“Sir, Taxi??” one person asked Vishal while he was coming down the stairs of Vadodara Railway station. In any other occasional he would have just ignored and walked straight to the auto stand to catch one auto to his home. This time is different, he is coming with his newly married wife. It was a perfect Indian wedding and wife is as stranger to Vishal as this taxi driver is. Vishal is not sure whether it can be called as love or not but he can do anything to get that lovely smile on his wife’s lips. He immediately said yes to the taxi driver and went to the taxi. They reached their new home. He opened the door and went to get the luggage inside, When he came back he found his wife took one photo of Lord Jagannath from her bag and trying to hang it on the nail that was there just above the main door. He realized that his wife believes in god and very happy as his mother is very religious too. She was struggling hard to hang it as she was not beyond 5ft 2 Inches. Vishal indicated her to give it to him so that he will hang it but he could read from her facial expression that she wants to do it herself. Vishal searched for something which she can climb to make up the height but no luck. Then he asked, “Is it okay if I lift you?” and she smiled with a cloud of shy on her face. Vishal did so and he was the king of his happy world. He promised to himself that he will do anything to get that smile on her face.
Time passed by and they were busy making their house a home. Every evening after coming from office, weekends, holidays were spent in shopping for the house. They were knowing each other slowly and steadily. Bagmita (Vishal’s wife) is a graduate in Oriya Literature from Utkal university and a voracious reader. She reads anything that comes on her way. But she never reads when Vishal is in house. Her complete attention is on Vishal when he is at home. When he is in office, she finishes her household work and starts reading books, magazines, news papers etc. It is evening, she offers prayer and sits on a chair and waits for Vishal to come.
One day Vishal had some serious work to finish and he got late. He was late by almost one hour than his usual time. When he left office, he bought one red rose from a street vendor near traffic post. He reached home, his wife was upset, bored, worried and little angry too. After opening the door she went to kitchen. This was unusual. Everyday, she used to hug him, help him unload his bag and talk to him about what happened in office etc. But today although she was eagerly waiting for him, as soon as he reached, she became angry. Although Vishal could not understand what’s wrong and why wrong, he went straight to the kitchen and kneeled down. Took the red rose from the back and said ‘I love you, will you marry me?’. Both of them burst into laughter and hugged each other. Everything became normal.
Then came the time of project delivery date. He communicated very clearly that he will be late for this week, he will come one hour late everyday. She acknowledged. But one day his module crashed during unit testing and this needed debugging through the code because it was crashing with a strange error. He kept on debugging and finally found the bug. He was relaxed but when he noticed his watch it was 9:00 PM. He called neighbor to call his wife as he does not have a phone at home. Next time when he called after 5 minutes to tell his wife about the delay. She picked the phone, did not even say hello, when Vishal broke the news that there will be further delay, she said “Hmmm” and hung up without a ‘Good bye’. Vishal realized that the situation there, is worse than the situation here. But this time also he was 1 hour late than his expected arrival time. He finished his work and took two roses this time.
When he rang the bell twice but he did not get any response. Then he tried to knock the door but found door was already open. He went inside, kept his belongings at its designated place, washed his face and went to search Bagmita. he found she was sleeping on the bed and crying. When Vishal switched on the light, she wiped her tears and acted as if she is at deep sleep. Several attempts of Vishal to wake her up went in veins. He then attempted the same act of kneeling down and said “I love you more than I love myself. My life lies in your smile and your tears take days out of my life. Will you please give me my life back”, he was holding two red roses that he bought. Unfortunately it did not bring the smile on her face. She was frustrated not only because of the delay but of no information about the delay. She was scared if anything happened to Vishal. She explained how the whole day from the time Vishal goes to office, she waits for him to come. Then Vishal spent another two hours explaining her the situation and promised to buy one mobile phone so that they can communicate in these situations. Bagmita was okay. They had dinner and life became normal around 2:00 AM.
In our life, expectations goes up every day. We do not consider something as good, if something happens the way it happened yesterday. We raise the bar of expectation higher and higher every time. Meeting expectation in life, in your spouse, relatives, kids eyes are extremely difficult. Actually we never try or like to rate our performance there. We do our duty to ensure we are at least meeting their expectation. If anytime it exceeds we enjoy the happiness and go for the next act.
But at work,
“Mr. Vishal, you did a great job last year. You have not only completed all your tasks but helped others in doing their tasks. You have completed all your tasks with quality and in allocated time. We are very pleased with your performance” a serious looking manager said to Vishal while referring to the performance appraisal form occasionally. “Thank you!!” Vishal responded wearing a satisfactory smile on his face. Then manager continued “So, I would like to rate you as meets expectation”. All smiles went off and some creases started developing in the forehead. He was not at all happy with the last statement. “How can I be rated ‘meets expectation’, when I did so well last year? Then Why then this guy is telling me that I did a great job and helped others etc.” Vishal thought. He was not sure whether to express his frustration about this in front of this man who did not rate him as he expected. He thought “Gentleman, you might have rated me as ‘Meets expectation’ but you have not met my expectations’. Rest all comments said by the manager went to deaf ears as Vishal was frustrated and unhappy. He never got this bad rating in his career till date. He was not sure, what went wrong. He wore a fake smile on his face, thanked the manager and left the room.
This frustration multiplied in his mind and his mind was full of thoughts. He started disliking everything that he used to like earlier. Fire in him was extinguished as if somebody threw a bucket of water on it. His motivation was at the bottom level and his trust on the organization was nil.
This is the organization where Vishal started his career as trainee 8 years back. He was rated ‘Exceeds’ every year and couple of promotions as well. He never thought of leaving this organization.But now he could not stand the environment for long and found so many flaws around. It did not take many months for him to look out for other available opportunities and he did find a job elsewhere. He left the organization.
This is not an exceptional situation. Year after year, many people leave organizations because of this. Meeting expectation rating is considered as an reward for average performance. We can not stand anybody labeling us as average. We are not made to be average, we do take a step forward every time a task is given to us.
Here the problem is not that we have been undervalued, but the rating ‘Meets expectation’ is under valued. Meeting expectation is not a rating which you can compare with any other person. In performance review whether at work or at life, the comparison is only with yourself not anybody else. Expectation from you may be different from another who is at the same level as yours.If you do better, then you will be appreciated once for that but not the second time. If you something better that the last one then you will be considered exceeds.
Exceeding expectation whether at home or at work day after day and year after year is extremely difficult.
– Stray Dog