how to ask to resign instead of being fired

A reader writes:

My friend has been put on a PIP after about eight months at his job – his manager says that he “doesn’t have the skills” to perform the job to her standards. After three months on the PIP, it came up that his manager hasn’t seen the improvement she’s been looking for and so he’s likely to be fired any day (the manager hasn’t given him a date yet).

My friend would like to resign so that he can avoid having to forever check the “Have you ever been fired from a job?” box on future applications; however, he would also like to negotiate what his manager will say about him if she’s ever contacted to give a reference (obviously he wouldn’t list her as one, but we know that potential employers can reach out to whomever they want).

I swear I’ve seen this discussed on your site in the past, but after extensive searching this morning, I can’t find any posts about it. Would it be appropriate for him to approach his boss and say something like, “Obviously this isn’t working out for either one of us, so I’d like to be able to transition my work and leave here on good terms. Can we agree that my last day of employment will be [whenever] and that if you’re contacted in the future for a reference that you will only verify employment dates?”

It feels like there’s a slightly more graceful way to ask for that, but I’m drawing a blank. I love your advice, so anything you can provide here would be so appreciated (even if it’s just a link back to the post where you’ve talked about this in the past, because I swear it exists!).

Yes, that’s totally reasonable to say, and many, many managers will receive that kind of statement with relief. It’s a rare manager who enjoys firing someone, and most employers would much rather work out a mutual separation if it’s possible. In addition to firings just being tough emotionally, there are practical reasons for preferring a mutual separation — primarily that the exiting employee is much less likely to leave with bad feelings, which means that they’re less likely to badmouth the company (to other employees, vendors, clients, etc.) and much less likely to try to find something to sue over.

I’d say something very similar to what you suggested: “I’m hearing what you’re saying and I want to be realistic about my chances for success here. I wonder if you’d be open to a plan for me to transition out of my role and leave on good terms. We could set my last day for (date — probably 2-4 weeks out) to give me a little time to job search and you time to get a head start on hiring a replacement. In return, I’d ask that you not contest my unemployment benefits since it sounds like I was likely to be let go at the end of this process anyway, and that we come up with an agreement for what to say to future reference-checkers and how my departure is reflected in company records.”

Most managers will hear this with relief and will agree — and that’s the smart thing for them to do. However, he should be prepared for the small chance that his manager could say, “You know, I was just getting ready to talk to you about this. I agree that it’s not working out, but I’d actually like to set your last day for (some earlier date than he had proposed — or even today).” If that happens, he could still try to negotiate the other pieces of this; I just want to make sure he’s prepared for the manager pushing back on the question of his last day.

Also: He should get any agreement about unemployment benefits and references in writing, in case there are any questions later. (Plus, this manager may leave the company at some point, and he wants to be sure that the agreement survives even after she’s gone.)

{ 155 comments… read them below }

  1. Bailando!*

    Two questions: How does one not “contest” unemployment benefits? In my state, we are sent a questionnaire asking very detailed questions about the separation. I can’t lie, so how do I go about not contesting it? Also, is anyone even getting actual references anymore? Any time I call a company for information, I’m given dates of employment (if I’m lucky.) No one will talk, even with releases on hand. Any tricks out there I am missing?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The employer can simply not respond to the questionnaire.

      And yes, absolutely people give references. I’ve literally never encountered a situation where I couldn’t get a reference, no matter what the company policy might have said. It sounds like you might be calling HR rather than managers.

      1. tt*

        I actually have come across that a couple times, including a contract stint as a reference-checker. The hiring manager wouldn’t answer any questions and referred me to HR (which I suppose in some cases, is an answer unto itself).

        At a recent meeting with an employer partner, one of the managers pointed out that they could be fired for providing references, which didn’t seem to be well known to his peers, based on their surprise.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          Count me as a non-HR person who has refused to give a reference in the past. Normally I will give an honest reference even though HR says our policy is only to confirm dates of employment. However, this person was a train wreck who belonged to not one, but two protected classes, and also had had a serious entitlement attitude when he worked for me. Those two things put together made me stick to the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” rule, because doing otherwise was more of a risk than I was comfortable with.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes, that’s the other part of this — the only time I’ve declined to give a reference is when it was someone I wouldn’t recommend, and I think that’s common. So a refusal to talk is often taken as “this person isn’t someone I’m going to go to bat for” and I think that’s often accurate.

            1. Episkey*

              Please don’t make this assumption! I worked for a small business for about a year and a half and then moved out of state to take a 1-year position in AmeriCorps. Afterwards, I returned home and was job searching. That small business directly before my AC position refused to provide a recommendation – they wouldn’t even confirm I had worked for them! However, as soon as they realized I was back in the area, they contacted me and asked me if I’d like to come back immediately — they really did love me, but I think were convinced that they could be sued if they provided a reference. Like I said, super small business with no real HR and they just didn’t understand.

              1. Emma*

                Totally unrelated, but how was your AmeriCorps experience? I just submitted my application for several VISTA programs yesterday.

                1. Episkey*

                  I also did VISTA. I could go on & on. ;) There were both positives & negatives to the experience. I didn’t love my actual placement, but I did meet a lot of great people and enjoyed my time exploring a new city and experiences. If you want to chat more, let me know and we can take this off the board lol!

                2. RPCV*

                  If you can, also consider Peace Corps service. While it does mean you’ll spend 2 (or more) years out of the country (and need a college degree to get in), it can change your life! Not to mention that once you return to the US, you’re on the US government’s “internal hiring list” for one year and have intercultural and other skills that employers are looking for. (

                  I served three years in Kenya and I consider it the best thing I’ve ever done with my life!

                1. I'm a Little Teapot*

                  Apparently. I also worked for a small business that developed a policy (after I left) of not even confirming that people had worked for them. Great way to make former employees look like liars for putting them on a resume. Considering that many of their employees have been recent college graduates just starting their careers, I imagine this policy has really hurt a lot of people. It makes me feel less bad about having been a young and irresponsible slacker when I worked there….

              2. ThursdaysGeek*

                I agree! I’ve worked places where managers are told they are to refer the caller to HR, where they will only confirm dates. Sure, some managers will still talk, but some will follow the rules. I’d hate to be penalized because I worked for a rule-follower. (Although, I’ll also let the reference checker know that is a policy.)

              3. My two cents...*

                that sounds like they were trying to keep their ‘first dibs’ access when you returned. refusing to verify employment dates is ridiculous.

          2. Zillah*

            Not to nitpick, but don’t we all belong to protected classes? My understanding is that a protected class is just a characteristic that can’t be targeted for discrimination, not a specific group within that characteristic. So, for example, men and women are both equally protected from discrimination based on gender – it’s just that women tend to need that protection more often.

            1. NoPantsFridays*

              Yes, thank you, I was going to say this. The protected class is race/religion/gender/etc, not a specific race/religion/gender.

          3. neverjaunty*

            Small clarification that almost everyone belongs to a “protected class” – with a few exceptions (being over 40 or having a disability), US law refers to things like ‘race’, not particular racial groups.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m sure there must be fields where people really won’t talk. But in my experience, if the applicant is a high performer, she’s going to be able to get people to talk for her.

          Also, am I right in assuming these must be more junior jobs? I can’t imagine it happening for mid-level and higher roles.

          1. GOG11*

            When I worked in retail, we were supposed to give a hotline for prospective employer to call and, through the hotline, only that the person worked there and the dates they worked there would be provided.

            However, one of my really awesome managers acted as a reference for me, even though it was against policy. I was a high performer, though (at least according to this manager as I was one of only two employees to get full raise when review time came).

            1. Kat M*

              Same at my husband’s workplace. He got in a bit of trouble for providing a reference for somebody, and won’t be trying that again, no matter how excellent their performance.

          2. Wren*

            I’m in HR and I’m pretty sure all of my managers would follow the company rules in this regard. I’m not sure what I am going to do when I move on.

            1. nadia*

              This. Exactly!

              I’m looking to transition out of my current job, and although there are internal opportunities, and I love the organization’s mission, I’m seriously considering leaving so that I can develop a network of managers who are willing to speak to my work. I’m a high performer (when I told my grand-boss of my plans he described himself as “distraught” at the loss), but he’s going to follow the rule. There goes 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears.

      2. HR Manager*

        That’s what we do when we choose not to contest the unemployment claim – not respond, even though we know there were performance issues that precipitated the departure. It causes the companies unemployment insurance rate to go up, so I wouldn’t suggest this as a go-to technique for all cases, but there are some occasions when having a dignified exit is beneficial for both sides.

        1. Anon for today*

          When I was let go after time on a PIP that ending in being fired with a short severance package and a paper to sign as a “mutual separation agreement”, I was told by my company that “we don’t dispute what the employee puts on the unemployment paperwork unless its a blatant lie”. So after consulting with a lawyer, I chose “Discharge – unsatisifactory work performance” and was able to receive unemployment benefits.

          FYI, in my state you have to pick a reason for leaving from a drop down list – you can’t just type in it. And some of the reasons are acceptable for unemployment benefits and some are not – but you don’t know that until your claim is processed. Mutual agreement WAS one of the choices, but I was told NOT to pick that one, because it was likely to be interpreted by the unemployment office as “voluntary quit” and not get benefits or as a case that required further investigation and possibly a hearing.

          1. De Minimis*

            I think most states allow you to receive benefits even if you were discharged for performance related reasons assuming there was no misconduct involved.

            The box on job applications about “have you ever been fired” usually also includes “resigned in order to avoid termination.”

    2. Sarah Nicole*

      It is the employer who would contest the unemployment. For example, if you were let go and applied for unemployment with the questionnaire, the Unemployment office will reach out to the employer for information. Because employers pay an unemployment tax that is related to how many employees they had take unemployment after leaving the company, they may contest the opportunity for unemployment as it raises that tax. If they fired you for cause or some other reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to take unemployment in their eyes, they would obviously contest and want to prevent their tax from going up.

      Also yes, every job I’ve ever secured called on my references. Also, they may not just reach out to the company, but track down the hiring manager instead. That hiring manager can verify more than just dates of employment unless their company has a strict policy preventing that. I’d bet on always having new jobs reach out to references and getting the story of why you left and what type of worker you were.

      1. Bailando!*

        I represent the employer in this case, not the employee. Thanks Alison, I did not realize it was an option not to respond. As far as reference checking, I must be doing something wrong…I do call managers directly (vs. HR). and am usually told I have to contact HR, that they aren’t allowed to talk to anyone regarding references.

        1. Marc*

          On basically every physical form that most states (handled several in the past year) there’s a section that says something like: “If you agree with reasons stated by applicant, do not respond/complete/fax this form.”

          Not sure how state’s electronic systems are set up since I only handled by the paper forms, but would imagine there’s a “Agree with claimants statement” button.

      2. cuppa*

        I’ve seen people lie about their separation in order to receive unemployment benefits, so employers definitely do contest.

      3. Stephanie*

        That and if it’s not a clear layoff, a lot of states have to do an interview to confirm that you’re unemployed through no fault of your own (poor performance instead of gross misconduct).

      4. Natalie*

        “Fired for cause” still qualifies for unemployment in a lot of states, FYI. In my state you have to have been fired for some kind of gross negligence or criminal activity, not just for being a sucky widget maker.

        1. A Non*


          Companies can certainly fire people for good reasons that would stand up in a court of law, if it came to that. At the same time, the person is usually still available to collect unemployment.

          Being a sucky widget maker doesn’t have the same implications for unemployment com as stealing the petty cash, or punching your coworker in the face.

  2. Iro*

    I’m not sure if it’s been explored or not, but are there any other positions within the company that this person could transition too? It may not hurt to look at the internal job postings board and come to the manager with a few examples of jobs you feel you could perform better.

    1. Cheesecake*

      PIP is a deal breaker for this idea. PIP is a very formal way to let employee know that the company is ready for the separation and this is his “last word”. Any other opportunity like internal transfer should have been investigated before. Also, as he is new in the company, only his manager can vouch to have him transferred, but again – she decided to put him on PIP. I find OP’s friend a very reasonable person, he should talk to manager and move on.

      1. Iro*

        I wouldn’t go as far as to say that a PIP is a formal way to let the employee know that the company is ready for the separation.

        I’ve seen plenty of managers whip out a PIP heavy handidly because they *thought* this was the only way to *get rid of* and employee not working out in a role OR the role as they see it evovling in the future. I’ve even seen managers put star performers (literally just got the best performance score the company offers) on PIPs for very slight offenses as if to prove a point. All the employees above survived their PIPs and were later transferred to a different department as it was seen as more of a management issue than a performance issue.

        1. Cheesecake*

          But this is a horrible thing and something HR should nip in the bud. PIP is not something you do when en employee gave you a mean look. If i was ever put on PIP because manager does not like me, i would leave. I worked in a companies where if PIP was misused and i signed it as an HR (all PIPs went thru HR) – i’d be fired. We actually had different problems, employees who deserved PIPs were shuffled inside the org. because managers didn’t want to deal with the person while that was actually necessary

      2. MissM*

        This is not necessarily true. A couple of times I’ve had employees on PIPs and have encouraged them to look at other open positions in the company. It’s not always easy, because the hiring manager would know about the PIP, but in one case the employee was a long-term employee that had been successful in other roles; this particular role just had some technical requirements that she wasn’t able to master. I spoke a the hiring manager about another job in the company that was closer to what this employee had done in the past, and she was hired.

        1. Cheesecake*

          Well, we do talk and encourage employees to look at internal roles before the PIP. PIP happens when all is “said and done”. We had a case where employee was transferred before he has completed PIP because another role was unexpectedly approved and he had very particular skills.

          1. Juli G.*

            I don’t understand using a PIP when “all is said and done”. As an HR rep, I intend for managers to use them to plan for performance improvement, not as some paperwork to escort them out the door. Sometimes the plan is completed successfully, sometimes it’s not.

            1. fposte*

              I’m in agreement. I think it’s really important to be able to have an improvement plan that actually expects satisfactory improvement, because people do manage it.

            2. Cheesecake*

              I absolutely don’t mean it like paperwork-only. All “said and done” is that manager and employee had issues and discussions before and tried to resolve it by adding or removing assignments or what not…and it did not work. Let’s say there are no internal opportunities. Here comes PIP. So it is not like employee did a mistake in report once and got “served”. Yes, the plan can be completed successfully, but it is not like “do it when you have a moment” thing

          2. Beezus*

            Your experience with the way your org has handled PIPs is not necessarily typical of the way they are handled in other places.

      3. snarkalupagus*

        A well-designed PIP should be an opportunity for an employee to improve, but not every office culture works that way, and sometimes it is just the final documentation-gathering stage before a termination. In this case it sounds like the latter. One of the ways a well-designed and well-administered PIP can work is exactly what Iro suggests–the employee and management can identify potential avenues for success–though when it turns into a game of “pass the poor performer,” it stinks.

        The PIPs I’ve overseen as a manager have been at a company that tries internal transfers first (as legitimate ways to improve the fit, not as passing the buck). Unfortunately they tended to result in the employee juuuuuuust bringing their performance back up to acceptable levels based on the letter of the PIP, and then a lather-rinse-repeat cycle a bit later when performance slumped again, though the PIPs spelled out exact expectations for ongoing performance. Ultimately we ended up at the termination stage with all of them.

        Not knowing what the OP’s friend’s PIP includes, other than the statement about his skillset and her standards, it’s not possible to identify the type of company, and therefore, the type of PIP this is–the “let’s work to help you succeed” type, or the “yeah, just dotting all of the i’s and crossing all of the t’s here” type. Regardless, from what we do know, it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s a fit issue that’s unlikely to improve, especially factoring in that it’s a remote situation. Not being able to sit in the same room as the person judging fit makes it more difficult to fix using a PIP. I like the OP’s suggestion and Alison’s advice, and I do know as a manager that I would’ve been relieved to hear that the employee recognizes the problem and has a solution benefiting both parties.

        1. cat*

          Having read his PIP, I can vouch for its ridiculousness – it’s essentially a list of grievances that the boss has with my friend along with a few minor mistakes he’s made over the last few months with no corresponding steps for improvement. There is no “let’s work to help you succeed” – it’s more, “here’s your notice, get working on finding a new job.”

      4. ThursdaysGeek*

        I was put on a PIP once and it was certainly not that clear. It was a new manager using terminology that I’d never heard. I could tell he thought there was a problem, and I decided to get out. But it was never clear that my job was on the line.

      5. Pennalynn Lott*

        The last large company I worked for, a contractor for Microsoft, put *everyone* on PIP. Literally every single person who worked for them went on and off PIP like someone flicking a light switch. We were doing inside sales, and if any one of our metrics dropped below the acceptable level (number of dials, amount of time on phone, number of closed deals, dollar amount of individual deals, total dollar amount of all deals closed in a week, etc.), you were put on a PIP. I freaked out when I got put on my first one, because my experience had been that PIPs are a warning that you’re about to be fired. Not at this company. They used them in place of good management.

    2. OP*

      OP here – that was offered up as an alternative to his current position; however, he’s a remote employee and any other position he could take would be several thousand miles away from where he currently lives, making the option unworkable.

    1. Sascha*

      Seriously. The letter started out sounding like it was about my coworker who has been on a PIP for several months already, but then he would not have that kind of self-awareness…just this week he skipped out on work again without explanation. (Why hasn’t he be fired yet? Welcome to public higher education!)

    2. Beezus*

      Is it really that unusual for employees on a PIP to understand that this is Serious Business and that termination is a very real possibility? Or is it that he realizes he just doesn’t have it in them to make the improvements they’re looking for? Or is it the fact that he’s not trying to hang on as long as possible while he looks elsewhere? Just honestly curious what’s unusual about this one.

      1. Sascha*

        In my experience, the problem employees who were on PIPs or warned that they would be fired typically had the mentality that 1) the rules did not apply to them and/or 2) they did not connect actions to consequences. This was why they were put on the PIP in the first place. My experience is limited as this is what I observed for about 5-6 employees over my career, so others may have something else to add. But for me, OP’s friend is unusual because it sounds like he DOES realize what is going on and understands the consequences.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        When I was on a PIP I had a new to the company manager and he had moved me to a role where I had no training (but it was a job that needed to be done). “Performance Improvement Plan” sounded to me like a plan to help me do better in that position. I had never heard the term and had no idea that my job was on the line because of it.

        But I could also tell he didn’t like me, he wanted us to work 50 hours as a minimum, he said the owner wasn’t happy with my work. I asked my co-workers what I could do to improve (since the plan was of the “do better” type of instruction) and all of them said I was doing a good job. Since the owner could be capricious, even though I was engaged and enjoying the new work, I decided to get out.

        1. De Minimis*

          I had one co-worker who told me he’d been put on one about six months after starting. Not sure of the exact details…he did seem to be kind of the socially unaware type that was difficult to work with so that might have been an issue. He wasn’t fired, but ended up leaving on his own.

        2. De Minimis*

          I was never placed on one, but I think I would have made the same mistake, thinking it was more a plan to measure improvement and not as a warning.

          Where I work now, the yearly evaluation forms use similar terminology to where they might *seem* like a PIP if not for the fact that everyone has to do one.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        A good PIP will clearly spell out consequences if specific measures aren’t met, so it should clearly state that the person will be fired at the end of the PIP period if XYZ doesn’t happen. That said, some people really do get in denial about it, no matter how explicit you are; it’s pretty weird, actually.

        1. OhNo*

          Does failure to meet a PIP always result in firing? Or are there PIPs that might have other, lesser consequences instead, like being moved to a lower-ranking position or a lower salary/pay rate?

          I haven’t run into a PIP yet (thank goodness), or had any coworkers that have had one, so I’m kind of curious about how they generally work.

          1. Joey*

            I suspect Alison meant that PIPs spell out the possibility of termination, but leaves room for options. As you wouldn’t want an employee to give up on x and y because they didn’t meet the bar for z. And as you point out maybe a demotion or transfer resolves the issue.

        2. ThursdaysGeek*

          Ah, but you say ‘a good PIP’. Not all companies use that kind of PIPs, so sometimes it is confusion, not denial.

  3. Helen*

    I’m a little bit curious about how this sort of thing happens. I can understand hiring someone who ends up having a personality or work ethic issue (if their references weren’t talking about it), but in this day and age of companies requiring multiple years of related experience for even entry level jobs–how does one hire someone who doesn’t have the skills necessary to do a job?

    1. MJH*

      Sometimes it can be more about soft skills than hard skills. My old supervisor (who got laid off) was good at writing and editing, which were required skills for the position. However, she was not good at maintaining her composure, dealing with people, or managing a small team. Those are things that are harder to measure.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hiring isn’t a perfect science. Some people interview really well but aren’t so great at the actual work. Lots of hiring managers aren’t super rigorous about hiring and don’t use exercises during the process to actually see the person in action (and note that lots of job seekers complain when employers do use exercises and simulations — but this is why they do it). Sometimes what passed for acceptable performance in an old job doesn’t fly in the new company, which has more rigorous standards. Lots and lots of ways for this to fall apart, even when the person seemed equipped to do the job.

      1. SerfinUSA*

        Where I work, shuffling job duties and schedules for particular positions are used to nudge someone out the door, or at least to another department on campus. It’s pretty tough to actually fire someone, so making lots of official announcements about certain aspects of certain jobs undergoing changes, then strategically ignoring asked-for input that doesn’t support this agenda, lets admin feel ethical about telling a particular person they no longer fit the job and they can either do x/y/z (then are somehow never allowed to do x/y/z even if willing) or basically be sidelined until they move on.

      2. OP*

        He’d been in the same job with his previous company for about a dozen years, but previous company went under and was acquired by a mega corporation. New ways of doing things, etc. It was a difficult adjustment period between him and his new boss, and the new corporations standards and way of working weren’t a good fit.

        1. My two cents...*

          sound like maybe they tried to let him keep his title, but the way the larger company defined it was completely different. we had a bit of that when our 15-person company got bought out by a fortune 500…my title ‘applications engineer’ means something VERY different within the corporation.

      3. Mabel*

        I hired someone who interviewed really well, and she did the actual work very well, but she didn’t fit in with the team’s existing culture. It took a while, but eventually she left just as she was about to be put on notice (regarding some things that needed to change).

    3. B*

      Sometimes it is the fact the job was completely misrepresented, which happened in my case. It was a combination of personality conflicts (interview was lovely but Dr. Jekyll came out while working) and the fact I was told it would be a & b when in reality it is c & s & r…something had I known about I would have never said yes to much less actually applied for.

      I did what Allison suggested and it worked out fine. They didn’t contest my unemployment and said that yes I worked there and we ended via mutual agreement. I was happy to be looking and out of there while they were happy they did not have to fire me.

      1. Annie*

        Yes, or the scope of the job could even change. I once interviewed for a job doing A and B, with a little C occasionally. I was honest and said that I have no experience with C, but I’m highly skilled and enthusiastic about A and B, and I was hired. Two months later, I was doing nothing but C, and I was no longer doing any A or B work at all! I ended up quitting shortly before the three month mark, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d ended up getting let go at some point had I not quit on my own. I didn’t have the skills they needed for C-type work, and they no longer needed someone to do A and B work.

        1. AVP*

          I was just about to say something similar…the only job I’ve been let go from, I was hired to do A but the company lost interest in A after a few weeks, closed the department, and asked me if I wanted to transition to position D (which had very little to do with anything I was qualified for, but they liked me and thought I could learn it). Well, I was terrible at it, and didn’t last two months. But that’s how that can happen!

          1. Mabel*

            That’s really too bad because you presumably had left another job to take the one that changed just after you started!

      2. J-nonymous*

        Your situation sounds a lot like mine & my friend’s. Particularly the Dr. Jekyll part coming out post-hiring.

        Glad it worked out ok.

        1. j-nonymous*

          Haha! In that case, Dr. Jekyll is who comes out during the interview; Hyde comes out after starting at the new job.

    4. Lizzy*

      Some employees excel better in very specific environments and even under specific management styles, hence being able to be very productive in one work place, but falling behind in another (with the same workload).

    5. C Average*

      In an organization like mine (which is big and has a lot of different roles), I think it comes down to the difficulty of knowing in advance what a given job actually entails and looks like day to day.

      I’ve seen a lot of people (myself included) step into a role for which they seemed like a great fit on paper, only to discover that the parts of the job emphasized in the job description are overshadowed by other aspects of the role for which they’re not prepared. For example, there’s a woman in my department who stepped into a training role after nearly a decade of writing training content. But she overestimated her ability to actually present the content in person. She hates presenting and she’s not good at it. She’d actually like to return to her old role, where she sat alone at a desk and just produced content, but that role isn’t available anymore. She has struggled from day one.

      I’ve also seen jobs morph from one thing to another, requiring people to step up to tasks they’re not trained for and may not have affinity for. And often this happens gradually and in an unspoken way; there’s this extra thing that needs to be done, and it lands on your plate so you try to do it. There’s never a conversation with management about “yeah, we’re in charge of storing the excess teapot inventory in the stock room now, so we need to allocate an hour a day to that, meaning we’ll spend a little less time on this other thing. There will be a training session on Tuesday.” People are left to invent processes, absorb new information, and develop new skills in response to a clear need, but there’s no oversight in those tasks.

      And there’s just plain the Peter Principle. It’s real. Say you’re a rock star and you’ve always done a good job, and you’ve gotten promoted every two years. It’s always gone well. You’ve learned new things, you’ve successfully faced new challenges, you’ve moved steadily onward and upward. Each step up has required the hiring manager to say, “I’m confident C Average can excel in this new role because she’s done so every other time we’ve promoted her.” But maybe this is the step that’s one too many, this is the time when the leap of faith is unjustified.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        YES, the Peter Principle is real. I hate it. It makes me wish more upper-management types would read “First, Break All the Rules” and think about monetary/financial paths upward that do not necessarily involve taking on more management duties.

    6. Gallerina*

      I had this happen once. I was working a contract and failed the Excel test at the interview. And by failed, I mean that I couldn’t do 80% of it, so it was clear that the Excel skills I had were not up to the job. They hired me anyway because the Director liked me so much, and then I spent the entire 6 months I was there being berated because my Excel skills were terrible. I tried to get training but my line manager kept telling me to figure it out myself.

      Needless to say, my contract was not renewed and the reason given: terrible Excel skills!

      Incidentally, my next job sent me to Excel training and I’m now perfectly competent.

    7. Stephanie*

      I think, too, a lot of interview advice convinces people to “hard sell” (in order to get the job) and that it’s a bad thing if you honestly admit “No, I have no experience or interest in teapot glazing.”

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I have learned not to hard sell like this because I end up with tasks assigned to me that I literally cannot do. I’ve been burned twice on jobs where they did NOT tell me I would have to do bookkeeping until I was either already in the interview or on the job. The last one only lasted three days–but I quit also because the manager screamed (I am not exaggerating) at me for a minor mistake. On my third day. I foresaw a nightmare and said, “See ya.”

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        YES. This is one reason I’m always harping on people not to try to sell themselves like that and to just really up-front and honest about what they do and don’t like and what they’re not as strong at. Because otherwise you can end up in a job where you’re going to struggle and maybe get fired.

      3. Sascha*

        I’ve had many people tell me to list Spanish on my resume as one of my skills, because I took a few courses in college. Do I speak it? No. Do I understand it? Barely, if you speak very slowly and with the vocabulary of a 5 year old.

    8. AB*

      It could be a situation like I found myself in. I was hired to do job A, but then they decided they needed someone that could do job A and some of job B (Dept B). I had some experience with job B, enough to do certain types of projects and an interest in growing my knowledge, so I was happy to start doing it. But then, job B ended up needing far more than could be reasonably done part time (esp since job A was a very full time job). They decided to move me full time to job B with the understanding that I would receive on-the-job training since I did not have the background in job B. Just over two months later, however, the company needed to undergo serious budget cuts and couldn’t hire for several open jobs. Because of this, I was moved to cover that gap for dept. B. I really didn’t have the background in Dept. B, and some of the skills were lacking but they knew this when they moved me. I really did not want to move (I really liked my job, and my boss). I brought up my concerns when I was moved under the new boss, but was assured that it was fine, that I wouldn’t need to be perfect.

      I ended up being put on a PIP just a couple months into the new job. I had got no extra help and no feedback from new boss (despite asking for it). Then, just 2 weeks into the PIP (which I had been working my butt off for), the boss told HR that he did not want to follow the plan and would rather just fire me because he wanted to hire someone with more experience (basically, he wanted to open up the job that was closed due to budget cuts and could only do it by getting rid of me). So, I ended up being placed (against my better judgement) into a job that I did not have the background or skills for and then was let go (resigned in lieu of firing) because of it.

    9. HR Manager*

      All these cases are good examples. We also have ones where it was a pace and to some degree a cultural fit issue. In one example, the guy was a great guy, fit with the team, and had all the technical chops – but he was so sloooow in getting his work done. The team was a machine and the company was a fast-paced and high turnaround environment. He was someone we had to graciously present an exit plan (and he was self-aware enough to know it wasn’t working out) and he chose to move to a much slower paced company.

      In another example in a highly regulated industry (biotech), the candidate misunderstood how much compliance and “process/documentation” time was needed to do his work. He didn’t realize it could zap about 30% of his productivity to have to deal with the sometimes overworked processes in our industry. Perfectly good skills, but bad fit with out industry.

      1. De Minimis*

        This has happened to me too, in my case there was just too big an experience gap between me and my peers. It was an entry level job but a lot of people there interned previously. Also, I didn’t realize how important networking and marketing was as an employee…I could never find projects and didn’t have anything substantial to work on for my first six months. When it was time for something more complicated I was ill-prepared and just couldn’t perform.

        This workplace though would hire large numbers of new hires each year, so we were kind of disposable. It was just the wrong environment for me and I should have seriously reconsidered taking the position but they had me committed so early on that I didn’t bother looking for anything else.

        BTW, I got unemployment with no problem after being terminated…they said it wasn’t a fit and that’s what I told the interviewer when I applied for unemployment.

    10. HR Girl*

      In a past life, I had to fire someone who the job had evolved beyond her skill level. She had started as an accounting clerk and did great. But as the business evolved and the job became more automated and required a hire level of technical skills, she no longer fit the job description and was struggling to meet performance standards. It was one of the hardest firings because she was trying hard but just couldn’t do it. We provided information to unemployment to help support her receiving benefits because of the situation.

    11. EE*

      I was let go early from a 6-month contract because, I kid you not, my manager said “I forgot to ask in the interview if you had SAP experience.”

  4. newb*

    Hi, everyone. I haven’t had many jobs yet; I was wondering if “in writing” in these cases can mean an email, or does it mean a PDF with an electronic signature or a print-out with an actual signature, or something more official through Hr, or what?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In an email is fine. The point isn’t to draw up a lawyerly contract; it’s just to have the details written down (even in something as informal as email) in case there are miscommunications later or someone forgets what was agreed to.

    2. CA Admin*

      Most of the time “in writing” just means an email from your boss or whoever the decision maker is. In some cases, you’ll get a PDF with a signature, but that’s really rare in my experience.

  5. LQ*

    Just a note that while your employer can decide to not respond, the unemployment program may (depending on your state) still deny you benefits if you quit. Not a guarantee and if the employer doesn’t respond it’s much less likely to be denied, but you may still be denied.

    1. Chinook*

      “the unemployment program may (depending on your state) still deny you benefits if you quit”

      This whole get unemployment benefits if you quit is definitely limited to a few countries. In Canada, you will be denied benefits if you quit but not if you are laid off or fired (unless you have used those benefits in the last year or so for something like parental leave – there is a mathematical formula used). In other words, if you choose to quit so you never have to admit to being fired then it comes at a real financial cost.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        I think it really depends on the reason for quitting though. When I quit, it was due to stress and I’d been working for that company for over 15 years and never had any sort of claim so I actually did manage to get unemployment. I guess bottom line is give it a try, the worst they can do is say no.

    2. kozinskey*

      Yes, I was coming here to say this. Depending on whether OP’s friend has lined up any work/savings for after this job ends, it’s probably not a wise financial move to quit unless they can negotiate some type of severance agreement.

      1. OP*

        Trust, I debated that one with him for quite a while. At the end of the day, though, he’s committed to quitting – I just want to make sure he does it gracefully.

      2. HR Manager*

        Unless, there is a potential for this to get ugly, I can say there’s very little incentive for an employer to to offer severance. Someone’s already one foot out the door because of performance – why would I pay money, if the alternative path is to terminate them for performance and with no payments?

        1. De Minimis*

          I was terminated for performance and got severance, I think it was a condition of the offer letter, though…you got severance unless fired for gross misconduct or job abandonment.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          A lot of employers will use severance when firing for cause because it’s a way of paying to ensure that they won’t cause legal headaches later (since severance comes with signing a general release of future claims). That’s a nice thing to have if you think the person is going to try to twist a warranted firing into something else (like a discrimination claim).

        3. Stephanie*

          I got severance after a firing. It wasn’t anything huge (I think it was a literally a paycheck). I wasn’t expecting any severance, but it softened the blow (slightly).

          You could also argue that severance is good PR for the company. In addition to protecting against attempts at wrongful termination lawsuits, an ex-employee is still a source of info about the company or even a potential customer down the line. If it feels like the firing was fair and yon offered some severance, you’re a lot less likely to have a bitter ex-employee floating around.

          1. De Minimis*

            I got something like a few weeks. They actually did quite a bit to help me, I have no complaints about how it was handled.

            I think they wanted to try to have things on as good terms as possible—a lot of people were new college hires and too many bad experiences might mess up the college recruiting pipeline. I know some other firms at the time laid people off who hadn’t even been there a year, which really screwed up their ability to meet the experience requirement for their CPA license unless they found a similar job right away.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I did too, and they had also let someone else go that same day, though it was actually layoffs. They were completely restructuring the office (new executive) and eliminating our job duties altogether. I got six weeks and that was a big help. They also made it a point to document our ages–the other employee was younger than I was and they wanted to make sure everybody knew it wasn’t about age.

            It sucked, but my only complaint was that they sprung it on me after I clocked back in from lunch, literally a few minutes after my coworker had left. It would have been nicer to do it for both of us at the end of the day. :P They also did it on a Thursday, which meant we didn’t get stuck waiting over the weekend until we could file for UI. I filed the second I got home.

            1. De Minimis*

              Mine was right before lunch, the HR rep said they did it that way so it could just look like a regular lunch hour. The lunch hour from which you don’t return….

              That was a crazy time, that was the place that was big into the Stalinesque “sudden unexplained disappearance” school of staff reduction. I heard almost everyone I started with was let go later that fall, those that hadn’t already left on their own.

              1. Tax Nerd*

                Was this a radio station west of the Mississippi River? Or someone else?

                The stealth layoffs in 2009 and 2010 were brutal in accounting. A lot of really good people lost their jobs for what were really financial reasons, but a lot of firms pretended it was sudden performance issues for a multitude of people, all at the same time. It really hurt their ability to go out and get a new job.

                I know some of those people ended up in industry sooner in their career than they’d planned, and a couple have told me that they’ve made it their life’s mission to avoid ever becoming a client of the accounting firm that fired them.

                1. De Minimis*

                  Nope, not the “radio station!” It was, um, a firm that is involved in the awarding of certain gold statuettes.

                  I legitimately wasn’t a good performer [and honestly probably should have been weeded out during the recruiting process, because I think I was pretty open about what my strengths and weaknesses were during the various interviews] but that is not the case for my coworkers. I keep up on their linked in pages and almost all of them are way behind careerwise, as am I.

          3. HR Manager*

            Yeah, some companies will and many won’t. I firmly support the “won’t” camp. This was and is a big stand for me, especially when I see companies trying to manage performance increases on a 2% budget (or no budget). You’re trying to motivate your superstar employee with a small increase, while you’re paying thousands to the other guy who didn’t produce. Any money that is available and discretionary should go towards rewarding good employees — not to pay poor ones to leave. I know severance is warranted in some situations, but severance should not be the default option for firing someone.

            1. GPHR*

              I’m the opposite. I do think that severance should be the default for firing someone. (If I had my way, it’d be 1 week for every year of service, with a 4-week minimum.)

              I especially think severance pay is warranted if the ultimate issue was really fit, rather than performance. An employee whose style is entrepreneurial in a micromanagement environment (or vice versa) shouldn’t just be kicked to the curb with nothing. But even someone that tried very hard, but ultimately didn’t have the skills needed deserves severance, in my book.

              I think strong performers are more demotivated by seeing their colleagues let go with no severance than they are motivated by an extra % in their pay. I’ve been the person that was let go, and the person that was chosen to stay, and I never begrudged a penny of severance, even when I inherited the other person’s workload. But if a company wouldn’t pay any severance at all, I started sending out my resume, in case I was next, even though I knew I was a strong performer.

              But then I’ve worked places that deep pockets somewhere or another, so the money could be found to give a couple weeks’ severance, if nothing else. Plus I have too many international colleagues that are horrified at the idea of not paying severance, and it’s worth it to have them not think that I’m a heartless monster.

    3. AB*

      You just have to be careful how you phrase it with the Unemployment Office. If you were really and truly let go in lieu of firing, and the employer isn’t going to contest it, you can ask them for a letter or form basically stating that you are being asked to resign in lieu of firing because you lack the necessary skills to complete the job. If you have something like that, the unemployment office typically won’t reject your claim, and if they do you can contest the rejection.

      1. kozinskey*

        I suspect this varies state to state. I would definitely check with a local attorney before getting something like that in writing.

  6. Stephanie*

    I have seen job applications ask if you’ve been fired OR asked to resign. Wouldn’t this person be in trouble either way? Or could he spin this as voluntarily quitting?

    1. Elsajeni*

      Yeah, I think the key phrase for that in Alison’s script is “… and how my departure is reflected in company records” — if he can get them to record it as a resignation rather than as a firing, he’s in good shape.

    2. Jennifer*

      I have specifically seen unemployment cite “fired, or quit to avoid being fired.” So he would be in trouble either way, yes. You generally only get unemployment if it’s not “your fault” (i.e. laid off) that you’re unemployed. If you quit, forget it. If you’re fired, forget it.

      Or so I recall from my days on the dole, and a friend of mine’s current experiences on the dole once again.

      1. Stephanie*

        No, you can. (At least in Virginia you could.) OP’s friend would probably get denied initially and then have to do a hearing with ex-job and discuss that it was just poor performance (and you made efforts to improve, but just couldn’t cut it). OP’s friend would just need to negotiate with his company whether they would contest.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Depends on the state. In DC/Maryland/Virginia, fired people get unemployment unless there was deliberate misconduct, absenteeism, or some other black and white rule-breaking.

    3. GoHawkclones!*

      It depends on the state. In Iowa, you can be disqualified if you quit “voluntarily, and without good cause attributable to the employer” or if you were fired for misconduct (which is more than just poor job performance. So someone who quits rather than being fired may still be treated as having been fired, in which case they will look at the issue of whether they would have been fired for misconduct.

  7. Mimmy*

    OP – Glad your friend is trying to be proactive with this. Last year, a friend of mine was essentially forced to resign, with the promise that they wouldn’t contest Unemployment. I’m not sure how it’s ultimately turned out and she’s been having personal problems since then, so I wouldn’t dare bring it up. Doesn’t sound like it was an entirely amicable situation….I’m really sad for her that she went through that :(

    1. OP*

      I’m sorry for your friend!

      Much to my frustration, my friend wasn’t as proactive as I would have liked him to be about this at first – he was put on the PIP at the beginning of October and only starting panicking about finding a new job when it was clear to him that a firing was coming. I’m sad about the wasted time, but at least he’s on the ball now.

  8. BRR*

    I’ve never thought of resigning instead of being fired makes that big of a difference (I believe EvilHRLady has an article about this). It will likely be obvious to future employers what happened anyways. Your friend needs to strongly consider what financial position they are in. I can see push back especially on the unemployment benefits plus they might miss out on a severance (and if the company offers anything else like I was given another month of insurance coverage). Your friend should also check the employee handbook if they give anything up by resigning. For example, I got a relocation package. If I was fired I wouldn’t have to pay it back, if I resigned I would.

    Ugh this sucks and I’m sorry for your friend. I was fired after 6 months at my first job but I managed to land on my feet with a better job after less than 6 months (trying to provide inspiration).

    1. Stephanie*

      Yeah…this was my thinking as well. Economy seems to be getting better, so voluntarily quitting might seem more plausible now.

      I was in this situation once (at the height of the recession). It sucked. I chose to resign, but it disqualified me from unemployment. COBRA was cheaper if I was fired (but it was still crazy expensive and I was young and healthy enough at the time to get on my parents’ plan). And I got the impression most interviewers just assumed I was fired or was about to be fired.

      OP, also tell your friend to get his answer down for interviews. If he’s trying to do a completely different field or job, he might have an easier time explaining why he’s out of work and looking for a new role.

      1. BRR*

        I was thinking about interview answers as well. Even if the manager agrees to only give employment dates I worry it could get back to the interviewers that they really quit before they were fired for performance. I guess it feels like the OP’s friend is trying to rewrite history or something but it really doesn’t make as big of a difference as the friend thinks.

        1. OP*

          I’m not so much trying to rewrite history – more just trying to make his exit as smooth and gracious as possible. His alternative was just to email a resignation letter to his manager and HR without giving notice, which I think is more likely to leave a bad impression than if he just owns up to the bad fit and bows out gracefully.

          What I’ve been telling him to say in interviews is “I worked for my previous company for 12 years in the same role, but that company went bankrupt and was ultimately acquired by a much larger operation with a different culture and way of working. Unfortunately, the new firm wasn’t a great fit for me, even though I very much enjoyed the work itself.”

          1. BRR*

            What I meant by rewrite history is that your original letter didn’t include the past 12 years, it just sounded like they got a job then couldn’t do it. By trying to resign before being fired they’re trying to frame it as a poor fit instead of poor performance.

            I think that’s a pretty decent answer. You’re a good friend for helping him so much.

            1. Anon for today*

              I agree that’s a pretty good answer, although personally I’d leave out the part about the company going bankrupt – it paints a bad/negative light on it to me, like he helped them to fail (even when that’s not the case). I’d leave it as “worked at ABC corp for 11 years, but when they were acquired by XYZ mega-corp … cultural changes and bad fit etc”

      2. De Minimis*

        There was really no winning back then, I made the opposite decision, to wait to be terminated and it probably wasn’t any easier as far as explaining it to interviewers, even when I tried to say it was more about poor fit, mutual agreement to leave, etc.

  9. De Minimis*

    I didn’t exactly do this, but did something similar. It was close to year-end and they were doing the performance evaluations, and I knew it wasn’t going to be good. Told my supervisor to let me know the result as soon as he could so we could make plans as far as moving, etc. Think I was let go the next day, probably about a month or two before they normally would have done it.

  10. Joey*

    I’m not sure most managers would agree to unemployment. That’s one of the likely reasons for a PIP. Obviously a PIPs mostly about improving performance but a well written one is also very good evidence for contesting unemployment.

    One of the few reasons I wouldn’t contest unemployment were if a firing looked suspicious to the naked eye. Otherwise unemployment is reserved for those individuals who’ve lost their job through no fault of their own in my opinion.

      1. Joey*

        in my experiences it depends mostly on how much control the person had of the reason for being fired. For example if you didnt have adequate skills to perform the job that’s usually more on the employer. But if you failed to do something you knew how to do or were trained to do that will usually disqualify you. But some states have different variations of that.

        1. OP*

          Not to open it up to legal debate, but because this has come up a couple of times:

          In our state, it’s “willful misconduct” that DQs you from unemployment. Our law states that “unsatisfactory work performance is not considered willful misconduct where the claimant is working to the best of his/her ability.” The manager has stated that she thinks my friend just doesn’t have the skills. I think this means there’s a pretty good chance he’d qualify for unemployment if he was fired.

          On the other hand, I’m nearly 100% certain he won’t be eligible if he quits, but he assures me that he’s done the math and will be able to survive without it for as long as it takes him to get another job. I’m not so sure that he’s right, because you never know how long it will take, but I really do hope he proves me wrong on that.

          1. Creag an Tuire*

            Wouldn’t signalling to your friend that “you may as well resign before you’re fired” qualify as “constructive discharge”, though? Most states allow you to collect UI for that.

            1. BRR*

              Constructive discharge is being forced to quit. In this situation the friend is voluntarily resigning so as to be able to say they were not fired.

              1. Creag an Tuire*

                Right, but I think being given a PIP that you can’t live up to qualifies as being “forced to quit” for UI purposes, just he’d be qualified if he was fired for poor performance. And anyway, it’s up to the employer to contest.

                1. BRR*

                  We really need a lawyer to be a regular here (kickstarter to pay someone?).

                  The letter never says they can’t live up to it, it says they are not meeting the expectations set forth in the PIP. They were on it for three months. That sounds like the employer gave the friend a shot at increasing the quality of their work. Plus I imagine it’s a pretty high threshold to prove you were forced to quit, if not unemployment would be pretty easy to get.

                2. Joey*

                  Context matters. A new employee who hasn’t had the opportunity to prove he can perform is treated much differently than someone who’s productivity has fallen.

          2. De Minimis*

            I think these days people don’t get as many weeks as they did during the worst of the recession, so it may not be such a big deal to get UE compensation as it once was. Still better than nothing, though.
            It seems like it almost always takes longer to find a job than you think it will.

    1. Episkey*

      Right, like I think others have mentioned, in many states you can get unemployment even if you’ve been fired as long as it wasn’t for gross misconduct. I’m in IL and my friend was fired about a couple months ago for performance (making too many mistakes/not catching on quickly enough) and she is currently receiving unemployment. I don’t think the company even attempted to contest it. I also have a friend in NY that was fired not exactly for performance issues, but because the company had a really odd sick day policy and she called out sick too often in a certain period — she also is receiving unemployment benefits. So it definitely is not solely for people who have been laid off.

      1. De Minimis*

        I know some states [even California] have a lot of different case studies on how it can work. California had one major exception regarding being fired for performance–a case of an employee who previously did well at the job but appeared to be deliberately underperforming in order to be fired and receive UE. That person was denied.

        The employer holds a lot of the cards as far as how they can portray an employee’s performance, to where I think a lot of states decide to err on the side of the employee when it comes to firing for cause.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I haven’t checked NY laws lately, but it seems to be more lax than what I read here. It could be just because of my area, though.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m fine with unemployment as long as the firing wasn’t for deliberate misconduct. But someone who tried hard and just couldn’t cut it because the skills weren’t there? I’m not going to contest their unemployment. They tried, the fit wasn’t right, and that’s both our faults.

      1. Joey*

        See I think a severance is a much better option most of the time. Giving unemployment affects UE rates which means you keeping paying for it for a long time. A severance gets that cost off the books now.

        Now a bad new hire is likely to qualify in my state. And most likely will be charged to the previous employer since they haven’t worked for me long enough. But Im not about to give it away when it was their fault.

        1. Anon for today*

          In my state you can get a severance, and then unemployment once the severance has ran out (if its less than the time period for unemployment).

          1. Joey*

            I was talking more about giving severance as a sign of goodwill in lieu of allowing someone to get UE benefits when they otherwise wouldn’t.

    3. LQ*

      Most states give people who have poor performance unemployment. You don’t get it if you quit (some exceptions may apply) or if were grossly incompetent, like say stole from the company.

  11. Ann Furthermore*

    Agree that managers never enjoy firing anyone. I’ve only had to do it once, and it was, career-wise, the worst thing I’ve ever had to do. It was a really bad situation, with the employee dealing with a ton of personal turmoil, and he was just not able to continue to do his job. I begged him to use FMLA, but he wouldn’t, so I was left with no other choice.

    OP, if your friend can come to a mutual agreement with his boss, that will be the least painless way to resolve the situation.

  12. Chriama*

    In terms of what the employer will say: they don’t have to simply decline to talk to reference-checkers, or only provide dates of employment. They could also talk about what OP’s friend did well and emphasize that the role turned into something just wasn’t right for him. Of course, asking for that really depends on how sympathetic and tactful he thinks his boss would be, but if they could come to an agreement where the boss agrees to give an honest but complimentary reference that would probably be better for him than just an agreement to say nothing at all. However, I don’t know how you’d be able to get something like that in writing, and you’d still have to contact HR to make sure they don’t mark you “inelegible for rehire” or something like that.

    1. OP*

      This is really great advice; however, “sympathetic and tactful” aren’t the first two words he’d use to describe his boss (he’d probably go for “unreasonable and stubborn”). Unfortunately, I just don’t think his situation lends itself to this being a possibility.

  13. Janis*

    I have a very good friend who was fired after 2 months even though she tried very hard to do the work. In the end it seems to have been more of a fit issue (it was a very fast paced environment for her) and she did revive unemployment. She was incredibly upset at the time and did not realize or think of negotiating anything in the termination. Now she feels she is left with a black spot on an otherwise great job history in that she can no longer honestly answer the “have you ever been terminated” question on the application. In fact even if she had negotiated her terminations and resigned, applications still ask if the resignation was forced so to speak. How does she address this issue on her application? Can you also speak to

  14. Janis*

    My question was cut off – here is the rest of it: Should she list the job on her application at all? All of her applications seem to include background checks – so how does she handle questions about the job if she doesn’t list it and the background check (the work hour, paychex) comes back with this job listed. Is it reasonable to state it was a contract that ended or is that a bad idea?

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