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How To Handle An Unfair Or Negative Performance Review At Work

Updated on May 09, 2016
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway in an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate Human Resources and consulting.

Unfair Performance Reviews: Boss Man Says You're A Cowpoke?

A cowpoke is a lazy cowboy who neglects his duties on the farm or ranch.  Negative performance feedback can hurt the heart of even the toughest cowboy (or office worker).
A cowpoke is a lazy cowboy who neglects his duties on the farm or ranch. Negative performance feedback can hurt the heart of even the toughest cowboy (or office worker). | Source

Saddle Up, Cowboy: It's Performance Evaluation Time

Saddle up, cowboy. It's performance review time again, and pardner, you're worried that it ain't lookin' so good. Maybe you've been told that your "Performance does not meet expectations" or you've received some less-than-glowing feedback about your work style.

Awww, shucks! Those types of criticisms sure can hurt the heart of even the toughest cowboy. But you ain't no cowpoke.

You're a white-hat kinda guy. You spit shine your boots and try not to hurt anyone with your spurs (not even even that dimwit in the next cubicle). You mosey on in to work ... mostly every day, and more or less on time. You put in an honest day's work ... with a little bit of Internet time in between and maybe a personal call or two. (A cowboy's gotta stay connected!)

Heck, you're The Cowboy of Accounting (or Customer Service ... or whatever you do). But now it looks like that Boss Man ain't seeing things straight. And you're starting to see him as a dang rodeo clown. Worse yet, you want to hog tie that feller and kick some horse sense into him with your spurs.

Dagdabbit. You got some bad feedback. Whatcha gonna do now? Let me help. I'm an HR ranch hand, and this ain't my first rodeo.

Hold Your Horses, Cowboy

Rather than react to negative performance criticism with blame, excuses, or personal attacks, it's important to first just listen. Understand what your boss is saying.
Rather than react to negative performance criticism with blame, excuses, or personal attacks, it's important to first just listen. Understand what your boss is saying. | Source

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Have you ever received negative job performance feedback?

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First, Just Listen

Whoa there, Cowboy! Hold them horses! Hearing less than glowing feedback about yourself can make you feel defensive and angry. It can also hurt -- sometimes because it's true.

While you may want to go shootin' off your mouth by diverting blame, giving excuses, or getting into a debate with your boss ... don't do it. If you're too quick on the trigger, you could shoot yourself in the foot, creating a crisis from mere constructive criticism. You could cause some major damage to your career this way.

First, just listen. Really listen. Seek to understand exactly what your boss is saying. (Did he really call you "cowpoke," or did it just feel like that?)

Bosses often dislike performance reviews as much as employees do. After all, it's difficult to provide constructive criticism when you know it will upset someone or believe it will be ignored. Let your boss complete his thoughts rather than generating mental rebuttals while he's talking. Demonstrate the respect you wish to receive by just hearing him out.

Even Your Boss Deserves To Be Heard

Don't automatically discount what your boss has to say about your performance just because it's negative.  Ultimately, his feedback could be helpful to you.
Don't automatically discount what your boss has to say about your performance just because it's negative. Ultimately, his feedback could be helpful to you. | Source
Source

5 Signs That You're Headed For Performance Trouble

As a former HR professional with two Fortune 500 companies, I have seen my share of employee performance issues. Many of them boiled down to sub-par employee/manager communication or poor job fit. Others were attributable to legitimate fairness complaints.

Here are 5 signs that you could be headed for trouble (i.e., watch your job):

  1. There's a paper trail. There are recent, documented complaints against you that have been lodged by customers, other managers, etc. Or, your manager is issuing formal-sounding emails that recap your mistakes, conflicts with coworkers, or missed deadlines.
  2. Your performance review meeting is scheduled to take place off-site -- unless, of course, this is typical for your employer.
  3. HR or multiple layers of management sit in on your performance review session.
  4. You're no longer included in key meetings or communications -- as if you're already gone. There's no good explanation either.
  5. You are required to complete a Performance Improvement Plan, or you must participate in more frequent assessments of your performance than others. (HR types call this a "get well plan.")

Ask Questions To Clarify Your Understanding

We have all received negative feedback at some point, so put your big boy britches on and figure out what type of criticism your boss is providing you.

Ask yourself:

  • Are these areas you need to develop to become more promotable? More competent in your current role?
  • Is this a first formal notice that there is a pattern of concern with your performance?
  • Or, is this your last chance to correct a severe performance deficiency before being fired?

There are three basic types of negative performance feedback, and they vary in meaning, severity, and what you need to do about them (see table below).

Also analyze the intent behind the feedback by considering factors such as:

  • the boss' body language and the tone of his message (i.e., did he sound like he was delivering an ultimatum, or was he much friendlier?)
  • whether this is the first time you've received this feedback -- especially in documented form
  • the presence of witnesses at the time of your review (e.g., other layers of management or HR)
  • the boss' positive or negative references to your future with the company
  • company policy on performance management - in some companies back-to-back low ratings automatically result in an employee's discharge of employment
  • company culture - in some organizations, any written negative feedback is a career-ender, whereas other companies actually require that managers include "developmental opportunity" areas for even the best performers.

If you are confused at all about what the feedback means for you, ask directly whether your job is in jeopardy (e.g., "Am I going to be fired?").

Negative Feedback: Not Always An Ominous Sign

There are three general types of negative performance feedback.  They vary in meaning, severity, and what you need to do about them.
There are three general types of negative performance feedback. They vary in meaning, severity, and what you need to do about them. | Source

3 Basic Types of Negative Performance Feedback

Type of Negative Performance Feedback
Watch Words
What You Need To Do
An Ultimatium often comes in the form of a Performance Improvement Plan, an Out-Of-Cycle Performance Review, a Last Chance Agreement, or several Negative Performance Reviews in a row (with limited progress since the last review).
"unacceptable performance;" "failure to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement will result in further corrective action up to and including termination of employment"
The writing is on the wall. Work through any performance improvement plan to buy yourself time while you look for another job. Be preemptive by checking out unemployment regulations in your state.
A Trending Downward Notification often comes in the form of a regular performance review, giving a previously good performing employee initial notice that his/her performance shows a pattern of concern.
performance "minimally (or marginally) meeting expectations"; "performance does not meet expectations"
Thank your boss for his feedback and commit to performance improvement. Develop a specific action plan with target dates and check-in times then double down your effort. Show him this was just a "blip."
Development Needed Feedback is simply a sign you're not perfect and have room for growth. It can be verbal and often is written into performance reviews of even the best employees.
"opportunity for improvement;" "further development needed"
Develop an action plan to address areas needing growth so they don't hold you back in your career.

Cowboys Don't Cry: Stay Unemotional and Respectful

You may disagree with your boss, but remain calm, unemotional, and respectful throughout your conversation -- even if your manager becomes frustrated.
You may disagree with your boss, but remain calm, unemotional, and respectful throughout your conversation -- even if your manager becomes frustrated. | Source

How To Move Forward With An Action Plan For Progress

Once you understand your boss' constructive criticisms, draft a written action plan that addresses each area. Include a timetable, specific action steps you will take, and how you can measure progress.

Then, schedule on-going performance check-ins with your boss (e.g., weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on how remedial your development plan is).

This keeps you accountable for progress while encouraging the flow of performance dialog throughout the year. If he doesn't provide a midyear rating, ask for an informal one. ("If you had to rate my performance at this point in the year, what would it be?")

With an action plan for progress, you shouldn't be surprised next year by his feedback. You'll have a whole year to address your "areas needing development" and convince him how he's helped you become a better employee. (You're a kiss-up, Cowboy!)

Dig Down On the Details

You can't address an issue if you don't clearly understand what it is. So make sure your interpretation aligns with your boss' intended message. Stay calm and ask for details, as needed. Resist comparing your performance to that of coworkers.

Also, watch your tone to ensure that you communicate that you are not challenging the truthfulness of his feedback. Try to instead express curiosity. Ask if he can help you by providing some specific examples so you can better understand where he's coming from.

Good managers typically keep performance logs on their employees throughout the year, recording critical incidents. They do this so they can provide employees with accurate performance feedback -- both positive and negative.

A good manager will refrain from overly general feedback, and he'll be able to produce specific examples that illustrate his message. He also usually won't mind doing so, if your approach is collaborative.

Offering Rebuttals: Don't Squat With Your Spurs On

Proceed with caution when responding to a performance appraisal that you perceive to be unfair or negative.  Your actions could turn criticism into career crisis.
Proceed with caution when responding to a performance appraisal that you perceive to be unfair or negative. Your actions could turn criticism into career crisis. | Source
Help yourself out by maintaining an ongoing record of your performance.
Help yourself out by maintaining an ongoing record of your performance. | Source

Quick Tip: Keep Your Own Performance File

Always keep an up-to-date performance file on yourself that includes key achievements and experiences during the current performance cycle. It can help you make sense of your boss' feedback.

Examples of what to include:

  • performance objectives for the year and progress against them
  • any awards or certifications achieved
  • copies of corrective action
  • letters of appreciation (or complaint) about you
  • emails regarding important issues/conflicts with your boss, coworkers, and customers
  • copies of your key performance metrics
  • interim performance feedback (e.g., emails documenting results of quarterly or midyear performance discussions)

The Choice To Respond

Ideally, annual performance reviews should involve no surprises. But sometimes performance review meetings make it clear that you and the boss are miles apart in your perceptions of your job performance.

When there is a wide gulf in perceptions, one or more of the following could be going on:

  • you and your manager haven't scheduled open, ongoing performance discussions throughout the year (generally, quarterly works well)
  • you haven't listened to previous feedback
  • your boss is new, has performance issues himself, or isn't fully aware of your contributions
  • there is a political or personal agenda, or
  • you're not as good as you think you are.

While certainly there are bully bosses, my experience is that most employees jump to the conclusion that there's a political or personal agenda at play.

A large body of psychological research, however, indicates that employee self-ratings tend to only modestly agree with ratings provided by supervisors or peers. At the same time, supervisors and peers' judgments tend to agree highly with one another.1

What this means is that you may have performance blind spots and your boss may actually be doing you a favor by providing you constructive criticism. If you have any doubts about whether the boss' feedback is on target, consider asking a trusted friend or confidante who you know will tell you like it is. This person should be comfortable giving you negative feedback without you becoming upset.

Yee-Haw! Giddy Up Now, Cowboy!

In responding to negative feedback, understand that once the bull is out of the gate, he doesn't go back in easily.  Think before you speak.
In responding to negative feedback, understand that once the bull is out of the gate, he doesn't go back in easily. Think before you speak. | Source

Unfair Performance Evaluations: How To Push Back

If you're still absolutely convinced that your boss' feedback is unfair, here are some ideas for pushing back.

Begin with an end in mind.

Always know the solution that you seek before starting. Do you want some aspect of the written performance document changed before you sign it? Do you simply want to be heard?

Schedule a follow-up discussion.

Tell your boss some of the information comes as a surprise (if that's true) and that you need time to think about what he's said. Ask for a copy of your performance evaluation so that you can better process the information.

Know what aspect of the review you disagree with.

Most organizations' performance systems involve not only an overall rating (e.g., a "2" on a 5-point scale) but also sub-ratings (e.g., communication skills, initiative). Often, there are also supporting comments. Managers who are overly blunt in their written comments can easily offend employees without meaning to.

If you seek changes to your performance document, know that managers often have more flexibility in adjusting their comments and sub-ratings without discussing it with HR or their boss. However, changes in overall ratings are often another story. Your argument better be awful convincing if that's what you're after.

Good Luck, Pardner!

Pushing back requires skill, preparation and a little bit of luck.
Pushing back requires skill, preparation and a little bit of luck. | Source

Assess whether the feedback represents a difference of perception, or if there are instead factual untruths, errors, or key omissions.

If it's a matter of perception, the boss' perception probably matters more. Ramp up your persuasion skills during the upcoming year and work on closing the gap in perceptions.

Cowboy Wit and Wisdom

Cowboys have their own code of ethics, as demonstrated by some of the following Cowboy Proverbs with unknown origins (unless otherwise specified). Consider these in regard to performance review feedback.

  • "Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction."

  • "Talk slowly, think quickly."

  • "The easiest way to eat crow is while it's still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller."

  • "The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning."

  • "Letting the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back."

    - Will Rogers, American cowboy and humorist

  • "Never miss a good chance to shut up."

    - Will Rogers

  • "It is easier to ride a horse in the direction it's going."

  • "There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence."

    - Will Rogers

  • "Tip your hat when you get beat, but when you win don't show anybody up."

    - Joe Torre, American baseball player

  • "Never kick a cowchip on a hot day."

    - Will Rogers

If your performance review is based on important factual errors, the information needs to be corrected. Use the time between your meetings with him to assemble specific factual evidence regarding what really happened.

Here's an example of performance feedback based on inaccurate data: A manager provided negative feedback to an employee for sending a client a written report that she had not cleared through him first. However, the employee provided a copy of an email showing that the manager approved the document. His criticism was inaccurate. (This was an actual case, and the manager apologized for the error.)

Anyone can make mistakes. Allow your manager to save face, if possible.

Understand what your signature on the performance document means.

At some point, you'll probably be asked to sign your performance review. In signing the document, know whether you are acknowledging that you agree with the assessment, or that simply that you've had the performance discussion. If you still believe the review to be unfair, most organizations have a process for filing a formal complaint.

Tread carefully if this is how you want to proceed, but your options are generally along these lines:

  • respectfully refusing to sign the document as is -- especially one that indicates that you agree with the assessment or one which is based on inaccurate information
  • signing it with the following notation "I disagree with this opinion and reserve the right of rebuttal, which will follow" (request that HR attach this and include it in your personnel file)
  • sending an email to your boss that recaps your performance review discussions and disagreement. You may want to copy HR and/or your boss' manager. This should jump-start the complaint process.

We've All Faced Negative And Unfair Feedback

Discussing the negative or unfair performance feedback with coworkers can backfire.  Friends do tell friends.  Seek emotional support outside the workplace.
Discussing the negative or unfair performance feedback with coworkers can backfire. Friends do tell friends. Seek emotional support outside the workplace. | Source

Only You Can Decide

When it comes to handling unfair or negative feedback, only you can decide whether you have an issue that is important enough to warrant such measures.

Some employees may simply need to develop thicker skins. They are satisfied with voicing their concerns and negotiating minor edits.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, there are those who allege that they face illegal discrimination. They believe their entire performance assessment is a sham, and they demand that it be entirely re-crafted, from the overall ratings to the written comments.

We've all faced feedback that is negative and feels unfair. But this is your career and your life. The choice is yours. Good luck, Cowboy! Now giddy up and get back to work.

Can You Spot The Signs These Cowboys Ain't Real?

Originally posted to Flickr, this photo of four cowboys was allegedly taken between 1904 and 1918, according to the AZO postcard markings on the back.
Originally posted to Flickr, this photo of four cowboys was allegedly taken between 1904 and 1918, according to the AZO postcard markings on the back. | Source

For a detailed explanation of why these cowboys are probably not the real deal, click here.

Summary Points

  • First, simply listen rather than diverting blame, providing excuses, or launching into a lively debate with your manager. Seek to understand his feedback.
  • Clarify your understanding by determining the general type of feedback (i.e., ultimatum, trending downward notification, or opportunity for improvement). Also consider your boss' intent.
  • Ask for specific examples to help you better understand your manager's perspective.
  • Remain calm and respectful.
  • Develop a specific action plan to address constructive criticisms. Arrange periodic check-ins to close the gap on your performance and perceptions.
  • To refute an appraisal you believe is unfair, have a specific goal in mind and understand precisely what wording or ratings you object to.
  • Schedule a follow-up discussion to provide evidence that supports your perspective.
  • Determine whether you will sign your performance document (with or without a rebuttal).
  • Only you can decide what is best for you and your career.

Cowboys Herding Cats: Do You Feel Like This Sometimes?

Notes

1Harris, Michael M., and John Schaubroeck. "A Meta-Analysis Of Self-Supervisor, Self-Peer, and Peer-Supervisor Ratings." Personnel Psychology 14, no. 1 (1988): 43-62. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.1988.tb00631.x.

Cowboy Up, My Friend!

Sometimes you ride 'em, sometime you git rode.  Ye-haw!
Sometimes you ride 'em, sometime you git rode. Ye-haw! | Source

Comments

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Pros30 - Thank you for your comment. There should never be surprises in a performance review, but realistically it does happen. Employees need to hold managers' feet to the fire on this expectation. Unfair and gutless managers sometimes try to pop negative feedback on employees in writing that they didn't address verbally at the time the event allegedly happened. These comments should, of course, be responded to -- or request that the document be modified prior to signing. I've known people who have declined to sign altogether because it wasn't an accurate document.

      One should only set a follow-up meeting to work on negative performance issues when one is convinced that issues are legitimate. Highlighting the good things ahead of type is a great way to influence the manager's opinion, but the article is really about handling an unfair or negative performance review.

      I fully understand the politicking that can go on regarding hiring, performance reviews, promotions, salaries and other HR actions. When HR aids and abets unfairness, that's even worse. I'm sorry if you've been the recipient of that. I appreciate your comments.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Fernando - If the company representative indicated formally that the company was not continuing with the performance counseling process, you'd need to ask them for clarification. If they meant you cannot APPEAL the counseling, then see if you can talk to someone in senior management about the issue. If they meant your performance counseling was not going into your record and was basically nullified (for example because they were convinced by your documentation), then you should receive confirmation to that effect. An employee should never leave a process confused about what the next steps are. Have them clarify whether this is on your work record or not and if so for how long. Hope this helps.

    • Pros30 2 months ago

      Interesting points in article.

      Its important to note that you should Correct any factual errors, address reasons something wasn't done etc.. You mentioned this in the article.

      No one walks on water. Many times managers who don't like you will overblow the negative things on your review and not mention any positive things, even if its just one negative thing. Beware and respond.

      I think initial negative feedback should always be verbal and taken care of that way, once it gets to written on a review it becomes a paper trail. I'm all for the set follow up meetings etc to address areas for improvement, but you don't want yourself to be perceived as a weak employee who needs improvement to your boss.

      Much better to highlight good things you did and present to your boss to influence them. This is important well before any review takes place. You want to push good things you are doing.

      Are you downplaying the politics of performance reviews? I've been at places where HR would give managers actual stock vague negative feedback paragraphs to give employees that they had to give a certain rating since only a certain number of employees can get a 15% raise vs 5% raise. These are often for employees performing around equal level.

    • Fernando 2 months ago

      I was giving a performance counseling from a big retailer firm, after I presented a rebuttal letter with documentation (123 pages) yesterday they decided that they were not continuing with process. What are the really implications of this and what would be next.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Steve - From an HR persepective, I find it strange that the outgoing manager did not provide you the performance review or at least sit in together with the new manager for the review. You should have been provided behavioral examples; the lack of such evidence is poor performance management and very suspect. Have you tried talking with your former manager about the review? Is your disability status known to others? If so, do you think it is related to your job change and negative performance review? I'd update the resume, as it could not hurt to know what your marketability is.

    • Steve 5 months ago

      So about 3 weeks ago the company decided to split our department into two different entities. In doing so my reporting manager change to someone I never had any direct contact with. My review date was all ready late and HR at the Same time informed my that my job requirements would change. I was removed from Salary and put hourly and my responsibilities were cut. The responsibilities I enjoyed are scheduled to be given to people that have no hands on experiences with the IT functions I support. and I am left on the internal customer facing side of things despite me having know interpersonal communication deficiencies due to a disability. Now my previous reporting manager was asked some questions about my performance. When my new manager finalized my review and we had our meting I was blind sided by the level on increased focus on the negativity. Out of the 10+ years of my professional career I have never had a company transfer me than have a manager that is not familiar with my line of work provided such negative feedback on a performance review with no clear definitive examples. When I asked he did not have any. At this moment we have had a few people put their two weeks in and I am considering it my self since apparently I am under appreciated for my skill set. I am wondering if I should stick with it or start looking? I dedicated so much time and effort in fixing huge issues in their IT systems and was hoping that that work would reflect on my review but sadly it was almost completely ignored.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      Brian - It sounds like you need to change jobs. Life is too short working for a company you don't trust. Best of luck.

    • Brian Perkins profile image

      Brian Perkins 8 months ago

      I too got a negative performance review. I did not do anything about it and it was completely unfair. I am still an employee there and dread going there everyday because of this. Guess what? WHat goes around comes around. Employee opinion survey comes you, you are now my target. Next time I am going to HR and filing a complaint on them and maybe even filing a lawsuit Fuck dishonesty and corruption. Im not working somewhere corrupt

    • Idalia 2 years ago

      It's spooky how clever some ppl are. Thsakn!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      JJ - Has a simple explanation been offered such as the manager forgot to add customer feedback data or needed to update your end-of-year sales numbers? Or instead are changes extensive and the tone is significantly impacted? Have others had this happen to them?

      I hope you kept a copy of the initial version of the document as well as the re-written version. Also keep any email communications about it just in case. Performance feedback is obviously not consistent across both documents. Consider why you think that is so.

      I assume the performance period has not changed (i.e., s/he's still talking about last year, last quarter, etc.). A manager should provide you with clear feedback about your performance and with clear, actionable direction moving forward.

      Stay calm and request that s/he walk you through what was changed and why. Express your confusion and ask him/her to share each change of thinking and the motive/intent behind the wording. But before you meet with him/her take both documents and do a line by line comparison of how the documents changed so you can drill down in asking him/her very specific questions. You deserve an explanation, particularly if changes are substantial. Let me caution you, s/he'll want to rush through it.

      I *suspect* you were probably dealing with a new or not-so-savvy manager who let you see the performance document before it was approved by upper level management. I've seen that, and it makes HR folks squirm. Consider consulting your HR department.

      Good luck to you, and I'm sorry that happened to you.

    • JJ 2 years ago

      How would you handle a boss that re-writes your review (and comments) to minimize your accomplishments?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Oscarlites - That is too bad, definitely not the way it should happen when a new manager comes on board. It makes me think either HR was not consulted or simply asleep at the wheel.

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 2 years ago from Alabama

      yes, very interesting and factually based information. I recently had just this sort of thing happen when a new boss came on board where I was working and having only been there 2 months or so when he issued me an annual eval. He gave me medium to high marks except on one that I never expected. I told him I never expected that! well, to level it out at least in my own mind the discrimination/mindset was coming from his own background and prejudices,. I was just the one he could lay it on its seemed. when an upper manager was called in he stated that both me and the new boss had missed each other. ha. but nothing was corrected in writing.. I have since moved on. I did not leave for that specific reason however. But I will point out that unless or until someone has worked with you at least for a few months or a year or more, they cannot resolutely convince me the assessment is correct. How can you evaluate someone you hardly know? way back yonder a coworker was promoted on an airfield where I worked and he issued everyone a "fail". A year or so later he told me, "if everyone starts at the bottom, well then its fair. I asked him, how is it fair unless he, the boss is leveled at the bottom as well. -What a privilege to self write your own success story.. America, you're great!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rajan - When key information is truly incorrect, it's important to set the record straight. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Excellent pointers to check back on. Very comprehensive review as well though I do believe some of us have been unfairly indicted of bad performance, but then that happens everywhere I guess, and that is simply time up for the ones.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rebecca - Your kudos are much appreciated! Have a great weekend!

    • Rebecca Furtado profile image

      Rebecca Furtado 2 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      Very good information presented in a creative and fun way. It is good to make a hub about work evaluations entertaining. You have performed

      (pun always intended) well.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      mikesquid - Thanks for your comment. Good luck on your work-related problems.

    • mikesquid 2 years ago

      wow how funny is that ;.. nice hub. i had relational problems at works but this article complete a reading a got from a good psychic last week. venus psychic she talks about energy between people + your hub = perfect match

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Ganash Prasad - Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you, Crafty!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

      Awesome as always! Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

    • Ganesh prasad 2 years ago

      wow, nice hub....ank thanks

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Randi - Thank you for stopping by and for voting too! Have a great day!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      whitemuse - Great points. It is difficult not to get angry, although oftentimes that can make matters so much worse. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Cleverly written! Excellent information! Congratulations on a most deserved Hub of The Day! Voted up, across the board! Than k you

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Congratulations on your Hub of the Day award for this valuable post. How useful this will be to people in today's work environments! Will be checking out your other hubs on this topic. Pinning to My Solve It: Money/Workplace board.

    • whitemuse 2 years ago

      This is some very complete information. Fortunately, it has not happened that often. When it did it was difficult not to get angry. There is nothing you can do sometimes about the writing on the wall. I had one very cranky boss.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bobbi - Thanks for stopping by. Everyone loves the supervisor who can give critical feedback without making it feel like a character flaw or the biggest mistake ever. One of the nicest compliments someone ever gave me was that I had the ability to tell someone to go to hell in a way that they'd look forward to the trip. I bet you're like that too. Have a great day!

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

      Hi,

      I am happy you got Hub of the Day, otherwise I probably would've missed this hub. Your western theme to was a great touch with the photo display---I enjoyed it very much.

      I remember when I gave performance reviews to employees who needed to improve on their skills; however, I did it with a soft touch and got the point across effectively. I voted up+++

      Thanks for sharing.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Deborah - Thank you! Glad you enjoyed this. Have a great day!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Great hub and excellent advice. Congrats on being named HOTD!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Heidi! I am excited and appreciative as well.

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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      BIG congrats on Hub of the Day! So well deserved (this and many of your other posts).

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Kathleen Cochran - Often, HR and/or second-level managers take a look at performance reviews, so there's little chance of purging the performance evaluations of that wayward supervisor's entire staff, especially for the entirety of their service as a supervisor. That would be like admitting they were all hoodwinked by her. Take comfort in the fact that at least she's not still your boss. They eventually did the right thing by catching wind of her techniques and booting her out.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rasimo - I appreciate the compliment. Glad you enjoyed it.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Thanks for the kudos!

    • Rasimo profile image

      Rasimo 2 years ago

      This is a really great article, lots of good info packed in here!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      An entertaining approach to a subject that is hard to look at with levity. Too many companies still approach employee reviews in an outdated mode: two compliments around one area that needs improvement even for stellar employees. All you hear is the negative and wonder how your boss could still recall the one, small misstep from months ago. It is a very damaging process. I love the idea of a follow up conversation to renew the relationship.

      Worked for a supervisor once who was known for ambushing her staff at review time thinking it was camouflage for her poor performance. Management finally figured her out and she was let go, but they never purged her reviews from her staff's files. This is a tedious process, but necessary under those circumstances.

      Congrats on HOD and a great choice by HP staff.

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      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on HOTD. You deserve it!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      CelebrateUSA - I appreciate the kind kudos. I really do hope it helps employees gain some perspective and determine how to respond.

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      Ken Kline 2 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Flourishanyway,

      Wow! Technical information delivered with a strong visual impact with a cow boy flair! Terrific information and conveyed in a motivational manner. Exceptional in every way! You took a hard subject and brought the silver lining out - thank you!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Writer Fox - You're correct. We all need to know when our work is done with an employer and it's giddy up time. Thanks for stopping by and for pinning.

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      Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      What a thorough article! So many times the options depend on the size of the company someone works for. Large companies have a Human Resources Department and smaller companies generally do not. Sometime's it's just a case of 'handwriting on the wall' and time to mosey on down the lane. Voted up and Pinned!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Oh, Suzanne, I hear you. I have been there! One of the hubs on my horizon is neopotism, favoritism, cronyism. I've seen examples that should've made people blush trying to explain their way out of them.

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      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Great hub and voted useful - I found it VERY useful! Sometimes it's also about understanding that there can only be one cowboy for every twenty indians and that sometimes you can be "fed" an excuse simply because someone better has been nominated as the "chosen" recipient for the departmental bonus. However, there is some great advice in this hub and you give some great advice on what to do and what to analyse about performance.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Mindi - Thank you for the kind compliments and for nominating my hub. This one was a real hoot to write, so I'm happy it's gotten good reviews. You're so sweet about the "devoted fan" remark.

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      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Wow. Another mind-blowingly awesome bit of hubbing, FlourishAnyway!

      This is choc-full of fabulous advice, beautifully written and laid out and just fabulous. And all spiced with your inimitable wit and charm.

      I remain your devoted fan. :D

      PS: I've suggested this for a HOTD.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Howdy, Nancy - Glad to see you around these here parts. I sure got some spur marks of my own. I'm gonna mosey on along now, pardner. You come back, now, you hear?

    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 3 years ago from USA

      I love the photos and the Cowboy Way analogies. There is so much wisdom here, both professionally and for living a quality life. I especially got a kick out of the heading, "Don't squat with your spurs on." I have personally done this a time or two and it wasn't very comfortable :)

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Sunshine - Sounds like you hog tied him with a smile and a tip of the hat, cowgirl.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Howdy, Christy - That is such an awesome compliment. Thank you so much!

    • Christy Kirwan profile image

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Flourish, this Hub is absolutely fantastic! I'm a huge fan of the cowboy theme, and I love how you stay fun while giving very genuine and practical advice.

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      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Yeehaw!! I like how you weaved the cowboy into your article. (Ouch for squatting with spurs on!) I had a review once and my manager gave me a "Good" ... I said "Good?" That's so basic. He never used Good again during a review. He took it one notch up to Very Good. Now, that's acceptable.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jo - Glad you like it!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Glimmer Twin Fan - Thanks for the kind compliments. Although you may not agree with the boss' assessment, it's always helpful to know what he or she really thinks of you and your work. It can prevent some very unpleasant surprises. Most of us do not enjoy performance-related surprises.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Clever, funny a joy to read and full to overflowing with very useful information.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      This is a wonderful hub and really useful for people. I love the text box telling people they may be headed for trouble. When I worked I was always amazed at how many people were surprised when they were let go, even with all of the signs you mentioned. Really well done hub too!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Hi, Audrey - I'm glad you enjoyed this little ditty. I appreciate the pin! Yee-haw!

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      Audrey Selig 3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Flourish. Very funny article told so well. You covered all circumstances with a chart and great advice. You must have been an ouststanding boss. It brought back memories of my boss days from which came my desire to write. Thanks cowboy. Blessings. Audrey Pinning

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      Audrey Selig 3 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Flourish. What humor you wove into this hub. It is so funny. I was a supervisor and so many incidents sound familiar. You did a very thorough job covering many possible events. You must have been an outstanding boss and oh so fair to employees. Thanks for sharing. Blessings. Audrey. Pinning.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Audrey - What a nice compliment! Thank you! I appreciate the share as well.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Nell - More often than not, employees sit there with a smile pasted on their faces and they think exactly what you were. Sometimes bosses don't do the appropraiate thing by recording performance information throughout the year, and they have to try to recall accurate performance incidents from the entire year. It usually doesn't work so well. Having worked in HR Investigations reviewing workplace complaints, it was always predictable; there was typically a surge of complaints during performance review season. Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing!

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      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Just sent my comment - it's not showing up. Will write another one if it doesn't come up soon. :)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Written like a true pro! Your wit and creative manner makes this a hub that all should read. Voted up and across and sharing!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      lol! I just love the way you wrote this! and I am never going to forget that quote, Don't Squat With Your Spurs On! fron now on its definitely one to remember! I remember these horrible reviews at work, wanting to just slap someone but keeping the smile on the face! great read, voted up and shared!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      MsDora - Thanks for stopping by. I hope this helps those who need it. Have a great week!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very creative, and with all your cowboy lingo and pictures the messages came through clearly. Thank you for these very useful bits of information regarding what to expect and how to react to the job review.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Suzanne - Working for yourself is a sure fire way to make sure you get excellent evaluations! Glad you have a better situation now!

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

      Very thorough and entertaining treatment of a topic that I can't stand! :D I am ever so grateful that I no longer have to tolerate the opinions or estimation of managers who can barely string enough words together to form a complete sentence. I will never work for anyone else again!

      Voted up and interesting! :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - I hope people can approach even the worst performance situations from a position of personal power, as they do have choices. Often those choices demand action but they have the choice to stay, go, or work through it.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      Great advice for someone to either turn things around or decide the end of their employment at a particular firm is likely approaching, and then get busy finding a new job. You lay out clearly the subtle and not-so-subtle messages that are also being delivered, such as the wording. This article will likely help a lot of people.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Bill - Thanks for stopping by. Especially if you don't have ongoing discussions about performance throughout the year, it can be a very unpleasant thing to look forward to for everyone. Have a great rest of the weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Flourish. What an excellent hub with great advice. I dread these reviews every year but it's a part of life in most jobs. I love the cowboy twist to this, great job. Have a great weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Heidi - I've sure heard some doozies, especially having been in HR Investigations. We've all probably had performance conversations we could've handled better. The horse's patooty syndrome tends to sneak up during performance review time.

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      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Howdy, Pardner! I had mainly good performance reviews in corporate life, but there were a few that felt more like punishment reviews. Now looking at them from a more mature point of view, I could've handled them so much better. And I wish I would've known about the signing with notation option.

      I think the problem with the "annual" review is that it's annual. Ideally, there should be a continuing dialog through the year so that there are no surprises. Glad you emphasized that bosses hate these reviews as much as employees. It's tough on both sides of the desk.

      Great hub, as always!

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Why, Miss Flourish, mah commeunt done seem ta up an disdappeared!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Gawsh, bravewarrior, that's so dern nice of you! I'm just a country girl with country wisdom. Y'all keep sayin' nice things and my head is gonna grow too big fer my hat.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Well gaw-aw-lay Miss Flourish! I do b'lieve thems some mighty fine words you done shared with us, ifn I say so m'self!

      Seriously, this was very entertaining yet informative. I love the angle you took with this one. Great job!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great hub, Flourish.... and original way to present this topic :-)

      I am glad that I didn't receive any bad performance review of my work :-)

      I think it's important to thank our boss for the performance review. I think usually there is always place to do a better job (nobody is perfect) and it's good to receive some guidance. But I heard horror stories as well about reviews by unfair bosses or bosses who are never satisfied.

      The workplace has to be pleasant; people will usually will do their best tho perform in those types of positive environments.

      There are a lot of cuts in the Canadian government since a few years and they put so much pressure on everybody that people are watching over their shoulders all the time to see which person will be next to stab them in the back. So many people have been harassed and they either just left or took early retirement. It means also that good people with the corporate knowledge left.

      So many things could be said about this subject.

      Thank you for sharing this important subject and presenting it so well!

      Have a nice weekend, Flourish!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      pstraubie48 - Glad to "see" you again. It sounds like you were a fantastic teacher and very ethical, too.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      DDE - Negative feedback doesn't have to bring us down. The worst situation is when someone has feedback to provide but withholds it. You can't change what you don't know is an issue. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great weekend.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Well said. I only refused one performance eval when I was still teaching and it was only three years into my teaching career. I was given a superior performance rating and the person had never been in my classroom to see me teach and interact with children.

      I refused it and said if they came in and watched me and still felt the same way....I would sign it.

      and lucky for me he did come in ...nothing changed except for the comments which made me feel valued.

      Your well written information here should help many who may face unfair evals at work.

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Frank - These types of hubs are always the most fun to write. We'll see what type of traffic it gets. I spent more than 5 years in a corporate culture where feedback (negative or positive) was said to be a "gift," (nice, huh?) and if you had thin skin you learned to toughen up real quick. It didn't always feel good but it worked. (We never had weaknesses -- they were "opportunities.") After awhile it became satisfying to dish it out, too -- all in the name of improvement. You ain't no cowpoke, Frank. Have a great weekend.

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Sometimes people do take everything to heart in the workplace with your simple guide it can b controlled. You have created a well informed and useful hub.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      I like it when you go this way with your hubs, even though I can be as you wrote a cowpoke..I get the job done.. my reviews always seem unfair, that's because it's the way I feel.. but hey sometimes I just belly up and learn from what they say are short comings..LOL

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Zina - Growth is not always easy but negative feedback and conflict can grow you pretty quick sometimes if you keep an open mind. Thank you for your comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      teaches12345 - Given the level of tension that can sometimes occur, performance review time can certainly make managers, employees, and HR feel like it's the Wild West. Glad you liked this. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Zina Adams 3 years ago

      This article shines as a common sense approach to seeing our weaknesses as strengths. I can follow the logic, and I agree with the mindset that asks the person to look within for growth. While there is unfairness at all levels this hub says to me look inward first! Then organize and take action.

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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I remember giving performance reviews to help staff improve their work production and polish skills. I also remember filling them out. You bring this process to a new dimension with the cowboy theme. This makes it fun, interesting, and easy to absorb. Voted up and more.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jaye - That is quite a compliment. I am very grateful for your kind feedback. Have a great weekend!

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      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Flourish -- This is an outstanding hub and should be Hub of the Day. In addition, your article should be required reading for every newly-hired employee. Voted Up+++ and shared.

      Jaye

      (another Hubber with an HR management background)

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      emilybee - Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Managers can get their stomachs in knots sometimes over how to effectively deliver performance conversations so that their message will be heard, understood and appropriately acted on. It's easy to paint them as the bad guy, harder to listen.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Howdy, Faith Reaper - Aww, shucks. Your nice compliments made this cowgirl feel ten feet tall (but not bulletproof). You have a might fine, boot scootin' day, you hear?

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Jackie - We've probably all squatted with our spurs on at least once. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Bill - I'm so glad the cowboy thing worked. If we loosen up a little, it's the negative feedback that is often most valuable. It just hurts a little (or a lot). Have a great weekend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Awesome hub full of very useful information to try to keep our cool during those unfair evaluations! I just love your use of the cowboy theme and metaphors, which truly makes this type of hub enjoyable to read, especially using your great wit ...lol You do know how to add humor appropriately. Up and more and sharing. Great job as always dear Flourish! Have a great weekend, Faith Reaper

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 3 years ago

      Love it especially the part about even the boss needs to be heard . Negative feedback can be tough but your advice is spot on. Great hub thanks for the reminders :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Don't squat with your spurs on, lol, I loved that! Really great points here though and reminders to not over-react to find out how we can be one on one with the boss. ^

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Now this was an exceptional job of writing. Bravo! My goodness what a breath of fresh air this one was. Funny, clever, informative, valuable and written damn well. Great job my friend...it even brought back memories of a negative review I received my third year of teaching; that review changed my attitude and made me a much better teacher. I hate to admit it but I had it coming. :)

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