Thursday, November 21, 2002

Happy Birthday

Thanks to all who wished me a happy day. I turned 30 on Monday. The secret was leaked today at work. Not that it was a secret, I just never really advertised the fact. My crafty colleague, Jeff (no, not that Jeff) who turned 30 himself in May, realized that it was past time for me to turn the 30 corner, and all wished me a belated happy birthday. My dad was in town tonight on business, so we had a great 3rd birthday dinner at the best sushi place in Seattle (I'd venture to say the best sushi place outside of Japan, but those in San Fran and Honolulu could put up a good fight).

On a tougher note, this was year-end appraisal week at work. Receiving my appraisal went pretty well (much better than last year's painful experience), but delivering appraisals to those who report(ed) to me was much more difficult. I have found that writing, defending, and delivering others' appraisals is a more immediate indication of my performance as a manager than my manager's assessment of how I have performed. I thought that after running a nuclear power plant and driving an aircraft carrier, nothing at a civilian job could ever stress me out, but I was wrong. Being a manager and worrying about how my actions could determine another's fate is always stressful, no matter if it only means the difference between a 3.5% "merit increase" (raise) or a 6% one. The appraisal that I delivered this afternoon left the recipient in tears, to the point that she had to leave halfway through to collect herself. I never thought that I would be the dry-eyed one, trying to reassure an upset person that the numbers on the page weren't a real indicator of her value and worth.

I had a friend once say that it's harder to be the "dumper" than the "dumpee" in a relationship. I'm usually the dumpee in these situations, so never really understood that sentiment. I think, however, that I understand that a little better right now.

My friend Jeff is the new manager of the aforementioned person, and so sat in on the appraisal delivery this afternoon. It was great having him there, if only for moral support to confirm that I was doing the right thing. As he left the office today, he stopped by and said "good job today.. and (slighly satirically) have a happy birthday."

It's good having friends at work.


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