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Should I Work Through The PIP?

There are two options after a PIP: either the employee will remove all the doubts about the performance concern, or the employee will be terminated.

Your job as an employee is to judge your manager’s intentions. Your manager is the most important person in the PIP, and more generally, in your career. Many managers view the PIP as a formality before termination, and they’ve already given up on you. In that case, you need to leave. You don’t win any bonus points by "proving them wrong."

If the manager is responsive to your questions, provides constant feedback, and has a reasonable PIP plan, you may have a chance to succeed.

However, in the vast majority of cases, our recommendation is that you must start looking for a new job.

The biggest reason a PIP is not worth fighting is because you want to work for people who believe in you. This is critical for career success: you need someone who is unfailingly supportive of you, whether that's a friend, mentor, or manager. A PIP does not feel like support. In fact, it feels like the opposite. Your manager felt your performance was weak enough that they literally spent hours documenting how you fell behind, and then informed you in a legal manner.

The joke is that PIP should stand for “Paid Interview Period”, and that is honestly our recommendation for many tech workers who receive a PIP.

Here is the PIP Evaluation Framework in order to make the best decision once you’ve received the PIP. If more than one of the following are true, you should probably plan to have a long-term future at your current company.

  • Your manager is uncommunicative or closed off
  • The time horizon for the assigned work on the PIP is unrealistic (e.g. 1 week for a launch)
  • The goalposts for the projects keep shifting
  • The PIP work and your “normal duties” result in an unmanageable workload
  • Your team is unsupportive