I recently got one and am thinking of sticking around 2-4 months, getting some feedback on those things, and then heading off to a new company for a fresh start. What did you do when you got a negative review/what would you do?

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    There are good answers, but it would still be useful to provide more information. There are many different types of negative performance review, from being told you're awful in a very insulting way, to a vague "something's wrong but we're not really sure what we're going to do", to being offered practical help to improve. It's natural that responses will differ according to the type of review. It will also depend how much you like the job, or want to succeed at it (e.g. you need to progress through it to get where you want to be) - whether to cut and run will depend on that.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 9 '20 at 16:54
  • "What would you do" questions are generally off-topic here. A more constructive question might be "How can I recover from a negative performance review?" Even then, we'd need more details in order to help guide you. Depending on the situation, a negative performance review could mean they've already made up their minds to fire you or it could mean they want to give you motivation and constructive feedback to help you succeed. Or something in between. Dec 9 '20 at 17:27
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    Were you put on a performance improvement plan, in which you have to meet improvement goals by a certain date? Dec 9 '20 at 18:01

What did you do when you got a negative review/what would you do?

That depends on the review. Is it something actionable that I am able and willing to improve? Then I try my best to improve. You can improve yourself and even get paid while you do it. Isn't that great?

On the other hand side, if it's something that you cannot improve (maybe because it's just a vague feeling your boss has or because while measurable, you are actually unable to do change it) then it is time to discuss this and if your boss still upholds it, it's time to move on. You are being set up for failure, no point in waiting for that plan to unfold.

If it's something you don't want to improve, then it's time to look for another job, too. But in this case, you could try a different job, maybe with the same company. A good company will know you are a good worker, just not in that job, and they might give you a different one where you don't need that particular skill. For example, I went from developer, to manager, back to developer and then to architect, all in the same company, because I found that while I know what it takes to be a good manager, I really don't like to do that as a day job. And the company was happy to put me in a different position because they knew I am a good worker and good with tech. Just not happy with managing people.

So to sum it up: Are you able and willing to improve? Go do it. Otherwise, find another job.

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    Otherwise, find another job. the only problem with running away from a negative review is that, you can never really get rid of one, and after a while, you'll be seen as a job hopper without any real success story in your portfolio. Sure, one or two cases are fine, but if this becomes a trend, a retrospect is needed to figure out the how and why part. Dec 9 '20 at 7:53
  • @SouravGhosh if you change job isn't that a way to get rid of a negative review? And if someone isn't performing then shouldn't they find a job they like and can perform well?
    – user439
    Dec 9 '20 at 8:04
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    @JeremyThompson 1) there's no guarantee that in the new job you'll get a positive review, as you don;t know what got you the negative review in first place 2) we don't know that the existing job was not good/ OP did not perform well. Sure, if it's a poor management, we can try luck somewhere else, but in case it's some shortcoming from OP's side, that negative review is not going to leave OP's side. Dec 9 '20 at 8:07
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    @SouravGhosh I have over two decades of different experience. Some workplaces I excelled, tough high calibre roles and others supposedly easier I worked 3 times harder for 1/3rd the output. OP sounds like they're going to address the items in next 2-4 months and I'd agree, its just as likely it might not be a good fit and starting off on the right foot somewhere else could make the perf improve.
    – user439
    Dec 9 '20 at 8:13

IMO the answer isn't a simple one, but: Not persé, it depends.

  • If they're setting you up to get rid of you, then it's likely in your best interest to start looking around. You could fight them etc, but the vibe would be bad from that point on, even if you're right
  • If they had remarks about something you don't really care about (eg they want you to do blue things, but you want to specialize in red things) then you might want to consider looking around. Not because of the review, but because you simply might not be a good fit. No judgement, just factual, not every company/person is a good match. This is something you can explain to your current employer. Maybe they can use a 'red'-guy, maybe not.
  • If they had remarks about something legit and they want to help you improve those, I see no reason to leave. There is no shame in not being good at something. Someone who lacks skills, but then learns them shows effort and motivationfor their job. Someone who gets feedback and instead of shrugging it off does something with it (we used to have a 'feedback is a gift' poster here) could get a positive image. Going to another company would reset al that
  • If they had remarks about something legit and despite your effort you keep a bad reputation, then maybe you could start looking around.

Understandably it doesn't feel good to get a bad review. I suggest in all cases to let it sink in a few days and to think it over. Could they be right (and must you not let ego convice you they're wrong)? What is the context? Can you use this feedback to improve yourself, either for this job and/or a future one?

TLDR; Nothing wrong with being the guy who's actively improving himself, contrary even: that could be a positive thing.

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