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I just got bad feedback - help me feel better?

(154 Posts)
sadannie Wed 01-Jul-20 18:40:16

Not an AIBU but posting for traffic (sorry) - also NC.

I moved into a consulting job in September. The company is very tough with its hiring and mainly hires privately educated Oxbridge grads. I am a pupil premium BAME, one of the only women in the department, but qualified in the profession at another huge firm. I was brought in as experienced hire.

The field is entirely different to what I'm used to, however they know this as they specifically hire from my firm in my department for our different skills. I went through a rigorous process to get the job and I really enjoy it. Although, I often feel like an intruder and have very little confidence in my ability.

I worked on a project which was thoroughly challenging but we got it done well. I just had my feedback session and he said how I'm excellent in many ways but then commented on my improvements. The thing I need to improve is the knowledge gap between the two jobs... the same as every other experienced hire. However, he is taking the feedback form very literally where others wouldn't and is going to give me a rating that sounds fair but will stop me getting promoted (you get promoted every year and it's a shock if you don't, usually the person will leave) - he has said he doesn't want it to stop me getting promoted and will add a comment to say it shouldn't. I've argued that it would make more sense to give me the rating that ensures I do still get promoted but to put a comment that says I have XYZ to work on. He won't do that.

I'm very upset. I have excellent feedback in other projects but it doesn't really matter when considering this... I have GAD and OCD and will obsess over this and it is a further blow to my already dwindling confidence.

Does any one have any advice?

OP’s posts: |
magicmallow Wed 01-Jul-20 18:46:09

Sounds like you need the support of a union or professional HR advisor. Sounds awful.

Hope things improve for you OP.

Twizbe Wed 01-Jul-20 18:50:31

Hiya

I've recruited for one of the top consulting firms (MBB) and I was a consultant at a big four.

I was an experienced hire at the big four firm. I also didn't get promoted in my first eligible round for something I didn't think was fair (I was on mat leave too at the time) it totally sucked and was a hard pill to take for sure.

I know there is a huge focus on promotion and it can really feel like you're massively failing if you don't get promoted with your cohort. That said, I actually think now that they were right and in many ways not getting promoted at that time made my return easier.

Do you have a professional development person or a coach / mentor that you can speak to about it? I found as an EH it really did take me about a year to shift my mindset and understand the game a bit more.

PumpkinPie2016 Wed 01-Jul-20 18:52:01

Sorry to hear this OP. I would suggest you speak to HR or your union if you belong to one.

sadannie Wed 01-Jul-20 18:52:48

@Twizbe yes, I do have a coach who I'm discussing it with in the morning.

The general unwritten rule here is if you don't get promoted you leave. It's quite a snobby place in that regard and there's a lot of gossip if you don't get promoted that would make it impossible to stay.

The very sad thing is that if I had joined the company in August I'd have already been promoted to the position I'm currently going for but I missed the cut off (can't be promoted in Q4)

OP’s posts: |
Twizbe Wed 01-Jul-20 19:02:13

sadannie

*@Twizbe* yes, I do have a coach who I'm discussing it with in the morning.

The general unwritten rule here is if you don't get promoted you leave. It's quite a snobby place in that regard and there's a lot of gossip if you don't get promoted that would make it impossible to stay.

The very sad thing is that if I had joined the company in August I'd have already been promoted to the position I'm currently going for but I missed the cut off (can't be promoted in Q4)


Is it one of MBB? I worked for M and I know it's tough come the 2 promotion times and the snobbiness.

It is possible to stay and get through it - I know several that have but it takes some balls and some good support from your coach

sadannie Wed 01-Jul-20 19:05:57

@Twizbe no it isn't! But it's a similar one and only hires from Big 4 (where I come from)

I just feel like my intruder syndrome is worse now!

OP’s posts: |
RNBrie Wed 01-Jul-20 19:06:33

Can you ask him what the formal process is for challenging a rating you don't believe to be fair?

I'd phrase it something along the lines of - I respect that you need to stand by the rating you've determined for me, however I'd like to know what the process is if I disagree with how the criteria have been applied to me? Is there a contact in HR I can reach out to? I don't want to make life difficult for either of us, but this rating seems to really impact my future with the company so it's really important to me that I fully understand the ramifications.

My experience is that conversations like this usually result in a renegotiation... generally managers don't want the scrutiny of HR in such matters.

jacks11 Wed 01-Jul-20 19:07:31

Do you think the feedback is fair? Do you understand the reasons he has given (even if you don’t agree with him)? As someone who has to give feedback and ratings, which can decide someone’s career progression, I must say that I understand why he has to stand by the rating he has given and is refusing to change it, if that is genuinely his opinion of your performance. If you think it an accurate reflection, then I think you have to accept it and decide what to do- stick it out (even with the gossip) or find another position. If you feel it is inaccurate, you can try and challenge it- perhaps your mentor could help with that?

By way of encouragement though, OP, I would also say to you that I have “failed” people who I actually think have a lot of potential as they have a specific issue which is holding them back/needing addressing or there are reasons why I think they are not quite ready for progression. I can’t just ignore any concerns I have, but there should be support put in place to try and ensure the issues are addressed, if the person is willing and able to try.

ItsmineAllmine Wed 01-Jul-20 19:10:49

I'm not familiar with the big 4 culture so may be missing the point here but you've said that the rating he has given you sounds fair. So is it? If so, surely that's then something you address and work on.

Brefugee Wed 01-Jul-20 19:14:36

How sure are you that what he is saying to your face (I don't want this to stop your promotion) is just flannel. He KNOWS what the grade means, you KNOW what the grade means, everyone KNOWS what it means: if you get that grade you'll be expected to leave.

Union? Make sure that your objections to the grading are noted in writing. I'm afraid it sounds to me that he's saying all the "right" things but he doesn't want to keep you.

ItsmineAllmine Wed 01-Jul-20 19:19:51

'I often feel like an intruder and have very little confidence in my ability'

You clearly are in a very good job, in a prestigious company. You went through a rigorous process to get there (they obviously don't just give jobs to anyone) and the majority of feedback you got during your review was that you were excellent. Not good, not middling, but excellent. You need to focus on that - all your achievements and all the positive feedback you were given - and not hone in solely on the one area he has suggested you can improve.

purplepeopleeaters Wed 01-Jul-20 19:20:20

I am a pupil premium

Why do you describe yourself as something that you were years ago at school? Your employer won't know that unless you go around telling them and surely there is more than defines you than the fact that your school got extra money to provide you with additional support?

managedmis Wed 01-Jul-20 19:21:26

Sounds awful

I guess the money's amazing

Thinkingabout1t Wed 01-Jul-20 19:22:32

I've no advice to give because I don't know the area, sadannie. But I hope your union rep or HR can sort this out for you satisfactorily. If not, I hope you can just write it ff to experience and go on to get a better job. brew

Thinkingabout1t Wed 01-Jul-20 19:23:13

write it off to experience

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Wed 01-Jul-20 19:23:23

Fucking hell that's terrible. Is this not a form of constructive dismissal?

Who died and made him the decision-maker on your career?

Please get legal advice.

jacks11 Wed 01-Jul-20 19:27:39

I’ve had a few people try to get me to change their mind with a veiled “suggestion” that if I don’t change their assessment to suit, that they will have to go to HR. It doesn’t often work in their favour- I’m more than happy for HR to scrutinise my assessment, as I try my best to be accurate and fair.

If OP is going to try it then she’d want to be sure that the assessment/feedback/ recommended outcome is incorrect.

If the person discussed why they disagreed with the assessment/ outcome with me at the appropriate meeting , then I would certainly listen and consider their points. I may or may not change my mind, but I would take the time to listen and I would be more than happy to explain the reasoning behind my conclusions. It sounds like the assessor may have done that, as OP has asked him to change his assessment and he declined.

If the person I was assessing tried to manipulate me into changing my assessment by suggesting they’d go to HR and try to get my assessment overturned/cause me an issue, in the hope of getting me to renegotiate, I don’t think it would help their cause much. Of course, it is fine to contact HR if you genuinely have a query or problem- but if so, do that directly and don’t use it in a faux innocent way to let your assessor know your going to take it further. If you need to challenge their assessment, after talking it over, then get on and do it.

ComeBackIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 01-Jul-20 19:36:23

Did you go to Oxbridge too? I'm trying to get a sense of how untypical within the company culture you are. I suggest you talk to your coach about why it is that (it seems) they apply some leeway to the appraisal form for other hires but not for you, a BAME woman. Your coach may have some advice on whether (perhaps) going down the grievance route will make things better or worse.

BBCONEANDTWO Wed 01-Jul-20 19:39:47

Why would you be expected to leave? I don't understand that. Can't you stay and get promoted next time?

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 01-Jul-20 19:41:53

Jacks
I get what you’re saying, however, I think this probably sounds like a very different situation. It sounds as if op has nothing to lose by talking to hr for clarification and discuss her prospects within the organisation.

MaggieAndHopey Wed 01-Jul-20 19:42:48

Is this a bad time to ask what consulting firms actually do? It always sounds like one of those impressive-sounding but mystifying professions to me. What might a project involve, and how can you tell if it's gone well?

BlitterBug Wed 01-Jul-20 19:45:53

he is taking the feedback form very literally where others wouldn't

I expect he knows exactly what he is doing - that you will not get promoted and will leave the company. All the "you're excellent in many ways etc etc" is standard shit sandwiching to soften the blow. He knows, you know.

The trouble is that without seeing the quality of your work, and being able to judge it as experienced assessors, we simply cannot say whether or not he is being unfair. You've included a lot of information that suggests you think he has discriminated based on your background. He might have. But he also might not. None of us know. It sounds like a place with exceptionally high expectations and many very talented people will not make the grade.

Discussing it with your coach is a good first step. Ask them to be brutally honest with you.

nervousnelly8 Wed 01-Jul-20 19:49:15

What has the pupil premium BAME and a woman got to do with it? Is there something which makes you think one of these things has influenced your feedback/rating?

Kasparovski Wed 01-Jul-20 19:56:37

BF is partner for a big 4. All promotions are on hold. Grad recruitment slashed. Lots of paycuts just to retain jobs.....a lot of the client work / contracts have dried up. Are you sure, in the current climate that you are being realistic about this? You may find in the coming weeks an awful lot of people not moving up the ladder but just being grateful to hang onto their jobs.

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