The Appraisal


It’s that time of the year when emotions are running high in the workplace. The “cream performers” are waiting to take a decision to carry on or move on based on the ratings, the “smart cookies” who are great at pleasing their bosses at this time of the year, by sitting late, doing extra errands because “the boss” is blessed with a short-term memory. The consistent performers, “the nice guys” carry on working and will readily accept any rating given because they are grateful to God for their jobs. They don’t want to topple the boat.  The last group are the non-performers, “the trouble-makers”, who the boss is willing to let go and has passed on every sign of doing so, yet live in a world of make-believe and will fight tooth and nail for a high rating.

A performance appraisal needs to be done right because it decides who will stay with you in the next year and who will move. Leaders do a great job of it. They motivate, encourage and challenge. They retain the cream and get rid of the scum. Bad bosses nail it- they make the cream flee and end up having an organization of mediocre people or people who are afraid of moving.

A scene from an appraisal

Setting: Room: curtains drawn, door closed, boss looking very grim with glasses on, with otherwise ruffled hair, now neatly combed and set flat, removing any sign of appearing casual. A smile is out of question!

Boss: “How are you today?”

Cream performer: “Great!!!” ( wondering why the Boss shouldn’t smile during an appraisal).

Boss: “It’s the end of the year. You’ve sent me a really long mail on your team’s achievements. Tell me what did you do during the year?”


Cream performer thinking( Excuse me, you just said I sent you a mail on my achievements, it was meant to be read… we lost half of our resources this year and yet managed to complete all projects and manage leaves…and  you are asking me what I did).

“I managed my team, created backups, handled staff shortages without complaints from business, generated revenue, had zero losses and had a great audit”.

Boss: “Isn’t that what you’re hired for? That’s your job description. That’s BAU ( business as usual). What else did you do?”

Cream performer thinking, “I put up with you…”

Boss: “You do know the current market situation. People are losing jobs and business isn’t too good. In this volatile situation just want to make sure that you will stay with us,no matter what the rating is”.

Cream performer: “What is the rating?”

'You're my best employee. You're punctual, ambitious and precise. The problem is ... it scares the devil out of my other employees.'

Boss: “You know, we do a 360 degree appraisal and a few people have said they don’t like you”.

Cream performer thinking, ( Oh my what level can this man stoop to!!!)

( appearing totally composed):  “When you question wrong processes, people, raise issues in projects, it’s obvious that there will be people who will not like you. I dont regret any question I have asked. Those questions have helped business, our customers and the team. If I knew “being liked” was one of the factors, then I would have simply said likeable things, without questioning. As my boss, please let me know any of the non-likeable things I have done so that I can fix it…


Boss: breaking into a grin…you know we have the bell curve…and we need to stick to it…can not promise you anything. I will try from my side but it’s not in my control…there are a lot of factors and things being uncertain, anything can happen. We must be thankful for our jobs and try to retain it. If the management does not like us, there’s nothing stopping them from asking us to leave. You must take care…

Cream performer: It’s their loss, not mine, if they do. I put in my 100% into the job when I work…So…could you please tell me my performance rating , as per you?

Boss: You’re an excellent employee, hardworking, resilient, smart and you’ve managed your team extremely well. You are a great asset and we don’t want to lose you. But you need to be aware of what’s going on around you. Life’s tough…there’s a sword dangling all the time over us…I need to stick to the bell curve…I will try.

Cream performer thinking: “I need to make my resume’, get out of this place as soon as I can”.



18 responses to “The Appraisal”

  1. Francis Weiss Avatar

    Great post thankyouu


  2. Abirbhav Avatar

    What more is there to say?
    1. If I am so useless, don’t you dare reject my vacation requests
    2. One minute extra spent in office beyond working hours is going to cost you. Heavily. Very Heavily.
    3. World class work requires world class payment. Recession or no recession. Nothing comes for free. Period.
    4. Do you know cognitive dissonance? My skillset and work don’t fit. As a leader, you should have known this
    5. Do you know that the Company who introduced Bell Curve gave it up years ago? No? As expected
    6. I am not paid to work during weekends. Guess you knew that. So, call up the ones who are on “top” of the Bell Curve to get work done on weekends
    7. If Market is bad, then you should be clever enough to save your money by summarily reducing all increments of your subordinates to zero. Show that to HR. Get a pat on your back. That’s what is called “smart thinking”
    8. My colleagues think I am useless as per 360 degree review. Please get work done from “useful” people then.
    9. Point 3 rephrased. I don’t get paid for “out of the box” work. Not in my JD. Positive increment in payment is the motivation for “out of the box” work.
    Although I didn’t face such discussions with regards to money during appraisals, yet such crap is totally intolerable to me. And people say that Millennials are lazy.
    If showing the mirror is called laziness, then people blindly blaming Millennials need a mental health check up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Are you adding on to my writing? Or is it how you would answer the questions if the M.D. of the company is speaking to you? If it is, then I think your answers are unrealistic. Nobody talks like this in a corporate. If anybody reporting to me had spoken like this, I wouldn’t have allowed it. Just saying. Thanks though for sharing your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Abirbhav Avatar

        I am not adding to anything. It is just logical that if one works so hard putting his or her extra hours and sacrificing holidays is paid in peanuts, then there will be repercussions.
        As I said earlier, I never had such a discussion (but was even more vitriolic) involving payment or increment. So far, mine have been centered around what I was hired for and what am I doing. The classic cognitive dissonance.
        This is not directed against you though. I apologize if you thought it that way.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Smitha V Avatar

          No, no that’s ok. It’s obvious you haven’t been in such a situation. Diplomacy is key in such negotiations while being straightforward. And this article was aimed at being humorous for this is how most appraisals go – at-least the ones where I have worked.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Abirbhav Avatar

            I totally get it Madam. You definitely meant it to be humorous, and I had a chuckle when I read it, “TBH” (Sorry for the shorthand lingo.. 😉 )
            Anyways, it wasn’t intended at you. It was in general. Of course, there are good people and bad. Diplomacy is definitely a good strategy, there is no denying that. I however follow a rather straightforward and to the point policy. Because, when it comes to demanding work, then nobody will ask you or me diplomatically. It will be straightforward, sometimes in a tone which we may not like (though I don’t care about tone, I care about results).
            Anyways, once again apologize if it offended you in any way. That was never the intention.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrea Stephenson Avatar

    Very funny, but scarily true 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      😀yes and oh! So true.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Smitha V Avatar

    Reblogged this on What Life said to Me and commented:

    Now the this last year’s appraisals are done and the results are out and the bonus has been credited to the account :), I take the liberty of re-posting this write-up written in 2016. Am sure, everybody who works has had one such experience in their life-time. Hope you enjoy reading it!


  5. somisandy Avatar

    Very well written! I wish I had the sharing option in Linked in also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you. You can share it on linked in. I will check though.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. somisandy Avatar

    Very well written! I wish I could sharing option in Linked in also.


  7. Archana Avatar

    So true smitha..nicely written as always..


  8. Sonal Avatar



  9. Gayathri Gurram Avatar
    Gayathri Gurram

    Good one Smitha 👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      knew you’d like it Gayathri:)


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