Getting a Performance Review

Getting a yearly performance review at your job can seem if not capricious at least stacked against you.

At one corporate insurance job in the 1990s I wasn’t given a pay raise. At all. Zero. Zip. Nada in compensation.

At the job in the law firm library I wasn’t given a promotion. That’s when I obtained my union job. Here the pay raises are set via negotiation for all employees in the union.

Going over my performance review printouts was a case study in how to earn what you’re worth.

It’s been my experience that if you have a union job it’s hard for you to be fired. Unless you have a city job and low seniority and the city is experiencing a financial hardship. Like the coronavirus pandemic that shut down New York City. Then there might be “LIFO” layoffs of the Last in First Out.

Reviewing the performance reviews of two different supervisors can be illuminating.

How is it that one person can give you only a “Satisfactory” overall rating and another person gave you a “+” rating which is better with a few “Superiors” checked off?

You need to have a stronger constitution to deflect not getting a positive performance review.

If you don’t work in a union your job might be on the chopping block in the future if you keep getting sub-par performance reviews.

See: Kennedy Rolland, Florence. The Persuasive Negotiator: Tools and Techniques for Effective Negotiating. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2020. and Dawson, Roger. Secrets of Power Salary Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator 3rd edition. San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2010.

Ideally, you will negotiate a higher salary when the company makes you the job offer. They wanted you and only you. So getting into the habit of negotiating up front is key.

Role-playing this kind of negotiating with a friend or therapist or practicing if possible with a professional could help you become comfortable asking for the money you’re worth.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about creating a side hustle for yourself. I recommend having a second job or income stream to bolster the pay you get from a “day job.”

This is because any time you work for another person your career–and its trajectory and eventual success–is often in their hands.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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