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It’s the meeting that some people fear or dread in their careers: your yearly evaluation. Receiving a bad performance assessment makes the experience even worse, especially if you were not expecting negative feedback. After the meeting, you may feel blindsided, upset, and even anxious about your job security. In order to turn the experience into a positive one, here are some tips to remember during and after your negative performance review.

At the Meeting

It’s natural to want to become defensive during your review if you receive negative feedback, especially if you don't agree with what is being said. However, whatever you may be feeling, stay calm. I repeat stay calm and stay composed. Snapping at your boss, crying, or arguing won’t help your cause at all and may result in something worse: getting fired.

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Instead, ask questions and get clarification on the feedback. In order to understand how you can improve your performance, it is critical to comprehend what is actually being said about your work. You can’t fix what you don’t know needs fixing! In some cases, supervisors may put you on a formal plan, outlining the next steps to better your work. If not, take the initiative to ask your boss for guidance or set up a follow-up meeting to check in whether you’ve been making progress.

After the Review

Take a day or two to digest what was said about your performance. Stepping away from the conversation and reflecting on their comments may give you perspective. While it may seem the feedback was negative in the initial meeting, you may realize it's constructive and valid.

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Of course we all like to think we’re giving our job 110 percent and we're so good at what we do. However, we’re human and make mistakes, so we shouldn’t be too surprised there are always ways to improve our performance. Take in their feedback and self-evaluate your performance. Does your supervisor have valid points such as tardiness or problems with a certain skill set? Ask a co-worker or friend their opinion to get a neutral opinion. This self-evaluation will help determine how you move forward.

Move Forward

After the dust has settled, think about your future with the company and your career in general.  After your self-evaluation, did you realize the feedback was valid and essential to your career growth? If so, develop a personal plan to make this negative experience into a positive one. For instance, if you’re having problems using a certain software program, take some extra training to get caught up to speed. This small hurdle in your career can spring you back into the direction you need to be going.

However, you may realize that something is off. Have you always felt your job/boss/company wasn’t the best fit for you and this solidified your feelings? Do you not even enjoy what you do for a living, which could explain your constant tardiness? This experience can be a crossroads for you to make the jump to another company or career. Again, what you thought was a negative experience can catapult you to a new and positive changes.

Remember, a bad performance evaluation does not mean this is the end of your job or career. Staying calm during your meeting and asking for clarification will be essential to how you move forward. Spend a few days reflecting on what was said and perform a self-evaluation on your performance. Once you’ve spent some time digesting the information, decide how you want to move forward whether it a formal performance plan or looking for a new job or career. Everything happens for a reason, amigas. Learn from this and realize this is an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one!

Sasha Monik Moreno is a Founding Creator and career and education blogger. When she's not sharing her advice on Vivala.com, you can find her at themodernlatina.com.