There’s nothing worse than not knowing where you’re going or not knowing where you stand in the grand scheme of things. Too often organizations and employers have a fairly nebulous or even very ill-defined sense of how they provide feedback via evaluations of the people who work for them.
In my experience in the work world, which spans over 30 years, I have had many employers and have had the pleasure as well as the more dubious honour of working for organizations both private and public, large and small as well as medium-sized, with supervisors of both sexes, and one thing has always stood out throughout all of these experiences: The quality, (or lack thereof), of my work experience with the organization has usually always hinged on the quality of the people who run the organization and how they have chosen to (or not to, as the case may be), to treat the people whom they have chosen to come and work for them and to hopefully develop some sort of long term social relationship with through time and space.
A great deal of this has usually hinged upon only a handful of key factors. Chief among them is the rate of remuneration for services rendered, which calls to an elemental principle of respect and social justice in this mortal coil. But perhaps even greater than such temporal considerations of a pecuniary nature is the manner in which I and my colleagues in the organization have been evaluated by the organization which has taken it upon itself to be my primary source of socio-economic sustenance, and is therefore hence the primary entity from whom and upon which my temporal and spiritual sense of self-worth and moral validation as a human being with a consciousness and a conscience is ultimately predicated and determined in society.
To me, therefore, this is the Heart of the Matter, as the book of the same name by Graham Greene mentions the notion of a life-changing moral crisis. As Roger Daltrey sang so eloquently in the song written by Pete Towshend off The Who’s 1975 album ‘The Who by Numbers’, entitled ‘How Many Friends’: ‘I wonder in the dead of night how do I rate?’ This calls to a human being’s innate desire to know their self-worth and to know precisely where they stand in that regard with respect to the organization which is responsible for procuring them their daily bread, but also to know deep within the marrow of their being that what they do and what they think and say matters and is of some consequence in the ongoing operational structure and ultimate outcome of the organization.
We all want to not just feel like we are part of something, but we all truly seek to BE part of something, and our work which we do for our daily living is for the vast majority of us, the single most important defining element of who we are as human beings and it determines our self-worth in ways which many employers often fail to even acknowledge or take the time to delve into. For an employee to be properly evaluated in a fair and timely manner through time and space by his or her supervisor can often be the most uplifting and validating experience that that person can receive that day or any day. That person needs to know that what they are doing is good, has value, has worth, and contrary to the often nagging feeling of self-doubt and low self-esteem which plagues many of us in the work world, we all need those positive strokes that tell us in so many ways ‘good job, there Joe!’ ‘Way to go, there Jane!’ Because people need to know that they are on the right track, that they are ‘doing the right thing.’ And if they are not, then they also need to be told that as well within the context of a constructively worded critique of their performance, which couches their deficiencies in performance as ‘challenges’ which need to be ‘tackled’ as ‘goals to be achieved’, rather than have a supervisor give an impromptu ‘raking over the coals’ or ‘dressing down’ in front of colleagues when the person least suspects it is coming and may be most vulnerable to the ill-effects of such an ill-advised reproof or admonishment.
So all in all, well-timed and well thought out and applied employee evaluations can and often do make the difference between a successful organization and one where the work environment is toxic and employees are very much prone to a high rate of turnover, absenteeism, illness (both psychological and physical), addiction, workplace-related incidences of harassment, both psychological, physical and sexual and often outright cases of workplace violence of a physical or sexual nature, which sometimes results in serious injury, even death, as many such notorious reported cases of which have been reported in the media in recent decades, and only seem to be on the rise.
So let us not fear to be evaluated, but conversely, let us not be evaluated in fear, to borrow a phrase from the late President John F. Kennedy who, during the dark days of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and its accompanying nuclear brinkmanship, spoke bravely by saying ‘Let us not fear to negotiate but let us not negotiate in fear.’ I would have to say that truer words have never been spoken, whether regarding our quest for world peace, or our quest for the inner peace within our very most beings, to know on behalf of our Loaf Giver how we truly rate as men and women of good conscience and of Good Will Hunting.
For we are all on the Hunt for Good Will, we just need to know where we stand in our own personal cosmos. And if one organization has anything to say or do about it, we shall all soon verily say with certitude that we ‘heard it through the Grapevine!’ For more information, visit

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