Highest Performing Teams

So the annual review came in, and I was “very good, meets or exceeds expectations”. According to our 9-box performance management matrix. I need “stretch assignments, coaching and experiences” to move into the pipeline for star leadership potential. They were very vague at the round table about how potential is judged. Last year, I was a high performing intern, but this year I was a cripple. Yet I’m still “very good”.

I was then asked to make a decision about my career and what I was going to “focus on” in second year. When I asked them how I should make my choice, their first response was “do what you are good at” – but my experience to date has been that I have been successful at all asset management, insurance and banking jobs I have been asked to do. They then changed tack and said: “Well then, focus on what you are interested in” – but how can tell them I get assigned based on who needs firefighters the most?

It’s the case that the better you are, the more complex and stressful jobs you get assigned to. The best staff are put on the toughest jobs and kept until they crack or quit. I’m due for a promotion in October, but I can’t see how a week’s worth of training in September will prepare me for the wave of shit come busy season.

When promotions come every year, and only 5% of your staff stay past qualification, and most of your managers come from outside the firm, surely performance reviews are themselves performed perfunctorily? What’s the ROI on these? And it’s not like everyone gets a “very good” in first year- a few got fired last week over bad ratings and failed exams.

We are human capital now; we’re in the machine. They need us to fill the gap that the next year up are leaving. We don’t get a choice. If we had the option to refuse promotions, and the extra €160 a month after tax, I wonder how many would, given that our hours worked increases faster than the salary. But stick around for the experience, our bosses tell us. Hold on. “It will be worth it when you qualify”, the partners and HR tell us. Friends who have been conscripts tell me the atmosphere in the firm is like a war – you have to keep you and your buddies going, and try not to think too much when people bite it.

Our business line has the highest turnover and exam fail rate ever in the firm. I wish I knew what the fuck they are doing to combat that. Probably thinking about building next years intake better. Send in the next wave.


On a Gundam related note, I bit the bullet and ordered some HGUC kits for 0.01p each on Amazon: the 0079 Gundam and Zaku II. I’ve always like the Zaku II. It’s such a grunt machine-  you can easily imagine yourself or anyone piloting it without too much difficulty, and if it breaks? Get a new one!

“Zaku” in Japanese sounds a lot like “small fry” or “grunt”. And in work, we are the small fry, human capital grunts. Send in the next wave.


25 lengths front crawl Sunday.

2×20 one leg bridge on stability ball

5,3,2 Chin ups

Mobility shit


3×20 one leg bridge on stability ball

front plank 1 min

side plank 40 seconds

2×3 chin ups with static hold/slow negative

RC/Shoulder retractions 1kgx20

prone cobras – 10 secs each position


6 thoughts on “Highest Performing Teams

  1. “I wish I knew what the fuck they are doing to combat that.”

    In all likelihood, nothing. Audit has insane turnover rates and it’s accepted as part of the industry.

    At grunt level, the attrition rate is reminiscent of World War 1: throw bodies at projects and don’t worry, for each employee who quits three others are chomping at the bit to take his/her place. There’s no incentive to try to keep low-level people around. You can only have so many positions in mid-level management and upwards, and the few people who get there tend to stick longer and work their way up to partner.

    1. Yeah, I’m working on my exit into a staff accountant/funds job. Gotta hold on until October when my repeat results come out. If I pass all 4, then I am part qualified.

      Even if I fail, I get to keep drawing a salary until I get fired end October or quit before that. Probably not going to take any holidays this year, save up for emigration/college/poverty.

  2. With regards to turnover rate. The car shop I worked at actually hired a person after me. And fired him. More bricks in the wall. They did like me, though. Being a private accountant seems pretty sweet, either the Ukranian or Russian coach at my rink is one on the side. They drive nice cars.

    1. Do you feel like you made the right call leaving, having heard that?

      Being like your coaches can be pretty sweet. The end game to studying accountancy is to run my own practice 3-4 days a week, and have some consulting work on the side, giving me maximum time for kids,wife and fun. I gotta refocus my efforts on getting qualified, and not on the corporate crap.

      1. I feel I made the right decision as I’d have to spend more money to work there, do more (hidden) driving for part/customer runs that they didn’t tell me I’d be doing as part of my job during the working interview, and I’d not get paid much more than working at McDonalds.

        The only caution to running your own small business I’ve found is the inconsistency of money. This is what I’ve found, anyway. Keep in mind I’m not a financial analyst or anything.

        Think of buying a car. You have a car you want that’s $10,000. Most people would choose to get a loan and pay payments on the car rather than save for it and pay cash. The payments and loans require more actual money, but less self control. You have someone forcing you to budget the money for a payment. On a 5 year car loan at 5% interest and $1000 down, you’d pay $1000 less dollars and it’d only take 4.5 years with the same payments to save the money. But having a “bill” every month is convenient and consistent, it’s a falsely created convenience I guess.

        I think it’s the same with jobs, to a point. A job promises a relatively stable monthly paycheck. With having your own business, you do not get that sort of stability. With my painting business, I could make $5000 one month, $1000 the next, and even nothing at all the next month. However working for a “job” full time will likely only net me under $1500 per month. So to me the gamble is worth it, as I have no real “bills” to pay. But the biggest thing with running a small business is that you must run with a large margin or error, if for 3 months you make $5000 you can’t assume you’ll continue to be making $5000, you have to run things like you’re making $1000 a month for the whole year.

        Was gonna make this more tl;dr, and include things about minimum wage in 1968 being equivalent to $11 an hour according to the federal inflation calculator, but yeah.

  3. “On a 5 year car loan at 5% interest and $1000 down, you’d pay $1000 less dollars and it’d only take 4.5 years with the same payments to save the money. ”

    Yes, but the loan option also gives you immediate use of the car while you wait to pay it off. If you go for the cash option, you have to wait 4.5 years to get the car. Which isn’t really an option if you need a car for everyday use. Same with buying a house, etc.

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