“This Performance Improvement Plan (‘PIP’) stuff seems so complicated, confusing and overwhelming. Is it really possible to beat this?”

Question: For over five months my manager and my director have ganged up on me, and now they are trying to get rid of me by placing me on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”). They both knew I was about to file an EEO/discrimination complaint. They are even taking the position that “Disagreement with your manager, itself, is misconduct.” And English is not even my first language. What they are doing is so hostile and unethical. There are so many rules, procedures and steps I have to take, and there are so many facts and circumstances I have to prove. And I can’t afford a lawyer. I feel like I am drowning. Any thoughts?

Chi Chi
San Francisco, California

Answer: We recently reviewed the data on what words inserted into search engines bring people like yourself to our blog. The number one word was “performance.” There seems to be something of a worldwide epidemic of “poor performance” allegations against employees.

Please consider these three things to do:

(a) First and Foremost: Do not allow yourself to get into despair, or feel overwhelmed, or sink into self-pity or depression, or lose your health. You can control that. If you permit yourself to do those things, then you are your own worst enemy. Instead, commit yourself to either (1) change the situation, or (2) leave the situation. Both of those would be better than getting sick, without question. And both of those would be reasonable, honorable, respectable things to do.

(b) Second, If You Depart: If you decide to leave this situation, first read our newsletter entitled “Resigning from Your Job – The 21 Necessary Precautions.” To do so [click here]. It’s considered by many to be the best article there is on the subject.

(c) Third, If You Decide to Stand Up: It is possible to “stand up” to a Performance Improvement Plan, and be successful in doing so. It’s not easy, but who ever told you that life is easy? We have several newsletter articles and Q&A’s in our Resource Center that can help you do just that. To review them just [click here]. You might also consider having a good friend, or an experienced “employee-side” employment lawyer, on your side during this process, as well.

You may also want to obtain a copy of the unique 152 Point Guide to Pushing Back Against a PIP. To do so [click here].

What you are facing is not fair. Nor is it easy. Or simple. But it is not something that justifies either getting sick, or sacrificing any other aspect of your well-being. That would be far worse, and that is under your control.

I hope that helps, and I will pray for your “strength, stamina and serenity” in moving forward. Please just promise me that you won’t permit yourself to move “backward.”

Best, Al Sklover

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© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.