Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bad Day 231--Bragging season

It is the beginning of EER season and I am already stressed out about it. For those of you not in the Foreign Service, an EER is an Employee Evaluation Report and it is what makes or breaks your career for the next few years. A good EER gets you promoted. A bad one is like an albatross around your neck for years, only the albatross is alive and really angry he is tied around your neck and pecks at you until you bleed. I hate EERs, mostly because I really, really stink at writing them. Oh, I am excellent at evaluating others. I can brag about my staff with great abandon and I am a whiz at making something small sound really, really important which is what you have to do with an EER. But when I write about myself, I sound stupid and pompous, or like a peppy cheerleader which is even worse. Yay me! Ugh.

Someone commented on an earlier post that bidding is like a middle school dance where you stand around hoping somebody will like you enough to ask you to dance. If that is true, and it totally is, then EERs are like yearbooks, only yearbooks on steroids where the competition to win "most likely to succeed" is cutthroat and bloody. There are a lot of type A's in the Foreign Service and they tend to inflate the importance of their paper pushing job to the point where you would think they saved the world for democracy when what they really did was yell at people through the visa window. I really am saving the world, (OK, not really but my job is both cool and important to America) but I can't think of how to make it sound like I do more than answer e-mails. Unfortunately, humility and self deprecation do not get you promoted in the Department. Apparently, yelling at visa applicants does because all those people always get promoted before me. Someone I quite admire once told me the system is biased toward egregious self-promoters. I agree. Donald Trump would probably rise very quickly. I would so love to see him at the passport window, though. Boy, can angry Americans yell. (I'm talking about the customers, not me. I do not yell at customers. I do put on my "mom face" though and look very stern. A couple of times, I even wagged my finger.)

This man in China is having a worse day than me and it is entirely his fault. He is a government official and his family missed their flight twice, so he threw a fit. Literally. A big fit. The kind of fit that is bad as a two-year-old but actually dangerous when you are a grown man. Here is a picture of him destroying the computer station and trying to break the glass window.

If that happened in the US, you can bet TSA would arrest him lickety split and he might even lose his security clearance and his job. But since it was China, he apologized publicly and that is probably all that will happen. It's a shame, because most Chinese people are exceedingly polite and accept things like missed flights with grace and poise. But with 1.3 billion people, there are bound to be some entitled jerks and this guy is definitely one of them. So thank you, Mr. Official, for reminding me to be grateful that I don't work at Kunming airport and wasn't terrorized by your temper-fit. And also, I never had a visa applicant act as poorly as you did. Take the example of your countrymen and grow up and stop terrorizing people just because you can get away with it.

1 comment:

  1. You *are* saving the world, Dear. Every day. And so is Husband.

    Never doubt it.

    Artemis the Grateful