Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I started a new position early October 2018 with a 6-month probationary period.

In my whole career, I've never had an extension or a bad word said about my performance. I had a review in early March 2018, where my manager said, I have some notes about your performance and typically you would be coming to the end of your 6-month probationary period some points are good some are bad therefore he's thinking of extending my probationary period by 3 months. - To me, it sounds like he's already made up his mind despite any feedback or justification?

When I asked why, what does he mean please can he provide more detail... He started taking in riddles about (Get It - Do I get it), (Want It - Do I want it) and (Capacity - Do I have the skills). He said its want it in one end, and capacity at the other end and went onto reviewing my CV skills. - I assume he means capability and wanting to review my CV due to a lack of real evidence.

I'm not achieving what he expected, but he doesn't 100% confirm what he actually wants, "its, you need to own this space" I've had no goals set this year so I'm not sure how I can fail on something that's not been set.

He then he started talking about my "open side" and "softer side", like on my softer side using the word frustrated means do I really want to do what I do. Despite me saying my frustration was because I couldn't move forward with a particular task I was trying to get over and move forward.

He went onto say policies haven't been done, despite me emailing him a list of completed policy documents and he hasn't replied to this, even today 20/03/19.

He then went onto say that he felt my document proposals were grammatically disjointed and were embarrassing. I feel it because he didn't actually understand the technical aspect.

I have 1.5 hours worth of meeting riddles like this.

From me starting in early October to my review in early March to today where I don't know what's happening, where does this leave me? how long can they wait to decide what they want to do? are they allowed to give generic goals and then say I have failed?

  • 2
    When he mentioned your "softer side", was he maybe talking about soft skills? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_skills
    – user34587
    Mar 20, 2019 at 10:06
  • 1
    Quick question: do you get paid less while on probation? And what country are you in?
    – nvoigt
    Mar 20, 2019 at 10:38
  • 1
    In some jurisdictions there is a maximum amount of time that a person can be on probation and considered at-will employment. Mar 20, 2019 at 11:02
  • "he felt my document proposals were grammatically disjointed" this would be a fair criticism of your question stated here, so writing may well be an area that needs improvement, even if the technical content is accurate. Mar 20, 2019 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


From me starting in early October to my review in early March to today where I don't know what's happening, where does this leave me? how long can they wait to decide what they want to do?

Wait, question to you: what did you do in this time period? It cannot be true that you realized the gaps just now (after they approached you for review), so what did you do to remedy the problem when you realized? Did you get in touch with your manager / superior? Did you try to convey that you're not clear / satisfied with the targets?

are they allowed to give generic goals and then say I have failed?

No, ideally, they are not, however, goal settings is a two-way process. It is not something that is "imposed upon", rather, it's discussed over a meeting and "agreed upon". If that's not the case, well, then there is absolutely zero guarantee that anyone can meet the given targets.

From your description, it very mush sounds like your reviewer intentionally wanted to sound cryptic which is not something that is the target of a review meeting. A review meeting has to be

  • Specific (not about generic behavior / comments)
  • Clear (No fancy language, no hidden meanings etc. )
  • Honest (Direct and courteous)

Other than that, the meeting is useless.

You MUST ask for a clear review, including a scale-based review on the KPIs (key performance indicators, nomenclature may vary) you were given. If you did not had any, it's the time to ask. Mention that you need to know the specifics of the shortcomings, to plan your improvement process.


Something to remember is that generally speaking, during probation period, you are employed at-will, meaning they can fire you without cause. If he wanted to fire you, he could do so very easily.

You need to check both the conditions of your contract and in addition applicable laws to ensure that they can extend your probation period.

Don't sign anything after your probation period has ended, extending it.

You said some of your review was good, and some was bad. You probably need to expand upon the bad.

It's possible he is one of those obtuse management types, that do speak in riddles. While I don't recommend you "drink the kool aid", you can attempt to follow his rationale. There may be company material that speaks about these buzzwords. I have been in a corporate environment where there were slogans, and all kids of crap, but within them was a core message that you could unpack and things you can target.

You will only damage yourself if you get into your own head and convince yourself that he wants to fire you. He just sounds like a poor communicator.

I would avoid using any negative language around him. Don't complain about things.

It's also not good that you have no goals. At the very least, you should have some personal work-related goals, and that comes to how you want to develop in your role as a professional. This is completely your space.

In addition, there should be business goals that you can work towards, and ideally they should overlap.

Maybe you've got no goals from the company, but you still need to have an aim to improve. To be honest, some people reach a point in their life where they want to come in, do their square 9-5, but bosses have expectations that people glide into work looking for ways to progress their skills.

I like the S.M.A.R.T. acronym when it comes to goal setting:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Speak to your HR team to see if there is a template that can be filled out for this.

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