Performance Evaluation Time: How to Handle a Negative Review

Negative Job Review Image

So your performance review didn’t go so well. Before sitting down with your manager, you knew there were a few areas in which you struggled, and you already knew you weren’t the top performer, strongest seller or highest achiever on your team.

But you had no idea the situation was this bad. You stepped into the office expecting a B-minus, or C at worst, and maybe a warning. But what you received was a bona-fide flunking review. Before sending you back to your desk, your manager made sure you realized how lucky you are to still work here, and you’ve been ordered on no uncertain terms to get your act together. What now? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward.

Face the Facts

The relationship between you and this position isn’t going very well. So you have two choices. You can choose to see this job as the defining measurement of your value as a person, and you can decide that success in this position means success in life. If you decide to head down this path, you can cheer yourself on with platitudes about never giving up, giving it your all, working harder, caring more, wanting it badly enough and so on. You can spend your evening and weekend hours training like Rocky Balboa, and you can do what you need to do to make up for your missing skill sets and shore up your areas of weakness. If this is your decision, here are your next steps.

  1. Get a mentor. Find someone who knows what you don’t, and reach out to this person. Be humble, and be clear about what you need. Arrange weekly or monthly meetings and have questions in hand before each appointment. 

  2. Fix your mistakes. Reach out to those you’ve harmed by fumbling the ball or missing your mark. Make amends. Promise to change, and then actually change. 
  3. Be flexible. True progress comes from letting go of the parts of yourself that are holding you back. You can only do this if your will to change is stronger than your ego. 

Completing the steps above will allow you to please your mangers, and if success in this position means success in life, then these steps will allow you to succeed in life.

But you also have a second option, one that might make more sense over the long term: You can accept that this isn’t the job for you. Then you can gather the courage and initiative to move on with the next chapter of your story. If you choose this path, here’s what you’ll have to do.

  1. Realize your limitations. Everyone is great at something, so get ready to do some soul searching to identify the thing at which you excel. It isn’t this. But the sooner you hit the road and start an honest search for your areas of strength, the sooner you’ll find them. 

  2. Don’t be afraid. Accounting may be a stable field with a steady income, but if you allow fear of uncertainty to keep you penned in there, you’ll be accepting aspirations that cap at mediocrity. Give your all for the chance to become a C-minus accountant, or be brave, go forward, and find a way to earn an A-plus doing…something else. 

  3. Get help. Have a talk with someone who knows you well and get some honest input. Meanwhile, reach out to a career counselor or visit LiveCareer to find out more about the landscape of options available to you. From updating your resume, to applying and winning the job, LiveCareer can help.

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