Annual review provides temptation to undercut supervisor

Dear Amy: My supervisor, “Angie,” works hard at her job. She provides me with much valuable support and guidance.

A few times a year, we have multi-day team retreats, and Angie is never able to attend on Fridays; she rarely attends meetings or events in the evenings or on weekends, which happen at least a few times a month.

More importantly, Angie has been on our team for over a year, and has yet to complete 40 hours of mandatory training, because she has not been able to make any of the sessions work with her parenting responsibilities.

Now it’s annual review time and I have the chance to give feedback on Angie’s performance. I would like to raise my concerns, which are that A: It’s hard for me to feel that she is fully invested in our work if there are certain events and all-staff time that she never attends, and B: Her lack of certification through the mandatory training technically puts our entire organization at risk, should anyone choose to look into it.

Am I out of line, or could I make these comments anonymously and respectfully on the evaluation form?

— Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Don’t say anything anonymously that you wouldn’t also say to “Angie” directly.

But yes, anything about your supervisor’s schedule that has an impact on the performance of the team should be disclosed, as long as it has an actual impact.

The way you phrase your concerns, “It’s hard for me to feel she is fully invested in her work…” sounds purely subjective, petty and personal.

I wouldn’t weigh in on her failure to complete certification training, because — well, that doesn’t seem like it’s really your business to disclose.

Dear Amy: I had been unemployed for nearly two years and materially drawing down my savings account while helping a family member navigate consequences resulting from long-term cancer treatment, when I made a difficult financial decision.

I chose to give a cash wedding gift of $1,000 to a newlywed couple in their late 20s, because I wanted to support a good start to their new life together. I do not regret my difficult financial choice, but was disappointed to receive a subsequent thank-you note sent as a text message.

Among the generational differences I am working hard to accept are the choices regarding formality by others when acknowledging a material gesture. Should I accept that younger generations have generally chosen texting as the preferred communication channel for informal and formal communication and just move forward?

— Formally Yours

Dear Formally Yours: Your gift was quite extravagant; you describe it as a “tough financial decision.” Even though you say you don’t regret it, I’m wondering why you did this, or what result you might have hoped for. Regardless of your motivations, yes, you deserve a sincere handwritten note.

Text messages have NOT replaced a politely written note. But text messages are a great way to respond quickly: “Wow — we just opened your card! Thank you so much!”

Texted thank yous seem to have filled in a gap for people who probably wouldn’t have contacted you at all (before this technology) to thank you for a gift. Polite and grateful people still pick up the phone and/or write notes on paper.

Dear Amy: I appreciated your advice to “Guilty in NC,” the dad whose daughters had been mean to “Carrie” at the pool, except when you suggested that Carrie might be “on the spectrum.” It is not your job to diagnose people.

— Upset

Dear Upset: You are 100 percent correct. Thank you.