Last month at work, I had to participate in completing a few written reviews of people (including one review of myself). You know, the kind where they say “do you think this person is skilled at their job?” and “do they have good interpersonal skills?”, or “how do you think you could improve in your job?” and “what’s your greatest strength?”, etc.
And I don’t know WHY this is, but as soon as I start reading the questions in these surveys… something comes over me and I just can’t seem to take it seriously.
I mean, I know that giving feedback is important, and I know that it’s anonymous and the person isn’t going to see it, and I know that nobody’s going to fire me if I say the wrong thing so I should just be honest and professional… but somehow, the idea of reviewing people I don’t feel qualified to judge somehow makes me get a little panicky. And as a result, all I want to do is write sarcastic comments.
And it’s not like I even have anything bad to say about anyone! I have very high opinions about everyone I work with, so any review I give would most likely be positive. So what’s the big deal?
Well, my experience tells me that I don’t know the person enough to give super specific answers, so my first response is to write a rambly review full of disclaimers:
“I don’t really know what kinds of tasks Jane does, so I don’t actually know how knowledgeable she is at her job, but I’m sure she does great and knows exactly what she’s doing because I have no reason to think she doesn’t, and she’s super nice, so why not?”
But that’s hardly helpful at all, is it?
So I try to sound a little less like myself and a little more confident:
“Jane is a knowledgeable team-player who undertakes each task with a mentality of strong reasoning combined with a willingness to learn and a desire to make others feel at home. She displays a mixed skill set for gentle correction, adherence to instruction and the added ability to think for herself and make tough decisions in a given situation when the responsibility is thrust upon her.”
But then I just start laughing at myself because…seriously, isn’t that trying a little bit too hard? Like, am I just making all this stuff up because it supposedly sounds good? Do I actually know what any of that means? Would I ever actually say this in real life? In my defense to the latter, the way I write IS different than the way I speak, but it’s still so over the top…
Then finally, I get so disgusted with myself that I decide to just answer sarcastically with whatever comes into my head.
Is Jane flexible?
Yes, she is the greatest contortionist I’ve ever seen; she’s practically Elastigirl.
How are Jane’s interpersonal skills?
The skills of her interperson are quite astonishing, really, whenever she switches personalities.
How knowledgeable is Jane?
Not. At. All. Jane knows nothing and should be fired immediately.
No, of course, I didn’t choose the sarcastic options, no matter how sorely I was tempted. I generally ended up going with a condensed version of my second example; you know, the Random Big-Words Simulator.
But seriously, at the end of the survey I had to take about myself, the final question was something like, “What are some skills you would like to learn in your job?”, and I was SO tempted to say, “How to answer these questions without sounding pretentious!”
But because I didn’t ACTUALLY say that, I guess I will never learn.
Or maybe I’ll just get better in time.
Or maybe I’ll forever be a Feedback Failure.
I’m ok with any of those, really, as long as I don’t have to give Feedback about my Feedback. That could be a thousand times worse!
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Twilight… one of the most controversial book series of my time… where the fans are avidly enthusiastic about it and the haters are very strongly against it.
I finally ended up reading the books and then watching the movies last year. I have a sister who couldn’t get through the first book, and another sister who loves it. Where am I on that scale? Well, as usual, I’m somewhere in the middle. (WARNING: SPOILERS throughout this entire review.)
My least favorite of the series; we meet the mysterious, moody, and manipulative Edward Cullen, and Bella, a weird character who’s still fairly distinctive and unique. She falls “irrevocably in love” with his god-like good looks and his intensely hate-filled glares, he pulls on her emotions by stalking her and then yelling at her for liking him, yada yada. You could chalk his jerkishness up to his frustration at struggling to control his urge to kill her… whatever, that doesn’t make him a healthy character. But since this series shows that she is drawn to danger and death, I guess it’s her destiny. This beginning book does not make it look like it will be a happy love story. Except, wait! It is, because the final act of proving that he can control his thirst for her blood makes him the best guy to be with! Oh, what sacrifice! This noble character is certainly a keeper!
With Edward gone for most of this book, we get to spend most of our time with Bella and Jacob, which I enjoy. I really like their interactions together in this book… at least until he becomes a werewolf and becomes moody and full of angst. But they get over that fairly quickly. I think the friendship between Jacob and Bella in this book is one of the best relationships in the series. (Beat out only by Bella and Charlie.) And at least when Edward comes back at the end of this one, he finally stops being a jerk… for the most part.
I think this was the book that drove me over the edge with the constant self-loathing “one-up-each-other” comments between Bella and Edward. For goodness sakes, can’t you just realize that you love each other and will “literally” die without the other and get over it already? There’s trying not to be overconfident, and then there’s being convinced that nobody could possibly love you but that you are OBVIOUSLY devoted to the other person and aren’t they stupid for not realizing it already? Great flirting going on here, in this book.
However, this one did have some of my favorite moments; I love when the werewolves and the Cullens first start working together. I love when Edward and Jacob have their mostly civil yet honest discussion in the tent while Bella is sleeping. And although I don’t know how much I buy the whole “Bella is in love with both of them” thing, this finally starts moving the plot forward and propels the relationship stuff along.
This final book was probably the best overall. It made me annoyed the least amount, and it had all the happy endings with a good amount of drama that was DIFFERENT drama than the last books. A lot of plot goes on in this book, but I think it’s a really good final wrap-up to the series. I loved how they dealt with Charlie and vampire-Bella. It’s very satisfying seeing Jacob get his happy ending. And I like the way everyone comes together at the end for the Cullens. I actually really enjoyed the way the big showdown at the end did NOT end in a massive fight, but that it actually DID get resolved peacefully. (And the way they worked that out in the movie was a good choice.) And since in the second half Bella and Edward are married and vampires, they can FINALLY get over their insecurities about each other and can just have the good relationship they’ve been striving for all along! Win for everybody!
Like I said, Bella is a weird character, but she is distinctive and unique. When a book is in the first person, it’s hard for me to be too judgy because I can see the person’s perspectives and WHY they think that way. I mean, I personally don’t get why Bella has this strong aversion to gifts and events and attention and weddings and people and fun, but at least she stays consistent with herself and remains unique throughout the series. She has the equally annoying habit of being overly self-deprecating in an “I’m totally serious” way, so she and Edward have lots of fun trying to outdo each other until she’s finally a vampire. But other than that, I don’t hate her as a character. She may not be my favorite, but I think she fits the strange world of Twilight.
He starts out horrible, and slowly gets better. Sometimes I think he’s really sweet, and I guess by the end you can tell that he is self-sacrificing, but he has control issues for so much of the series, and he really likes to show his love for Bella by either over protecting her or mocking her. I don’t know if he matures as the series goes on, or if he just stops being rude once he and Bella are more official and he doesn’t have to manipulate her anymore, but his character does go from creep to decent guy by the end, which I did appreciate.
Jacob, on the other hand, is the epitome of cockiness and confidence. And I don’t know if it’s that he’s so refreshing compared to Bella and Edward’s self-loathing battles, or if it’s that he actually has a sense of humor and the desire to smile, or if it’s that he had such a great beginning to his character, or maybe I just think that Taylor Lautner is much cuter than Robert Pattinson (JK), but I really enjoyed Jacob throughout the whole series. Yeah, he got all angsty and has anger issues and was super pushy with Bella in the worst of the love-triangle plot, but I generally enjoyed his presence the best throughout the story. His happy ending was extremely satisfying to watch play out, and although he might just be a nicer guy compared to the worst of Edward (and it’s possible if he was the main character I wouldn’t like him as much), I do think I liked him best.
So there you have it! I think the books started out as weird, but I did really get drawn into the story and the characters as the series went on, and they definitely ended much stronger than they began. And although I can understand all the mocking of the series, and I definitely don’t think people should draw relationship lessons from this because in reality this would NOT end up as happy as it does, I did like the story as a whole.
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