When You Get An Appraisal You Don’t like4 min read

Appraisal Review

I am not sure if you are familiar with this story.

You take your job very seriously and work very hard to deliver on whatever targets your boss sets for you. Perhaps, you even suffer occasionally the curse of the tunnel vision that keeps you at work late into the night. After all this, you expect that the next appraisal should earn you that promotion you think you deserve.

As it would turn out, my tales have not always turned out that way. On a number of occasions, I have gotten appraisal outcomes I did not like. So, what did I do?

I can’t always say I have responded well when this happens. A couple of times, I start with a few days of anger mixed with sadness. Anger because a part of me feel cheated and sadness as a sense of self-pity starts to creep in. So, what is the right response to a bad appraisal outcome?

An appraisal outcome is first and foremost a perception of your capabilities and results from the perspective of those who see you. Because it is a perception, it should not define you, rather it should refine you. But this sounds really nice when you get an appraisal outcome you like. Here are my thoughts based on having lived through the emotions of seemingly missed opportunities.

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1. Your Boss Is Not Your Boss

No matter what you think about your job, your real boss is God (Col 3:22). This means it’s ok for you to bellow out all your frustrations to God. So, the first thing is to acknowledge the feelings of anger, sadness and any other that comes with the appraisal outcome. This is because if they are not expressed and dealt with, they may evolve into bitterness for the job, your boss or the company. Bitterness has a way of eating you alive and reducing your productivity even more.

The prophet Jeremiah got appraisals he did not like the people God told him to prophesy to. At a point, someone even had him whipped. Jeremiah did not take out his frustrations on the people – he took them to God. By the way, he even cursed the day of his birth (Jer 20:14). But he took it to God.

2. Evaluate Your Time & Season

There are different ways God calls our attention – sometimes He does that when things don’t go as we planned. The bad appraisal outcome could be God telling you it’s time to move and other times it’s just one of those things that happen to you because you are human. Just because you feel under-appreciated doesn’t mean you have to leave the job. It could be the wake-up call to refocus you to the more important things. The most important thing that should resonate in your heart is whether your job still offers you the opportunity to live out God’s call for your life. If it does, then put this bad appraisal as one of those events that come along the way of living out your call. Your life’s call should always be to live a life that honors God while serving the people He brings your way.

Like Jeremiah picked himself up after bellowing out his frustrations to God and doing the work of a prophet, I think we should be ready to do this.

3. Take Action

Once you have gained clarity about your time and season, TAKE ACTION. If you are clear that you need to stay on the job, make up your mind to work with passion. You may need to sit with your supervisor to understand area you need to focus on in the next period. Perhaps, you may even need to train yourself to deliver on some of the action items identified. While doing this, don’t forget that your overarching mission is to work in a manner that honors God while serving the people you interact with at work. People need to be thankful to God that they had the opportunity to work with you.

On the other hand, if you are clear that you need to change jobs – then you need to plan your exit in a way that still helps the company. You need to structure your transition while giving the company the opportunity to re-staff your role. This is just simple courtesy. You don’t do good because people deserve it. You do good because it’s the nature of God at work in you.

I haven’t always followed my advice. I remember stewing in anger and sadness longer than necessary. It affected my work approach but I recovered myself over time. During that time, I got offers from competing companies to move over. Fortunately, I did one thing right during that period – I gained clarity on the season I was in. I knew I was meant to stay on the job no matter how bad I was feeling.

Eventually, everything turned out just right – like God would have wanted it.

That’s a story for another day.


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Tola Akinsulire

A married guy with a precocious son who works his (I mean me, not my son - I bet you know, right?) day job as a financial guy trying to make real estate projects have some sense to the investor. I like to talk about what I learn along the way as I live my faith in life (family, work, friendships, fellowship, community and anything else you can put here).