As much as I’d love to blog about the FiscalCliff, Cliff 2, Cliff 3 First Blood, Child of the Fiscal Cliff, Return of the Fiscal Cliff, Fiscal Cliff Revolutions, etc., I’m not going to, as others have written much better prose and admonishment of it than I could ever hope to do. Suffice it to say that the “deal” currently discussed in the house (and passed by the Senate) doesn’t address any of the problems that need addressing, and the cliff itself is largely a fabrication of this broken legislature we have and so applauding any sort of garbage-pile-at-the-bottom-save they’ve managed to create is an exercise in self-delusion. I’ll save my self-delusion for better use.
(For really excellent writing and explanations of Why This Isn’t A Save and In Fact Is a Huge Ream of BS, Regardless of Which Side of the Political Spectrum You Are On, see: this and this and this. I also recommend following Heidi Moore and Ezra Klein on Twitter. Their play-by-play is excellent.)
Fiscal-political brinksmanship aside, I find myself as many do, the first day of the year, wincing in readiness for the email onslaught as brought by January 2nd; in full knowledge that school starts tomorrow (for both the boy and I, I get Macroeconomics and the last PreCalc class); bracing myself for the inevitable deluge of resoluters at the gym. All the classes will be full and the instructors will be randomized.
I’ve used the past few days off to catch up on my OCD; my rock collection is now digitized (I can look up rocks by family, size, or color), the undercroft is organized (2 thousand plus books are packed up to go to my parents house), the fridge is cleaned out (literally and figuratively), the study is reconfigured, I finished two knitting projects. In typical fashion, this is because I’m avoiding something.
I am avoiding my annual review.
Every year I am asked to write a series of paragraphs (or oblique sentences) about my performance, and every year I’m startled by two things: 1, how much I (and my team(s), when appropriate) have done, and 2, how it bears no resemblance to what we thought we were going to do. At the onset of each year we craft goals based on the plans of the company, and, in the form of companies everywhere, things change. Constantly. It’s got to the point where we should have t-shirts that say “the only constant is change” or “entropy always increases”. I may do that with my morale budget.
There has GOT to be a better way.
This year, we have attempted to frame our goals in the context of the purpose of the exercise rather than the exercise itself; instead of talking about creating XYZ report or accomplishing ABC task, we’re focusing on the end result: how do we make the company more successful, which thereby (frankly) increases the bonus pool, which thereby (frankly) makes its way into our own microeconomics. That is the part of this exercise the company wants and needs, and that’s great.
It occurs to me however that a lot of us are thriving off of the variety, the change, and the volume of things to do for the sake of the variety, change, and volume. Each new email brings a challenge, almost baiting you: are you up to it? Some crisis has erupted, can you handle it? Can you delegate it? Can you deal with it? I’m happy to say that in the ensuing year I am confident I can do all of those things, this is the rare comfort of someone who has really excellent people to rely on at work.
And with that, tomorrow officially brings the crazy for 2013. School, school, work, home, and all the entropy that can increase. There is no room for triskaidekaphobia, there is no room to wallow. And so I will write my review, take a deep breath, and acknowledge 2013.