OK, true story.
I bought a piece of technology the other day and went to the vendor website to register it for warranty purposes.
The submission form had the usual details – looking for your name, address, gender, age (via birthdate), level of education, profession, income, and a bunch of other things. I was about to say “I’m outta here” when I noticed the red asterisks. Only the country was required. I’d already given up email address as a login but I could leave the rest blank.
I was prepared to pay for the stamp to send in the printed registration card!
As I reached the bottom of the form, the last question was:
I had to ponder over this.
Does it help tech support if I had to call for assistance?
If I say “Excellent”, would they say, “OK drop to a terminal prompt and type the following command line”. If I say “Very Bad”, would they say “OK, move the little mousey dealy until it moves over the button and it turns green and then click the push thingy on the left”.
The more I pondered, the more curious I got. Do they appreciate that an “excellent” computer literate person elects to purchase their product? Or, do they make things so simple that even a person who self-identifies as a “very bad” computer literate person can understand it?
There was no rubric or indication of what the criteria was for any of them.
Certainly, those in education know that, no matter what your expertise, there’s always something to learn. What would a person who works in IT say? What would a 10 year old who knows everything say?
Then, it hit me. There’s a reason why rubrics don’t have five levels. “Fair” seemed to be a nice level to compromise with. No serious commitment either way. No ego in choosing excellent; no beating yourself up by admitting very bad.
Without criteria, what would you have answered for the company? Set aside the company for a minute and do a self-evaluation. Would you give the same answer?