Thursday, March 30, 2006

Shades of Grey

Today was a day of surprises, nice ones.
I knew all morning that my boss was going to give me my annual review, and I was not looking forward to it, although I tried to tell myself to look at it as a training experience to use on those I supervise, never really paid a lot of attention to the process in the past. I do not believe in the way traditonal performance appraisals are done, I know they are a necessary evil, but I think the people that directly experience your work should be the ones doing the evaluating. It should be a trickle up and trickle down process, instead of the way it is now done.

Anyway, this being my first year in the position, and with the communication problems my boss and I have experienced over that time, I was sure that today would not go well, that I would be biting my lips, trying to rationally deal with her criticisms.

We are very different people in the way we communicate, in the way we look at the world. She see things in black and white, rules are to be followed. I see the world in a multitude of colors, many shades of grey, and more. To me rules are guidelines. Many times they may have to be bent, sometimes even broken.

She surprised me though, I underestimated her abilities to see that my way of communicating works. She rated me much higher than I thought she would, especially after she had insisted I lower all my initial evaluations of those I supervise. She being a stickler for the literal definition of everything, considered my statements too broadsweeping, so I had to lower my evaluations to reflect this. And now, I have to spend the next week, relating to the wonderful women I supervise, my true opinions couched in the terms of a faulty system. But, I will deal with it, hopefully as honestly, and openly as I can, and they will walk away feeling really good about what I have to say.

I found that when I really look, really try to understand her, then I am able to be there for her, she surprised herself by opening up to me today, because I finally decided to open up to her, listen to her, why I allowed that to take so long I do not know.

I dealt well with all the little problems of the day, all because I had started my day, telling myself I was going to take everything in stride, that no matter how negative something seemed at the time, that I would be able to deal with it, that I would be able to handle it. When we take the time to mentally prepare ourselves, I really do believe we can handle almost anything. Even a paranoid schizophrenic who decides to stop taking her medications.....another little client emergency....the kind that teaches me....sometimes I do have really good intincts.....another little thing...that can keep me believeing in myself....when I want to beat myself up.

The end of my day, 8:50 to be exact my daughter and I took a walk through the small town we live near. The elementary school she attended is in the process of being remodeled so she wanted to explore the area. It was so nice to see her get excited over the old science garden, or for her to go up to the back doors by her old 5th grade classroom, look in the windows, and say "it has a school smell, it smells right, just like 5th grade, the high school doesn't have a school smell!" Then she had to move to the playground and I watched in amazement as she hugged her favorite tree from 3rd grade.

I thought I was easily pleased, maybe it runs in the family. She spent the rest of the evening very happy. I love teenagers, the things they come up with, the logic of their arguments, their ability to still look at the world with some of the child-like joy that gets so easily lost as we age.

1 comment:

jd said...

Just amazing what happens when you let it.
Nice to hear you and the boss crossed a bridge together.
Sometimes, you just gotta be who you are.