Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Art of Appraisal

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All events and characters are fictional. It does not represent anyone living or dead. It does not represent any company or corporation or any other entity. It is written with a sense of humour, and is not intended to criticize or insult or defame anyone or any entity.

Appraisals are a time when all emotions are on the loose and a frenzy atomosphere builds up in cubicles. There is excitement, happiness, sadness, disappointment, envy, hatred, revenge - and everything that can make up a typical Bollywood movie. The whole process goes to show how subjective human perspectives are, and how difficult it is to bring objectivity into the whole thing. Maybe a day will come when appraisals are fully automated with no human intervention - and *bang* - the computer pops your appraisal score exactly at midnight on Dec 31st (and probably spoils your mood on New Year's eve).

The style and narration of the below post is largely inspired by the style used by Scott Adams in "Dilbert". He is one of the best in "business satire". He has written some wonderful humorous books like "The Joy of Work", "The Dilbert Principle", etc. Please read them if you get a chance. They are a good way to relax your mind and laugh at the irony of things.

("Big Boss" and "Kumar" are imaginary characters in an imaginary organization in an imaginary world. If you think they resemble anyone living or dead, it is purely coincidental)

Big Boss: This year your performance was good, excellent and outstanding. So, your rating is "average".

Kumar: What? How come 'average'?

Big Boss: Because...err...uhh...you lack domain knowledge.

Kumar: But last year you said I am a domain expert and you put me in this project as a domain consultant.

Big Boss: Oh is it? Well, in that case, I think your domain knowledge has eroded this year.

Kumar: What???

Big Boss: Yes, I didn't see you sharing knowledge on Purchasing domain.

Kumar: Why would I? Because I am not in Purchasing, I am in Manufacturing. 

Big Boss: This is what I don't like about you. You give excuse for everything.

Kumar: Huh? *Confused*

Big Boss: Next, you need to improve your communication skills.

Kumar: Like what? I am the one who trained the team on "Business Communication", you sat in the audience and took notes, you remember?

Big Boss: Oh is it? Errr...well..I mean, you need to improve your Social Pragmatic Affirmative Communication.

Kumar: Huh? What the hell is that? *Confused*

Big Boss: See! That's why you need to learn about it.

Kumar: *head spinning*

Big Boss: Next, you need to sharpen your recruiting skills. All the guys you recruited left within 2 months.

Kumar: Well, not my mistake. You told them you will sit beside them and review their code, and most resigned the next day itself. Couple of them even attempted suicide.

Big Boss:*stunned* (recovers from shock) Err...anyway, I tried to give you a better rating, but our Normalization process gave you only 'average'.

Kumar: Last year that process gave me 'excellent'. This year just 'average'? Why is this process pushing me up and down every year?

Big Boss: That's a complicated process. You don't want to hear.

Kumar: I'll try to understand. Go ahead.

Big Boss: Well, we gather in a large room, write down the names of sub-ordinates in bits of paper, and throw them up in the air. Whichever lands on the floor gets 'average', whichever lands on table gets 'good', whichever we manage to catch gets 'excellent' and whichever gets stuck to ceiling gets 'outstanding'.

Kumar: (eyes popping out) What? Ridiculous! So who gets 'poor' rating?

Big Boss: Those are the ones we forget to write down.

Kumar: What the hell! And how can paper bits stick to ceiling for 'outstanding'?

Big Boss: Oh no, now you have started questioning our 20 year old organizational process!

Kumar: *faints*


PG said...


It is almost reality ..

Shamimul said...

:) reminded me of my 1st appraisal there.. :)

Nirmal said...

Hilarious :)

The humor covers up the raw truth

Anonymous said...

the beauty of this is that it applies to all companies.....

Anonymous said...


This what happening in all of my appraisals that i have received...