Souperlative Feedback

Last week I got feedback that thoroughly angered me.

I found it unexpected, unfair, totally baseless, biased. Even worse, the givers laughed their heads off as they said it.

It all started on a quiet rainy Bangalore evening, chatting with my family at home. I was a bit hungry, so I turned to my teenaged kids said

” Guys, I am thinking of making some soup, your preference? Minestrone or Pumpkin ?”

Without looking up from their respective phone’s they replied

” Both are fine, as long you don’t cook it”.

The Elder rattled off names of restaurants where the soup was ” way better ” ( their words). The younger one said, ” Those readymade ones are delicious”.
Now I am no Soup Nazi, but I was shocked. My painstakingly prepared soup losing out to industrial gunk with hot water in it?

My cooking skills are well known to friends and family; my recipe for minestrone has been requested time and again by folks who have tasted it. But, there you have it, kids who have been happily eating my cooking for years come and hit me with this kind of reaction. And worse, they kept laughing as they said it as if it was a self-evident truth that I had missed.

It didn’t stop with that, they shared a complete analysis of what I could and couldn’t ( in their opinion) cook along with a rating system !!.

Dear reader, you may wonder, ” what’s so special about this incident ? “, all of us discuss all sorts of things within our families. True! this typical scenario made me realise a few things, which I am sharing.

Getting feedback from those closest to you is valuable but difficult. Family and friends often let things slide because they don’t want to ‘ poke the bear’. Similarly, close colleagues, allies and champions at work may also not let you know about what you’re missing or your blind spots. An open, friendly discussion may help bring hidden things to light. It would help improve your performance at work.

Feeling angry or outraged with feedback is very natural, though we try to maintain professional decorum while receiving or giving it, letting feelings come through may be valuable. Many folks are still in WFH mode. With upcoming appraisals, an empathetic discussion would have a better impact than the usual dry ones.

It’s very tough to accept that you are ‘ meh’ at a task, even if there’s a whole list of others that you may be spectacular. Sometimes this task is simple compared to the more complicated ” great” ones. Acceptance is never easy but is the first step to solutions.

Becoming aware of privilege, those of us sheltered with loved ones and arguing about cuisine may not be cognizant of those whom this pandemic has left in dire straits. An attitude of gratitude, and helping wherever possible is a must for the collective. ( i am sharing links in comments with NGO’s working to help during the pandemic, please help when possible)

As always would love to hear your takes on this and incidents you wish you share in the comments. Thanks!