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How My Perfect Score Screwed Up My Job

September 21, 2016

Rodney, congratulations on getting a 10 from the client. Unfortunately, there’s going to be some negative fallout from that.


I work for a large telecommunication company. I’m dedicated to a single account. I’ve worked on this account since we acquired them as a client three years ago. Every year, my company reaches out to all of our clients and asks them to give us a rating. The scale is 1-10, although anything less than an 8 is considered a fail. My scores have been pretty good The client rates us in different areas. In the IT area, the area that I control, I got a 9 the first year and then an 8 last year. This year, the results came back as a 10. I was thrilled, as you might imagine. I work as part of a team. I’m the face of my company to the client, but there are dozens of people who work on the IT infrastructure with this account. Everyone did an amazing job and the score really reflected the combined work of the team.

I joked to my VP that with a 10, I’m not going to be able to exceed my efforts next year. “It can only go down from here.” He laughed. I laughed. It was supposed to be a joke. Then I discovered the true cost of getting a perfect score. 

So, are we still planning to take our engineers to Kansas City to visit the client next month?

I’m not sure that’s still in the plans.

The client invited us a year ago. We’ve had travel budget approval for the past 6 months. What’s the issue?

Well, the thinking is if we got a 10 from them, do we really need to send engineers to visit?

“No good deed goes unpunished.” I had worked hard, not just to get a good score, but to make sure I was taking care of the client in an exemplary manner. I started to see that pushing hard to achieve outstanding results, didn’t win you any resources. That high level of results simply becomes the new normal. 

Well, you managed to get a 10 without having a dedicated network or telecom engineer. I’m not sure we can justify the expense of dedicating these resources like we talked about. 

This is not what I expected.

I know you are kind of on call 24×7 for technical issues, and we were going to hire another TAM, but that headcount got reallocated to a struggling account. Sorry about that.

Yeah, me too. 

We talk about the “squeaky wheel gets the oil.” But, I didn’t realize that the efficient wheel loses out. And here’s the irony, if I work very hard to maintain the perfect score, next year, I set myself up for even less resources. The logic seems to be, “If you can achieve and maintain perfection, you have too many resources devoted to your account.” 

I’ve never felt so terrible about doing so well. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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