WIW 01/15/13 - Purple for Courage

I had the most spectacularly awful performance review of my entire career yesterday. My boss didn't provide one word of constructive criticism. Instead, she wrote an entire single-spaced page of commentary about how I was unable to think critically, solve problems and be assertive enough to get anything done. I was blind-sided by this which shouldn't happen in a performance review. She never mentioned these issues to me before.

Moreover, not one of the other attorneys with whom I work took the time out of their busy schedules to mention all the times I have helped them out with one crisis or another. What a let down!

In short, I'm feeling very small and unhappy today. I'm angry and sad. But I'm not going to let this get the better of me. I'm wearing purple for courage today. This outfit would have a happiness factor of 100% if the pants were actually PPL, but I'm settling for 95% happiness.

Sorry about all the above. It's hard to get past something like that in one short day!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

53 Comments

  • moira replied 5 years ago

    That must have really let the air out of your tires, Amy. I'm so sorry.
    Good for you for finding a way to buck yourself up and go back in and show 'em what you're made of.
    You look GREAT!!!!!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    You look SPECTACULAR Amy! Those rich purples are gorgeous on you and I adore the animal print belt and shoes.

    I'm so sorry about what happened at work :( Are you able to meet with your boss again and ask why these issues were never brought up before in order to allow you to undertake some changes? I find it quite unfair that you were bombarded with this without any prior discussion.

  • Aziraphale replied 5 years ago

    Oh my god, I'm so sorry! You are taking a very mature attitude to this. I would be furious. You're right, a performance review should not be a surprise!

    FWIW, you look fantastic in that outfit. Good luck with sorting everything out at work.

  • celia replied 5 years ago

    Oh Amy, I would feel the same if that happened to me.Were you given any guidelines on what to do from now on?
    Luckily you look Fab as always. I simply *love* that purple jacket.

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    So sorry!! That sounds absolutely awful! On the plus side, you look great. I love the purple and the leopard print together.

  • Asingh replied 5 years ago

    Amy, don't be upset. It's really unfair that your boss never brought up any (alleged) issue prior to the review so that you would be aware of the situation. Don't let unhealthy criticism bog you down.

    And YLF! Great outfit.

  • rute replied 5 years ago

    ohh.. so sorry!
    Great attitude you look gorgeous, so chic, you look like you should be the boss ;)

  • Jenava replied 5 years ago

    Oh my goodness! Amy, let me assure you, which you probably already know, has you all wrong and is NOT a good judge of such things. Is she a newer manager? FWIW, I had this also happen to me and I changed jobs and got promoted almost instantly. So don't let this horrible person's bad judge of character and horrible management skills worry you. Hey, for all you know she may have a friend she wants to hire in your place and is manipulating you to leave!

    Needless to say you'll be job searching. (-: Good luck!

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    Amy, first, you look wonderful today in purple!

    It is a tough business environment right now and companies may be feeling the added pressure which could reflect in your review. It is no fun to get blindsided but in my own experience giving many reviews over the years I've found that sometimes it's just a lack of regular communication. What felt like a long list of issues might not be as long as it seemed, and at least now you know what your supervisor is thinking. One time I asked a good employee during a review to try to curb casual conversation with me because we are a smaller company and my time was so limited with each person. She took that one criticism to heart so broadly that she barely would tell me or anyone how she was doing any more! I finally resolved it, but sometimes I think the recipient of the criticism might feel it's a bigger issue than the bearer of the news. I can't say for sure in your case, but I can say that taking positive action towards being your personal best is really the best thing any of us can do. And checking in once in a while (but not too often) with your supervisor and ask her how you are doing and ask for feedback if needed.

    Keep your beautiful smile on, keep communicating and don't let this get you down. Reviews sometimes do bring some of the simmering isses out in the open.

    Most important, keep in mind the reviewer is supposed to be trying to help you - and is probably pretty darned stressed herself having to do this whole process.

  • Mochi replied 5 years ago

    Amy, that person was way out of line and I would not have held up half as well as you are. I would have been devastated. I'm sure in the upcoming days when things have calmed a bit, you can straighten this all out.

    In the meantime, I really love this outfit so much. Monochromatic (a new love of mine) and so much textural interest, plus a great silhouette and fantastic leopard accents that are perfect against the plum. Now more than ever before, you are pulling so many great looks out of your closet.

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 5 years ago

    I love your look and your attitude. I hope that you can get to the bottom of this and why nothing was said before that review. Best of luck and remember to talk kindly to yourself!

  • Debbie replied 5 years ago

    Love the purple and hopefully they will get the message.
    As someone who gives reviews (and hates it) I am appalled that it was totally negative. A review is supposed to be structured in a way to provide a solution for issues and also to point out the positives.
    You were blindsided yesterday. I suggest that later this week you respond to the review in writing. If you need anything please PM me.

  • Amy replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for the words of support, everyone.

    Texstyle, I appreciate you trying to help give me some perspective. It's difficult when you feel attacked; however, the kind of critique you are describing is very different than what I received yesterday. With the situation you described, you asked for a very specific behavior change. That's something one can work on improving. Good critiques focus on things a person can change like behavior, work product and knowledge. My review yesterday did not contain any suggestions like that. Instead, I was given a litany of complaints about my intellectual deficiencies...not work product or knowledge, but ability to THINK. I can't change that significantly.

    Debbie, thanks very much, I might take you up on that.

  • Tricia replied 5 years ago

    Amy, I am so sorry. That sounds awful. But you look great today - keep your head up and I hope things get better very soon.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    Urgggggh! You poor, poor thing. (((HUGS))). How demeaning and infuriating. How unprofessional and small. I'm so sorry :(. Is it worth asking for a follow up meeting, Amy? Good grief. What on earth did your manager think this would achieve with this strategy? I am shocked.

    And KILLER outfit. Chin up pretty lady! We know you are fab.

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I am sorry to hear that - I thought just maybe it wasn't as bad as it first seemed but it sounds like it was. Maybe it is just time to consider moving to a more supportive work enviro. Warm wishes to you today and in your future - it is a new year after all, so maybe it is a good time to make a change.

  • pil replied 5 years ago

    You should feel courageous in purple, Amy, that color is absolutely gorgeous on you. I'm sorry to hear your employment review was so disheartening.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Amy, that is a fantastic outfit! Absolutely stunning. The purples are beautiful on you and the textures are so rich and luxurious. Love the pops of leopard, too. You are showing how regal you are (as well as brave) and are quietly ROARING your displeasure and that is absolutely right.

    I'm so sorry about your review. My husband and I once sat through a parent teacher interview like that. For over an hour we listened to a litany of our daughter's faults and problems (after having heard nothing but good for the first two months of school). Finally my husband said, "Do you see any positive qualities or signs of growth in this child?" And the teacher waited a full minute before she answered. She could not think of one.

    Needless to say, we removed our daughter from the school.

    I am not telling you to remove yourself from this job, but if people can't see your very obvious positive qualities, well....

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    You are beautiful and that is horrendous behavior.

    Is there a HR department you can speak with about productive steps to deal with this critique? By that I mean, saying you were blindsided and all of the other things you said above, and saying you'd really like to hit expectations, so what are benchmarks you can set? If no HR dept, another possibility is speaking to one of the other attorneys about this - one you know you've helped and with whom you feel some rapport.

    If it helps, I had a spectacularly hideous review when I was in a corporate setting, so bad that HR bounced it back saying it was impossible. It cost me a standard of living raise when I was pregnant (!). I have still never forgiven my manager. Even though he apologized. Sometimes people suck. I'm sorry.

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    I'm so sorry, Amy. That sounds like a singularly mean and unhelpful review, and I agree that it's very unprofessional that she never brought up these issues before now. Would it help to ask for a face to face meeting to discuss this?

    Your outfit is gorgeous! I love that shade of plum so much and the rich, tonal shades are so luxurious and stunning.

  • Thistle replied 5 years ago

    You are correct. A performance review should NEVER be a surprise! Especially a negative one. I give you kudos for chin up. I have to admit that I would be polishing my resume and looking for other work. Your manager clearly does not have mentoring you or helping you to succeed on her agenda. If she did, she would have been helping youa long the way!

    Your outfit looks amazing! I love the deep rich purples on you. So pretty!

  • MsMary replied 5 years ago

    Ye gods!! What a revolting development! I'm so sorry, Amy! That kind of thing is so hard to take! What a horrible manager that woman is!!

    But OMG you look AMAZING in that glorious purple ensemble!! Hold your head up and know you are fab in every way!!

  • replied 5 years ago

    Oh, Amy, I'm so sorry! *shakes fist at horrible boss*

    They should give you a raise for looking so amazing! Love this outfit, the leopard touches, and boy do your legs look a mile long.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Well, you look absolutely amazing.

    How horrible and unprofessional of your boss. Performance reviews are not supposed to be a chance for someone to pin you like a butterfly and watch you writhe while they dump garbage on your head and you have no escape. I am mad on your behalf.

    I find it difficult that someone as articulate as you seems to be mentally deficient, and they fact that they didn't mention ANYTHING nice/over and above is telling about their business culture. Meh.

  • Sarah A replied 5 years ago

    I am so sorry to hear about the horrible day yesterday. The way it was all handles sounds totally unprofessional. How frustrating.

    For today though, this outfit is amazing! Lovely color on you and i love the touch of animal print accessories!

  • Zapotee replied 5 years ago

    I'm really sorry Amy.

    Sadly, I can commiserate. I am going thru such experience right now, with this woman that is just plain disrespectful and a very unfair reviewer. Sadly, I feel there is very little to do on the matter, other than document what you do ( or don't do) from this point forward and to try to see if amidst the pile of crap she gave you, there is something of value, at all. The only thing I've done to negate her negative reviews, is some serious PR campaigning, on my behalf, to highlight things that I have done correctly to her boss, in passing and very non chalantly....So, if she goes complaining, he will hear two conflicting stories, mine and hers. He likes me a whole lot and heck, you gotta play the game. You gotta figure out the players and make your move :)

    ( hugs)

    Well, at least you make for one amazing looking miserable person... Chin up, OK?

  • qfbrenda replied 5 years ago

    I'm so sorry you are dealing with that. For what it's worth, you look amazing.

  • cobaltblue replied 5 years ago

    :( Amy, that seems completely unfair. I hope you can find a way to request concrete examples of behavior your supervisor would like to see changed so that you at least have something with which you can work. For what it's worth, I always enjoy reading your posts; you seem so articulate and clear-thinking. I'd at least try to file this away with someone (HR? a higher-level supervisor?), including your perceptions of how the meeting unfolded. Maybe you should go do that while you're looking as fab as you are today - what a rich and lovely outfit!

  • AJ replied 5 years ago

    ACK! I have no words for the horrible way you were treated! So sorry.

    Purple looks AMAZING on you! I hope all that negativity bounces off your beautiful armor today! <Hugs>

  • Isis replied 5 years ago

    Yuck! Horrible manager! What is the point of a review like that?????

    But, I have to echo everybody else: You look so fantastic in purple and I love the shoes/belt coordination. You look SO fab!!!!!!

  • Amy replied 5 years ago

    Thanks everyone! I got to say, it REALLY helps to dress your best on days you feel your worst. I'm so glad I did it. I feel 1000 times better than if I had just thrown on any old thing. I'm keeping an evening gown, tiara and fur jacket on standby in case I need them! :)

    Big hugs and thanks for your support. You ladies are the BEST!!!

  • Jamie replied 5 years ago

    Oh dear. I have been in your shoes exactly just a few years ago when I had the most dreadful appraisal ever. Blind-sided, too. I got past it in time, but my thoughts about that boss were forever altered.

    I'm positive, though, that I didn't look as amazing as you do the following day!! Your outfit is stunning!

    Hugs to you...

  • O replied 5 years ago

    Amy, this is beyond horrible!! You have every reason to complain not being pre-warned about anything - do you not have half-year reviews or at least regular updates wit the managers?? Surely you have had to be given a chance to do something well in advance as issues worth page-long criticism do not happen overnight and any responsible manager would, in fact, act ON TIME herself! (Sorry for shouting).

    That is, of course, if her comments were founded which I sincerely doubt because the method and the way she treated you tells it all and sounds to me like she just needed that name, someone, anyone that would fill in the certain blank spot on the performance sheet. This may be of no consolation to you, but I honestly think so and having been on this Earth long enough and having clocked some time in the corporate environment I have seen enough examples of such treatment to know it has nothing to do with *you*.

    As for those ungrateful lawyers who did not have to put a good word in, a lesson for the future - log everything, good and bad, every interaction with anyone. That saved my sanity and self-respect a few years ago.

    And repeat after me: what doesn't kill you... :-)

    Now, the outfit, I love the fighting spirit and am happy you opted for bright, strong color as opposed sombre, drowning tones. You look lovely! Next one on the menu? Some red, some symphony of color maybe? Big, big hugs.

  • Niefern replied 5 years ago

    Sorry you had such a horrible experience but even so you have managed to look awesome - that says something about your character!

  • annagybe replied 5 years ago

    Ugh, so much ugh.
    But you look fantastic.

  • kimlee replied 5 years ago

    Amy, I am so sorry to hear that your review did not go as you expected it would. The others have given great suggestions on how to address it with your supervisor - I agree that there should have been discussion well before the review.

    Moving on, you look SMASHING! I love the use of the animal print with the purple. You've inspired me to play around with a look that I may share later this week ...if it works.

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    Honestly - your manager can't "manage". This is not acceptable behaviour & imo tells us more about her than you. I agree that a move away from this person would be a good idea.

    On a lighter note I love your look here - fierce & fabulous.

  • JulieJohn replied 5 years ago

    Brilliant Caro took the word "fierce" right out of my mouth (er, fingers). I love your "Purple Badge of Courage" as well as the RRROW-R animal touches of fierce beauty. You keep right on being awesome!

  • Mona replied 5 years ago

    Amy, this is awful. Same thing happened to me last year. My manager and supervisor did a performance review for me and told me all kinds of things that were wrong with my work. I was completely shocked and deeply saddened. It took me at least a couple of months to get over it. I admit that i did not deal with it courageously at all. I actually did not feel like getting dressed up for work at all as I thought every body at work was against me, but I must say that you are showing strength and courage by wearing a fabulous outfit today.

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    Hugs, Amy! Nothing is more frustrating that getting an unfair and ungrounded performance review without any previous warning or sign. This is not professional at all!
    However my experience taught me that this is not that rare in smaller companies. I mean the review process which happens once a year only and not on the ongoing basis. Review process should be used to nurture and grow employees and help them in their career, not to slam them in the face! It reminds me a lot of my former "communist" career when the motto was "I am the boss, you are the idiot!"

    Anyway you should seriously consider changing your job or at least a department. With a boss like this you will not have a lot of growth opportunities I am afraid. It can even be worse: they may be up for downsizing and laying the groundwork for firing some people. My hubby was in the same position last year: he had a similar "out of the blue" negative review - the first one for 4 years in the company and no previous complains. He tried to work it out with the manager but they fired him 6 months later anyway - again without more complains. I don't want to scare you or anything but this is hte reality of life and it is better to be ready. <<<MORE HUGS>>>

    On the bright note: you know how I love the purple on you so this outfit is the real winner! I also find that looking and feeling my best helps me to take the challenges at work much easier. YLF!

  • crow replied 5 years ago

    Hi Amy, I'm a fellow Seattleite pulled out of long-time lurkdom by your post. I have trouble believing that the crtrical thinking, analytical skills and cheerful assertiveness that you display here isn't also evident in the workplace. (To say nothing of your eye for beauty, fashion sense and sewing skills.) You're a gem, plain and simple.

  • Sona replied 5 years ago

    First your outfit: completely, utterly purplicious. and the smile caps it all!

    Second: Huge hugs firstly. As someone who stopped short of their thesis for a Masters in Health Professions Education, feedback was a huge part of the learning agenda. We were taught to be very specific about instances rather than behaviours. Specifics rather than generalizations- in both positive and more constructive arenas. For example: It was really good to see how comfrotable you were with your patients and how you addressed them by their names in informal exchanges. However while talking about the patient to the group instead of saying:"This 64 yr old man who is a lifelong smoker presents with..." saying : "Mr X : I would like to introduce you to the rest of our team and tell them about how you are feeling. Please feel free to interrupt and make suggestions when I don't get something right. Four days ago Mr X was feeling like his usual self when suddenly he..."
    If I told a student : you just don't have the qualities to be a good doctor. you don't have enough of a fund of medical knowledge", etc all it does is befudlles the person and makes them feel small and also clueless on how to improve!
    Your supervisor is a jackass and will not go far if this is how she gives feedback. Sure if her Dad owns the practice and nepotism rules the day it may be another story ( sad one). but I wish you could have the opportunity to give her feedback on her feedback.

    Looooooooooooove you Amy. Lots.

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    Amy: You are a vision of tonal perfection. And yes, clothing can help us keep up chin up when things are tough. Purple is a color of power, I think, and sounds like you could use some.

    I hope and pray you find affirmation and encouragement in many places this week, and that the work environment improves significantly in the near future!

    For now, the best revenge is looking amazing!

  • Nicole D replied 5 years ago

    Purple power is what you radiate! You look classy and positive. I wish you the best with this issue - it is staggering how some people just have no sense about how to give feedback in a professional way. Your boss sounds like a twit.

    I also love to wear red or bright pink for power!

  • catherine replied 5 years ago

    I can't stand your boss. You, on the other hand, I would like to have as a co-worker.

  • Amy replied 5 years ago

    I swore I wasn't going to cry again today, but you ladies are just too sweet. I know you don't know me and for all you know, I could be a complete waste of space at work. Even so, you took the time out of your day to cheer me up and that just says how kind you all are. Thank you. Really.

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    Amy, firstly that outfit is a stunner! You look smart and professional with a hint of your fun personality.

    Secondly, I am really sorry about your appraisal. As I understand it, that is not the purpose of an appraisal and it sounds like it was more about her than you. I really don't know anything about how work places operate in the US but Im not sure I would be taking this lying down. Many of us seem to have developed the attitude that we cannot challenge or question the Boss! And certainly in some work environments that attitude is part of the culture.

    My work is like that and just before I went on leave my Manager emailed me and in a non encouraging manner told me I had to be more aware and careful of some specific paperwork I regularly put through to head office. Apparently I was making mistakes. In this instance, I was VERY confident that i wasn't, so I phoned her and asked her to tell me precisely the errors so I could check against my copies. There was one error, and it was hers not mine! I was pretty cheesed, because she make me feel so small and inadequate but I am really glad I called her on it ( I don't think she was).

    For me it has been a matter of choosing to either speak up, or look for another job. For the moment I am speaking up.... :)

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    Oh Amy, that is just rotten. Is it at all possible that the reviewer might feel a bit threatened by you (I.e, you might be a good replacement for their position someday)? It's just an idea that came to me -- how you were blindsided, and how relentlessly negative the critique was, just made me wonder if the reviewer wants to somehow keep you down. Because I have a seriously difficult time believing you are intellectually inadequate!

    The only truly upsetting performance review I ever received was from a supervisor who suspected that I had figured out she and the company owner were having an affair. She pulled all kinds of criticism out at review time, despite never saying a negative word about my work otherwise. The VP of the company was a big advocate for me, however, and I got a wonderful recommendation from him when I was looking for my next job. I'm certainly not saying anything like this is going on at your place of employment, but that review was certainly effective in pushing me out the door.

    On a far more cheery note, you look fantastic and I love that purple jacket on you!

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    Just got a chance to check in here, Amy. So sorry for your terrible experience, but know that you look fab and courageous! Is there any opportunity for you to give constructive feedback on the process and how demoralizing it was?

  • kellygirl replied 5 years ago

    What Isis and Caro said. What a god awful thing to have to go through. Glad that your are combatting in with looking fab. You look regal and gorgeous!

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    I wish I had more wisdom to add to the wonderful advice above. Clearly this is about the reviewer and not you - there just is no point in a review like that with no warning. Perhaps the reviewer had just received a poor review herself/himself?

    You look brave and beautiful regardless!

  • Amy replied 5 years ago

    Hehe, Janet, I would have to go to law school to replace my boss, since I'm not an attorney.

    I'm going to give it a few days so I can achieve a degree of emotional distance from the situation and then I will submit a letter response as I was invited to do. Honestly, though, I'm motivated to move on to a more positive environment.

    We'll see though. Today was a pretty good day. I think dressing up to express my self respect helped a lot. Support of friends like you and my dear hubby really helped sustain my positive attitude.

  • Day Vies replied 5 years ago

    I am so sorry you had to be blindsided like that. Before law I was in HR and you're right, a performance review is NOT the first time you should be hearing about performance issues.
    The bright side is you don't have to wonder if your boss is supportive, and if the environment you're in is supporting you. Now is definitely the time to start the search for a supportive work environment that's invested in you doing well.

    You look smashingly royal dah-ling!

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