From time to time, I get queries like this:
“Hi Cathy. Six months ago I had a bad performance review. Now I am on a performance improvement plan. Attached is the letter from HR. Can you help?”
I positively hate these messages because by this time, there’s not much we can do. I encourage everyone to hire a lawyer to negotiate settlements, references and anything that will make the transition easier. Often employers have already seen the writing on the wall. In fact, it’s in their own handwriting. They may make concessions if you are willing to resign immediately. For example:
- 90 days on the payroll with no responsibilities (when you might be on a 60-day warning period)
- extra severance if you’ve been employed a long time
- outplacement or independent career consulting servic
Other emails and phone calls begin, “Hi Cathy. I just got a bad performance review. It’s a first for me! How do I respond? What do I do?”
Now I can probably help. You have time to search for a new job, mend fences, decide if you really need to change or if it’s just a political game, and do all sorts of things to preserve your finances and well-being. If you decide to leave, your employer will probably also agree to offer a noncommittal reference if anyone calls. When I work one-to-one with clients we discuss ways to address the reference question as well as how to transition to a new job.
Each situation is different. And it takes more than a few minutes to identify the challenge and build a solution. Therefore, I offer the career strategy consultation. Just one call can make a huge difference in outcomes, although each person’s situation and results will be unique. Often a small investment in the early stages will save a lot of pain later.