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It's time to sack job appraisals

(by Lucy Kellaway)

Last week an e-mail went round the office asking for suggestions on ways to improve our performance appraisal system. My suggestion is dead easy and dirt cheap: get rid of the whole thing and replace it with nothing at all.

Over the past 30 years, I have been appraised 30 times - as banker, journalist and non-executive director. I've lived through the fashion for long, complicated forms. I've also survived the fashion in which appraisals are called "career chats". I've done appraisals across a table, on a sofa, even over a meal.

But I have never learnt anything about myself as a result. I have never set any target that I later hit. Instead I always feel as if I am playing a particularly bad party game that isn't fun and that doesn't answer the most basic question: am I doing a good job? The resulting form is then put on file even though you know from experience how much attention will be paid to it later: none at all.

At least I've only had to suffer one side of the process. I have never - thank goodness - had to appraise anyone else. This must be even worse, as you have to perform the same operation with each employee in turn. You have to let people believe they are doing more or less okay, because it's too tiring to tell them that they aren't doing okay at all.

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ВВЕДЕНИЕ | These phrases (1-6) all include the word career. Match each of them to its correct meaning (a-f) | Complete each of these sentences with the appropriate form of a word partnership from Exercise 4 | Read the texts and guess the meaning of the words in bold | Read the dialogue and guess the meaning of the words in bold | Complete the sentences with correct words from the dialogue | C) Give your examples of highly skilled, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs | Career advice for junior managers | Study the examples of CVs | Reading and Speaking |

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