17 Things You Wish You Could Really Write on Performance Reviews

If Dante were writing his Inferno today, I’m certain that performance reviews would make the final cut as one of the circles of Hell.

Companies burn hours and hours of productivity with everyone writing, re-writing, and following up on reviews. I’ve lived through this nightmare from every angle – I’ve been the employee, the manager, AND the HR person helping to execute the process. I can officially confirm that no one, I repeat no one, likes performance reviews.

Now please understand, there are some very good reasons that companies undertake this annual ritual. Feedback is critical for every employee and this data becomes valuable input into the succession planning process. However, neither of these negates the fact that performance reviews are painful for everybody involved.

So, as inspiration for all of you poor folks still searching for the perfect phrases to include in your reviews, I would like to share with you:

17 Things You Wish You Could Really Write on Performance Reviews

  1. Since you clearly enjoy hearing the sound of your voice, instead of a raise, this year we’re giving you a digital recorder.
  2. While I appreciate your attempts at playing devil’s advocate, if you continue to tear apart everyone’s ideas I can no longer guarantee your safety.
  3. When we solicited feedback from your team about your management style, they broke out into a fully choreographed version of “It’s A Hard Knock Life” from the musical Annie.
  4. Since your last manager was too cowardly to tell you the truth, HR won’t let me fire you. However, a year from now, your ass is mine.
  5. Your communication skills would be greatly improved if your breath didn’t smell like you’ve been dunking 1,000 year old eggs into your coffee.
  6. Your reviews before joining this team were quite impressive. Given your performance over the last year, I can only assume that you must have blackmail photos of our senior leaders. Keep up the good work!
  7. We have decided to rename each of your coworkers after a Real Housewife of Atlanta so that perhaps you’ll actually pay attention to what they say.
  8. Because you take credit for everything else that she does, we are giving you Lisa’s maternity leave as well.
  9. Your desk is so messy that you need a GPS to find the phone.
  10. Your attention to detail rivals that of Mr. Magoo.
  11. With so many personalities, it’s surprising that not one of them has a good attitude about work.
  12. We can only give you a raise if you promise to use it to buy a mirror. You clearly have never seen your outfits from the back.
  13. Nobody likes you.
  14. Please review our safety guidelines on lifting heavy objects. We would hate for you to injure yourself as you throw your colleagues under the bus.
  15. It is apparent that your leadership role models are Darth Vader, Mr. Burns, and Moe from the Three Stooges.
  16. Your sales numbers were disappointing. You moved less product than that grandmother on the 3rd floor hawking Girl Scout cookies.
  17. The team has decided to chip in and buy you a membership for Weight Watchers. We all figure that if we have to pull your weight, we’d like there to be less of it.

Whew, I’ve been waiting YEARS to get those off of my chest.

Let’s hear it: what would you add to this list?


You May Also Like…

The Weekly Word: Struggle

The Weekly Word: Struggle

Thanks to social media we live in a world where everyone is on display. But what those carefully curated, filtered...

The Weekly Word: Career Goggles

The Weekly Word: Career Goggles

I know how miserable you are. Your boss spends half of the time being an idiot and the other half being unreasonable. ...

The Weekly Word: Moment

The Weekly Word: Moment

For anyone stuck in a snowdrift without wi-fi, please allow me to inform you that yesterday was the annual ritual...


  1. Ele

    #13 is devastatingly succinct. ‘Nobody likes you’ – bye bye!

    • TerraWinston

      Beautiful Eileen, I can’t imagine anyone has ever said anything close this about you!

Contact us


%d bloggers like this: