When I was in college and lost my mom to stroke, I made a friend online. Soon we became best friends. One day I casually told him about a crush I had on someone. This was the time when he realised he had feelings for me and couldn’t let go of me. He proposed but I told him I really don’t have romantic feelings for him . No, my intentions were not to friendzone him! I just didn’t feel attracted to him. He didn’t take no for an answer, he started coming to meet me every weekend from a city five hours from mine. Each weekend we would meet and he would convince me of how great we would be given our love for books, drawing, puzzles and quizzes. He used to wait hours outside my college. He treated my friends wonderfully! Even my friends started asking me why I would let go of such a genuine and nice guy.
After that, reviews and ratings themselves were forced to fit a standard bell curve. This meant that every year, there were only a very few top ratings that were “allowed” to be given out, accompanied by a very few “bottom of the barrel” ratings that were forced to be given out. Most of the ratings were clustered around “average”, or rather were forced to be – all in order to “fit the curve”. Actual performance be damned. That was bad enough, but oh, it gets worse. The way this new policy was implemented was that at the BEGINNING of the review period, all of the managers in closely related departments would spend a couple of days in a room, meeting and fighting. My group and team was included with about 4 others managed by 4 other people.
The number of ratings for each category, ranging from “walks on water without getting wet feet” to “average Joe(sephina)” to “why is this person still employed here?” had been set in stone by HR already and allocated across all 5 teams. It was up to us, the managers of those teams, to allocate those ratings across our people on all 5 teams. So, the 5 of us managers would spend a couple of days, at the BEGINNING of the review period to argue, fight, cajole, beg, and plead to try to do the best we could for our people. Did you have a 3–4 guys who were really “killing it” and deserved to be recognized and rewarded? Didn’t matter. There were only 4 of the top ratings “available” to be handed out over all 5 teams, and once those 4 had been assigned, that was it.
He was intelligent, thoughtful, creative, sensitive and very mature. He had lost his parents and was taking care of his grandmom and brother. One weekend, I asked him to stop trying to convince me and I said we can only be friends if you never talk about this again. I still remember how I stormed off towards the escalator at the metro station while he simply stood there , numb and teary eyed. I felt like a monster. I sent him a sorry message and called him the next day to make sure he is okay.