Hi everyone. We're back with more free advice. (You get what you pay for, kids!)
I'm sorry about this. It's very difficult to work 40 - 65+ hours a week and feel unappreciated or undervalued. It blows.
Before we decide if you submit the rebuttal, let's assess a few things together:
1) How do you know that your boss is gossiping? You probably do. So I am not second-guessing you. But I will say this: I recently moved into an office next to my own boss's office. I love him. He's rad. BUT, I can *barely* hear him and often, I think, "What is going on in there? Who is that strange new voice? Who is in there talking to him. ARE WE ALL GETTING FIRED." Paranoia. I am so not getting fired. He was just having a goddamn meeting. It was just standard office paranoia. Let's make sure you rule out the possibility that your boss isn't really gossiping about you.
2) If this behavior is happening, then the next thing to figure out is the most important: If you present this "rebuttal" will she be open to it? You probably already know the answer to this. If the answer is anything from "probably not" to "no way" then you shouldn't. Why? Because it is likely that she is unwilling to receive this information from you and unwilling to change her point of view.
Next, when you say you work your ass off, are you confident you are doing the things that are important to your boss? If you are working your ass off on the wrong things, then it doesn't matter if you are working your ass off. If you are working you ass off from a hospital, it doesn't matter if you are working your ass off from a hospital if you are working on the wrong thing or delivering average work. Success at work happens in two dimensions:
1) What you do (performance)
2) How you do it (leadership/ your work style)
You need to do the right things (things your boss values) in the right way (with a style your boss/company appreciates and values).
If you got a bad review, then you're not performing to her standard in either or both of those areas. This doesn't mean you're a bad employee or can't made good contributions. You just need her to articulate what she wants in those two dimensions. And then you need to execute against those expectations.
The best thing to do is set up a follow up meeting where you offer no rebuttal. In fact, everything that comes out of your mouth should be a question. You should ask questions to isolate what good performance would mean to her, in terms of what you are expected to do and how you are expected to do it. You should be very open to the feedback. Nod. Listen. Really listen. Don't explain anything. Just ask and listen. Don't think of yourself as her employee. Think of yourself as a consultant. She is your client. Listen to what she wants. If she's not good at telling you, you need to draw it out of her.
THEN, once you and she are both clear on what she expects, go do it for three months. Then ask for feedback on recent performance. If she tells you that your work has improved and you're meeting expectations, congratulations. No rebuttal is needed.
Let's look again at part of your comment:
A rebuttal is just a fancy word for an argument. You can't argue at work. You have to perform. Only your performance will convince her.
(Unless she's crazy, immature, or very undeveloped as a manager with no demonstrated success helping people advance their careers. In that case, do everything I said above and just keep working until you find another job.)
How's my driving so far?