Friday, November 20, 2015


Like any well functioning workplace all our employees here in my library system are kept track of on our rating system. Just because this rating system takes place entirely in my head does not mean it doesn't exist. And just because it's barely conscious doesn't mean it isn't wildly complex.

It is frighteningly complex. Even I don't really understand it.

But at first glance it is actually quite simple. Everyone who works in this library system has a score from one to one hundred. The score is an overall indication of employee quality, pleasantness, effectiveness, contribution and competence. The higher the score the better the employee. So obviously it would be better to work a shift with a co-worker whose rating is 74 over one with a 32. But there are many ways for these scores to quickly grow complex. Would you rather see a new library page position, one of maybe 15 positions, filled by an 82, or would you benefit more if, say, the head of automation services were improved up to a 50 from his or her 22? An 81 library director, or property manager, or human resources person could have a hugely positive impact on my work life, but would that be more so than, perhaps, an 88 librarian who shares my feelings about soccer, or cats? And all of that is before we delve into the profound variability of these numbers. A staff member may be a 68 one day, and yet an 81 on another. They may be a 7 when I'm following them on the check in machine, but a 54 when they're off shelving for the afternoon. And what about on a day when I am working with an 11, a 16, a 24, a 29, and a 55? That 55, usually blankly acceptable, is suddenly my lifeline for the day. Surely a curve comes into it. Isn't that 55 now a 75 or an 80? I am inclined to think so. To be really accurate we need to involve the relativity of worker quality and the fact that everyone is better or worse in different positions, doing different jobs, and facing unique moment to moment challenges. A staff person's ranking is best graphed as it undulates across a time chart. The color of the line should change with hues indicating their relation to the average and perhaps line thickness would speak to the challenges facing them.

This is all a lot to keep track of in my head. I struggle to keep up with it all. But it's important that I know where I am with everyone.

What's my score?

My score as a clerk? 

God, I hope I don't have a score. That would be rude!

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