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I have been put on a PIP and was originally planning to quit, however a friend told me that I would be not eligible to file for unemployment benefits if I quit voluntarily. This ordinarily would not affect my decision-making process, as I would usually succeed at getting a new job by the end of that process, but in this case it did:

  • I did some job searching and I'm realizing that my calling at this point is to start my own consultancy instead of get another job like before. So, getting any amount of extra time to get this spun up would help me out.

  • I saw from this topic that

    it could be he/she was giving you a heads up so you can quit early without having a termination go on record.

    I'm not at all in the same situation (in the US, employer in CA, am resident of MA, and there is no misconduct in my case) but this makes me wonder what drawbacks there may be that I'm not aware of, in opting not to quit voluntarily. I'm not actively being pressured to quit. My new boss has plainly stated that he cannot do much to protect me and that I should understand that I may have a low chance of avoiding termination. That's fine by me as I prepare for the next stage of my career. So... what kind of records of this type would there be in the US? I'm not concerned about references at all, since I can get great ones if I need from all the folks other than the ones that are gunning for me.

  • My understanding is at least for MA (and presumably similarly for CA) that I will generally be eligible for unemployment benefits after termination as long as I was not fired for cause (gross misconduct, theft, intoxication, etc.) and continually demonstrate that I'm still searching for a new job. However I read in some answer here (this one I think) that for some companies a PIP is part of the process for fighting the UI claim... I assume I shouldn't need to worry about this but hopefully someone can comment on that.

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    Have you read the past answers regarding PIPs? It is sometimes possible to survive one if you actually want to correct whatever their complaints are about your work and work your arse off to show that you have done so. And you never want to quit (and stop drawing pay) until you have your next job lined up, if at all avoidable.
    – keshlam
    Jul 18, 2023 at 0:00
  • Thanks. Yeah so it seems like the overall strategy is pretty clear already. But I posted because I didn't feel like the topics (like the ones I referenced) adequately address my concerns.
    – christicle
    Jul 18, 2023 at 0:05
  • I think you need to more clearly state what your concern is and what you want to do about it. Remember, questions here need a focused goal we can address; Stack Exchange is a question-and-answer site, not a discussion site.
    – keshlam
    Jul 18, 2023 at 0:08
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    "How should I decide" is a veiled way of asking "Should I", and we cannot decide such a thing for you.
    – Flater
    Jul 18, 2023 at 0:40
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    "So... what kind of records of this type would there be in the US?" - None. Only the company itself will have records. If the company is part of a conglomerate, then it might include the associated companies. If your employer is a government agency, it will likely extend through the state or federal system, whichever it was part of. Otherwise, there is no permanent record that follows you. The more likely scenario of your actions following you through companies is the personal networks of the individuals who know of you. In other terms, your former boss might bad mouth you privately to others.
    – David S
    Jul 18, 2023 at 15:53

3 Answers 3

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Generally speaking, you never want to leave a job if you do not have another one lined up.

In your case, you mention you feel like starting your own consulting group, instead of looking for a job elsewhere. In your post, you mentioned something that I think is the answer to your question.

How should I decide whether to quit or stick around to potentially get terminated?

and you mentioned that given you plan to start your own consulting group you should:

So, getting any amount of extra time to get this spun up would help me out.

Correct. In other words, it seems best for your interests to "stick around" as long as you can while you simultaneously plan on starting your own consulting group (just as it would be best to "stick around" while you look for another job).

Eventually, the choice is yours and something we can't make for you, but it seems to me that what I mentioned above is what you should be doing that is best for your interests.

A final word/suggestion, before you embark on creating your own consulting group, is to check your contract and any NDA or non-compete agreements, to be 100% sure you are not bound or limited to any of those things that would prevent/difficult the process of doing your own group or company.

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    Regarding the non-compete: if there is one, there is a good chance that it will have a lot less teeth if OP is terminated. Jul 18, 2023 at 6:38
  • @SimonRichter yeah ii could be, OP should read it in case it exists. Good observation
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 18, 2023 at 20:40
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How small is your industry? Do people know each other from other companies? While financially it might be in your best interest to be fired, it might not be great for your future business. If it gets around that you were fired for not performing well at your job clients may be reluctant to hire you as a consultant.

Sure some PIPs are total nonsense. But you can have a positive narrative about turning this around and becoming a high performer. That is a story that is compelling and will probably mean increased income in the future.

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In your case it's almost certainly better to stick around.

  • You can already start working on some infrastructure for you consultancy while you are still employed: Start an LLC ($500 in MA), line up bank accounts, business management software, design website, portfolio, SOW and NDA templates, etc. As long as you are not accepting contracts yet, that's not a conflict of interest and highly unlikely to clash with your current contract.
  • You get to collect unemployment for a while which helps financially getting your own business up and running.

So... what kind of records of this type would there be in the US?

Other than general references: none. If you start freelancing, references from previous employers are typically not relevant. References or testimonies from clients could be but in most cases you just start with short contract and if things go well for both parties, bigger contracts will come through.

however a friend told me that I would be not eligible to file for unemployment benefits if I quit voluntarily.

Your friend is absolutely correct and it's concerning that you didn't know that yourself. If you want to become a freelancer, you should really read up on all the relevant rules and regulations. Simple example: First thing pretty much any potential client will do is to ask you to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). These represent a significant legal liability to you and unless you have the knowledge and the structure to properly manage that, I would be reluctant to sign. In others: I strongly recommend doing your legal homework before signing anything and making big decisions.

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