6 Recommendations for Dealing with a PIP

by Evil HR Lady on July 29, 2015

I was previously on a performance improvement plan (PIP) and just yesterday was given 90 days to improve or be fired. Honestly, I love my work however my boss has a low perception of me and I don’t feel the situation is mendable.  Still getting over it…

I have a masters and BS in engineering so I am 70% sure that I can find a new job but I had a question about severance. Do you think I should hold out for the severance pay and is there going to be any? 

Or should I quit now because I’m totally over it and a little concerned how future employers will see it.

To read the answer, click here: 6 Recommendations for Dealing with a PIP

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Horse Tense July 30, 2015 at 6:06 am

Oh man Evil HR Lady! Add this the list of things I wish I’d known in the day…

In my case my former boss trotted out one PIP after another, until I eventually wound up being on three seperate PIP’s at one time (the first one even before my 3 month probation was up, the other two just before my 6 month mark) …

Partly because there were no expiration dates on the first two (thanks to your article I see why) and there was no obligation to take me off or even acknowledge my improvement, there seemed to be no end to this road.

After finding out the boss had been grooming my replacement almost from the start, and coming to terms with the mistake I’d made accepting the job in the first place (I left the first interview in tears), I quit shortly after being placed on the third PIP.

I reasoned that if I waited to to be offered another position, I would be waiting years, in which time I would be fired without severance, ineligible for unemployment, a termination on my record, and having my confidence destroyed.

The idea of all of this, was overwhelming, so in the end, I figured it would be best to just own up and leave so they could put who they wanted in my spot and I could move on with my life.

I am still not sure it wasn’t the right choice in my situation at the time, but now that I have read this and your other articles, I can see that none of these things (PIP’s, being fired, etc.) have to equal the end of the world.

Thank you.


Daniel July 30, 2015 at 5:17 pm

I admit I was a bit mystified as to why the OP and the comment above mentioned severance. Unless it is stated as part of the hiring agreement or PIP, severance is usually reserved (if at all) for layoff situations. A PIP is seen as exactly what it is: A performance improvement plan.
Like a disciplinary action, an employee does not have to agree to the content of the PIP or even any wrongdoing, but if that person intends to keep their job, they need to acknowledge the contents and agree to make the changes stated.
As for quitting, that’s really a personal decision but as Suzanne stated, it doesn’t look very good in the eyes of a prospective employer or recruiter. BUT, and here’s the big BUT, if one feels that the situation is untenable and that acknowledging the PIP will not lead to a positive result, it is probably best to move on, if economically feasible.
The only thing that I would advise anyone is to have a network of peers in the community (and even in a larger geographical area) so that a new job could be had more quickly.
Above all, keep a clear head and neutral emotions. Good luck.


Horse Tense July 30, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Yeah, actually I never even heard of severance, until I started reading Evil HR Lady, Ask a Manager, etc.

Well… I guess I’d heard of it in Soap Operas, and Mad Men, so until recently, severance was quite a fantastical idea or an outdated concept, and certainly not something that would apply to me.

Frankly up until a month ago, I think the most I’d ever seen anybody get was a: “Thank you for your years of dedicated service, we probably won’t contest your unemployment claim,” and a week’s worth of job counseling services.


strangers with candy August 1, 2015 at 1:03 am

I would add make sure the objectives are measurable rather than subjective. My bf was on one at the toxic job he left last year and there were only two things on it and neither were measurable can’t remember the one but the other was “respond to customer red alerts faster” but verbally evil boss had told him within seven minutes!!! This was humanly impossible- he could be in a meeting on another customer crisis call or in the crapper! He actually asked HR to rewrite the whole thing and then quit the next week having never signed any of it because he was just doomed


Engineer Girl August 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm

It bothers me that the OP is so casual about the whole thing – “Oh well, I guess I can get another job elsewhere.” A PIP signifies that the boss is unhappy and the OP should be concerned about that.
The problems that are leading to a PIP in this job could well end up causing problems in the next. A string of terminations will look very bad on the resume, making it harder and harder to get a job in a chosen field (or any job).
I would suggest that the OP pay close attention to what is in the PIP and try to find the root cause for correction. Is it sloppiness? That is a killer in an engineer job. Is it rework? Again, in engineering it is a significant problem.
The OP seems to blame this as the manager’s perception problem instead of doing some soul searching to see if this could be a true performance issue.


marymary October 10, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Quite often, they just want to get rid of you and you won’t win. Ever heard of stealth redundancies? So, stall for time and look for another job. Don’t take it personally. Or even seriously. Just appear to take it seriously while you stall for time. This is just one person’s opinion. Coincidence has made said person your boss, other than that they’re nothing to you really..
It doesn’t matter how great you are at your job: everyone has been late, or sick, or said the wrong thing, or forgot something, or annoyed someone, or surfed the net at work. If they want you out they will find something and use it against you.


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