How to Recover From a Bad Performance Review

Lots of us struggle in our jobs, and it’s not necessarily to do with not being skilled; there are lots of factors that make us have a hard time at work. Perhaps it’s the manager who’s prejudiced against you which in its turn makes you feel self-conscious and unmotivated, or maybe it’s to do with the fact that your colleagues are so much more skilled and experienced. It could even be the overall office culture that makes you stare at the clock, counting down the minutes till it’s time to go home. The point is that there are lots of things that make us struggle at work, and they are not all to do with our skills or the lack of those skills.

Unfortunately for us, this struggle is bound to come up in our performance review, and while nobody wants to have to go through a bad performance review, lots of people have lived to tell the tale.

A bad performance review might make you feel inadequate, and it might even make you feel like you should quit your job before they fire you. Well, don’t! What you should do is take a deep breath and realize that if they wanted you gone, you’d be gone. If you haven’t lost your job, the management obviously has faith in you. Look at your bad performance review as guidelines on what not to do in the future.

1. Make a List

Becoming Jane

The first thing you should do after leaving your performance review is make a list with all the things you have been told. Jot down anything you can remember.

While it may seem excruciating to go back and try to remember everything you’ve been told, it’s important that you go through this process because that’s how you’ll know how to proceed.

Make sure you separate your list into positive and negative things you’ve been told. Hopefully, you’ll have made it a much bigger deal than it was, and in balance you will have been told more good things than bad. But, even if the bad performance review wasn’t imaginary, don’t fret. You can use your list to start fixing issues one by one, and ensure that come next year; you’ll pass your performance review with flying colours.

2. Prioritize

girl writing on laptop

While you are allowed to eat some chocolate and some ice-cream to wallow, don’t waste an entire day feeling sorry for yourself. These things happen, and you don’t have time to waste, you need to take action today.

If you were told about a specific skillset in which you are lacking, see if there are any courses or seminars you can take. Make sure you enroll as soon as possible and also make sure you tell your manager that you are planning on attending the class. The sooner you take action, the more your manager will appreciate your effort, and you can rest assured that he or she will remember it when it’s time for your next performance review.

3. Reach Out


A bad performance review doesn’t mean you have to change everything about yourself; rather you just have to make minor changes to areas that are problematic. And since no man is an island, ask for help.

Ask your colleagues if they can tell you how they go about completing a task that’s intimidating to you. Ask them how they address various issues that you are not 100 percent certain you are doing the way you should be.

Make sure you check with them about anything that you’ve been told you are not doing right, ask them to have a look at the emails you sent to clients, for example, or ask them if they can take a couple of minutes to review a document you need to send out to management.

I’m sure your colleagues will take five minutes out of their busy schedule to help you out, but make sure you don’t pester them too much. Note down all your questions and ask them to sit with you for five minutes during lunch to answer these questions. Remember most people actually like it when they are asked for advice.

See Also: The Reason You Are Unhappy [Video]

All you have to do is to commit to improving yourself. From then on, you’ll figure everything out and before long you’ll only be receiving praise from your manager.

What about you? Have you ever received a bad performance review? How did you survive it? Tell us about it in the comment section below.




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