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Sinking into the Fog

Sinking into the Fog

He has this sinking feeling…………

This is rather long and somber, I would skip reading it 🙂

His performance review at his place of employment is coming up within the next month. He is an architect and he loves his job. The job has a built in renewal and variety because each project is different and each typically has a relatively short time frame. He is able to explore emotional, physical and spiritual connections in conceptual design. He engages in technical and administrative problem solving during documentation. He wings it during the free-for-all that is construction. A project goes through all of the phases and then the next project starts anew.

He learns something new every single day. Although he still has much to learn, he has his moments where he is good at his job. He has been working on construction administration for the past two years on a single project, which is much longer than usual but the project is much larger. He has an acute understanding of the need for efficiency in his work, proper prioritization and the importance of highlighting potential construction and/or liability issues to his firm. This protects the firm financially and legally – which provides him with a salary and job security. It also protects his personal time which provides him with a well-rounded life – time to spend with her and the boys, time to play with pictures and time to do laundry.

His review one year ago was excellent. This is about to change this year – and he was forewarned in his mid-year review. The focus is shifting from his performance. His firm is instituting ‘performance management’. This is more of a cultural phenomenon than an architectural one. She is a speech language pathologist, also is facing some aspects of this at her place of employment and he has heard of other industries incorporating this as well.

‘Performance Management’ first establishes your job description. Part of your review is based on your ability to achieve your job requirements. Then you must then establish personal / professional goals that fall outside of the scope of your job description. Goals that increase the marketability of the firm and directly benefit the firm are greatly encouraged. Reviews to track goal achievement status are held bi-monthly.

Essentially what this means is that you have to do work for and on behalf of your firm on your personal time.

The emotionally intelligent response is to find goals that are mutually beneficial to you and the firm. At this particular stage in his life, however, he does not have any available free time to devote to extra work projects. Either she, the boys or personal hygiene would need to be sacrificed. Maybe he should stop showering until his new ‘personal’ goals have been attained.

One of the reasons that he loves working at his firm is that they are very smart and have excellent processes. Intelligence is something that he values greatly, but they have totally dropped the ball on this issue. They present this nonsense to him as if they are doing this for his benefit and that it is in his best interest – although he does not need help deciding how to use his free time.

Unemployment in the United States is an issue, particularly in architecture. Now he is in a difficult position. He can choose to sacrifice his personal life to maintain his standing in his firm and keep his job. Or he can play the survival game of trying to get through bi-monthly reviews that highlight his lack of achievement for as long as he can until his job is lost. There are many qualified candidates out there – and many of those would gladly devote their free time to the firm in exchange for being employed.

Choosing between having a life and working to survive isn’t much of a choice. It is simple, crass exploitation. It’s disappointing. He thought we were better than that – he guesses we are not.

And he has this sinking feeling…………..

Posted by michael.veltman on 2012-09-30 14:34:12

Tagged: , Chicago , Building , Fog , Foggy , sinking

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