fall? Lucky you. These guys will rush to decorate your cube, have preggers bake you a cake, and sing happy birthday to you…EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW YOU! How do I know? Because I did this in my shameless 20s! There was an IT guy named Bashir who I didn’t even know, and guess what? I bought him a cake and a gift card to Manny’s steakhouse. I decorated his cube. And when he got into work that morning, I led his team, NONE OF WHOM I KNEW…to a happy birthday song. WHY? Because due to some glitch in the goddamned seating arrangements, the VP of my business unit was somehow located in the middle of IT cubeland on the 17th floor, and I wanted him to see me be a team player, living the values so to speak. Was I successful? No. VP was on a ski vacation in Montana when Bashir got the celebration of a lifetime. Note to self; check with VP’s admin on blackout dates. And don’t buy a $100 Manny’s gift card for someone who doesn’t eat red meat!
- LinkedIn activity. Jesus, the LinkedIn activity! They will write your dog a recommendation if you let them. I had the distinct pleasure of walking Fido during a team barbeque in 2011. His attitude and fortitude towards myself and the rest of the team was truly unforgettable. He didn’t steal my burger when I wasn’t looking, and his stool was solid and easy to pick up. I would walk Fido anywhere, anytime.
- They say the word “Totally” far too often. Oh, I’ll TOTALLY take meeting notes and then send everyone a recap. It would be a TOTAL pleasure. Hey, I am organizing a team happy hour and it TOTALLY be great if you could show up. Come on, one drink. Oh, yeah, TOTALLY, the tab’s on me.
- In a company whose stock price is shitting the bed, where more layoffs are possible, executives are negotiating their way out, and family members worry about employees’ mental health, these guys are smiling, shaking hands, and patting everyone on the backsaying that our four-year death spiral is just a hitch in our giddyup!
The asskissery is phony, fake, and will only last until Dec 15. I think it must be like pledging to a fraternity. I wouldn’t know because I never belonged to a fraternity as I was always good at making friends on my own and didn’t want to get naked and role around in peanut butter with 12 other dudes only to get up and call them brother. But I did play this corporate game and I got ahead, as one of these lads will.
It isn’t fun. It’s a bit humiliating. And in the end, you’ll lose respect for yourself. I wish someone would have told me. Maybe I should tell them.