Monday, 27 June 2016

The Bus Stop Rule


I had my PDR review yesterday. ( Performance Development Review)
I felt sorry for the senior staff nurse doing it. I know she was just ticking the box so to speak as this year is hopefully my last year of official employment.
There was nothing much she could get her teeth into .
When asked about my role , I answered honestly that I thought that I was a safe pair of hands.
Nothing more.

In my past life I must have done hundreds of PDRs Most of which have been routine affairs but there was always a few that had required very careful handling.
Relationships have always muddied the waters when it comes to work, for there is a great pressure to get on with folk especially when working within a team.
When I was younger, I worried a great deal about everyone liking me.
Now I dont give a flying fuck.

I once had to do a PDR with a nurse from Central Africa who was renown to be a somewhat prickly and quick-to-take offence sort of character. She once tried to accuse me of being racist but was shouted down by two fellow black nurses who defused the situation by interjecting some deep bellied laughter into the proceedings........but that's another story.

Anyhow I remember her tearfully complaining that she thought that several staff did not like her and she could not quite figure out why. I tried the old reflective practice thing, explored situations that may have given her a clue to just why her  relationships were not quite up to expectations but she had little self awareness to speak of so I resorted to a discussion of the old bus stop rule.

" Picture yourself at a bus stop with 12 strangers " I said
" ok" The nurse said
" How many would you like do you think?"
She thought for a moment
" Perhaps two" she answered
" How many would you dislike, do you think?" Was my next question
And this time she answered " one perhaps"
" And how many would you think are just ok?"
"Nine?" She said counting in her head
" So why would you expect things to be different just because We are all nurses?"
She thought for a moment and shrugged
"That story does not help me " she said in that sing song voice many African women possess
" It also does not apply to you! " she said pointedly
" why does it not apply to me?" I asked her
" You're driving the bus" she said .


47 comments:

  1. At a rough patch in my company's financial life I had to lay off an employee. That layoffs are in the air spontaneously blooms on the grape vine, and the young woman I called in burst into tears as I shut the door. She threw her arms around me and said "I knew it would be me. Last hired, first fired and all that. Don't worry, I'll be OK."
    It shouldn't be that easy.

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  2. I had to fire someone once because he brought a gun to work.
    I did it nicely, who wants to upset a guy who has access to a gun?
    The next day I woke to find my car had been stolen..
    But I'm here to tell the story so I guess that would make me lucky :)
    He could perhaps be in prison now.

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    1. Lol puts my story to shame!

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  3. You have lead a very interesting life so far John.
    I have never heard The Bus Stop Story.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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  4. That punch line is brilliant.

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  5. I dread my PDR's my job is busy and stressful, today I had 2 people crying at me, 2 swearing and 1 in hysterics. I've just had a pay cut and now my equipment is being moved to a smaller unventilated room. Today I got into trouble for not being positive enough. My reply? 'I'm positive I'm being shit on' didn't go down well!

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    1. Lol........the best PDR i ever did started with the member of staff presenting me with a pork pie ( the forerunner of the scotch egg)

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  6. In my company we all dislike this appraisal process whether giving them or receiving. We also haven't had a pay rise for a few years so very little incentive to engage with the process.

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    1. We nurses havent had a pay rise in a couple of years

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  7. I started working for a former employer on April 1st. I had worked for the company for five years in a very similar role. I resigned on June 13th.... The line manager (not my previous one) was a complete bully. She didn't have a clue about my job role and hadn't even read my job spec..... Thankfully I earn enough on a self employed basis and have no mortgage or debt. The younger staff members have no choice but to put up with The Bully. Like you said.. I have reached the age where I don't give a flying f**k

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    1. I still think...whats the worst they can do?

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  8. Oh boy, you brought back some memories with this one. During one review (US terminology) I was told "people talk about you". I said what?? and he said "people talk about you". I said since it was part of my review and that it counted negatively, that I had the right to know who talked about me, what was said and who was listening to this gossip. I said if that didn't happen, I would make two calls:
    1 to HR and the other to my attorney. He removed it from my review.
    To your bus analogy I would have responded 12 people would be OK because none of them did anything to make me think differently. They have as much right to be at that bus stop as I do. I love her response, though, and will use it whenever I get a chance.
    I might be here long enough for my last of these things next March, unless I walk out sooner which is very probable. Fasten your safety belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

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    1. I just had an annual review yesterday, and heard something very similar: basically "people have been talking about you" and then I was admonished to "try to improve relationships so they will quit gossiping about you"....so all the responsibility for fixing my coworkers' awful behavior was dumped squarely at my feet. I should have called HR years ago at my nightmare workplace; now I'm just looking for a new job so I can get OUT.

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    2. What an unprofessional way of handling things on the part of your reviewer. Good luck on finding new & better employment!

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    3. The above reply was meant for Jennifer.

      And, to you, carlnepa, I say well done for standing up for yourself. The whole 'people talk about you' sounds so childish and weird (and not constructive).

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    4. On Jennifer, you wrote about this before. How about the click stop being a gaggle of shit ! That makes me so upset to hear this is still going on.

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    5. Poor reviewer! How unprofessional.......
      The trick of a good PDR is to sell negatives without them knowing

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    6. Jennifer: Good luck finding something better. I was laid off from the job where I had the "people talk about you" review after almost 30 years. Oh, so was the manager who gave me that review. My job was sent to Hong Kong, so they said, and they didn't need people to do planning and purchasing in the US any longer. Then, after I was gone, they re-hired someone who had quit to do.....you guessed it...planning and purchasing. Hmmmmmmmm
      I think it's a twofold problem...the calibre (experience and training) of people hired to supervise and the mind set of US business in what I call a Walmart World. Don't tell what I should have done to avoid this immediate crisis situation, don't try to help me learn to be smarter or better next time, just solve my problem which is now your problem and give me a lower price next time or I'll buy it somewhere else. Walmart has done than lower prices, it's also lowered the bar for personal responsibility and accountability and something of which there is very little anymore, loyalty and sincere appreciation. I'm so glad I'm on the way out. I'm also sad that younger people won't know what it was like when business was more than drudgery, it was fun.

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  9. Doing the dance of the performance review is just shite...being the bus driver or the passenger...like you John I'm in the twilight of my working life and don't really give a flying fuck.

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  10. Personal Development Reviews! What a load of bollocks! They are meant to be about helping individual workers to progress but the bottom line is that they are really about trying to squeeze more and more out of employees.
    By the way isn't a "flying ****" something that happens on an aeroplane not on a bus?

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  11. Oh, I used to hate doing performance reviews. I invariably had one (if I was lucky, only one) really difficult staff member. It took all my patience, tact, and diplomacy to handle those. I was USUALLY successful. But no one ever called me the bus driver, which would have made me laugh out loud.

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    1. Ive been called worse believe me!

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  12. :)
    I like her answer . I never had to do anything like this so I only feel sorry for anyone who has to go through it .. I would crumble into little pieces ..

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    1. It was the funniest i ever saw her

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  13. My last PDR 2 months ago got asked the usual question. Where do you see yourself in 5 years...
    Replied in a beach shack in Greece,painting rubbish pictures and helping out at an animal sanctuary. Thought she would fall off her chair!.😀

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    1. Kirrie,
      My last PDR was 6 years ago, and I already knew that I had been granted early retirement, but that my immediate senior didn't know that!
      So, when she asked me the 'in 5 years' question, my answer was "Anywhere but here wasting my time on pointless chit-chat"!
      She told me that I was being facetious (she was right) and therefore she was giving me a formal warning. I would have to have another PDR in 12 weeks, and she hoped I would take that one more seriously.
      As I knew I would have left the company by then it was very difficult not to laugh in her face!

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    2. Way to go girls

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    3. Excellent Col!😄Guess it gets to the stage when as John

      says Don,t give a flying fuck.
      But I need to behave, have 3 years 6 months until I can retire from NHS at 55.
      Gets harder day by day.
      Full time shifts 12.5 hrs nights to days are inhuman.
      But I have a plan!.🌴🍉✈️⛱😀

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    4. Respect Col !. Must have felt fab,.

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  14. Ha! Well, you were driving the bus in that scenario. :)

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  15. Watch out! Your superior administration skills are showing.

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  16. RE: photo...At least they let the old lady sit down. I'm just an old fashioned girl. Love the bus stop story. X

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    1. NO... the lass let the old lady sit down!
      Notice that the two men are into their own little worlds.... lonely is cuddling his backpack... and academic is deep into his own brain....

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  17. I hate, HATE performance reviews. After 16 years in the same department, I have found that people say the same things regardless of how you performed. For years I had one manager say something patently untrue and hurtful. A few years ago my manager told him that he'd be expected to provide specific situations to uphold his view in future reviews. He hasn't said it since.

    The whole process is just so subjective. There is no way to make it objective, no matter how much HR tries. It reminds me of when we were kids and we were voting to bestow the Good Citizen Award and Class Leadership award in elementary school. It always went to the popular kid. Nobody ever put a real thought into it.

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    1. I told a staff member i want a star chart.
      When i did something good i got a star on a chart!
      More stars bigger gift

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  18. At my last job we were asked to write our own reviews.

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  19. Sigh. I like your bus-stop analogy.

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  20. One manager made us write our own reviews. The second year I figured out he never read them so I copied the previous one for the next 3 years.

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  21. Reading this makes me even gladder that I jumped off the corporate hamster wheel of pointlessness. I had fab staff and always loved doing theirs, but increasingly terrible managers. The last one told me to stop baking as it was bad for my brand, that I needed to create a credible brand and stick to it. afterwards I had coffee with a darling friend who grabbed a paper serviette and declared that on it we would create my future. We did, and I am living it. It does not involve PDRs, but it does involve baking, and ironically, branding. But not quite as that manager meant it...

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  22. Clever woman. How long have you been driving the bus?

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  23. John
    I was taken off the performance review board some years ago, having now retired from university academia some years ago, but I do recall the reason during the last years, when I was chair, they didn't care for it when I gave the RN's higher scores than the residents.

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  24. My boss has one employee. Every year he asks if there's anything I want to talk about, then he says he's pretty sure that we always talk when there's something to talk about (we do) and then he tells me what my new rate is and that's it. I feel very lucky.

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  25. Bus Stop please share my umbrella. The Hollies. Singing in my head for two days now

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  26. Luckily I only have a small team that I have to do appraisals for - it's not the most pleasant task in the world - but one of those is always a bit tricky and I have to brace myself to face it.
    It's difficult when someone is so jaded with life, sees no value in the discussion, and suffers from a degree of paranoia because you spend the whole time feeling like you're trying to dance on egg shells.
    I usually need a stiff drink after I've had to deal with that one!

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  27. I used to have to do an annual PDR for my Assistant Manager, we were a team of two paid staff running fifty volunteers. Each time she would, make me a coffee, break open a packet of shortbread biscuits and ask if there was anything elses I 'needed' before we began. She always got a good review and easy aims for the coming year ;-)

    On the other hand my PDR done by my Area Manager, because I was a brilliant shop manager and she knew it, always gave me THE most weird and obscure things to try and aim for before my next one. And yes coffee and shortbread was consumed AND the world put to rights while we went through everything.

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  28. I was always of the opinion that if a supervisor can evaluate and criticize our performance. we should be able to criticize theirs. They are hardly perfect either.

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