Your child is doing unsatisfactory work.

Image by Steve and Sara via Flickr

This past Tuesday I received my annual evaluation (my first) at the library where I work part-time. The categories were as follows: E=Excellent, A=Above Average, S=Satisfactory, D=Decreased Performance, and U=Unsatisfactory. While I received several A’s, I did receive a few S’s and no E’s.

I should happy with that, right? After all, I didn’t receive any D’s or U’s. However, all I could keep thinking during, and after, the moment I was presented with my “grades” by the library director was “What did I do wrong?.” Has something like this ever happened to you when you received a passing grade, but still wondered if you were failing somehow? Or am I just a perfectionist? 🙂

15 responses to “U=Unsatisfactory

  1. The more disillusioned I am about work, the less I care what grade management gives me. Even if I get “excellent” across the board, it’s not going to make much difference in my salary increase. You know what we’re vying for in terms of merit raises? .5 percent. Point. Five. What would someone get with “satisfactory?” Probably .3%. Do the math and tell me if it’s worth trying for that excellent.

  2. Grades were graded by that same scale when I went to elementary school (Kindergarten through Grade 6). I never heard of “A’s”, “B’s”, etc. till I hit junior high. I’m sure that I must have gotten a “U” at least once, maybe twice -o.k. three times. I probably didn’t care then, but since I’ve strived to be a perfectionist. And, frankly, I don’t really know why I do that. Alas, this is not a very tangible nor an often realistic goal. Hell, I’m just happy to get comment once in awhile.

  3. I was in a Management training program for a National Restaurant Chain and got bi-weekly evals. I was told, before I even got my first one, not to expect the highest “grade” because no one ever got that. WTH? I’m not everybody else and why have it if no one over gets it? That ticked me off…and I proved them wrong.

  4. It’s all so subjective. I wish there was a way to do evals that left people feeling good and wanting to raise their performance levels. Unfortunately, I don’t think the systems used do much outside of making one feel unappreciated. I’ve had better luck with “performance planning” sessions. Still, try kissing ass a little. Sometimes that goes a long way.

  5. As the person who has to give the grades (not my favorite part of my job, I might add,) I go to great pains to explain to the staff that there is nothing wrong with “Satisfactory”. It means that you are doing what your boss wants you to do, and that’s good! Why should you get extra points for being nice to that cranky old lady who comes in every week, telling you how to run the place? It’s your job to be nice to her. Unless your pay is attached to the number of A’s you get, don’t sweat it. The fact that you got any A’s at all is high praise indeed. “Satisfactory” means that you are someone the director can rely on to do the job and do it well. Now the director can spend time worrying about the employee who is constantly overstepping their job description, or the staff member who always goes home sick but “forgets” to alter their time sheet, or the one who never cleans up after themselves in the staff room, and other such unsatisfactory workplace behavior.

    • So what you’re saying is that you’ve never been on the other side of this grading thing, so you really can’t relate to what I’m saying, huh? 😉 Thanks for the advice, though, from the top rung of the ladder.

      • Sure, I get graded. All A’s, of course 😉 Seriously, though, I’ve been lucky because I have, for the most part, worked for very good bosses who would compliment me throughout the year if I did well, so that when it was time for my review I could put it in perspective of what I already knew. Anyways, an important thing to remember about those reviews is that they are *supposed* to be a two-way conversation. If you think you deserve all A’s, you need to tell your boss that.

  6. I don’t think it’s just you – I’ve been there. It’s a lot harder to get honor-roll-level grades in the so-called real world, and it took me a LONG time to adapt to that.

    • Well, why I usually did make the honor roll in high school, that wasn’t always the case – and in college, that definitely wasn’t the case. I think for me it’s about capturing my childhood (grade school ;)).

  7. I feel like I am failing when under supervision ‘all the time’.

    There’s that feeling that all supervisors are monsters and have the power to fire me – even if that is not the reality.
    Unfortunately, I did have bad experiences with my very first employers.