They can be so awful, even when they are actually good. Do you get regular performance reviews? Are they actually helpful? Have you ever gotten a really terrible one?
So my condescending, poorly communicating, mercurial boss gave me a bunch of reviews that customers have done on me recently (I've been in the job just over a year, and this is the only feedback I've gotten from anyone so far). Basically, they think I rock. I got almost a perfect score on every metric from every one of them. And of course all I can think about is those few times I got 4/5 instead of 5/5.....
He made some joke about how only one person thought I talked too much, and he thought it was going to be way more. I'm a socially anxious introvert, but no one believes me when I tell them that because I am a GREAT actor (apparently). I am bubbly, over-shary, over-chatty as can be, even at 4am on someone's farm with people I've never met before. It's just exhausting and I prefer not to do it and sometimes dread it for days before and after. I also talk a lot when I'm nervous, and my boss makes me HELLA nervous.
A huge factor for me leaving my old job was when my completely checked-out boss told me in my annual performance review, "The words your co-workers use to describe you are 'annoying' and 'disruptive' and 'abrasive' " ... I pressed for examples, he had none. I managed to hold back the tears until the end of the conversation, then bawled for a good two hours. I scheduled a follow-up meeting to find examples and try to figure out how I could fix this serious issue and my boss then told me he knew this news would bother me, so he purposely told me at the end of a work day, and that he had no examples and that I should just try harder. And that I should just never bring it up again. Perhaps it was a result of my social anxiety, but I started side-eyeing everyone I thought was my friend there. I never felt comfortable in my workplace again.
Ask A Manager recently did a piece on how women are constantly critiqued on their personality in performance reviews. She even singled out how 'abrasive' is the key word used to describe competent women in the workplace. If you read the comments at her blog, there are SO MANY of us that have an experience like mine. It's amazing. And heartbreaking. Here's the original reporting over at Fortune.
Just let this sink in for a minute:
"This kind of negative personality criticism—watch your tone! step back! stop being so judgmental!—shows up twice in the 83 critical reviews received by men. It shows up in 71 of the 94 critical reviews received by women."