I work at a company which has performance reviews every 6 months. The performance review scale is like needs help, average/meets expectations, strong. I have been at the company for a few years & always had an average performance review. The previous cycle review for 2nd half of 2023 is coming up soon. I was on vacation in November (1 month) & most of December was a bit slow because of routine, company mandated code freeze/shut downs. So, this time's performance period is about 4 months only for me.

Obviously, I could not accomplish as much as I did on regular months. I want to mention the lost time without sounding like I am making an excuse for achieving less. What is a good way to do that?

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    Why do you think Management isn't already aware of it? No need to dance around it.
    – keshlam
    Jan 29 at 6:07
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    To the close voters: I'm not quite convinced that this is an opinion-based question any more than any on topic workplace question. This is a question about a concrete talking point during a specific workplace-related process. This isn't vague and it isn't an open ended question asking for what to say etc.
    – Flater
    Jan 29 at 23:33
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    @Flater It's funny, because if questions are not opinion based, then the answer is either based on law, or based on policy, which are both also close reasons. From what I can gather, there is no potential for a valid question, just always the option to hammer away questions that people don't like. Jan 30 at 0:12
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    @Flater The question is literally asking people's opinions on how to broach a topic with their employer. Jan 30 at 4:50
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    @Flater I'm saying that everything is opinion-based here - including my answers. The issue is if 5 people think it's an "opinion", then it gets closed. Even though technically every answer (other than those that quote policy or law) are opinion based in some manner (though we can debate to what extent). Jan 31 at 9:16

3 Answers 3


If you were on planned leave, it should be accounted for the expectations of your achievements, and the code freeze/ shutdown is organizaion-wide activity, so that should also be considered while setting the expectations.

If not, there's a problem in setting the expectations. Unfortunately, you cannot do anything now if the expectations are not set properly during the beginning of the cycle.

  • Best case scenario: This is already accounted for, and your review will be done as per your achievements vs expectations.
  • Worst case scenario: Learn from this, and set expectations right next time onwards.
  • Yeah, but sometimes super busy managers forget. So, it does not hurt to put a small note to remind them. I was hoping for a subtle way to do that.
    – MasterJoe
    Feb 1 at 2:34
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    @MasterJoe have the discussion, and if you feel they are missing that part, gently remind them. No need to boil the ocean. Feb 1 at 2:47

Your review should be based on how you worked during your working period, and should not include PTO or office shutdowns. There should be no need to discuss anything about this.

Just focus on how you performed whilst you were not absent. If your performance was average during that 4 months, you should get average.


Performance is a metric of effort delivered over a given time period.

Performance is not a metric of total effort delivered (unrelated to time). Therefore, your argument that a shorter window make it impossible to achieve the same performance falls flat.

What you're arguing is effectively the same as saying "I couldn't have been driving 100mph officer, because I've only been driving for 15 minutes". That's just not how this works.

I want to mention the lost time without sounding like I am making an excuse for achieving less.

But that's precisely what you'd be doing. You would be using a justification that does not actually matter for your performance metric as a way to avoid said performance metric.

IF, and that's a big if, your performance reviewer compares your absolute effort to the absolute effort from a previous review period (which spanned a different amount of time); it's fair to raise this point, because then the reviewer has succumbed to the same mistake that I think your question also has succumbed to, i.e. thinking that performance is measured by amount of effort alone.

But until that point I would not raise that topic because it's going to do you more harm than good.

  • Let me clarify with a contrived example. Its like we have to produce 100 widgets in 6 months. I produced only 65 widgets because of lost time. I just want to figure out a subtle way of reminding the manager in case they forget, which at least some managers do. Its not like doing 100mph for 15mins.
    – MasterJoe
    Feb 1 at 2:31
  • @MasterJoe: The last two paragraphs already respond to that question.
    – Flater
    Feb 1 at 2:37
  • @MasterJoe "Its not like doing 100mph for 15mins" Replace "miles" with "widgets" and replace "hour" with "months". It's the exact same thing: "Its like we have to drive 100 miles in 1 hour. I drove only 25 miles in 15 minutes" The speed (= performance) is exactly the same (100mph) regardless of whether you drove for an hour or only 15 minutes. That's the point that this answer is trying to get at, the total amount of time is irrelevant when it comes to measuring performance. You can raise this same point with the manager if and only if they've proven to have made a mistake here.
    – Flater
    Feb 1 at 2:39

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