Friday, July 01, 2005

A little barbecue sauce with this crow, please

Monday, June 20, 2005, 12:05pm
Suzanne's Restaurant

I always go over employee annual reviews at the restaurant of the employee's choice. It's a great way to make that person feel special, and to ensure that we won't be interrupted. As much.

Dom is, on balance, a very good employee and manager, but I believe everyone has areas on which they can improve, and I work hard to find such areas for everyone I review. Sometimes I'm accused of being nit-picky, or of trying to drive down the quality of the review so I can award the employee less of a raise. But an "everything's fine" review does not help anyone.

Dom and I have not gotten along very well since he busted me at Tim's house. He hasn't done anything overt; he just seems a lot busier lately. Work-wise, we've put our heads together and solved many complicated problems, or dealth with difficult people, but when someone puts us on hold and Celene Dion wafts tinnily out of my speaker phone, we both look uneasily at the pictures on my wall and away from each other.

Today is no exception. He's nodding and saying "Mm-hmm" at all the appropriate places, and listening intently. But it's very awkward. I guess I should not be surprised about that.

Dom doesn't care about Tim. He doesn't CARE about any woman, except, apparently, his grandmother out west. What is probably bothering him is that I disrespected him as a friend. That WAS kind of shitty.

"Dom, you know what I mean by "closing the loop," right?

"Mm-hmm. You follow up, keep the communication open, make sure everyone knows what's going on, make sure everything's resolved."

"Basically. Remember when we were submitting those returns online?"

"Yes, I remember, Steve."

"You had Paul send them in for you, which is fine. But that was the first time we ever filed that way-"

"...and it turned out that the returns were all rejected, but the rejections were in an attachment, not in the body of the email, and the attachment was blocked by the firewall, so Paul didn't see it," he says, impatiently.

"And you didn't ask to see the email."

"We've been over this ground before, Steve."

"Like I always say, there should be no surprises at an employee review. You should already know how you're doing, if I am doing my job right."

"I know."

"There's a fine line between delegating and leaving employees unsupervised. Most of the time, you're ok. Occasionally, something like this happens. It's not a huge deal, just something to work on."

"Steve, this is one incident. It's not a trend."

It's a typical employee-review tactic. If your boss doesn't cite examples, you nail him for not backing up what he says. If he gives you ONE example, you say it's an isolated incident.

"We've had this conversation before, about other issues. Again, your review is very good overall, Dom!"

He grumbles, swirling the water in his glass.

I am tired of this wedge between Dom and me. He's far too cocky to tell me this is bothering him, and I am too cocky to apologize. But I guess it's time to choke down some pride, since this whole thing is more my fault than his.

"Dom, I think we need to talk."

He looks up at me, suddenly, wide-eyed.

"I did something I'm ashamed of."

He sees the way my eyes sink slowly downward, he hears the hesitation in my voice. He knows of what I speak. He nods, slowly. "Forget it."

Am I ashamed? Not really. As far as I am concerned, this kind of thing is pretty Darwinian, or at least it should be. I fucked her that night, and he did not, which must mean that I had something to offer that he didn't. Next time, he'll win and I'll lose, maybe, and we'll all get on with our lives.

No, I am doing this for Dom's sake, and for mine. I don't like the discomfort between us. He probably knows that I am full of shit, but I'm sure he appreciates the gesture.

"No. You're a friend, and... that's no way to treat a friend."

"I told you she wasn't my girlfriend."

"This isn't about her. It's about me and you."

"It's just like I said, Steve. After what... happened, I knew you'd end up with Tim."


"That's why I apologized for that, because I was wrong."

"So you have NO problem at all about what happened?"

He shrugs. "I know Tim. I know this was probably her idea. But it was a little embarrassing."


"Seeing your car in the driveway, after she told me she was sick..."

"Yeah, that was pretty awkward."

"A phone call would have been nice, Steve."

"I know. I apologize."

"You wanna be with her, I don't CARE. I don't GIVE a shit about her. You know how she is; she's a fucking putan. You want to do her, I'll go find someone else. Just TELL me."

"I know."

"Just close the loop, Steve."