Subscribe to Inc. magazine

10 Dumbest Salary Review Comments

Some bosses say the darnedest things during yearly performance reviews.

Want to feel good about your management skills (or those of your boss)? No matter what happens, you probably won't say (or hear) anything as stupid as these real-life comments made during real-life salary reviews:

10. "Yes, I know you are my best employee and you train all our new employees.  However, I don't see how that qualifies you for a raise."

9. "That's right, no raise this year. Maybe next year when you come off that high horse, you'll get my coffee when I ask you to."

8. "No, I'm not going to send your staff off for training. Those idiots have no idea what they're doing!"

7. "No, we don't promote family members first. It's just coincidence."

6. "I've got great news. You managed to avoid a salary decrease."

5. "Before you came to my department, you were such a shining star--full of new ideas and enthusiasm. What happened to you?"

4. "I don't care if you worked nights and weekends to meet an impossible deadline.  Around here, hard work doesn't count, only results."

3. "I don't know why you are complaining about the small raise. Your wife is working and I know that with both of your salaries, you guys make more than me."

2. "I'm very disappointed in your communication skills. Not once during the year did you ask me to review your shortcomings. Now I'm forced to rate you poorly in all those categories."

1. "This is a salary review. Let's not focus on the money."

If I recall correctly, this list originally came from listener call-ins to a business radio show that I co-hosted a few years back on WRKO in Boston.

Like this post? If so, sign up for the free Sales Source newsletter.

Last updated: May 20, 2013


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: