I'm in a corporate politics situation, which is an arena I'm not very experienced in, and am coming to you for advice. Please keep replies relevant to the topic at hand and not just calling me a bad person and whatnot. If you're one of those "gung ho off to work we go" people who thinks it's a virtue to be a good employee and you should give all of yourself to everyone for nothing, then we probably won't have much in common and please move along. With that out of the way, here are the facts:
-I've been working at this job as an accountant for 2.5 years straight out of undergrad. I got busted selling weed shortly after starting and am on felony probation until September. I'm on a special type of probation where the felony comes off my record if I complete it successfully, which I will.
-I hate the job and I hate the corporate environment. I had two offers making $15K more rescinded after they did a background check and I stopped trying to look for a new job while on probation.
-This experience has led me to think more creatively about how to become financially independent and I've started a few businesses on the side and gotten into real estate. I've replaced about 60% of my W-2 income now and I'm married, so my point is that I'd be fine without this job. Self-employment is what I'm striving toward. But for now, having a job is desirable.
-I'm very good at my job. I'm the most senior person on my team and I've trained 4 people since starting, implemented new processes and improvements, etc.
-I also dick around a lot at work and while I'm pretty good at hiding almost all of it, over time, it becomes apparent. I'll explain. I do a lot of personal business shit from work and I more or less make my own hours. I also work from home without telling anyone sometimes. That's pretty much it. I do get my job done well though so nobody says shit. I'm also just a weirdo and it's obvious most people don't like me or are confused by me. I wear Vibrams and bike to work, bunch of tattoos, standing desk, doesn't go to company events, doesn't talk much, etc. so I generally seem unapproachable. I'm actually a super nice guy, but my personality is very not work appropriate, so I have to mask/repress almost all of it, so I come off like some weirdo drone to these complacent fucks. I get it. I wouldn't like me either. We just don't belong in the same world and I'm trapped here for now.
-I've seen the company grow 5X since I started and they're in the process of outsourcing a portion of my job to India. So I'm doing these training calls with these Indians, showing them how to do the job they're taking from me. Kind of hilarious.
-The two main players on the finance team are myself and my homie Gymbro, who is my only friend here. He got a new job and is resigning today. Only I know so far.
-Yesterday, my boss who works remotely had a call with me and put me on a 45-day "performance improvement plan" for seemingly no reason. The two main areas it addresses is timeliness and "errors." They say I make too many mistakes and need to work "core hours" and note that my clock-ins range from 6AM to 9:45AM in the last 5 weeks. They also combed through emails to make a list of "errors" I had made. I've been working flexible-ish hours for 2 years and the quality of my work has improved if anything.
-I have screenshots of Gymbro's clock-ins and his shit is even wilder than mine and he's gotten no talking-to. Regarding the "errors", it goes to show how little my boss understands what we actually do. I can go through those one by one and explain how it wasn't an "error" and just because he was CC'd on something doesn't mean there was something wrong with it. I can refute every point.
-Looks to me like they're gearing up to fire me for cause because they're getting confident with these India people. I want them to fire me, but without cause so I can collect unemployment for two months while focusing on my businesses and real estate endeavors and then get a better job once the felony is off my record.
-A guy who was doing my job when I started was also not liked by management. He's now an off-site independent contractor and they're paying him more than they used to.
How should I play my cards here? I would like to either get fired for cause and get unemployment or transition to independent contractor like the other guy did. I have leverage they don't know about yet because Gymbro is leaving and they'd be in a tight spot if we both left at the same time. They want me to sign the improvement plan they gave me and send it back. I'm thinking I should politely refute the mistake points and attach the screenshot of Gymbro's hours, sign it and send it back. What I'd hope to accomplish with this is make them think I'm building a case so they fire me without cause. What are the pros/cons of doing or not doing that? How would you play this in my shoes with my goals in mind?