Performance Review

A few months into my job at a Chicago ad agency.  A Drexel University student started his second internship in my department. This position had been arranged months before I started my job, thus I was not involved in the hiring process and didn’t know much about him.

The six months of this second tour with the agency came and went really quickly. He always did great work, had a great sense of humor. We connected over our mutual interest in baseball and movies.

He never balked at working overtime –including a 100-plus hour week during a new business pitch. Frankly, I had mixed feelings about that. His hourly was roughly equivalent to jack-shit. Though he was willing to do it for the experience and to hang out with his agency friends.

After he went back to school, I received some forms from his school’s internship program. It was for a  performance review.

I had done performance reviews in the past, but I’d never had an intern who’d reported directly to me. So, I hadn’t  expected this request from the university.

My practice was to do the reviews in a neutral setting: over coffee, or beer, or in a park, etc.  He was already in Philadelphia, so that was not an option.

Or was it?

Around that same time, a long-time friend (who was a professor  at Penn,) had been talking about my coming out there so that we could hit a few East Coast baseball games.

I pitched (pun intended) some weeks that I could  fly out there. Several were free for both of us. Thus, I sent my former intern, Steve,  a note to see if could meet us at a Phillies game.

I booked a cheap direct flight to Philadelphia. I contacted Steve  and arranged a meeting place, ”Gate 1 of Veteran’s Stadium…”

I arrived in at the Philly airport two  weeks later. I did the paperwork for the performance review at my friend’s house that afternoon.

Two days later, I was here:

Baseball diamond, Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia

Veterans Stadium
(Paul Altobelli / CC BY (

That stadium was ugly, the Phillies were bad, and it was a hellishly hot day. It wasn’t hard to find privacy. My former intern and I just walked up four rows from where my friend and his kids sat. We went over the review form  and returned a few minutes later.

Certainly employee-performance reviews during the 3rd inning of a Phillies game is one those things that is no longer a thing.

What is the Zoom equivalent?

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