I came across this article and it describes my workplace experiences to a T. If you want the full story, I recommend reading that. Otherwise, some quick background:

  • I'm in my mid-20s working in large corporate office.
  • Before my current manager, I've always had stellar reviews

For the last year and a half, I've been working with my current manager. I'm the only other female on the team, and from Day 1, she's treated me more harshly, from glaring at my dresses and heels (everything I wear strictly adheres to company code) to nitpicking everything I do. When other managers or coworkers commend me for something, she stays completely silent. She has an elephant's memory for all the times I made small mistakes, but promptly forgets all the times I went above and beyond.

I won't go into details of her micromanaging, lack of organization, and countless last-minute requests.

The Problem: Last year, she gave me an average score rating in my performance review, which was lower than all my previous years' scores w/ other managers. All the coworkers I told were shocked. To put into context, that same year I had been nominated for a company-wide award by other stakeholder, among other achievements, which by itself should have pushed me over the above average score range. When I asked the manager why she gave me that score, she gave a vague answer and said firmly, "This cannot be changed."

After 7 more months of putting up with crap like this, I finally decided to look for other positions within the company. However, hiring managers see a candidate's past performance scores, and I'm worried this will hinder my process.

Is there a way to address the blemish on my record?

Also, should I be reporting any of these incidents to HR? Would they actually do anything, assuming I documented everything? I'm a minority, if that makes any difference.

  • 6
    Why not look outside of the company?
    – Mawg
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 7:15

2 Answers 2


Last year, she gave me an average score rating in my performance review

When receiving an unfair performance review you should have immediately communicate to HR (or the manager of your manager). Performance review is very important ( can define your annual bonus, define your ability to be promoted, define the ability to change job within the company, define salary increase, define your status (make you more easy to get fire if you have the lowest performance of a team)).

If one wants to disagree officially about a performance review: You can contact the HR via sending them an email:

  • Explain the issue ( unfair performance review).

  • Provide proof of you claim ( that your performance is good).

  • Your KPI needs to have measurable setting (like increase profit by 10%) not vague statement.

Also, when an employee is going to HR to complain about a performance review, your n+2 (manager of your manager) and n+3 will be involved (HR meeting). So it is important to be in good term with at least the n+2. Even if you are right (the performance review was unfair) you can still "lose" and end up in a worse situation. It is very important to back up your claim with facts.

Is there a way to address the blemish on my record?

  1. You can still go to HR and argue about the last year's review. But a lot of people will think it is quite late and will ask if you have another reason to ask now. So you need to prepare an answer to this question.

  2. If a company is using yearly performance review, they should also use "mid year review". It allows the employee to have a check with his/her manager in the mid year to identify issues if there are any (in order to avoid the end of the year surprise "you are off by 50%, you don't get the bonus money this year").

As your yearly interview was 7 months ago, I would suggest the following: Discuss with your boss: "Hey boss, last year my review was bad and I would like to know if for the first part of the year I am doing better. Can we do a mid year assessment?"

It shows you are involved and want to do a better job. Usually manager like to see involvement in the company. You should also send an e-mail to you boss to have a proof "Hey boss, I would like for us to have a talk about my mid year review". After the review, if it is still unfair you can go to the HR, and this timing will seems good (unlike the "7 months later").

from Day 1, she's treated me more harshly, from glaring at my dresses and heels

Do not mention it. This is not a fact link to the performance. If you mention about the "dress comments", management will think it is personal. So you need to only focus about the performance review.

Don't play the minority card, only stick to the facts of the performance review.


I wouldn't worry about it too much. An average review is bad if you were looking for promotion or a raise, but still means that you are doing the job.

A hiring manager has a job that needs doing. They need to be sure that the person they hire can do the job, and is going to get on with the rest of the team. They don't really want a genius rock star who might be difficult to work with, or someone who might be promoted out of their team in a few months.

What they really, really want to avoid is hiring an unknown who interviews well but has serious flaws. That's why they try to hire internally. Even if all your reviews were average, you'd still have a huge advantage over an external candidate.

Any other internal candidates are likely to be people looking for promotion, in which case you'll be better qualified as you're only looking to move sideways - so you should be guaranteed an interview.

When you get to the interview, it's OK to say that you don't like working for your boss and are moving because of the average review. The interviewer can look back and see your older reviews but the fact that you want to move job for no extra money is proof that you're not happy. It's OK to have feelings, and moving teams rather than causing a drama should speak well of you.

I've just noticed that the question is nearly a year old - how did it go?

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