Spring is annual work review time, when you’ll be called into the boss’ office and evaluated. So here’s what you need to know: 

  • First, you’re being reviewed every day. Just because you’re not having an “official discussion” doesn’t mean you’re not being sized up. 

  • Next, if your company doesn’t schedule regular reviews, don’t ask for one. If you want a raise, schedule a meeting with the boss, but don’t ask to be reviewed. Bosses often use reviews to bring up all the stuff you do wrong – you were late a few days, your sales were down one month, you had that incident with Frank in shipping. It’s hard to come back from criticisms and ask for a raise. 

  • Next, in a performance review, keep quiet. Don’t try to address the boss’ every point with a rebuttal. It’s best to say, “Yes, I see your point” and “I hear you”. Choose your battles wisely – and only speak up if the matter is really important to you. Otherwise, you’ll just come off defensive. And the worst thing you can do is lose your temper. You’ll seem immature and uncooperative. If you have to disagree with something, do it politely and non-defensively. 

  • Also, find things to agree with. If you have been late, cop to it. And say, “You’re right, I’ll be more conscious of my time management.” Being agreeable takes the wind out of the boss’ sails and it’ll be harder for her to be negative. 

  • Now, I already said, not to ask for a raise in the review – but here’s what you can do, say this: “I want you to know I want to take on more responsibility. I’d like to show you I’m capable of career growth. Can you give me some new challenges?” Then, after you successfully take on the new responsibilities – schedule a meeting to ask for that raise.