Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

EERs! Taxes! EERS and taxes! I'm terrible at both.

Actually, I'm pretty solid at writing EERs for other people. Or writing my EER for someone else to pretend they wrote it. Or writing my EER for someone else to offer the person who is supposed to write it so that the person writing it thinks they just plagiarized the other person but really they plagiarized me. True story and: well played.

But now we've moved to the 5055 and I have to write the first part in my voice. For the non-Foreign Service types out there, especially for the aspiring Foreign Service types out there, your EER is your Employee Evaluation & Review. The old form (still used by the untenured) consists of two sections written by your rater (in theory, but not always, your boss), one section written by your reviewer (in theory, but not always, your boss' boss), and then one section written by you (frighteningly referred to as the "suicide box"). The form for tenured employees is now: a section written by the employee, one by the rater, and one by the reviewer (with the terrifying "Area for Improvement" shoved in there somewhere).

On both forms, the alleged purpose is the same: to offer a constructive annual evaluation of an employee's fulfillment (or not) of her work requirements and of her potential for performance at a more senior level, using the Foreign Service Precepts as a rubric.

Ha. Ha ha. Hahaha.

The reality is that your little pile of EERs (plus any awards) forms the sole basis for your promotion fate. Your boss wants good employees to succeed and wants to be known as a great boss who helps you get promoted, so to do his or her best by you, a one-day task gets blown up into something full of international consequence and the really valuable work--daily management issues--get no attention whatsoever.

I put a lot of effort into my junior officer's EER. He's a fantastic officer who really pulled through on some pretty significant tasks. My section for him was done early and is now with my boss.

My EER was due up to my rater on Friday. What am I currently avoiding by blogging? My EER. I don't like writing about my moments of international consequence in the first person. It seems braggy and arrogant. Statistically*, women don't do as well as men with this format; we are much more likely to credit the team than praise ourselves. Ironic, because you might want the team player to be promoted, but there we are. I wouldn't suggest that the men aren't team players, but generally men seem less inhibited when it comes to horn-tooting.

So here I am, late on a professional deadline (which I normally would never be). In the end, I care a lot about those who work for me, but not nearly as much about my own career. I blame motherhood. I used to be ambitious, but now I just hope I manage to shower before work.

When you combine this discomfort of crafting self-aggrandizing prose with the brutal assault of taxes, which are slamming us royally as household employers, this time of the year is a great argument for giving up the dual-income ghost.

*Can't link to the statistics because there is a slight chance I made that up. Pretty sure I heard it somewhere, but even if I didn't: it seems like it would be true, no?

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