3 Things You Should Do When You Get A Bad Performance Review


The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that talks about the fact that people can expect harsher performance reviews going forward, and I have to agree with them. Therefore, I want to tell you three things that you should do if you get a bad performance review to help you protect your career.


1. Don’t Take It Personally

When you get a negative performance review or you get a performance review with a lot of constructive feedback after getting great, positive performance reviews in the past, it might be due to shifts in the market.

I always tell my clients that problems trickle down in the workplace. Many companies are tightening their belts right now. They’re changing strategies and trying to figure out what’s going on, and so those problems become headaches to the leadership team and they’re not just going to take the brunt of that themselves; they’re going to push it down to the people that they’re paying to help solve those problems and alleviate that pain.

Consequently, more people are going to be told that what they’ve been doing in the past isn’t good enough anymore. Their company needs more from them. That’s the trickle-down effect. Now, I want you to have the right frame of mind around this. Don’t take it personally. This is business, and your “customer” that owns the business, that employs you, is telling you they’ve got changes and they need you to support them in those changes. So, try to stay objective when you get a bad performance review out of nowhere.

2. See How Your Boss Is Treating Other People

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The second thing that I want you to do is see how your boss is treating other people. If you got a bad performance review but other people aren’t getting that same feedback, if you’re not hearing that other people got negative performance reviews, then I need you to be really careful because this could be the company starting to single you out for a restructure, layoff, or firing.

These types of situations are happening more and more now. What was good enough before is not good enough anymore. So, take a look around. Is everyone getting the same feedback? Or do you feel like you’re being singled out? Because if you are, there’s a good chance that your job might be at risk and I don’t want you finding that out later. I want you to be more proactive, which leads to my last tip…

3. Get Your Job Search Tools Ready

Woman on laptop updates her resume and LinkedIn profileBigstock

The moment you see a shift in how others are treating you after a bad performance review, you need to increase your networking efforts and get your job search tools ready. Any good business knows that if they start to see a customer who’s not satisfied or who’s acting like they’re not satisfied, you do what you can to make that customer happy again, but you also remember that customers have life cycles and this may be the end of the life cycle.

You don’t want to be left without a customer. You don’t want to be left without an income for your business-of-one. So, it’s important that you update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Get ready to do informational interviews and start networking with people who work at companies you might want to work at. Just get that ball rolling. You never know—a great opportunity might come along and this might be the push that you need to make that change. But you want to be prepared. You don’t want to start looking for work when you suddenly don’t have a job, and for a lot of people, that’s what’s happening right now. I want you to protect yourself from that.

So, to recap…

  1. Change your frame of mind. Don’t take it personally. Understand that problems trickle down.
  2. See how your boss is treating other people. Is this you being singled out as a performance problem? Or is everybody getting this feedback, and what can you do to fix it?
  3. Protect yourself. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Increase your networking. Do some passive job searching. Whatever it takes to protect your business-of-one so it always has an income.

I hope this information helps if you suddenly get a bad performance review at work. Remember these tips, and you’ll protect your career.

Good luck, and go get ’em!

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