Grown Ups Aren’t Supposed to Have Homework

I distinctly remember being in high school and sitting at the breakfast table with my dad. I was complaining about having to go to school and he told me that he would gladly trade with me because school was much better than work. I pointed out that that was absolutely not true because when you’re working and you leave the office, you’re done (I realize now that this is not entirely factual, unfortunately). However, with school, you leave and then have to go home and write papers and read chapters and do math problems and study and on and on and on. It never ends.

Most of my adult life, I’ve been lucky enough to get away with not having to take work home with me. When I leave at the end of the day, I’m done for the day. I get to come home and relax and forget (well, try) about all the nonsense I dealt with that day. Until now.

As we were leaving last Friday, we were each handed an envelope. Inside is a three page questionnaire that we need to complete by tomorrow for our annual reviews. I’ve heard of my corporate friends having to do this, but seeing as I work in a 9-person office and my bosses have poked fun at these very questionnaires in the past, I never ever expected that I would have to deal with one. Now that I’m faced with it, I don’t know how to answer the questions with any degree of honesty without also asking to be fired.

For example, there is a question that asks what my greatest accomplishment at work has been over the past year. Considering the fact that I do glorified customer service (the same thing I’ve done since the day I started almost seven years ago), I’d say my greatest accomplishment has been getting out of bed in the morning and dragging my depressed, bitter ass to that wretched place every day to get talked down to and yelled at and generally abused by our clients.

Then there’s the question about how I have promoted camaraderie and teamwork amongst my coworkers. After my eyes rolled back to front-facing in their sockets and I stopped snorting, the only answer I could come up with is that I’ve restrained myself from punching anyone in the throat. If that doesn’t scream “teamwork,” well, I don’t know what does.

And my personal favorite asks us to describe two of our career goals and how we plan to accomplish them. Does this mean my career goals at this company? Or in a general “what do you want to be when you grow up” sense? Because if we’re talking about my “career goals” (cue the snorting again) at this company, well, then I think I’ve failed myself. This job was supposed to be a temporary one until I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life. Nearly seven years later, and here I am. So, if we’re talking about my goals here, in this job that I loathe, then I would have to say I only have one: quit, so that I can do whatever it is I am truly meant to do.

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6 thoughts on “Grown Ups Aren’t Supposed to Have Homework

  1. Throw the questionnaire in the garbage can.
    Print this out instead:

    Circle “Do not want to be here” with a bright red pen.
    Put it in the envelope.
    Enjoy.

  2. When I was a boss I hated giving those evaluations out to my team. I stepped out of a leadership role a couple years ago for a regular 8-5 job that I can leave at the door (hallelujah). Now that I fill those out about myself I feel so disingenuous. I love working here because I leave on time and don’t think about work at home… My goal is to do just enough so that I am never promoted to a job that requires more effort, at least not until my kids are older and I wouldn’t mind staying late.

    • I’ve never had to fill one out before, so it was nerve-wracking. It threw me off because we are such a small company and all 3 of my bosses left their corporate jobs in NYC because they didn’t like all of this kind of stuff. I’m shocked that they’re now changing their tune.

      • These questionnaires are pointless because by their very nature, no one can answer them genuinely, making whatever information is gained through them basically worthless. They do however make people with technocratic mindsets (those who believe that every human being can be charted and statistically measured in every aspect of their character) feel better about themselves and are an important task of one of today’s most popular bullshit jobs: Human resources.

        Your problem is that you’re too genuine and overthink the whole fruitless exercise. The best thing to do is just bullshit your way through the questions with answers that shine a bright happy light on you – that is what everyone else is doing too. *Anyone* who has ever been successful in a corporate environment knows how to bullshit people. It’s just part of the game.

        So if you want to keep the job that you hate, play the game and don’t overthink it. Invest emotion and contemplation in things that actually matter to you, not in some bullshit that will soon be filed away.

      • I ended up being partially honest and partially sunshine-y BS. I’m sure it will take them weeks, if not longer, to actually go over them and discuss with us.

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