Horrible Evaluation and Boss Never Speaks With Me!

Dear Work Coach,

I just got the worst work review ever!!!!!! I have never received one like this before on this or any job. I didn’t have one good thing said about me. Even on the only 2 things I had “meet standards” on I was insulted in the paragraph below it. I’m not supposed to know that it was not my direct supervisor’s opinion, HER supervisor told her what to put in it. My supervisor’s boss also told my supervisor that she’ll take it easy on her evaluation…since she’s pregnant. Nice huh?

I have been there for 6yrs and 4 in my current position and I have not had any issues till now. My boss’s boss has only been over both of us for about the past year and that is when I suddenly can’t do anything right. I manage a software program and she thinks I don’t do it correctly or get the most out of it. I was sent to another place that uses the same program and they do it exactly like I do it. Good news?? NO!! I have to find other places that use it and see how they do things.

I’m assuming I need to look until I find someone that does it differently so she can finally say, that is how you should be doing it. I spoke to the technician from the company that installs the program and comes to fix things if we have issues {which is rare} and he told me there is nothing more I should be doing. I think she is just trying to pick at me and is trying to get rid of me.

The thing that gets me the most of all is that I get this horrible review and she has not had one conversation with me since she has been there. Not once!!

How can you criticize someone when you have never even spoken to them?

Thanks for allowing me to vent!!



Dear C,

This feels so unfair! I’m sorry you’re going through this. And I agree it does feel like your boss’s boss may be trying to get rid of you, for whatever reason.

When you’re in a situation like this, your best bet is to document every exchange related to your performance by e-mail. Always politely of course, let your supervisor know that, as you understand it, these are the things she wants you to work on – and then add how you are going about it.

Also, you need to get her to agree to concrete steps for each thing she finds wrong and again, using e-mail, let her know all you’re doing. If you can, flood her with details of the efforts you are making/made and ask for follow-up meetings to make sure you are on track. And then document those meetings! Also get written (e-mail) confirmation from the system rep that what you are doing is correct and e-mail that to your boss – and cc your boss’s boss.

If you really are doing everything right, then you need a written trail to show this and to show you are making every effort you can to comply with their findings and suggestions. If there is a process for you to fight any attempt to fire you and it ever comes to that, all this documentation may wind up being really helpful. Plus, it will put your boss and her boss on notice that you are not going to go easily.

I would also suggest a very direct, honest talk with your supervisor letting her know clearly all you are doing and that you really want to find a way to make this work. See if you can get her leaning your way a little more. You never know how long her boss will be there and maybe, if you can make things a little better for yourself, you can even outlast her. 🙂 But then again, you can’t count on that and it may be a miserable wait for you if you do choose that route.

All that said…since they are both giving you signals (no matter who started it, your direct boss is part of it now), unless you see some turnaround in their attitude right away, it may very well be time for you to start looking – both internally and elsewhere. As hard as I know that may be when you know you’re doing a good job, it’s your way of protecting yourself just in case.

If this is a large enough company or agency, start scouring the internal postings and also quietly ask around. (Although I understand “quietly” may not be possible where you are.) And of course, check the local papers and online listings. (You might try the job finder I have on my site that uses Indeed, a multi-search engine pulling from large and local online job listings including Monster, major newspapers, and many other sources. I think it’s pretty cool or I wouldn’t have it here.) And also, one of your best sources may be the vendor rep, since he is often one of the first to hear of an opening elsewhere.

Again, I just want you to know how sorry I am that you’ve been put in this uncomfortable situation. There’s almost nothing worse than doing something the best you can and having people who don’t have the ability to assess it telling you that you’re wrong! Grrrr!

Good luck, C! I really hope you can find a way to get things to improve where you are, but if not…good luck finding a job where your efforts are truly appreciated! Please keep us posted.

Ronnie Ann


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. Great advice, Work Coach! Work Coach Cafe rocks!

  2. Hi MW! Nice to see you. Funny…I was just thinking of you today. Thanks for the lovely words. Hope all is well with you, bella luna. Hugs to those furbabies.

    Ronnie Ann

  3. The best part is, I wasn’t just handing out a compliment because of my great fondness for you. 🙂

    Creating a written trail is an excellent recommendation. I would not have thought of that, (that’s why I’m not the Work Coach), but it is the best way to create a documented trail of credibility for an employee in this situation.

    I’m truly impressed, WC, and I’m deeply fond of you too. A win-win!

    See what happens when you think about me?

  4. Well…I’m rapidly looking through my files of brilliant responses, but sometimes the best response is also the simplest:

    Thank you, MW! 😉 And I’m quite fond of you too. Aw shucks.

    Ronnie Ann

  5. I have been where you are – I think its best to start looking for a job where you dont have to deal with irrational people who dont want you around for whatever reason. Find irrational people to work for who irrationally like you! 😉

    Lawsuits, documentation, etc take up a lot of energy, not to mention the psychological stress of continuing to try to work with people who want to get rid of you. Unless your immediate supe has the chutzpa / power / respect for you enough to help fight this with you, it really isnt worth it in the long run. I say, get out as fast as you can, and find a place to work where people appreciate your efforts and production. Good luck!


  6. Hi Anucha!

    Thanks for your words of wisdom. I totally agree that no one wants to deal with lawsuits and documentation, but I’ve worked in government and other types of places where, if the person can back themselves up and take advantage of internal processes, they can survive the onlsaught and even get themselves to a different job within the larger organization.

    Sometimes it really is a matter of someone out to get you, and if you don’t want to be forced out, the process I mentioned is the way to go.

    But I agree…if you don’t want any part of such things, get that resume polished up and go find a new job! We all deserve to be appreciated without having to fight for it every step of the way. 😉

    Thanks for the excellent perspective.

    Ronnie Ann

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