A Tough Review

Q: For the past year, I have been employed as a personnel assistant. To my chagrin, my most recent performance review was less than stellar. This surprised me because six months prior, I received a glowing review. I believe that the change is due to management changes that have taken place in my department. They have told me in rather subtle ways that I need to either “shape up or ship out.” I have always done a wonderful job and I cannot believe this has happened [so] I have decided to resign. I would appreciate any feedback you can provide.
–L. Blandon, via e-mail

A: Hopefully, you’ll read this before you quit. If there have been “management changes” in your department, that means the agenda has changed, so the standards of performance would naturally change as well. If you don’t commit to learning what the new standards and expectations are (by asking), you cannot hope to meet them.

Assuming that your last review was also your first (since you have only been on the job for about a year) it’s important for you to recognize that your first review was basically confirmation that your employers hired the right person for the job. For your most recent review4and every one after4the bar was raised, as it should be.

Consider your latest review a wake-up call (however unexpected) and take a close, open-minded look at how expectations have changed and what you can do to improve. Unless you have a fantastic job offer waiting for you (or are independently wealthy), you’d be making a mistake to resign. You build a rewarding career by recognizing and accepting challenges, not by running away from them.

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