I've just had my annual appraisal. What a bloody nightmare! So different to last year's. What's all this nonsense about metrics and evidence? I'm falling behind on everything. Whatever happened to the touchy-feely, formative-supportive meetings of old? It's all become so threatening. If it carries on like this then I might just have to give up my licence. I haven't thought of divorce before but .....
It all seemed such a good idea at the time. Since GP annual appraisals were slowly encroaching into every other area of my professional life, even to the Kafkaesque level of appraisers being appraised, so why not move it into the non-professional areas as well? After all, are not appraisals just a tool for improving performance and continuing personal development? If that ethos was germane in the surgery then surely it was just as important at home. I had admittedly become rather complacent in carrying out my duties as husband and lover and perhaps a review of performance was long overdue? As such, why not take a modified version of the various GMC domains, apply them to a home appraisal and hopefully confirm our marital bliss?
When I raised the idea with Mrs S, she took to it like a duck to water, almost literally since she quickly arranged for yacht-club Clive to be her appraiser leaving me with his rather dour wife, Celia, as mine.
All went swimmingly at first. Mrs S came home from her first lengthy appraisal somewhat flushed and dishevelled but my concerns were allayed when she reassured me that all had gone well despite the need for further mentoring and some remedial supervision. Sadly she could not share with me why this was so since, of course, the details were entirely confidential. For my part, Celia turned out to be a tad bureaucratic and keen to set me various 'SMART' PDPs along the lines of:
NEED: Enhance my feminine side. Be more thoughtful and considerate to spouse
METHOD: Remember birthdays and, at the very least, materialise flowers, like a magician, at any time.
OUTCOME: More harmony-less nagging
DATE for review: 1 year
A year on and I am beginning to doubt the utility of the process. Last year, at my first appraisal, Celia seemed to be entering into the spirit of the exercise and apart from setting what might be considered a rather feminist curriculum for my CPD was, all in all, quite supportive. What a difference to this year! Her manner has become noticeably frosty and threatening. I appreciate that I had not met some of the previous year's objectives, for example I had forgotten the wife's birthday and anniversary (audit- both forgotten 5 years out of 5) which had resulted in a number of complaints (no procedure in place) and broken items (significant events). My MSF, or rather single SF, had not been entirely complimentary and it was true that my reflections on these incidents had tended to take place over a pint or two in the pub but, nevertheless, I never thought that matters would get so serious. My appraiser even said that she would see me in the divorce courts!
Next year I'm going to ask "Thailand" Tony from the darts team to do my appraisal. He's promised me an easy ride. Mrs S is sticking with, the now single, Clive. Evidently they are going to ring-fence an away day for it in order to drill down to affairs that need to be addressed without being interrupted by other external matters. I have to say that she seems to be getting more out of the process than I am but then, of course, she is not a cynical GP.