unfair evaluation

Posted: April 24, 2013
By: Clay Cerny

I always learn great lessons from my clients.  Today a client told me about a boss who was trying to intimidate him into signing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).  In most cases, PIPs lead to termination.  My client has been at his current job less than a year.  In that time, his unit has been recognized as the top performing unit in the nation.

When presented with the PIP, my client kept his cool.  He has more than 25 years experience in his industry.  He asked his District Manager why this step was being taken.  The District Manager gave a vague answer and asked him to sign the PIP.  My client then asked about how he was being evaluated and how he was evaluated by other employers.  Again, the District Manager did not address his point.  He said signing is not a big deal.  In reality, it is an admission of poor performance that can lead to termination.  My client knows this and refused to sign.

Then he did something very bold.  He offered two weeks notice.  At this point, the District Manager backed down and said they would discuss the matter later.  My client informed his boss that the issue was not personal.  He then put an exclamation mark on the affair by buying lunch for the person who was trying to set him up for termination.

For me, this client is a role model in knowing how to evaluate his own performance and having the courage to stand up for himself.  Could he be fired?  Of course.  However, signing the PIP would drag out the process and usually have the same result.  My client is not waiting to see what will happen next.  He has begun looking for a new job. The good news is that he can do so with a feeling of self-respect.  He did not let a bad boss bully him.