The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Friday, September 28, 2007

Politically Correctional

We are a careful people in the Pacific Northwest. Seriously. We are careful about our environment, careful about our manners, careful about each others feelings. This is good, in some ways. In others, it's about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, and about as functional. I was talking to Marianne (I love Marianne...have I mentioned that?) about the fact that employers in Washington usually do not give references about former employees. They don't want to say anything bad that might prevent someone from getting another job. Hence, you can steal the pens, sleep with the boss's wife, and pick your nose with a pencil from every desk in the place and no one will tell your next prospective employer that you're a jerk. We just don't do that.

As I told Marianne, Human Relations folk have learned some basic codes to help them (I was in HR for a time), such as the phrase "is this person eligible for rehire?" which sounds like it means "are there any legalities that would keep him from working for you again?" but really means "If you had a choice between taking this person back and trimming your nose hairs with a chain saw, which would you do?" In this instance, a "yes" answer means "Bob's okay, go ahead and hire him" whereas a "no" answer means "if you have a chimp you could strategically shave, hire him instead. You'll be happier in the long run." Given my HR experience, I am aware of many such secret codes around here, including things that might appear on a performance evaluation:

"Jill has a wide variety of unique skills" actually means "Jill stays really busy, but none of us have a damned clue what she's actually doing other than the fact that it's not, apparently, her work."

"Bob has strong opinions" means "Bob is an arrogant SOB who should be muzzled before attending any meeting, even one about where to order out for lunch."

"There are a number of growth opportunities available to Susan this quarter" means "Susan is a peabrain who couldn't staple two pieces of paper together without calling tech support."

"I would like to see David work towards an upper level transfer" means "I hate this guy, but I also hate Bob upstairs....I see a perfect solution here."

"Leadership opportunities could be a stretch goal for Carla" means "People wouldn't follow Carla out of a burning building if their clothes were on fire."

"Rick has quite a spirit of fun" means "The most productive thing Rick's done all week was to fashion rude shapes out of paper clips. It was a big week for him."

"Lori can be a bit unpredictable at times" means "Lori's mood swings have mood swings and she has a mean overhand. Do not under any circumstance allow her to have a heavy stapler."

"Jon thinks outside the box" means "Jon is a weirdo who probably has some sort of strange slingshot device to put on his underwear. None of us want to think too hard about this."

"Mary gets along well with her colleagues" means "If Mary ever stopped bs'ing and did her job, maybe we could remember what we hired her for."

"Jim could work a bit on boundaries" means "Jim needs to stop staring at everyone's boobs before he gets smacked smartly across the puss."

"Alison has a strong sense of fair play" means "Alison is a whiny little git who could probably become president of the company if she spent a tenth of the time she spends complaining actually WORKING on something."

"Mike may not be a perfect fit for the culture of this corporation" means "Mike smells like a baboon, farts out loud in meetings, and picks his teeth with a ball point pen. We can't figure out how to get rid of him."

"Beth is not fully aware of her assets" means "Beth keeps bending over in skirts no wider than belts that barely cover her hoo-ha. We're all afraid to mention this to her, lest she sue for sexual harrassment."

"It would be difficult to list all of Evan's finer points" means "I can't think of anything good to say about this man, other than the fact that he goes home at the end of the day."

"I would like to see Meredith to improve her skills" means "I really wish Meredith HAD some skills. I don't know that anything would actually help, but if she was in class, she wouldn't be here."

"Keith is generous with resources" means "this guy has so many company pens at home that we may soon have to resort to crayons."

But I love you guys, and that's the truth no matter how I say it. I think I'm up to 117 squares (I need to do another count) and tomorrow I'll show you the beautiful ones I got from Lily in California. Lily, you are too cool for words.


  • At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Jill said…

    Still coming up with a way to knit and pretend like I'm not at the new job!

  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger Gail R said…

    We must have been employed at the same place - I swear I know all the people mentioned!

  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger All 9 Muses said…

    You almost made milk come out of my nose.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said…

    OMG that is so true. I was rolling.


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