A TikToker has gone viral after alleging that, if you receive a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan), your employer is about to fire you and you should be looking for a new job.
For context, a PIP is “a tool to give an employee with performance deficiencies the opportunity to succeed. It may be used to address failures to meet specific job goals or to ameliorate behavior-related concerns,” per SHRM.
But according to user Sean (@just_make_the_jump) in a video with over 404,000 views, the company is not actually seeking improvement.
“PIP. It’s a really bad acronym for ‘your ass is about to be fired,’” he says in the video.
@just_make_the_jump PIP is not a performance improvement plan it’s really notice they are firing you! #performanceimprovementplan #fired #justmakethejump #careeradvice ♬ original sound – Sean Denton
If one receives a PIP, Sean says, he recommends not signing any papers that day, instead asking to review any documents at home.
Next, Sean says that one should operate under the assumption that they will be fired. The PIP, then, serves as a method of documenting the company’s reasons for one’s firing. In response, Sean says one should update their resume and start looking for other jobs.
After that, Sean advises taking all remaining vacation days. Once one has gained a new job, Sean suggests to quit without notice.
“They don’t need notice. They already had you on a PIP. They want you gone anyway,” he concludes.
While many business journals stress that PIPs are not necessarily precursors to a firing, some admit that businesses may use PIPs for the reasons specified by Sean.
“Unfortunately, the reality at some companies is that they use PIPs to document a firing in advance,” Fast Company writes.
Fast Company then warns that a PIP may lead to a firing if “the goals you’re supposed to hit seem impossible to achieve by any standards,” or if one has other reasons to suspect they may be fired.
However, as the article and many commenters on TikTok noted, a PIP does not always mean that one is about to be fired.
“Every company is different, it’s to either fire you or improve your performance,” a user wrote. “I got PIP’s yesterday and not worried about it. Going to improve.”
“My company uses them for improvement,” another agreed. “You get 6 weeks to improve before they go through the coaching, verbal, written and final. I’ve been there 4 yrs.”
Still, many viewers sided with Sean.
“Management employment lawyer here – 9/10 times this is accurate,” a commenter offered.
“It’s called a paper trail. As a union rep I can 100% confirm this is accurate,” a second added.
“As a previous manager, by the time I PIP someone, we’ve already tried to improve performance. That failed. Now we’re trying to part ways,” a third stated. “Every time.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Sean via email.