Now after years of working in the NHS the idea of an appraisal fills me with dread. I worked nights, you see, and no one could be arsed to appraise the night staff. Every so often some nice, well-meaning, newly-appointed and probably almost terminally-naive DCN would suggest checking how I was getting on.
What with my great hatred of getting there earlier than I needed to (except, of course, to give me enough time to make a coffee and have a fag before hand-over) - and their soon-waning desire to stop later than they absolutely needed to in order to listen to my rants - I very rarely left work in the morning with a new set of aims and objectives.
That is/was the case anyway… except when something had gone pear-shaped… then I was bombarded by enquiries about how I felt about the job (hated it), how I felt I was getting on (hadn't killed anyone, so not so bad) and, every-so-often, what I wanted out of the future (NASA has unfortunately stopped taking applications from balding, fat Yorkshire men who drink like fish and smoke like chimneys so I'll be waiting until the aliens come before I can visit space shall I? (I did say about the ranting above)).
All very usual really… but now I'm in a job I enjoy and the idea of an appraisal fills me with dread for a different reason… what if they ask me how I feel about the job (love it), how I fell I’m getting on (flashes of pure genius and then long periods of slog (everyone who's worked with me will know how much I swear at the computer and then, every-so-often, how I wake up from introspection and declare myself the GREATEST!)) and what I want from the future (more of the same but with shorter periods of slog and more flashes of genius - ohh, and the raise in retirement age isn't a problem as I'd happily do this forever)?
What if they say they need to speak to me because, horror of horrors, something I’ve done has gone pear-shaped (surely not, I now check everything I do in IE6 as a matter of course)?
But it was all actually very civilised, they did just want to know what I’d enjoyed, what I’d not enjoyed. What they could do to make things better and all that sort of stuff… I left feeling as though something had been accomplished rather than as if someone had had an awful thought in the middle of the night and realised that the night staff hadn’t been appraised for the last five years… and what would the Care Quality Commission think of that?
I’m not sure how long my dread of appraisals will last though, I think it’s going to take a fair few in order to get over my phobia of them and for me to appreciate that they don’t just happen because someone's got a bee in their bonnet or because something’s gone wrong.