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 6-months of this 2nd 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 he 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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