Joanne Palmer: You’re great dog, but we need to talk |

Joanne Palmer: You’re great dog, but we need to talk

You still have some room for improvement, let's review your performance

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— Here at the world headquarters of my property management business, the House Nanny, it is time for performance evaluation of all employees. It is an annual review I conduct just to make sure all expectations are clearly defined and everyone is working up to their full potential. We will also set goals for the upcoming year. This won't take long as my sole employee has four legs, brown eyes and a waggy tail. She holds the title of office manager, companion and security guard. Nevertheless, it is good for her to know where she stands.

To: The Dog

From: Owner/Boss

Re: Performance

■ Summary

For the most part, you have had an outstanding year. You have been enthusiastic, always happy to jump in the car and go along for the ride. You get high marks for a positive attitude. Yes, I know you want a new title and business cards, but I am not sure we are there yet. As for an office, you have a crate with a sheepskin bed. You are not getting a cell phone, sorry.

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■ Professionalism

You project a professional and dignified demeanor in most interactions. You adhere to the company dress code of "mountain casual" by sporting a plain collar. No rhinestones, bows or bling for you. You do not jump up, very often at least, and put muddy paws on people, and you never bark at people in a scary manner.

■ Team building

Um, there is room for improvement in this area. In fact, let me directly state that you are terrible at this! You have to be the top dog. You will not allow other dogs in the car for ride-alongs and will defend your spot in the back seat as if it were a giant dog bone. You are insanely jealous, and if I pet another dog, you sulk for hours.

■ Listening/Communication

You are an active listener in all meetings, phone calls and discussions. You are an excellent sounding board. You allow me to bounce ideas off of you any time of the day or night. You are an outstanding communicator even though you do not speak "Blonde." When you need to go out, you stand by the door and give me the stink eye, and you dance around me for dog treats every hour on the hour.

■ Appearance/Grooming

As you will not allow me to brush you, monthly trips to the groomer are required. This gets expensive, so you now have a puppy cut. Despite this you always look adorable and everyone wants to pet you and know what type of dog you are. Since this is LabTown USA, no one recognizes a bearded collie! Kudos to you for strutting your stuff and representing your breed with dignity and aplomb!

■ Stress management

Sigh. When encountering stress, you roll over and take a nap. Sleeping through stressful situations and difficult workloads works well for you but is not a good influence on me. You maintain your composure and sunny disposition even when I am losing mine. You have a positive attitude except when encountering a cat. You are a stickler for exercise and demand we get out on daily or twice-daily walks.

■ Overtime

You are always willing to work overtime without complaint, but you do demand additional dog treats.

■ Conclusion

OK, OK, you can have a raise. I will give you unlimited dog treats for the rest of the year provided you work toward your goal of trying to remain calm during thunderstorms. Jumping into the kitchen sink is not a good idea, especially when you accidentally turn on a gas burner in your frantic attempt to get out a window. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

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