Friday, July 28, 2006


I can do technical work for hours and hours without feeling the need for a break. But today I have to write my own performance review. Of course I've known about this for some time, and naturally put it off to the last moment. Now I am so sleepy and so bored that I am distracted by peeling sunburned skin off my forearms. (Fortunately I have my own office--however the door is open so I really should stop.)

Is there anything worse that filling out your own performance evaluation? Maybe one thing: reading and evaluating other people's reviews. Fortunately my company recognizes my lack of management skills and consequently I have nobody reporting to me.

When I was a professor I served and chaired the faculty review committee, where we evaluated promotion and tenure applications. To get tenure, you essentially need to demonstrate that you walk on water--those self-reviews come in the form of multi-volume binders. I preferred root-canal over reading those dossiers.

My favorite account of someone applying for tenure is so near-and-dear to me that I fictionalized it in my book (which most of you haven't bought-forcing me to embellish this year's accomplishments so that I don't have to feed my kids dog food.) A professor in my department inserted a letter from him mom into his tenure application which read:
Dear Committee,

Please give my son Marty his tenure thing--he is a good boy. If he had studied harder I'm sure he could have been a real doctor.
A real doctor. I love it.

Do you think I'm procrastinating? Ooh—some more loose skin just begging to be peeled…

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