Posted on: April 18, 2024 Posted by: Christina Bronner Comments: 0

The Struggle Is Real: Dealing with Unfair Criticism at Work

Photo by T.R.U.E. Photography

Hey there, Upscale family! I’m Watchen Nyanue Hampton, and welcome to my career advice column here with Upscale Magazine. Think of me as your work bestie for all things career – from real talk about climbing that corporate ladder to juggling life, work, and everything in between. I’ve been there and done that, and I’m here to share it all with you. I currently run “I Choose the Ladder,” a boutique consulting firm in Chicago that does employee retention, development, and engagement work for companies like Nike, McDonald’s, and Best Buy. You can learn more about me here.


Question of the month: Hi Watchen, I just got feedback from my manager, and I’m so upset. She has been MIA all year and has canceled my one-on-one meetings. Even though I send her weekly update emails with a detailed document attached with everything I have going on, she said I am not “proactive” and transparent enough. It’s not my fault that she doesn’t read her emails. I don’t know what else to do, but I’m over it. What do I do now? – Bri


Answer: Hi Bri, Thank you for your question. I know it can be frustrating to feel like you are doing everything you can to meet expectations and still feel like it’s not good enough. If you know me, you know my instinct is always to assume positive intent, so let’s assume your boss is not trying to be malicious in her feedback.

Photo by T.R.U.E. Photography


I would start by asking my boss how she would like me to present my updates. If a detailed emailed document isn’t accomplishing what you need it to, you have to find another way to get the information across. Remember, at the end of the day, we are focused on getting the result that we intend and are not married to the method by which we get the result. Next, I would make sure that I am documenting and keeping a record of everything. You only have control over your actions, so if you are proactively trying to connect with your boss, but for whatever reason, it’s not happening, you want to make sure that is properly documented. Lastly, I would spend some time thinking about what accountability could look like for your boss. This is where I would lean on the guidance of a mentor or sponsor, maybe someone knowledgeable on the office dynamics and politics, to help advise you on your options.


Good luck,