Friday, December 18, 2009

Seven Things I Didn’t Accomplish This Year

It’s that time of year again.

If you’re working in Corporate America chances are that you have recently received an e-mail from your boss, asking you to document your accomplishments for the year – to be used of course for your annual assessment, which will be input to your annual incentive pay (if you’re lucky enough to be working for a company that still has bonuses), and input to your 2010 raise (if you’re lucky enough to be working for a company that will be giving raises).

I can hear the sighs.

Caution: If you are working in Corporate America, continuing to read this column may throw you into the depths of depression. Okay – not really – but I am hoping that you will be at least a little bit jealous!

A few years back I ran into a colleague who had retired one year earlier. In response to my query on what she had been doing she said, “I am blissfully non-productive!”

In that vein, I am blissfully happy to report that for the first time in thirty years, I do not have to respond to that e-mail from my boss. Instead, I thought it would be fun to spend a little bit of time reveling in what I didn’t have to accomplish this year…

1. I didn’t deliver yet another ‘new’ product that was targeted at attracting new customers, while retaining all the old customers, and solving all of their biggest problems.

2. I didn’t carefully craft the corresponding messages for the market, positioning this new technology to be the greatest thing since sliced bread and capable of solving world hunger, even though it was based on technology that was decades old.

3. I didn’t spend months reviewing those messages and getting buy-in with senior executives across the company so that each of them had the opportunity to add their spin and water down the message so that in the end it said almost nothing – very eloquently.

4. I didn’t spend weeks getting managers and executives to agree to a name for this product – one that was sufficiently descriptive and yet innocuous enough so that the company wouldn’t be sued for copyright infringement.

5. I didn’t complete a special project that my boss told me would be a fantastic ‘growth opportunity’, that contributed to many extra hours of work – and many headaches.

6. I didn’t wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning worrying about a big presentation at an early meeting in a headquarters location that required an hour drive to get to. In fact, I rarely set my alarm at all!

And now for my proudest non-accomplishment of the year (drumroll please):

7. I didn’t ‘lay off’, ‘surplus’, ‘resource’, or otherwise fire anyone. Yippee! I think I deserve high marks on my performance assessment this year, don't you?

Sarcasm aside, I am not knocking the great and important work being done in Corporate America, and I am very pleased to see the stock price at my old company rise. It’s simply clear that it was indeed time for someone else to be doing that work.

Your turn. What were you fortunate enough to have not accomplished this year?


bobbiea said...

1. I didn't stress myself out over meeting yet another impossible deadline.
2. I didn't have nightmares about people chasing me.
3. I didn't cry over some mean spirited and untrue comments that my boss made about my performance
4. I didn't lose sleep over justifying what a good employee I am
5. I didn't worry anymore about if/when I would find myself in the unemployment line I am there
6. I didn't worry about how much time I had to take off to handle family emergencies
7. I didn't miss my job or the management team I worked for

Anonymous said...

Not interesting. So what DID you accomplish this year?

bobbiea said...

that wasn't the topic

Colette said...

Bobbiea, what a terrific list of things to elimninate from your life! You rock!

Anon, that's okay -- not everyone has to be interested.

bobbiea said...

Thanks Colette

Maurice Frank said...

Well, I am not retired yet, but a little over five years ago I switched from being an IBM employee to a subcontractor serving the same client (still there).

Now, instead of writing up my annual review for three different IBM evaluation applications like I used to do, I stand in front of the mirror, raise my right hand, tap myself on the left shoulder, then say "Good job! Do it again next year!" Then I repeat this to cc myself for the record.

Great blog post, thanks!

Maurice Frank

Colette said...

Maurice -- yeah! That's the way to do it!

Anonymous said...

I just retired and I will not miss having to select the bottom 10% of my team that will then get lots of grief and 'action plans' with no raises. The fact that being a good manager and actually hiring professional and good performers is completely irrelevant to this moronic exercise.

Colette said...

Anonymous -- that's so true, especially when you went out of your way to staff your team with the best people.