I’m not a “praise person”. Is workplace praise a big deal?
My boss gave me a critical review with 30 days to improve. She says she wants to keep me, that I do good work but need to step up quality and quantity. I’ve worked here 4 months. I now have a mentor with weekly check-in meetings. I’m nervous and not sure I was trained properly. Am I being set up for termination? What’s my next move?
Thanks for submitting this important question. I don’t think they hope to terminate you. They’ve got skin in the game with hours and pay invested in you. Your next move is to spend as little time as possible on worry and to focus on behaviors that will earn you a positive performance review. We’re aiming for a 90-day-review (request it) when your boss says, “Wow, you really turned things around!”
As for concern that you weren’t trained properly, that’s a tough call for me not knowing what transpired in your first weeks. The company believed you’d demonstrate stronger performance out of the gate, and for whatever reasons (probably missteps by you and them) your team is not as impressed as they’d hoped to be. This truth may hurt. Accept it and move on. Self-awareness makes you stronger in so many ways.
Job performance hinges on our knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, and effort. You sold those as best you could in the resume-writing and interview process. You may have oversold, but you landed the job. Now focus on execution. I’m impressed with your company’s effort to help you succeed despite disappointment with your initial performance. If every company offered genuine, specific performance reviews, allowed mentors, and made time for check-in meetings, morale and performance would skyrocket.
You’re blessed to have weekly check-in meetings. Without them, you could be working hard at the wrong things. Bring evidence of completing each goal assigned, even if it means longer hours or moving out of your comfort zone to get them done. In the check-in meetings, be thirsty for advice. Demonstrate that you intend to become a valued team member via constructive criticism. Ask your team sincerely what you can do more to be helpful, and what they’d like you to stop doing. At GC, we call this the Feedback Challenge.
If your earnest efforts fail to earn you the place of value you desire and you have to move on, you’ve got a great response when a potential employer says, “Tell me about a conflict you’ve had at work and how you handled it.” You’re a go-getter and you can prove it.