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I got put on a Performance Improvement Plan this afternoon. What would be the consequences of just putting my computer in a box for the courier and mailing it into my company?

I am a software developer in Canada.

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  • 10
    Well what are the details dude? I mean did you deserve to get put on the PIP? What happened? Explain.
    – JMERICKS
    Jul 12 at 23:01
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    I was once put on a PIP twice in the same job. I was never fired. Just do the PIP and be looking for a new job.
    – dwjohnston
    Jul 13 at 0:06
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    What does PIP stand for?
    – Michael
    Jul 13 at 8:37
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    @Michael usually: Performance Improvement Plan, i.e. you're on notice that you're not doing well enough
    – Chris H
    Jul 13 at 8:40
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    Seems to me the clue is in the second word - "improvement" and therefore the answer to "what should I do?" is "improve" (assuming that the PIP was reasonable). Jul 13 at 9:12
54

Show up, but assume you will be fired and put your main effort into getting the next job. You show up so you continue to make a salary, and so that you can say you're still employed while searching for a job (which will make you both look more attractive as an employee and give you negotiating leverage if an offer is made). Although taking one sick day to process things emotionally wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea.

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    "Although taking one sick day to process things emotionally wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea." This!!! if you find yourself emotionally unstable, which I think is very humane, cause when I feel overstressed or overwhelmed. Rash decision by emotion often fails me so many times. Jul 13 at 8:50
  • "assume you will be fired" <--- This makes no sense. Why would the company put someone on a PIP if they're just going to fire them Jul 13 at 9:45
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    @Persistence Because in some work environments, that's part of the process. Regulations (be they imposed by law or by union contracts or self-imposed) might prevent to fire someone without good reasons and documentation that those reasons exist. A personal improvement plan is a method to construct such reasons and document them.
    – Philipp
    Jul 13 at 9:51
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    The pip is indeed often the corridor towards the exit door...
    – Laurent S.
    Jul 13 at 11:49
  • @Persistence - the PIP may be, as mentioned by others, a necessary part of the firing process. In many cases, if they want you to improve, they (usually this means your direct boss) will work with you without this formal process, to encourage you to improve. That said, some companies may use the PIP to encourage improvement, though I do not remember having seen this in action.
    – Basya
    Jul 13 at 13:00
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Should I even show up tomorrow?

Yes, you should show up at work tomorrow if you have not got a new job offer yet, and if you still need the paychecks to pay the bills. Even if you no longer love this current job, it still is a source of income.

While you are working for this company on PIP, please make sure to look for a new job outside work hours.

If you quit now, it may be awhile till you get a good job offer in this COVID time as you know. So, it is a good idea to hang on to this current job as long as you can while actively looking for a better job.

I don't see why you should quit right away tomorrow unless the work environment is too hostile or toxic, and causes you tremendous stresses that significantly affect your mental and physical health.

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    Also, while you are looking for a new job, make sure to learn your lessons so that you never repeat whatever earned you the PIP in the first place. Getting fired once is kinda bad, getting fired twice in a row for the same reason is a disaster.
    – TooTea
    Jul 13 at 10:32
  • "If you quit now, it may be awhile till you get a good job offer in this COVID time as you know." - If it wasn't hard enough to find a job, it will be even tougher to find that job, when ask "so why did you leave your last position?"; You can try to omit the reason you left, but that only works until the hiring manager from Company A, doesn't know somebody from current company.
    – Donald
    Jul 13 at 15:22
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In many cases, a PIP is a thinly veiled information gathering to build a file to fire you for cause. Unless your company is has a history of people surviving PIPs, your chances are slightly better chance than computing the last digit of Pi in your head.

That said, go to work, do your job, and follow the PIP to the LETTER and give them no excuse to fire you. You want to survive this long enough to find another job. Politics is the art of saying "nice doggy" while looking for a rock.

The ideal situation would be if you could manage to survive the PIP to completion as some companies will ask if you are currently on a PIP, and that will kill your application, but don't bet on surviving, get out ASAP.

In the future, look for the warning sigs of an impending PIP:

  • Bad feedback or no feedback
  • Left out of conversations
  • Coworkers refusing to grant assistance
  • Left out of group meetings
  • Reduced responsibilities
  • General feeling of getting the "cold shoulder"
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    What do you mean by Politics is the art of saying "nice doggy" while looking for a rock.? That sounds quite cruel.
    – gerrit
    Jul 13 at 7:28
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    Your first paragraph is greatly exaggerated. There are many companies where it's quite possible to survive a PIP. For example, I recently read that, at one major tech company, "more than one-third" of its employees on PIPs failed those PIPs and left the company. To be sure, a more-than-one-third-chance of losing your job is very high; but it's nowhere near as high as the chance that you can't calculate the last digit of π.
    – ruakh
    Jul 13 at 7:35
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    Indeed, I have worked for a company where they viewed a PIP as an opportunity to find the evidence to SAVE you, not fire you. After all, they've invested a lot in hiring, training, coaching you over the years, and they want to maximize that return if possible.
    – corsiKa
    Jul 13 at 8:16
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    @gerrit quoteinvestigator.com/2017/12/18/diplomacy ; the implication is that the "nice doggie" is in fact a serious threat to you
    – pjc50
    Jul 13 at 9:55
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    @JoeStrazzere you're a living legend, so of course you do things the right way. Jul 13 at 12:38
7

Canada Specific Answer

If you want to be eligible for EI benefits while looking for your next job, you must meet these criteria (emphasis mine):

  • were employed in insurable employment
  • lost your job through no fault of your own
  • are affected by flooding or wildfires
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
  • have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter Temporary COVID-19 relief
  • are ready, willing and capable of working each day
  • are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them)

So if you keep showing up and end up getting fired before finding a new job, at least you'll be able to maintain some income. If you stop showing up and you're fired for not showing up, you're waiving your eligibility to receive support from the government while you look for your next job.

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Yes you should show up. There are people advising for you to try and salvage your current job, and if at all possible, I advise it too.

But, it sounds like that at this point, you sound 110% done with your job. We don't know the circumstances, but your goal is to MANAGE YOUR SITUATION and transition into your next role, and maintaining your current role for as long as possible is what you should do.

  1. Continue to work and contribute the best you can so you can continue to make a paycheck. Being unemployed is expensive, having the least amount of time between jobs is the best.

  2. Finding new employment is much easier while you are employed, start applying while your resume still says your job is "current"

  3. Salvage whatever relationships you can from this place. There's no need to completely burn the ship down, with some humility, try to reconcile with whoever you can. Maintaining good relationships is important, you have no idea who knows who.

  4. Talk to several people you trust most and ask them if you can use them as a reference. Maybe there are a few people who are sympathetic to your situation and can be used for references in the future. If you can downplay that you are currently applying, the better, as you don't want rumors of you trying to leave after being placed on a PIP.

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Yes, you should not only turn up, but put in 110%.

Yes, you should turn up. The point of a Performance Improvement Plan is to, well, improve your performance. Your performance has not been at a satisfactory level to date, and they're giving you a step-by-step plan on how to get your performance to an appropriate level.

So, given that, not only should you aim to meet those goals, but you should aim to exceed them. If those goals are the minimum level you need to reach for your performance to be considered acceptable, you should go even further beyond to reach the level where your performance would be considered "good". If that means you put in overtime, you put in overtime. If that means you spend your weekends studying courses, you study those courses on the weekends. If that means after you go home you spend your evenings preparing for the next day's work, then you stay up until midnight preparing.

You can worry about burnout after the Performance Improvement Plan period's over.

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    This is not always the case. Even if you go above and beyond, they might renew the PIP. For how long can you manage burnout-style conditions? Also “they're giving you a step-by-step plan on how to get your performance to an appropriate level” — isn’t always the case either. They may just give you expectations, and not provide guidance on how to effectively accomplish them.
    – Erika
    Jul 13 at 12:46
  • I agree with @Erika, and I would go a little further, perhaps -- they may just give you expectations, and give such confusing feedback that it is not possible to accomplish them. On the other hand, if they do give you clear and practical feedback, use it. Even if you do not survive the trial period, and you get fired, the improvements will help at your next job.
    – Basya
    Jul 13 at 12:57
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    They may just give you expectations, and not provide guidance on how to effectively accomplish them. - I would agree; Only the author can determine if their PIP, has goals, but no measurable way of how to achieve those goals. Although I would argue that discussion should be happening daily, with their manager, or as often as is required to achieve the goals.
    – Donald
    Jul 13 at 15:14

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