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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—February 13, 2010

  • The Register (United Kingdom): Big Blue eye glares at UK workforce. By John Oates. Excerpts: IBM has confirmed it is considering making more UK staff redundant, although no final decision has been made. A conference call this morning informed all UK staff at IBM's Global Services Delivery unit that there would likely be redundancies, depending on the results of the consultation. We were sent the following statement: "IBM UK is embarking on a process of consultation. It would be inappropriate to discuss the matter further during this consultation period." An IBM insider told us: "The formal consultation period begins 23 February and will last 90 days. It has come out of the blue and is a total shock. And from a work perspective - we already struggle to get work done with the people we have."
  • LinkedIn discussion: You have an Hour One on One with Sam Palmisano. What Would You Tell Him? Selected posts follow:
    • IBM has always been considered as the maker of Quality products and Services. For last few years, I have seen a shift in these two strong points. Responsiveness of sales people has gone down considerably and worst of all the partners you have chosen, sometimes I feel more loyal to IBM's competitor. You asked them some typical questions and they immediately switch to other vendor product with strong reasoning. Its high time IBM should look into its strategy on how to win the share in SME market.
    • Proud IBMer? You would be thinking a little diff. if you had been awake when IBM laid off 10k people in march and april 2009. The co. is run to make millions for it's exec's. Yup, "amazing company"..
    • When in the course of human events we find ourselves dependent upon the self-indulgent house of cards we have always built to allow us time to "THINK" (as we feel it becoming increasingly unsteady today), we know the new order of things must be near and in fact already is emerging. Many want to know what it is. Isn't that what we ex IBMers are doing here?
    • This is the thread that doesn't end. Kind of cool, it almost makes me want to pull the whole thing and categorize the responses, do a summation. Obviously, there are two sides to the story here.

      Yes, @Arie, I was a "proud IBMer" who was among the first fruits of the layoffs last year. I was angry, and then I was energized, then I was worried, then I was depressed. I mean, how long can good people be out of work, right? Well, paying work? Coming up on a year, so, yea, that sucked, and I know Sam, et al, didn't cut their bonuses for me.

      On the other hand, we were doing good work, and my stock was profiting, and that is another audience you play to - the stockholders and the Street. So, they did good. No one said the had to BE good, and I have been employed too long to think that any big company believes their own BS that "our people make the difference". That's just advertising.

      And yet, the very practices that IBM developed - remote work, collaborative tools, social media, virtual teaming, ad hoc partnerships - this could well displace the model of an international conglomerate. That should scare the pants off of the Big Corporations.

      Look, for many years they made more and more profit with their little "total quality, empowered employee" models. The problem is that they showed their hand - they don't REALLY care for us, beyond what we can give them, beyond the balance of the spreadsheet. Business remains feudal, with the rich at the top, protected, and the serfs outside the wall, loyally ding for the company.

      But, loyalty is earned, and what I learned is to first be loyal to myself. It is like when you are in the airplane, ignoring the flight attendant - she says, "first, put on your own mask, THEN help others". You have to take care of yourself first.

      There is no reason to be anything but situationally loyal to a company that doesn't care about me. There is every reason to take everything you can get and be ready to move when it is right for you.

    • I must say that I believe IBM is probably the most successful IT company and I can write a full article on this. However, IBM management often plays 'dirty' tactics to improve the figures in the financial markets and in front of the shareholders. Among these 'dirty' tactics are the "layoffs" as a way to cut expenses when the company cannot sustain the revenues ... These waves of "layoffs" happen whenever the financial performance goes down every decade or so.
    • Don, excellent thoughts. Your points emphasize that the corporate world has created a mercenary workforce where every staff member focuses on his own survival, is out for him/herself and who has no loyalty to his/her employers. Don't you think it would be a much more successful company if the average person did not have to worry about his own job security, and thus could spend time and energy on team efforts, mentoring and teaching others and has a sense of loyalty ? It seems the average team at IBM these days is comprised of a group of strutting roosters who posture themselves like politicians in an effort to remain low on the "next to be laid off" list. Tom, the "new order" is "every man for himself -----> thus, chaos. Mohammed, IBM's success was in the past. The days of industry leadership are over.
    • As Watson Sr. Said, "We have an obligation to the stock holder to deliver a return on their investment." He didn't really say anything about the employee being happy, just wanted to be fair. Well, for those of us who had been with IBM for a long long time, we have had many opportunities and we had a great work ethic and did commit ourselves to the job and the company. We were the job. That has all changed as everyone has stated. The focus is different and "this isn't your father's Oldsmobile." Say what you will, my Dad always said, "There is nothing as cold hearted as big business." I forgot that.

      I was determined to do the right things for IBM and my colleagues. Unfortunately the changing of the guard and with the acquisition of "outsiders" who were not true blue changed the culture of IBM and more specifically my work environment. Others gave up their individuality and pride/ethics/values, what ever you wish to call it and did the proper selling of their souls. Truth of the matter is they are still there, I am not. But, I left with my integrity and IBM taught me another valuable lesson, as it always does and always will. I want IBM to be successful, but I do wish it would get back to some of its basic values.

    • Peter, You made an interesting point in your post in that shareholder investment return is the top key measurement that IBM CEOs should follow, according to Watson's statement. That makes sense for me.

      I was interested in researching this one topic since I had heard many times that the long term shareholder value has not been exactly faithful to Watson's Sr.'s hopes. Shareholder value is key to me because as an insider of a small privately held corporation and as an investor with IRAs and other investments, this is ultimately tied to my long term prospects. I decided to research what I thought was just the verification of a hypothesis that I thought was just a fact: IBM stock is and has always been a great long term equity investment.

      To analyze this hypothesis, I went to Yahoo Finance, looked up the IBM quote, requested a stock chart of the equity and extended it to the maximum time frame (1962 - present). I then compared to Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Just select "compare", then add HPQ and then request Yahoo finance to draw the chart of both stock on the same scale. The resulting chart was an eye popper! I suggest all of you do the same and see the chart for your yourselves.

      I'd be more disappointed as an investor than as an employee.

      The comparison of course doesn't include dividends, which both stocks provide, so I guess we'd have to see what the difference would be after re-investing the dividends from 1962 to present but I imagine it can't even put a dent on the difference quoted on the chart after 58 years. True, there have been periods of time where the stock may be a hot performer relative to other shares and the market, but over the long haul, this isn't a shareholder track record to brag about, according to the Yahoo finance graph.

      The Yahoo graph implies that IBM equity value seems to have lost its leadership in the 70's and never regained it against HPQ. Building a false perception is sometimes more important than the truth? Any comments?

    • Richard, you make a great observation. I had thought during my 11 year IBM career that IBM stock was a solid performer. I was wrong. By the way, IBM did not begin paying a dividend until the 1990's, and at first it was a very small amount. Dividend reinvestment would improve the performance since 1966 marginally.

      I did as you said, but I went you one better. I added MSFT, CSCO, INTC, AAPL and EMC (large cap technology companies). All of the added ones went public in the 1980's. The chart is startling. IBM has been a laggard for decades. The chart: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=my&s=IBM&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=hpq%2Cmsft%2Cintc+emc+csco+aapl

      So now I have a few new questions for Sam: How do explain the lack of success of IBM stock price versus it's peers, especially when IBM was considered the technology industry leader for many of those years ? Why is IBM not able to transfer its leadership in Research (leader in patents) into new products that can generate revenue growth ? How are you able to retain our position when you have not been successful in your most important responsibility: maximizing shareholder returns?

    • I was hired in the last year before IBM stopped the no-layoff policy. I worked with people who would do anything for the company and I watched them get chopped. They recruited the best. By the time I left the college recruiting was average and nobody would be there past 5. I would ask Sam if it was worth it. He was there awhile
  • TrueSlant: Recession Files: We are all Harvey Lesser. (Editor's note: Mr. Lesser is a former employee at IBM Boulder.) By Matthew Newton. Excerpts: Scenes from the recession are rarely heartening. If anything, looking at photographs of Americans being removed from foreclosed homes, having cars repossessed, or lined up at the unemployment office, feels predatory or even obscene. But at their best, these photographs should remind us that times are still incredibly tough, regardless of what out-of-touch ‘experts’ like Larry Summers have to say. Having experienced job loss firsthand this past summer (Read: Fear & Self-Loathing in America’s Rust Belt, Part I and Part II), I am well aware of what day-to-day survival entails. For me, the ability to quickly adapt to my new reality and hustle day and night to pay bills and put food on the table, allowed me to weather a tough but life-changing six months of unemployment. That, and of course, luck. After sending out countless resumes, I eventually found work. Many are not so fortunate. One such case is the story of Harvey Lesser, an unemployed software developer with chronic health problems who was recently evicted from his apartment in Boulder, Colorado (pictured below).

    Michael Shaw, over at Bag News Notes, provides a sobering analysis of Getty Images photographer John Moore’s shots of Harvey Lesser being evicted. He begins by citing a Frank Rich column in the New York Times that was inspired by the film “Up in the Air”:

    "What gives our Great Recession its particular darkness … is the disconnect between the corporate culture that is dictating the firing and the rest of us. In the shorthand of the day, it’s the dichotomy between Wall Street and Main Street, though that oversimplifies the divide. This disconnect isn’t just about the huge gap in income between the financial sector and the rest of America. Nor is it just about the inequities of a government bailout that rescued the irresponsible bankers who helped crash the economy while shortchanging the innocent victims of their reckless gambles. What “Up in the Air” captures is less didactic. It makes palpable the cultural and even physical chasm that opened up between the two Americas for years before the financial collapse."
    The private-equity deal makers who bought and sold once-solid companies like trading cards, saddling them with debt, never saw the workers whose jobs were shredded by their cunning games of financial looting. The geniuses in Washington and on Wall Street who invented junk mortgages and then bundled and sold them as securities didn’t live in the same neighborhoods as the mortgagees, small investors and retirees left holding the bag once the housing bubble burst.
    Those at the top are separated from the consequences of their actions.
  • Chicago Post-Tribune: Daniels should recoup funds, not make cuts. By Shaw Friedman. Excerpts: As state revenue estimates continue hitting the skids, we keep hearing from the governor how he's going to make budget cuts and demand sacrifices. Yet the cuts so far are inflicting pain on those least able to afford it. Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, was right two weeks ago to challenge cuts that make no sense or simply inflict damage on the aged, the young, the infirm and the disabled. ...

    How about this governor showing some real guts and going after the rich and powerful corporations who are skating on their tax obligations to Indiana? How about a "profile in courage" there for a change? It seems Gov. Mitch Daniels is more than willing to pick on local firefighters and teachers first, rather than asking the nation's biggest, most profitable corporations to pay their fair share. It's interesting that as recently as 1990, corporate income taxes accounted for 12 percent of our state budget; now they account for just 6 percent. ...

    Secondly, let's recoup monies that are owed when big corporations don't perform. Exhibit A is the governor's failed experiment with privatizing welfare benefits and eligibility. Somehow, the state already has spent $340 million on this 10-year, $1.3 billion contract, and it was a complete flop. Documents were lost, Medicaid and food stamps weren't timely processed, and taxpayers didn't save one thin dime. Rather than give IBM a parting gift of $4.4 million as a going-away prize, how about the governor commission a detailed audit, demand transparency and recoup every penny that any vendor or contractor owes the state of Indiana? Somehow the governor found $180 million to give IBM as a contract add-on in August, when the contract was obviously failing. He needs to recover any money owed Hoosier taxpayers under this debacle.

  • BusinessWeek, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance: 10 Management Practices to Axe. By Liz Ryan. Excerpts: Every few years, a management book or philosophy emerges to change our thinking about the best ways to lead employees. From The One Minute Manager to Who Moved My Cheese?, new and revived leadership concepts have shaped the way we organize, evaluate, inspire, and reward team members. With so many competing management theories in the mix, some ill-conceived practices were bound to take hold—and indeed, many have. Here's our list of the 10 most brainless and injurious:

    1. Forced Ranking. The idea behind forced ranking is that when you evaluate your employees against one another, you'll see who's most critical on the team and who's most expendable. This theory rests on the notion that we can exhort our reports to work together for the sake of the team 364 days a year and then, when it really counts, pit them against one another in a zero-sum competitive exercise. That's a decent strategy for TV shows such as Survivor but disastrous for organizations that intend to stay in business for the long term. What to do instead: Evaluate employees against written goals and move quickly to remove poor performers all the time (not just once a year). ...

    3. Overdone Policy Manuals. You know who's making money for your employer right now? Workers who are selling, building, or inventing stuff. You know who's spending the business's money right now? Other employees (most easily found in HR, IT, and Finance) who've been commanded to write, administer, and enforce the 10,000 policies that make up your company's employee handbook. Overblown policy efforts squelch creativity, bake fear into your culture, and make busywork for countless office admins, on top of wasting paper, time, and brain cells. What to do instead? Nuke one unnecessary or outdated policy every week and require the CEO's signature to add any new ones. ...

    7. Jack-Booted Layoffs. It's no shame to have to reduce your workforce, but why treat departing employees like convicted felons? Anyone who tells you that an RIF requires perp-walk guided exits is someone to add to the next layoff list himself. One-on-one pink-slip discussions and dignified, non-immediate departures are the new norm for ethical organizations. If you have to march your loyal, redundant co-workers out the door, it says lots about the kind of workplace you've built. What to do instead: Deal with performance problems independently of staff reductions. Treat those employees you're forced to let go like the mature professionals they are.

    9. Mandatory Performance-Review Bell Curves. The evil twin to forced ranking systems is the annual review protocol that commands managers to assign their employees in equal numbers into groups of Poor, Fair, Good, Above Average, and Excellent employees. If a CEO has so little faith in his or her managers that she'd plan for, much less settle for, a workforce where 50% of the people range from so-so to dismal, that CEO requires too little from the management team. Forcing performance-review (and salary-increase) distributions into a bell curve exalts and institutionalizes mediocrity. What to do instead: Set high standards for employee reviews and raise them every year. Counsel or remove managers who can't move past Easy Grader status, and trust the rest of your managers to review their employees fairly. If you can't trust your leadership team members to assess their employees, how can you trust them to manage at all?

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange: "Re: Nostalgia, Rankings, and IBM vs. AIG" by "Bart Bartholomew" . Full excerpt: Like Dave, I too spent about half my 39-years at IBM in staff jobs; half in management (1st, 2nd, and 3rd level). I never could get myself to understand that we were always strongly encouraged to only hire the best and the brightest, to push people to be star performers, and yet be demanded or forced to have an appraisal/evaluation spread or skew shaped like a bell curve.
  • Newsweek: Lay Off the Layoffs. Our overreliance on downsizing is killing workers, the economy—and even the bottom line. By Jeffrey Pfeffer. Excerpts: On Sept. 12, 2001, there were no commercial flights in the United States. It was uncertain when airlines would be permitted to start flying again—or how many customers would be on them. Airlines faced not only the tragedy of 9/11 but the fact that economy was entering a recession. So almost immediately, all the U.S. airlines, save one, did what so many U.S. corporations are particularly skilled at doing: they began announcing tens of thousands of layoffs. Today the one airline that didn't cut staff, Southwest, still has never had an involuntary layoff in its almost 40-year history. It's now the largest domestic U.S. airline and has a market capitalization bigger than all its domestic competitors combined. As its former head of human resources once told me: "If people are your most important assets, why would you get rid of them?" ...

    For many managers, these actions feel unavoidable. But even if downsizing, right-sizing, or restructuring (choose your euphemism) is an accepted weapon in the modern management arsenal, it's often a big mistake. In fact, there is a growing body of academic research suggesting that firms incur big costs when they cut workers. Some of these costs are obvious, such as the direct costs of severance and outplacement, and some are intuitive, such as the toll on morale and productivity as anxiety ("Will I be next?") infects remaining workers.

    But some of the drawbacks are surprising. Much of the conventional wisdom about downsizing—like the fact that it automatically drives a company's stock price higher, or increases profitability—turns out to be wrong. There's substantial research into the physical and health effects of downsizing on employees—research that reinforces the seemingly hyperbolic notion that layoffs are literally killing people. There is also empirical evidence showing that labor-market flexibility isn't necessarily so good for countries, either. A recent study of 20 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development economies over a 20-year period by two Dutch economists found that labor-productivity growth was higher in economies having more highly regulated industrial-relations systems—meaning they had more formal prohibitions against the letting go of workers. ...

    Layoffs don't even reliably cut costs. That's because when a layoff is announced, several things happen. First, people head for the door—and it is often the best people (who haven't been laid off) who are the most capable of finding alternative work. Second, companies often lose people they didn't want to lose. I had a friend who worked in senior management for a large insurance company. When the company decided to downsize in the face of growing competition in financial services, he took the package—only to be told by the CEO that the company really didn't want to lose him. So, he was "rehired" even as he retained his severance. A few years later, the same thing happened again. One survey by the American Management Association (AMA) revealed that about one third of the companies that had laid people off subsequently rehired some of them as contractors because they still needed their skills.

    Managers also underestimate the extent to which layoffs reduce morale and increase fear in the workplace. The AMA survey found that 88 percent of the companies that had downsized said that morale had declined. That carries costs, now and in the future. When the current recession ends, the first thing lots of employees are going to do is to look for another job. In the face of management actions that signal that companies don't value employees, virtually every human-resource consulting firm reports high levels of employee disengagement and distrust of management. The Gallup organization finds that active disengagement—which Gallup defines as working to sabotage the performance of your employer—ranges from 16 percent to 19 percent. Employees who are unhappy and stressed out are more likely to steal from their employers—an especially large problem for retailers, where employee theft typically exceeds shoplifting losses.

  • Poughkeepsie Journal letter to the editor: IBM shows why regulation needed. Full excerpt: Although there are positive signs our economy is emerging from a deep recession caused by the greed of bankers and speculators, there has not been a rebound in employment. Should we blame the president? Blame the Congress? Blame taxes? No, blame large corporations like IBM.

    Consider the absurdity of a recent front-page Poughkeepsie Journal story on IBM reporting record earnings and profits and yet anticipating job cuts ("IBM sets profit record but hints at job cuts," Jan. 20). What gives? One would expect dismal earnings would result in layoffs, but record profits?

    It speaks to what is wrong with capitalism as practiced in 21st century America. Profits are made at the expense of employees and their security. Could IBM be a little less profitable without letting go staff? Could the executives whose bonuses depend on the firing of others to maximize their bottom line give up their greedy and ill-gotten gains for the benefit of the workers whose manual and intellectual contributions allow them to make a profit in the first place? Why ask that question when executives can lay off workers and then magnanimously rehire them on a contract basis for less money with no benefits. Gone are the days of relative corporate ethics and responsibilities vis a vis their employees.

    IBM is not the focus here, only the local example of how capitalism has gone wrong and why there is an unfortunate necessity for government intervention and regulation of the financial institutions and the large corporations that make record profits by putting Americans out of work.

  • JobVent: Working at IBM — Reviews by Employees. Selected reviews follow:
      • From London — 02/08/2010. The Watson-era IBM I joined 25 years ago is no more. In its place has been created a soul-less, filleted shell of a company which knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. It's a miserable place to work for anyone aged about 50 or over. Anyone considering working for IBM would be well advised to do it for a few years to get your CV stamped, then move on. It's a depressing, morale-sapping behemoth in which there is nothing to look forward to apart from the exit door. It really is grim working for IBM in the UK now. As a company to work for it has become appalling, and that's a tragedy.
      • From Cincinnati OH — 02/11/2010. IBM in a downturn will sacrifice its children, employees, SMEs and people assets. It is mercilessly competitive and if you are acquired you will soon be doing the Big Blue dance. That being said, it is incredibly smart place- opportunities abound. The culture creates the most patents of any US corporation. You will have the resources to do your job on a big scale. In various Industries not the best innovator, but as a whole you will learn and profit from working here. Very high outsourcer - like Microsoft, i.e. jobs transfer overseas.
      • From Fishkill, NY — 02/12/2010. The word is IBM Managers are meeting today to talk about 1st QTR RA's, the word is to have the layoffs completed by 3/31/10. IBM's executive greed has all about hurt the accounts I work on, the experience is no longer there, if the problems are not in a process the other support teams do not know how to take care of it, communication is a large problem causing customers to escalate problems and in a lot of recent cases not renew their contracts. If you are ever considering using IBM for services I wish you luck, you will need it. If you are considering working for IBM plan on a short career they will use you and push you out the door to save a buck. If you are a community offering tax breaks I would think twice as they destroy communities everywhere they go.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 2/07/10: Comment 2/04/10: what's division is ITD? -Anonymous- ITD is Dead Snake !!! Most of it gone to India and Brazil. All IBM Internal Accounts gone. People working in ITD still have there neck on sharp knife -Ramki-
    • Comment 2/07/10: 29 1/2 years as a as stellar performer and loyal IBMer. Went to my Manager the other day with a minor health problem looking for some assistance and changing my work load. Was told "the job is what it is where it is, do it or you can retire". WOW, how's that for "respect for the individual" and sensitivity. This company is going down the drain fast. -loyal for 30 years- Alliance reply: No offense intended; but you didn't already know that IBM stopped 'respect for the individual' 20 years ago, or more? IBM has changed many policies and methods of doing business that all disrespect employees, individually and collectively. Expect your manager to put your name at the top of the next RA list. To not expect that is, naive. Sorry, if that offends you.
    • Comment 2/08/10: "A friend of mine this week that works at IBM East Fishkill NY manufacturing. Building 330 was told by His manager that he has to get rid of another eight employees. It appears that they are getting rid of their employees in drabbles and drapes! -Who's next?-" This is IBM's strategy. It is called stealth layoffs. Screw the employee below the radar so you won\'t be seen doing it. These strategies are planned from the top starting with Sam Palmisano. What a dirtbag slimeball scum bag of a CEO. I hope Sam enjoys his millions while he rots in HELL. His millions will be worthless down there. -IBMer-
    • Comment 2/08/10: -loyal for 30 years- I feel for you. I can empathize. Truly. PLEASE take care and may better health be with you! IBM better let you make 30 years of service!!! After 25+ years of service to IBM I was RA'ed from IBM on 9/23/2009. 2009 was a nightmare for me health wise: in the hospital for a week three times. I was on medical leave and the day I returned I was RA'ed. My IBM director made the RA decision on me, NOT my manager... IBM RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL? Long gone. History. A figment of the imagination for the less experienced IBMer... yes, so sad.. Now from my sponsored IBM health benefits provider is so interested in my health...they call me and ask how I am doing now unemployed since I am no longer an employee. I get or "qualify" for no FHA as well from IBM now. Am I bitter? NO. I'm just proud I joined the Alliance in 1999!!!!! And I would do it all over again! Regrets? Yes. I just wish more IBMers will join the Alliance and stand in solidarity with me. . -Bill McGreevy Jr-
    • Comment 2/11/10: So it appears they are offshoring technical support for the mainframe, mid-range etc products. I'm assuming this is the internal support that the SSR or customer calls or gets connected to when they place a call. Wow! What a surprise.. NOT!!! For years I've been hearing stuff like "IBM will never do that", "It's the first line of contact with the customers" and so forth...BULLCRAP.

      WAKE UP PEOPLE! STOP DRINKING THE KOOLAID. It's all about M_O_N_E_Y!!! Customers are SCREAMING! about incompetence amongst the field force. What does IBM do? Send them more DVD's to learn how to fix products they have never seen. What they really should do is send the field force to a Rosetta Stone class so they can learn how to speak Urdu or Filipino in the hopes that they can communicate with their internal support people.

      Do IBM employees even realize how underpaid they are? I have met "techs" working for Fortune 100 companies whose only task is to "ping servers" all day, look at logs and place service calls to the appropriate vendors. They are making $100,000 per year + benefits.. The SSR fixing the machine is lucky to be making 50k with overtime. Hell, go manage a McDonald's and make more.

      Get ready SSR's because ESA is ending your job and the big one is right down the pike....Organizing is the only way but unfortunately IBM is real smart and they are banking on the noobs, living at home with mama, buying that Corvette and working for IBM with the promise of "greater things to come" to keep them going. And guess what? It will work like a charm. It has for the past 100 years. -PissGetty-

    • Comment 2/11/10: Stealth layoffs in Burlington, VT: 4 maintenance techs that I know of today, one having 27 years, all PBC rated 3 -manwithtwokids-
    • Comment 2/12/10: GBS middle manager in Canada mentions there is a big layoff coming in 3-6 months. In same conversation she also notes that morale is so low the best people are leaving anyhow. IBM wants low-paid robots they can overcharge their customers for. -used-and-tossed-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 2/08/10: -gadfly- Remember. IBM, the company that can give us a smarter planet as long as we give them tax breaks and big government dollars cannot get their own MPI ( Machine Product Inventory) and Dispatch databases to talk to each other. Never have and I suspect never will. This allows team leads and management pets to pad their workload while assigning the calls and callouts to someone else.

      I suspect a Shop Steward could end this practice once and for all. You can really screw up a mismatcher, er, dispatcher by asking them to TENT the call and tell you who its assigned to. Then make them call out the person who carries the workload. That's right, they no longer tell you who exactly has the workload on a TENT, Just the managers group. That's why. That's also why only the pets have access to the MPI database . Can't have you actually getting real credit for the work you do. Gotta let the Team lead show twice the work on paper you have and see how positive his / her attitude is! So why are you complaining? That's one of the ways they get you to show a bad attitude so you can have your appraisal lowered. Gotta love a level playing field dontcha! -Exodus2007-

    • Comment 2/10/10: Interesting, the W3 website has an article entitled “2010 - Investing in IBMers” (Warning: Internal IBM link: http://w3.ibm.com/news/w3news/top_stories/2010/01/cl_invest_ibmer.html). Like many of these IBM propaganda articles, there is an option to rate the article from 1 to 5 stars. Seems like over 4,500 people so far have given it an average rating of only1 star. Guess there are a lot of unsatisfied people that don’t believe IBM is really investing in them. Would be nice if those 4,500 people would do something about it and sign up with the Alliance. -Stormcrow-
    • Comment 2/10/10: I feel ashamed to work for IBM. When I get together with my friends I avoid talking about IBM. My friends feel sorry for me working for this company. IBM has got the reputation of screwing the American worker. Plain and simple. My friends feel sorry for me. I'm looking for a better job and when I find it I'm leaving this sorry a$$ company called IBM. -IBM Employee-
    • Comment 2/11/10: IBM left me in '06. My only fault after 15 years service as an SSR was that I was over 45. After being shipped to Qualxserv for two miserable years working on crappy contracts servicing junk printers and 4 hr desktop and laptop calls I was shown the door when IBM moved the contracts to an even cheaper vendor. I found a field service position at a large VAR and now support over 500 servers and related equipment. I am paid well, much more than IBM ever thought of paying, treated with respect and my contributions and opinions are valued by my employer.

      I ran into one of my former IBM co-workers the other day and we had lunch. He informed me that the service division is as close to a shambles as it possibly can be. The mainframe people have mostly left on their own accord getting out while they could after 25-30yrs. The existing server people are being cross-trained on mainframes but are not receiving any job reclassification (more money) for doing this. "If you don't like it, leave." is the current management attitude. One does not just take a class or two and become a mainframe SSR, it is a position one works into over a few years. Good luck major accounts when no one is qualified to perform your service.

      By the way major accounts are re-thinking IBM, especially in the point-of-sale (retail) sector and accounts are dropping like flies. Standby and call out pay have been eliminated and the SSR is expected to be available 24/7. I guess if you have an adult beverage with dinner and then get a call out you would be subject to firing. So much for respect for the individual, family life and career advancement. Also, support is now a joke since the knowledgeable personnel have been let go and all that's left are people who read you pages in the manual with no other knowledge. Then, the biggest joke, the most aloof, arrogant SSR in our group who would never lend a hand to another unless he garnered brownie points is attending manager school and is the heir apparent when the manager retires next year. Typical IBM garbage.

      There needs to be a major revolt, enough is enough. IBM is using the current economic downturn to further bully its employees. Sadly, no one is really interested in organizing. Computer people tend to be the last of the cowboys and rugged individualists. Remember that a contract has worked with similar service organizations like AT&T. With a union contract the average worker would at least stand a chance with the forceful management styles that currently exist in the cesspool IBM has become. I sadly remember when this company was something to be proud of and that management took pride in developing its rank and file employees into the newer generation of company managers. I hope there's a special place in hell for Palmisano and his cronies. I'm so glad I'm gone. -Outahere-

    • Comment 2/11/10: Re Losing mainframe people. IBM MF customers are noticing the crappy support they are now getting. I guess an Indian who took a few classes in z/OS, RACF, IMS etc can't provide the same level of support than people who have been working with this stuff for 20-30 years. Go figure. When IBM loses the corporate 500 MF customers it will be mostly over. -exMainframeGuy-
    • Comment 2/12/10: “2010 - Investing in IBMers” LOL. If IBM is so compelling with this, why not make it public instead of on its internal website? Because it is at least misleading and probably an HR spun lie. The only investment IBM is making in the employee is a cheap one and if not cheap it is an evil one by investing in the employees demise by a future RA. If IBMers want to make an investment in themselves working in IBM I would suggest they form a union to do it. -anonymous- \
    • Comment 2/12/10: -Stormcrow- I've seen this and I wanted to rate it 0 stars. The timing of this w3 article is to try to soften the variable pay blow soon to be announced. Return on the employee investment now means less variable pay funding in IBM. -anonymous-
    • Comment 2/12/10: Once IBM has a bad quarterly report or one that fails to impress Wall Street, IBM could very well implode like the banking and financial companies did last year. So for IBMers: pray IBM can always fudge good numbers, pray you don't get purged with an RA, pray you don't lose more pay and benefits and dignity than you've lost already. And pray you see the light and create a labor union to get yours before the IBM executives take it all away with them before the implosion. -predictmethis-
    • Comment 2/12/10: -predictmethis- i think you are quite probably right. The IBM Car is being driven at top speed with no oil, warn out brakes and flat tires. I am sure the driver will be happy as long as he gets past the finishing flag - and clearly he won't care if the car is left undriveable or bursts into flames -BIG Z-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments IBM CEO Sam Palmisano: "I am pleased to announce that we will not only be paying bonuses to IBMers worldwide, based on individual performance, but that they'll be funded from a pool of money nearly the same size as last year's. That's significant in this economy -- and especially so, given the size of the 2007 pool. Further, our salary increase plan will continue, covering about 60 percent of our workforce. As always, increases will go to our highest performers and contributors. We should all feel good about the company's ability to invest in people in these very concrete ways."
    • Comment 2/09/10: Salary = 150000+; Band Level = 8; Div Name = GBS S&C; Message = Responding to comments to anon from 12/26...125K is completely accurate for a b7 in that position. -another_anon-
    • Comment 2/10/10: -joe- There are more PBC 2's (that were 2+'s before this cycle) and also more PBC 3's so the variable payout is invariably going to be, of course, lower. Why would IBM increase the GDP pot for the employee when IBM can cheap it out? The only way the employee can expect a better payout is to collectively bargain with IBM. You need a union and a contract for that to happen. -da_facts-
    • Comment 2/10/10: Div Name = SWG. Message = Variable pay to be funded at 85% according to the message in an All-Hand meeting today. "Better than a 15% pay cut" was the salve provided to take the sting out. -NotInIndia-
    • Comment 2/11/10: So why are GBS Strategy&Change group so special salary-wise when other more typical band 7's make in the 60K's-70'K's and band 8's make 80K's-90K's in IBM? More band 7 and band 8's have seen their salary cut by IBM by various means. It also was said that GBS S&C often do the same job as other lower paid staff. So how do you S&C folks survive the RA's in GBS without a union? Is GBS S&C part of IBM CHQ? Were S&C part of an IBM acquisition? Can you ever get promoted to a band 9 or are you stratified now based on your higher salary? Well, it's great you make such a high salary in this IBM. Hope you can keep it! -curiou$lyconfu$ed-
    • Comment 2/12/10: Record IBM profits does not equal better variable pay. -Sam's_theorem-
  • PBC Comments;
    • Comment 2/11/10: Band Level = 9; Years Service = 7; Prior Yr PBC = 1; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = After I left the mtg w/my manager, I broke out laughing. Once the new "profit sharing plan" for ITSes was announced and the 1st round of miserable quarterly payments was made, I reduced my hours to no more than 40 each week, and did SO MUCH LESS work in '09 than in previous years. I guess everyone else did also so I maintained my (relative) position. -SWG ITS-
  • International Comments
    • Comment 2/11/10: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = None; Job Title = IT Specialist; IBM Division = ITD' Message = It's on your job cuts page as well, ITD UK is the next on the chopping block. Comparing UK ITD to India ITD, Hungary ITD...etc, we are just too damn expensive. Regardless of our greater experience, knowledge, and skills, it really doesn't matter, it's all about the Big Blue dollar. They have brought in their new hatchet man, he's announced the consultation period today. They are putting it all in place to get as many out as possible by end of 2Q so they can announce the "improvement" in profitability. I'm sure the new guy will enjoy his bonus, as I am sure that US bloke they brought in last time they did this, once he complete's his job to drop ITD UK off the map. ITD UK is regularly the worst place to work in the UK as proved by the Global Pulse Survey results, you wonder why....hmmmmm. Better get the target printed and put on my back -UK_ITD_target-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • New York Times: On Health Bill, G.O.P.’s Road Is a New Map. By Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn. Excerpts: When Republicans take President Obama up on his invitation to hash out their differences over health care this month, they will carry with them a fairly well-developed set of ideas intended to make health insurance more widely available and affordable, by emphasizing tax incentives and state innovations, with no new federal mandates and only a modest expansion of the federal safety net.

    It is not clear that Republicans and the White House are willing to negotiate seriously with each other, and Mr. Obama has rejected Republican demands that he start from scratch in developing health care legislation. But Congressional Republicans have laid out principles and alternatives that provide a road map to what a Republican health care bill would look like if they had the power to decide the outcome. ...

    The Republicans rely more on the market and less on government. They would not require employers to provide insurance. They oppose the Democrats’ call for a big expansion of Medicaid, which Republicans say would burden states with huge long-term liabilities. While the Congressional Budget Office has not analyzed all the Republican proposals, it is clear that they would not provide coverage to anything like the number of people — more than 30 million — who would gain insurance under the Democrats’ proposals. ...

    Democrats said the Republican proposals would do little to solve the crisis in health care. The proposals are “as skimpy as a hospital gown,” said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas. Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, said, “If the Republicans’ health care plan was a plan for a fire department, they would rush into a burning building, and they would rush out and leave everybody behind.”

  • New York Times op-ed: Republicans and Medicare. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: “Don’t cut Medicare. The reform bills passed by the House and Senate cut Medicare by approximately $500 billion. This is wrong.” So declared Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, in a recent op-ed article written with John Goodman, the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis. And irony died.

    Now, Mr. Gingrich was just repeating the current party line. Furious denunciations of any effort to seek cost savings in Medicare — death panels! — have been central to Republican efforts to demonize health reform. What’s amazing, however, is that they’re getting away with it.

    Why is this amazing? It’s not just the fact that Republicans are now posing as staunch defenders of a program they have hated ever since the days when Ronald Reagan warned that Medicare would destroy America’s freedom. Nor is it even the fact that, as House speaker, Mr. Gingrich personally tried to ram through deep cuts in Medicare — and, in 1995, went so far as to shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting those cuts.

    After all, you could explain this about-face by supposing that Republicans have had a change of heart, that they have finally realized just how much good Medicare does. And if you believe that, I’ve got some mortgage-backed securities you might want to buy.

    No, what’s truly mind-boggling is this: Even as Republicans denounce modest proposals to rein in Medicare’s rising costs, they are, themselves, seeking to dismantle the whole program. And the process of dismantling would begin with spending cuts of about $650 billion over the next decade. Math is hard, but I do believe that’s more than the roughly $400 billion (not $500 billion) in Medicare savings projected for the Democratic health bills.

    What I’m talking about here is the “Roadmap for America’s Future,” the budget plan recently released by Representative Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee. Other leading Republicans have been bobbing and weaving on the official status of this proposal, but it’s pretty clear that Mr. Ryan’s vision does, in fact, represent what the G.O.P. would try to do if it returns to power. Read more...

News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.

  • New York Times op-ed: America Is Not Yet Lost. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: We’ve always known that America’s reign as the world’s greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic. What we’re getting instead is less a tragedy than a deadly farce. Instead of fraying under the strain of imperial overstretch, we’re paralyzed by procedure. Instead of re-enacting the decline and fall of Rome, we’re re-enacting the dissolution of 18th-century Poland.

    A brief history lesson: In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting “I do not allow!” This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century.

    Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison.

    Last week, after nine months, the Senate finally approved Martha Johnson to head the General Services Administration, which runs government buildings and purchases supplies. It’s an essentially nonpolitical position, and nobody questioned Ms. Johnson’s qualifications: she was approved by a vote of 94 to 2. But Senator Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, had put a “hold” on her appointment to pressure the government into approving a building project in Kansas City.

    This dubious achievement may have inspired Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama. In any case, Mr. Shelby has now placed a hold on all outstanding Obama administration nominations — about 70 high-level government positions — until his state gets a tanker contract and a counterterrorism center. ...

    The truth is that given the state of American politics, the way the Senate works is no longer consistent with a functioning government. Senators themselves should recognize this fact and push through changes in those rules, including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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