update from the person on a performance improvement plan

Remember the letter-writer wondering what to do after being put on a performance improvement plan? That writer also wrote in earlier in the year about what to do when a potential mentor isn’t responding to your emails. Here the update on both situations.

When I was put on the Improvement Plan, I emailed the woman I hoped would be my mentor, in a sort of last-ditch effort to connect. And she responded! She apologized for being absent for my other requests, and we began meeting monthly (I learned that scheduling far in advance helps carve time in her busy schedule that she can stick to). We discuss goals, and she acts as a really great sounding board for my interactions with coworkers and supervisors. I’m still working on extending my peer network, but I think this is a good start.

The Improvement Plan update is a bit more involved. I DID make it successfully through the PIP. It was difficult, and included a lot of hands-on management by my supervisor and another Director. After the month was over, I was feeling good, though my ego was bruised by the whole ordeal.

However, it quickly became apparent that every time I made a mistake (no matter the impact), I got wrapped into larger conversations and meetings about the Improvement Plan. I’d run situations and conversations past my mentor, and she would tell me I was doing everything correctly to respond to mistakes, and establish new processes in my own work plan. We came to the conclusion that my supervisor had a negative opinion of me that I probably wasn’t going to be able to change. For example, she would wonder how I “let a typo happen,” instead of focusing on how I fixed the issue within minutes of noticing the error, and before anyone saw the mistake publicly. It got to the point where I got physically anxious and nervous each time I saw my boss, wondering what I’d have to defend. I began intensifying my job search, and had a few interviews that didn’t pan out into offers.

About 4 months after the initial Improvement Plan conversation, they decided it wasn’t working, and I was let go. Honestly, I was relieved more than anything. I’d already reshuffled my finances, and could get by if I tightened my budget for awhile. I just wish I had found a new job before being let go. I was on unemployment for 6 weeks, applying for jobs every day, and going on interviews. Being away from the old environment really illuminated other issues I had been ignoring, because I really was in “survival mode.” In the overall organization, everyone was doing the job of at least 2 people, and the Executive Director wasn’t interested in changing things to make it more manageable. Morale was extremely low for most employees, and it was definitely a toxic situation for me.

But there IS good news after all of that! I received a job offer ON MY BIRTHDAY and have been in my new position for about a month at a larger and more corporate company. I now have a very manageable amount of work, and a supervisor who gives me the space to stretch my skills, and do what I was hired to do. I even make 30% more at this job than I did before. Overall, I’m thrilled to be where I am, and am working hard to make sure I thrive at this job. Thank you again for all of your advice, and I hope I can be an example of someone who can rise from an awful situation into something pretty great. :)

{ 75 comments… read them below }

  1. Lily in NYC*

    Great update and I’m so glad things worked out well. I had a situation like that once (walking on eggshells, every little thing magnified into a huge deal by my boss, etc) and it was no fun.

  2. The Clerk*

    I’m happy for the OP, since things worked out for the best. But I’m a little discouraged that it seems like just about every update ends with “I got a great new job.” Statistically it seems like there should be many more bad or “nothing changed” endings. For most people, a new job isn’t going to happen, or it can’t happen because of needing to not have a lapse in benefits or something like that. I kind of feel like the overall message is that very few problems can be solved and all you can really hope to do is hop to a new job :(

    1. OP*

      OP Here. Honestly I was waiting until I had good news before sending in an update. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what there’s do, too. :-)

          1. Kerry*


            In all seriousness, congratulations OP! It can be really hard to see what’s wrong with a job environment when you’re still inside it, and I’m really glad you’ve escaped to a better place. And happy birthday!

    2. Cat*

      I don’t know, most people switch jobs a number of times over the course of their lifetimes – it’s not surprising to think that a lot of those switches are precipitated by the kinds of issues people write in about.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s actually pretty consistent with what I advise here much of the time — decide if you can live with it happily and if you can’t, start looking for something you like better. So I’m not surprised to see that that ends up being the outcome in a lot of these situations. That’s not to say that sometimes you can’t change things — yesterday’s update about the boss who stopped micromanaging after the letter-writer spoke to her about it is a good example of that. But often, the problems are going to remain, and the thing you have to decide is whether you want to continue to deal with them.

      (I also think it’s true that people are less likely to write in to simply say “everything is the same.”)

      1. Ruffingit*

        Yup. Change is hard. Think of the last think you tried to change about yourself – going on a diet, sticking to an exercise plan, quitting smoking, etc. People fail at change more often than not. That isn’t good or bad, it just is what it is. Extrapolating this to work life, it’s unlikely that an entire business (or individual managers) is going to change its structure for the better when unpalatable or downright evil/illegal things are going on. That just doesn’t happen that often. So. Your choices really are to live with it or not and if not, then you have to make a plan to leave.

        It is hard to think that change happens less than people just leaving, but again lasting, good change is so difficult to achieve a lot of the time that it’s not worth hoping for. You just have to move on. I wouldn’t look at that as a negative necessarily, more just as reality and a lesson in pinning your hope and energy onto things you have some control over like getting a new position.

    4. Yup*

      Being unhappy in a current job is pretty compelling reason to look for a new one, so it’s logical that a lot of people writing in might already have one foot out the door. Perhaps they feel more empowered to move on after hearing the advice here, and are also better positioned to *get* a new job with the all interviewing & hiring advice found here.

      Also, things are a bit better in the economy these days. So many people were just stuck during the recession, and may now be able to finally take advantage of some of the opportunities that are opening up.

    5. Emily K*

      I often notice this, too. I think it’s a selection effect. The people for whom nothing changed and they’re still miserable are less likely to write in with an update saying, “Unfortunately, nothing has changed and I’m still miserable but I’m hanging in there,” or “Nothing changed and I was fired. Now I’m unemployed…”

      But when someone has good news to share they’re more likely to remember and want to write to AAM with their update as well.

    6. Mark*

      Well, having put a few employees on PIPs before, and in my younger years having seen colleagues been put on them, the outcome described seems very common. For a lot of employees, the writing is on the wall by the time you’re placed on a formal improvement plan. Even if you make it through the terms of the PIP, from a managerial perspective, I’m not going to just forget that you let things get so bad that I had to put you on a PIP. It’s a pretty serious blow to your professional credibility – better for you to start somewhere new unless you’ll look like a job hopper.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, agreed on this. I got put on a PIP at a job and made it through it. But when my company’s finances went south and they needed to cull the herd (we were on a pretty aggressive hiring spree at one point), I was the one terminated. I hadn’t had any major issues in a few months, but my company did cite the credibility/reliability issue from the PIP as the reason why.

  3. some1*

    This could have been me two years ago. I wasn’t on a formal PIP, but I was working at a toxic workplace for a manager who was setting me up to fail, was let go and now have a much better job where I make more.

    Leaving or being let go from a toxic workplace is almost like getting out of an abusive relationship — you almost don’t realize how bad it was until you have some distance because the toxic environment starts feeling normal after awhile when you’re in it every day.

    1. Anonymous*

      Could not agree more. I spent the last eight years at a job that good for about two years, tolerable for the next two, and absolutely hellish for the last four. I’ve been at my new job for about three months now, and can’t believe all the time I wasted thinking that maybe it would change or get better at the last place. I had several crisis moments where I wondered what was wrong with me that quite a few former coworkers could find jobs and that I was stuck in that place. It’s so nice to now have a boss who trusts me and respects me to get my work done without micromanaging me.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Me too–Exjob gradually got worse and worse. Like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, I didn’t notice it until it started to burn and I started to scream. By then, the damage was done.

        Although I got through my PIP okay and wasn’t let go because of performance (they ditched my position and a couple of others), I didn’t realize how crappy it had gotten until I came to Newjob.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Count me in as one who realized just how toxic a workplace was after being let go. I knew it was getting bad, but the absolute relief when my boss told me I was being let go was amazing. Felt so good to know I wouldn’t have to go to that job anymore. It’s a huge clue when being let go causes you to feel elated rather than deflated.

          1. ProcReg*

            I’ve been there. I was asked to leave a toxic work environment 3 years ago. After the initial shock wore off, I felt all the anxiety lift off my shoulders. I also realized how unhappy the people were that were my coworkers.

    2. Lindsay J*

      Yes. If you had asked me if I was happy at my last job while I was there I probably would have said yes. But after getting out and realizing that not all jobs involve being yelled at for things that are out of your control or have rampant communication problems from top to bottom or any number of things I realized how bad it actually was.

      They recently reached out to rehire me for a salary that is significantly more than I am making now, however I wouldn’t want to work in a toxic environment like that ever again.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I’m with you. There’s just not enough money in the world to deal with that kind of toxicity. No matter how much they pay you, you still get cancer from the radiation poisoning. Analogy meant to convey that money doesn’t make up for the emotional toll toxic environments can take on you.

        1. FreeThinkerTX*

          I actually *did* get cancer from my toxic job. It was so dysfunctional, hellish, and over-the-top stressful (at any given time, more than half the employees were on PIPs), that I got incredibly sick and was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I strongly believe I never would have gotten cancer if I wasn’t beaten down so emotionally, mentally, and physically. When I was let go for too many absences (for attending cancer treatment), I felt a huge wave of relief. And the cancer that had been so tenacious and resistant to treatment (along with other problems and symptoms) suddenly became responsive and vanished within weeks.

          1. GayleGirl*

            whoa. that is amazing. so glad you are well again. if that’s not a blessing in disguise, I don’t know WHAT is.

    3. Clever Name*

      Yeah, I’m going through something similar. I was told something really non-specific without any details backing up what I was doing “wrong”, and I’m pretty sure that the boss happened to listen to a complaint from a single co-worker and decide I was the problem. (That same coworker apparently was bent out of shape because I make more than he does, even though I have a graduate degree that and he doesn’t, and I have more experience. Yeah.)

      So, I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes one is told that they are the problem when that’s not entirely the whole story. I’m really glad you (the OP) got out of that situation, even though it didn’t end on your own terms.

    4. Windchime*

      The comparison to an abusive relationship is so accurate! I knew that things weren’t good at OldJob, but I had been there for eons and it just kind of gradually got to the point where it was unbearable. I moved to NewJob, and only after spending some time here was I able to see how truly dysfunctional OldJob was.

      1. Julie at Home*

        OP I’m really happy for you! I’ve been in a situation like yours before – not on a PIP but in a situation where my boss made up her mind that I was an idiot and there was nothing I could do to convince her otherwise. It took me a full year of misery to realize I needed to leave my last job because I was so determined that if I just tried a little harder I could prove my competency.

        Just wanted to share my story and also give you a caveat that it may take you a while to recover from the last experience, recover your confidence, and stop 2nd-guessing. It’s been that way for me.

        But I will say this: I’ve had great bosses and horrible bosses and you learn just as much from the bad as from the good. Given the power dynamics in the corporate workplace, I don’t know that I could have fully appreciated what a great manager looks like (or how to BE a good manager myself) had I not had a boss who put me through the wringer.

        1. OP*

          Thank you for the out to let myself still feel the effects of that job.

          I think the 6 weeks “off” was really helpful to get my mental health back on track. I’m usually an upbeat/optimistic person, and that part had definitely slipped away. Once I didn’t have the daily pressure/anxiety, I was able to actually feel like myself again. And I’m sure it helped my confidence in interviews, too.

          My new job is also a lot more manageable, so I don’t get completely thrown off track if something pops up that I wasn’t expecting. There aren’t constant distractions, so I can refocus, and turn out quality work. And be rewarded for it! :) This new position is also almost completely based on my skills/interests, in ways my previous job wasn’t– so I was able to be really specific in what I wanted to spend my days doing. So not only am I in a better overall situation, I enjoy most of my tasks– which helps motivate me to get them done.

  4. Anonymous*

    I am going through the EXACT SAME THING right now. Ugh. My husband and I have decided that our family could support a leave of absence if I give notice and took some time to deal with family issues because I am consumed with work, not allowed to stretch in the area I want to grow (which plays to my strengths), and am saddled with endless administrative tasks. Just putting your resume together and submitting for jobs and reaching out for informational interviews is so empowering – it mitigates being made to feel like a failure for making errors that the entire team does, but you are singled out for them.

    1. Contessa*

      Yes, absolutely! Every time I feel beaten down at work because EVERY SINGLE THING I do is inevitably wrong, I think of my resume and descriptions of other jobs, and it makes me smile.

      Congrats to the OP on getting out of that situation!

  5. Me, too*

    OP, your situation sounds very much like the one I’m just getting out of (1.5 weeks to go!). I wasn’t on a PIP, though, because I’m contracted. My contract role was converted into an FTE and they told me they needed someone with “a higher skill set.” Anyway, I’m currently interviewing for other positions and hope to land soon. At least I contracted through an agency so I’ll receive unemployment.

  6. Ann O'Nemity*

    “We came to the conclusion that my supervisor had a negative opinion of me that I probably wasn’t going to be able to change. ”

    I think this happens quite a bit – by the time a person is put on a PIP, it’s too late to reverse opinions / perceptions. By that point, every error is magnified and each becomes another nail in the coffin, even errors that would be overlooked if they were made by anyone else.

    1. Joey*

      Yep, sadly too many managers view a PIP as a bureaucratic action that needs to be completed before you’re allowed to terminate someone. Some supervisors never actually expect the employee to pass.

      1. OP*

        I think my boss honestly wanted to work through it. But she had no idea how high her standards were and how impossible it was for me to meet them that quickly. AND how often they changed.

    2. De Minimis*

      That does seem to be the case most of the time, although the original thread had at least a few commenters who had managed to succeed [in the same job] after being placed on a PIP.

      It’s interesting too that sometimes companies go through the PIP process with an employee and other times they don’t and just cut the person loose.

      Very glad it worked out for the OP!

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        I’ve witnessed a successful PIP just once. And in that case, the employee had previously earned a good reputation, but their quality of work dropped substantially while they were dealing with some family issues. Considering the previously positive history, and the context of non-permanent personal issues, the manager was very willing to work with the employee. And the employee saw the PIP as a wake-up call.

        It seems like it’s more common that the PIP is (1) just a bureaucratic necessity, (2) used to document / justify an impending termination, and/or (3) enacted too late to be of any good.

        1. HR lady*

          As an HR professional, I’ve witnessed successful PIPs several/many times over the years. Of course they don’t always work out. But there are definitely people who just need that little kick in the pants, and/or need to see it written in black and white, in order to make improvements.

          Also, there are some people who don’t know what the problems are with their job performance (for example, if they have a boss who’s not a great communicator, or if the boss used to let the problems slide but can no longer do that), and once they read the problems in the PIP, they are able to take control and address the problems.

          1. Joey*

            That’s interesting that the two examples you give are actually problems with the boss and not the employee. Why would you put the employees on a PIP for issues with the boss?

            1. Zillah*

              Well, as I understand it, the employee is still the problem in that they’re still not really doing their jobs – it’s just not getting presented to them as well as it could be.

              1. Joey*

                That’s the mistake. You can’t expect someone to do a job if the manager isn’t clearly articulating the expectations. Its clear that’s happening if the employee doesn’t know what he’s doing wrong. From what HR Lady wrote the manager is the one that appears to need the PIP or some corrective action. Only when the manager has clearly communicated the expectations does the problem lie with the employee to fix.

          2. Clever Name*

            Seriously. If one doesn’t know that something is a problem because they are never told about it, how can anyone expect them to fix a problem the employee doesn’t know exists!!

    3. Katie the Fed*

      Yep. I’ve actually had a really hard time with this as a supervisor. There is one person who will go like 3 months and be fine and then make some colossal screwup. I won’t say error because it’s something that could have been avoided, or he won’t let anyone know he made a mistake (that’s the biggest issue – just own up to it so we can fix it), and I have a really, really difficult time trusting him now. I’m trying, but I feel like I’m waiting for the next thing with him all the time.

      1. Joey*

        Four colossal mistakes per year and trying to hide them. Don’t feel bad that you don’t trust him- that’s warranted. In fact I would tell him flat out because of those issues you have a hard time trusting and depending on him. I think you are perfectly justified in being a bit more hands on for a while in areas where there’s a potential for a colossal mistake. Frankly though hiding mistakes is hard to fix unless he understands that small mistakes are allowed from time to time, but the key is that he needs to alert you when things begin to go south so you can help get them back on track if he can’t.

    4. Stephanie*

      Yup, Harvard Business Review called it “Set Up to Fail” syndrome. Basically, the employee in question gets framed as a failure and, in most cases, lives up to that expectation. The manager overly fixates on mistakes, frames successes as one-off occurrences or luck, etc. This was posted a couple of months ago on another thread, but it’s worth reposting: http://hbr.org/1998/03/the-set-up-to-fail-syndrome/ar/1

      1. Elle-em-en-oh-pee*

        Stephanie thank you so much for posting this link.

        I *knew* I didn’t imagine this, now I can put a name to the face and link it too…

  7. Jaimie*

    Reading this was one of the highlights of my day.

    (and I loved the part about thinking ahead and reshuffling finances ahead of time. good job reducing the stress)

  8. Joey*

    This is a great example to managers about why its so important to be decisive when its not working out. although it will be initially painful it allows the person to more quickly move on to happiness (and allows employers to do the same). Too many times managers let things drag on far too long which only delays the person from finding a job that will make both parties happy.

  9. Longtime Lurker*

    Would love for the OP to return to talk about how she talked about being “let go” in interviews, and how she managed references. I’m in a similar situation and am still stumbling in practice interviews with how to talk about my departure. (I’m also slightly paralyzed by anxiety over what my last boss – the one that fired me – would say if anyone called, but that’s probably my own AAM question.)

    1. OP*

      I was fortunate, in that we agreed up front (even during the PIP, which threw me for a loop at first) that they would provide a positive reference on things they could say something positive about– like my creativity, writing skills, enthusiasm, etc.

      In interviews, I explained how much the position had changed, due to the fact it was a small and growing company. Because it was growing fast, positions changed a lot from their original descriptions, and mine had drifted too far away from my strengths. THAT transitioned nicely into talking about what I was looking for in a new position.

      1. Paige Turner*

        I agree- great response! I think it also applies to other situations where someone might be looking for a new job.

    2. Joey*

      Ooh. This may be different for a lot of managers but I really think its better in an interview if asked to say something like “I was fired for making x mistake. Although in hindsight it wasn’t a good fit from the beginning and I would have done x differently.”

      I think if you’re not asked you don’t say. But if you’re put on the spot you say it bluntly. I even hate terms like “let go” or “it was a mutual decision” or “my job was eliminated”. Using terms like that when you’re flat out fired to me is a sign that you aren’t a very direct person which is important to me.

  10. Joseph*

    “But there IS good news after all of that! I received a job offer ON MY BIRTHDAY and have been in my new position for about a month at a larger and more corporate company.”

    Reminds me of the following Rick Warren quote:

    “Surrender . . .sacrificing my life or suffering in order to change what needs to be changed”

  11. KT*

    I’m in the same boat! Placed on a PIP because of my emotional/anxiety issues. I originally had an issue with a coworker who continuously corrected me in front of the team. My manager, at the time, saw it and tried to correct it by talking with said-coworker. However, it continued to happen and our managers switched. I went to the new manager, and a week after that, I was placed on a PIP. Oh, and said-coworker got promoted. They demoted me and placed me in an old position (so really not so much a PIP because I couldn’t improve in my old position.) The person I worked alongside is now my manager– and she was also the person who “tattled” to our manager about me. She complained about me a lot over the months and would micromanage me, even though our manager strictly told me that she has no issues with how I did my work.
    I became anxious working along my coworker, and now that she’s my boss, it’s become extremely difficult. I honestly cannot trust her. She updates our team on changes, but I am never made aware of them (she says to HR that I ignore her). Because I am never aware of the updates, I continue on with the older way and they become “errors.” AKA reasons to have me fired.
    I’m taking medication now to help control my anxiety, but the doctor has been starting me on low doses so it hasn’t been helping so much. I swear my heart just comes out of my throat every time I see both my current and old boss in the same area (which is frequently now).

    HR has emphasized that the PIP is “far” from being fired. I’ve told them again and again that I know that I’m being pushed out the door- that’s the message that I’m getting. My old boss refuses to talk to me. My current boss doesn’t communicate with me at all and blames it on me, and then tattles to HR. I meet weekly with HR, and have been open to them about job searching so that they know I am trying my best to get out of their hair. I am not a bad worker – I will be respectful and even give them those 2 weeks when I get another job (crossing fingers I get one before I’m cut). I am completing my job — I followed the bullet points on the PIP letter (that I did not sign but am obviously going through) — but they told me that I “know” the other job responsibilities so I should be doing those as well. However, I feel like they should at least write those down for me… as I never know what has changed and what hasn’t.

    The entire team is being flipped around and downsized in a month or so, and I’m thinking they’re just trying to get me to quit. I also think they are trying to cover their butts with a PIP, saying that I’m not performing well because of my anxiety/emotional issues. I’m not allowed to show any signs of being upset over anything (this PIP thing has really stressed me out to the point where I couldn’t eat or sleep for a few days), so I usually stick to myself to prevent it from showing too much emotion to other people on the team. However, this still makes me stick out like a sore thumb to the rest of the team. I feel like no matter what, I can’t win in this situation.

    I truly hope that if they let me go, I can get placed on unemployment. But with the talk that PIPs are meant to cover their butts to prevent unemployment files.. it makes me a little nervous. I used to love my company.. but now that I’ve seen the true colors of management, I’m just in shock and awe that they could do this to a person who had done a lot of great accomplishments in their role, even get rewarded as Employee of the Month at one point.

    1. anonomouse*

      Bullies. I’d keep a diary of their behavior. Be detailed- dates/times- send every email you receive to a home email or thumb drive. Document all of your work etc. Look for work- but realize they are bullies. Don’t sweat it now, really. It does sound like they’re downsizing anyway so it truly is out of your control. Just don’t quit- literally or figuratively. You can make it through this and come out better. :-)

    2. Joey*

      Yeah, PIPs are meant to be so clear cut and that you’d have a hard time proving you were termed through no fault of your own.

      And honestly, lots of companies might cut you some, but usually won’t cut you a whole lot of slack if you were a good performer in the past. The mindset is what have you done for me lately.

      My guess though is you’re not owning these issues not dealing with them in good faith. I say that because refusing to sign the PIP is a sign that you don’t think the issues are valid. And, you should be working through your chain of command not trying to deal with your old boss. Oh, and tattling is really the wrong mindset. It’s your bosses job to correct issues she sees- reaching out to HR for assistance is her job- it’s not tattling.

      1. V.V.*

        Hello Joey,

        While I agree with what you wrote about the “what have you done for me lately” mindset, “tattling” is not always a misonomer when applied in terms of the workplace.

        I used to work with a woman that tattled to our boss about everyone and everything. She actually complained the seats in her (prefered) work vehicle were not reverted to “her” settings when it was returned after the company mechanic took it for inspection. Once she found an empty gum wrapper under the seat (which may have even come with the car) and used it as “evidence” to show our boss how others were purposely “trashing her vehicle”.

        This was NOT her assigned vehicle by the way, (first come first served) but both times the people who’d signed it out before her were called on the carpet.

        Gosh forbid if someone couldn’t answer their phone or call back within 30 seconds of her leaving a(n often irate) message (where were you?)! She even managed to get people who outranked, and in no way answered to her (in the first place), in trouble over this.

        She openly admitted (to her workplace friends) to making petty complaints about the people she didn’t like; if she could paint them as hostile, defensive, or uncooperative, she figured they’d eventually be reassigned or fired.

        Naturally these workers quickly became resentful of her machinations. However, by the time they figured out what was happening, they’d already been manipulated into exhibiting defensive and seemingly uncooperative behaviour.

        Make no mistake, it was a deliberate strategy.

        1. LD*

          I would have been so tempted to ask my manager to write me up in great detail for not checking under the seat of a vehicle that is used by everyone for an old candy wrapper. And I might have asked for them to have it fingerprinted.

      2. Limon*


        I disagree when a third person not involved in the case can say: “you’re not owning your issues.”

        Unless you are her personal therapist or her spouse, I am not sure how helpful that comment is. I have seen that when people are being pushed out such as this person describes, one of the most popular comments a manager will give to the ‘difficult’ employee is that they are “lacking insight into their issues.”

        Classic, and usually said when the target of the bullying is fighting back. It’s a comment designed to make the target doubt themselves and second guess. My issues? what are they? how come I don’t know about them? How come no one will tell me about them? etc. Not good, don’t go there !!

        1. mysticjeanie*

          Or have a lapse in judgement. Your superior tell you they don’t trust you– twice.
          All mind games

    3. Limon*

      Unemployment is determined by your state department of economic security (Unemployment). No matter what your company says, what you say to the unemployment office people (and yes, they really are people just like you and me) will make the difference in getting unemployment.

      Don’t think that they haven’t seen everything under the sun when it comes to crappy job situations and being forced to resign. Just be honest and have your documentation and tell them your side of the story. They really are normal people who answer the phone and read your emails and believe it or not, your story will not be unique. So, have heart, take faith in knowing you will survive this and what your company and co-workers are doing is wrong but you yourself seem to be doing all the right things.

      Walk in faith and hold your head up, be respectful and polite and trust that it will all work out for the best. You just have to walk through the fire for the next few weeks until it all gets sorted out. Hopefully, in your state the unemployment is pretty decent and you can recover from this abusive experience.

    1. Joey*

      Not a lot of people know this, but in most states the determining factor is the last incident that triggered termination. If that incident was misconduct you usually won’t be awarded benefits. So a lot of times even if you were having performance problems and were trying your hardest, if you flat out didn’t do something you were told to do and they fired you right afterwards you probably won’t qualify. On the other hand if you tried your best and it didn’t meet standards that’s usually not misconduct and you would normally qualify(the rationale is you performed to the best of your ability and it therefore was out of your control). So the lesson is always try and always complete every task you’ve been given even if you know it won’t be good enough.

  12. De Minimis*

    I should have added that…being fired for just not measuring up is one thing, willful misconduct is another.

    What might be a problem is that there’s a history of acceptable performance, so they could possibly argue that the recent lack of performance is deliberate, but it’s still worth filing if you are fired.

  13. Sam*

    So glad to see this person’s success! It does give me hop ethat I might eventually get my own. What a wonderful birthday present!

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