I survived my review with the president of the company yesterday! I was the first one to go, and several of my co-workers thanked me for taking the first slot. I told them it was pretty much entirely self-interested, as I didn't want to have to hear about everyone else's meetings and fret about going into mine. Though it's not usually my m.o., I just wanted to rip that particular bandage off.
Of course now, even though I made it through with my job intact, I am continuing to freak out. I finally understand what people in my company mean when they talk about our president. For example, I'm fairly new at the job that I'm doing now. I was promoted last spring and got to really begin my new job responsibilities when a replacement for my previous position was hired. So, it's really only been about 6 months that I've been in this position. My former boss, the person who used to be between me and the president, had been doing this sort of thing for a really long time, and even though he was moody as the day is long, he was actually pretty great at mentoring. He was stairstepping up my goals, with the understanding that someone new to this position can't instantly be amazing at it. At the same time, my projects were still being held to the high standards of the more experienced people. I felt like I was really being taught to craft a worthwhile portfolio of projects.
It turns out that the prez and my former boss have entirely different philosophies about our business. The prez doesn't seem to care about quality, just quantity. And how! He actually said to me (in front of my assistant) "Either you have the appetite for this or you don't. If you do, you'll manage this [very difficult task that I place before you] with ease. If you don't think you can do that, you should think about bowing out now." Wow, the man just invited me to quit my job. Thanks. That's inspiring, and quite the vote of confidence. Fortunately, because my assistant was there, I kept my game face on and responded with something like "Ok! Yes, we can do this. I've already been planning how to accomplish this." But really, I'm not sure that this thing is possible. At least not with remotely quality projects. Looks like the work that my boss put in over the last three years is about to be thrown out the window. And it's not like I loved that guy, as he really could be a mean so-and-so. But at least he seemed remotely human. I kept trying to be very positive in the meeting and smile and talk about some goals, but it was like light being sucked into a black hole.
Oh Lord. Please please please let me be pregnant, so I can leave this company with a modicum of my self-worth still intact, and not be thrown out like so much garbage at the end of the year. Even if I survive this year, I don't know how long I'll be able to work here any more without losing it. And that's a shame, because I felt like I had finally gotten to the next step in my career, and I was pretty happy there.