Whether you’ve just been handed a poor performance review or worse, you’re getting fired on account of your performance on the job, you’re bound to be pretty angry and frustrated. No one wants to hear that type of news, and especially when you feel like you’ve given the job your all and you’re still not getting the response you’d hoped from management.
It’s OK to feel mad, but here’s how to get beyond it.
See also: How to Deal with a Bad Reference
1. Resist the urge to blow up
It’s natural to want to scream or cry or otherwise freak out after getting a poor performance review – or a notice to vacate the building – but do your best to hold back on the emotional outpouring. You don’t have to respond right away to the bad news, and if you’re feeling like you’re going to get emotional, all the more reason to walk away. Remove yourself from the situation in any way possible, for now. Go for a walk, close the door of your office, or otherwise disengage. That will help you avoid the worst of the emotional outbursts.
2. Remember your mindfulness techniques
If you’re not already a practitioner of a mind-body technique, now’s a very good time to start. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and other forms of "mindfulness" can help you learn how to calm yourself in a crisis and just generally manage your emotions – not to mention its other health benefits. Whether or not you’re already practicing a mind-body technique, spend a few minutes now simply observing the feelings of your body and noticing what’s around you, letting the present crisis fall by the wayside.
In the future, aim to join a mindfulness group, attend a yoga class, or practice another form of mind-body exercise on a regular basis.
3. Do something that feeds your soul
Even if it’s just for a few minutes, spend some time doing something you love. Look at pictures of your friends and family to remind yourself of what’s really important. Play a game on your smartphone or call a friend who can always cheer you up. In this time of crisis, do what you need to do to feel better.
4. Peruse the 'Wanted' ads
Once some of the anger has subsided, take another step to help you gain perspective, and also take steps toward the future: Look at job openings. Even if you don’t plan on leaving your current job anytime soon, taking the time to see what else is out there can help remind you that you don’t have to be stuck in a job in which you’re not appreciated or where the manager is unfair. In other words, this is another chance to dream a little.
5. Ask how you can improve
Once you’ve taken all those steps to avoid an overly-emotional response, it’s time to decide whether you want to keep working where you’re at. If the answer is ‘yes’, then you need to take some steps to correct the current problem. Look over your manager’s review one more time, aiming to see it from her perspective. You might have been pretty upset at first, but ask yourself whether there are any valid points there. Take a deep look at your own work habits and ask yourself if you’ve been doing your best.
Once you’re calm and collected, go back to your boss and ask her what steps you can take to improve your performance. If she’s really committed to helping you succeed and to correcting the behaviors she doesn’t like, she’ll likely respond with some concrete information about what you can do to improve. If she’s vague or doesn’t provide ample feedback, you’ll at least know that your poor review was indeed unfair. At that point, perusing the ‘wanted’ ads may need to be a more regular occupation since it’s clear your boss isn’t concerned with helping you succeed.
See also: How to Deal with a Difficult Boss
Getting notice that your performance was sub-par or that you’re losing your job is far from ideal – but remember that it’s just a job, after all. Whether you decide to walk away from an unfair boss or not, staying calm will help you maintain your dignity.