How to turn a performance improvement plan (PIP) into a severance package

If you find yourself on a performance improvement plan (PIP), it can be a difficult and stressful experience. They usually range from 30 to 90 days and act as a cover up for companies not not get sued by fired ex-employees. However, there may be situations where the best outcome for both you and your employer is to turn the PIP into a severance package. Here are some tips on how to approach this process:

  1. Step into your manager’s and company’s shoes: Understand the motivations of your manager and the company in general. If they are set on firing you, it’s easier and faster for them to do the severance package and be done with you.
  2. Understand your rights: Before you start negotiating a severance package, make sure you understand your rights as an employee. Research your company’s policies on severance packages and consult with a lawyer if necessary. If you have any written proof of discrimination, it’ll be easy to find a lawyer to represent you.
  3. Document your achievements: If you feel that you have made progress on your PIP or have any significant achievements, document them and use them as leverage in your negotiations.
  4. Know what you want: Be clear on what you want out of the severance package. This could include a certain amount of money, extended health benefits, or other perks. Don’t be greedy. Company can just fire anyone without PIP nor severance (at will employment).
  5. Be professional: Even if you feel frustrated or angry about being on a PIP, it’s important to remain professional and respectful throughout the negotiation process.
  6. Consider timing: Timing is important when negotiating a severance package. The best timing is when the PIP hasn’t started. Most companies like Amazon and Google would only offer severance for underperformers before the formal PIP started. If you feel that you have made significant progress on your PIP or have achieved a significant milestone, this could be the right time to initiate discussions.
  7. Know the truth: PIP is rarely to help an employee, it’s a way for the company to cover their ass and not get sued (“oh, see, we tried to help him/her”).

In conclusion, turning a performance improvement plan into a severance package is not always an easy process, but it can be a positive outcome for both you and your employer. By understanding your rights, documenting your achievements, being clear on what you want, remaining professional, considering timing, and seeking assistance, you can approach the negotiation process with confidence and achieve a fair and favorable outcome. And if all fails, try to find another full-time (W-2) job or already have a full-time second job in play by being an overemployed.