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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—March 26, 2016

  • The Channel (United Kingdom):

    Staff 'fury' as penny pinching IBM offers legal minimum redundo payoffs. Big Blue 'can't afford to enhance terms', got margins to consider. By Paul Kunert. Excerpts: IBMers at risk of losing their jobs have reacted with “fury” to Big Blue’s confirmation it can only afford to pay the bare statutory minimum in their redundancy packages. ...

    Unlike past programmes when staff said they were offered better leaving terms, in both voluntary and involuntary exits, this time around payoffs are being calculated on the statutory minimum as required by government.

    IBM will give workers under 22 years old half a week’s salary for every full year of service, pay one week for every full year worked for staff between the age of 22 and 41, and one and a half weeks' for every year worked by those at 41 years old or above. The length of service is capped at 20 years, weekly salary at £475 and the maximum payment is £14,250. ...

    The Employee Consultation Committee asked why smaller payments were offered, and in minutes of the meeting for GTS, which The Channel has seen, IBM said “enhanced terms” were not “affordable”.

    “UK GTS need to drive at least two per cent margin growth in 2016, and specifically for GTS IS Delivery, this translates to achieving $75m cost take out in 2016. This redundancy programme is one of the labour productivity actions.” the ECC Q&A document – also seen by us – revealed. ...

    IBM said it had considered the impact that statutory redundancy terms might have on future hires, but reckoned “competitive pay and benefits, global opportunities, career and skill development and flexible working options”, were the “key drivers”.

    IBM also said it was aware of some customers concerns about offshoring work when setting the selection criteria for redundancies.

    Over at GBS, the ECC document written for that unit also contained complaints along the same thread. One employee told IBM it “should be embarrassed at accepting to implement this request from [execs in] the States and even more embarrassed at placing such a proposal on the table”.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • "got margins to consider" Margins is presumably a code word for management bonuses.
    • It's a great signal to the market for talent that it's a complete and utter waste of time becoming a permie with IBM, so if joining them, you should only ever do it as a contractor. That perception will cost a lot of money in the long run. As a people-focussed business, it's a bad idea to tell your people their loyalty is valueless
    • Chucking people out on statutory terms creates enormous ill feeling, both among the directly affected staff and their colleagues who remain. Many talented people are leaving of their own volition, at least part in disgust at how the company is being run. Those who do not leave for whatever reason generally have greatly reduced motivation and loyalty due to the way that their colleagues have been treated, not to mention because they are being expected to work harder to fill the void.

      It's a myth that just deadwood is being chopped - after so many rounds of this there is not so much deadwood left. Firing people on statutory minimum terms like this is bad news for the company on many different levels; it's another false economy.

      It is also worth repeating - this is not just GTS, GBS, Labs but across the business. The IBM divide and conquer layoffs approach is to split all these things up so it is harder to build a complete picture. Sometimes El Reg itself seems to forget this. I know it's happening in Analytics too. I think it's telling that more leaking to the press, including of actual employee 'consultation' documents, has happened this time around. People feel betrayed.

    • When I took a voluntary package from IBM I signed an agreement stating that I wouldn't slag off IBM or discuss the terms of the agreement with anyone.

      I would assume that those who are forced out will not have this holding them back. Isn't IBM concerned that the negative publicity will have a significant effect?

      Regarding this:

      IBM said it had considered the impact that statutory redundancy terms might have on future hires, but reckoned “competitive pay and benefits, global opportunities, career and skill development and flexible working options”, were the “key drivers”.

      Well, there's some truth in there. Pay in IBM is not competitive. Far from it. I went to another job and earn 1.5 times what I did at IBM.

      Benefits on the other hand are actually reasonably good in IBM. Pension contributions are above average. Not enough to negate the poor salaries. When you get a job it's the package that's important. Overall, IBM is still a poor option in general.

      Another thing to remember is if you join IBM, pay rises are few and far between and if you get one, it will be below inflation. In real terms you take a pay cut each year. I say that as someone who got a PBC 1 every year. I pity those who don't.

      Global opportunities tend to be "we have a customer in country X and we have nobody local with the skills. We want you there tomorrow morning - we'll stick you in an overnight flight in economy". There are also programs for working abroad. You need a PBC 1 to put your name down and you need to be pals with the guy organising it to actually do it.

      Career development = we will do whatever we can to avoid promoting you. We'll tell you you're great and dead valuable though.

      Skills = We need someone with these skills and we want that to be you. There's no education budget so please go to customer X and tell them you have these skills.

      Regarding flexible working, this was actually very good in my experience. Setting your own hours was rarely a problem particularly as the older managers who wanted you on-site retired. Having said that, the new job's no different.

      My advice to anyone thinking of joining IBM is yes you should do it. Get what you can out of them. Get a decent package when you join as you will not get a rise while you're there. Stay for 3 years tops. Do not expect training or career development. It's still a good name on your CV, although that's quickly diminishing along with IBM's reputation. You are unlikely to have a worthwhile career there.

      Would I go back? Yes, actually. They'll have to pay me a LOT though.

    • First you cut costs by laying off the workers, and then you cut costs on the cost-cutting by falling back on the statutory minimum severance package, and then you charge the redundant employees $5 apiece for the boxes to put their stuff in , and then you turn off the heat and lights after lunch to make sure the former employees GTFO by close of business!

      (Not great form, IBM. I guess that Big Blue doesn't think these jobs are ever coming back to the UK, otherwise they wouldn't be sending out the message to the broader UK tech workforce that you can work for IBM for years and when you get canned, you get the bare minimum.)

    • Not just in the UK: IBM have tried aggressively laying off people in Japan a few years back. They are currently having their balls kicked in a series of lawsuits. It's going to end up costing them waaaaay more than acting like a decent company. I hope the shareholders are happy with all their money being spent on lawyers and, ultimately, vast payouts. I thought managers were supposed to look after shareholders funds?

    Selected comments regarding this article from the Watching IBM Facebook page follow:

    • IBM is bleeding GBS and GTS dry. Yearly cuts of employees (and now cuts to long standing severance payments) making claims to their clients they are back filling with offshore (read low wage) talent while actually just using fear and intimidation to make the remaining employees work harder and longer. I am aware of two companies that have recently announced (internally) they will be taking back support of IBM currently managed systems most likely due to decreased effectiveness by IBM.
    • But tens of millions of Exec and Board bonuses WERE "affordable."
    • Don't believe a thing IBM execs tell you. They lied to us for years claiming they couldn't afford to continue a fully funded retirement plan running a surplus. Turns out, they padded the books with the surpluses and stole from the employees that EARNED those benefits, willing to take lower pay today for a guaranteed retirement later.
    • Is there any scope for legal action in this comment ? (UK Based) If there have been previous rounds of redundancy which paid more than the 'statutory minimum' rates then staff made redundant on poorer terms may have a very good case to take to an employment tribunal. i.e. past 'custom and practice' not statutory minima establishes the baseline.

      A number of ex-colleagues of mine who were faced with such a situation won their cases. The only problem is that for the last few years it has been quite costly to initiate employment tribunal actions ( a few years ago it was free, but the Conservative government changed that, it now cost circa £500 - £1000). However I know from personal experience that if the award is successful it is likely to far exceed costs. Get good advice on your situation!

    • So, on revenues of $32.01bn and profits of $11.97bn gross profit, you don't think they could afford to pay above statutory minimum redundancy without taking food out of your mouth as a shareholder? Those 400 people have been loyal employees for many years and you "bought a bit of paper", yet you feel that you deserve the money more than they do when they're cast aside? Capitalism is an ugly thing, sometimes
    • No big contracts, well surprise, surprise, none of those customers want their support offshored. IBM dug this hole long ago.
    • Those minimum packages are far better than what the recently RAed US folks are getting.
  • The Channel:

    Union warns of second round of 'massive' layoffs at IBM in Europe. Council cheesed off by involuntary redundancies and absolute minimum payouts. By Chris Williams. Excerpts: Marc Born, secretary of Big Blue's European Works Council, has warned a "second massive restructuring" effort at the company will kick off in 2016. This comes six weeks after the IT giant announced a round of layoffs in late January – its favorite time of the year for making cuts. European Works Councils are bodies that represent and inform the workforce in large businesses operating in the EU.

    "The total foreseen headcount impact of this second reduction is almost 50 per cent higher than the first round of job cuts," said Born. ...

    One analyst house believes as many as 14,000 IBMers worldwide could be shed by the summer. ...

    A spokesperson at the US biz's corporate headquarters was not available for comment at time of writing, however a Big Blue spokesman told us in early March: "IBM is aggressively transforming its business to lead in a new era of cognitive and cloud computing."

  • I, Cringely:

    Ginni the Eagle: IBM’s Corporate “Transformation”. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: I promised a follow-up to my post from last week about IBM’s massive layoffs and here it is. My goal is first to give a few more details of the layoff primarily gleaned from many copies of their separation documents sent to me by laid-off IBMers, but mainly I’m here to explain the literal impossibility of Big Blue’s self-described “transformation” that’s currently in process. My point is not that transformations can’t happen, but that IBM didn’t transform the parts it should and now it’s probably too late.

    First let’s take a look at the separation docs. Whether you give a damn about IBM or not, if you work for a big company this is worth reading because it may well become an archetype for getting rid of employees. What follows is my summary based on having the actual docs reviewed by several lawyers.

    IBM employees waive the right to sue the company. The company retains the right indefinitely to sue the employee. IBM employees waive the right to any additional settlement. Even if IBM is found at fault, in violation of EEOC rules, etc., employees will not get any more money. The agreement is written in a way that dictates how matters like this will be determined in arbitration.

    There is no mention of unemployment claims. Eligibility for unemployment compensation is determined and managed by each state. Each state has rules on who is qualified, the terms and conditions, etc.. Some companies in some states have been known to report terminations in a way that disqualifies workers, thus saving the company money on unemployment insurance premiums. Some states have appeal processes. In others you may have to appeal the response with your former employer, which is of course the same bunch who just denied you (good luck with that). IBM is being very opaque here about their process. Maybe they are hoping former IBMers won’t even think to apply for unemployment benefits. But if IBM takes a hard-line position, the arbitration process and legal measures required would probably discourage many former employees from even trying. The question left unanswered then is how many of these folks will be able to receive their full 99 weeks of benefits?

    The only way for employees to get more money or a better settlement is for their state or the federal government to sue IBM. In a settlement with a government, IBM could be made to pay its RA’d employees more.

    There’s a final point that is being handled in different ways depending on the IBM manager doing the firing. It appears managers are being strongly urged to have their laid-off employees take their accrued vacation time prior to their separation date. Some managers are saying this is mandatory and some are not. From a legal standpoint it’s a bit vague, too. Are they legally allowed to MAKE employees use their vacation time before separation? According to the lawyers I consulted, that depends on each person’s situation. If they have no work to do, then they may be required to use their vacation. If they are busy with work, then IBM can’t make them eat it. The distinction is important because IBM has been so busy in the past denying employees their vacation time that what’s accrued is in many cases more time than the puny 30 day severance. ...

    All this turmoil hasn’t gone down without an effect on IBM managers, either, many of whom see their own heads on some future chopping block. I have been told there are many managers trying to justify their existence by bombarding their remaining employees with email newsletters and emails with links to “read more on my blog.” Readers report being swamped with so many of these it’s hurting productivity. Not to mention they are being asked to violate the company security policy by clicking on the email link — an offense that could lead to termination. ...

    The lesson in all this — a lesson certainly lost on Ginni Rometty and on Sam Palmisano before her — is that companies exist for customers, not Wall Street. The customer buys products and services, not Wall Street. Customers produce revenue, profit, dividends, etc., not Wall Street. IBM has alienated its customers and the earnings statements are showing it. Sam turned IBM against its customers and employees, and started catering instead to Wall Street, which narcissistically loved the idea. Ginni inherited a mess and hasn’t figured out what is happening, why, or how to fix it. Not an eagle after all.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • You can’t have 4 weeks accrued vacation time if you’re laid off as of May 1. You cannot carry over vacation time from year-to-year, and your vacation time at the time of separation is pro-rated based on what time of year it is. So, at most,people who would have otherwise had 4 weeks earned, would only be eligible for less than 2 weeks vacation time paid at a May 1 separation. For instance, I left last year on July 1. I was only eligible to be paid for or take 2 weeks of vacation time. So your calculation is wrong.
    • Spot on. Vacation at IBM is accused according to the calendar date, you don’t get it in advance. No one’s got 4 weeks accrued at this point and no one’s been allowed to carry over vacation from year to year for since maybe as long ago as 1998. I must have delivered the “your vacation is part of your compensation plan” riff to dozens of IBMers my last few years with the company but most of them were too self-absorbed or brainwashed to get it. More’s the pity…
    • When I came to IBM in 2007, I was amazed by the level of competence, professionalism, and knowledge of my co-workers. Most of them had been working for IBM for 20-30 years. They worked many different jobs in the company and could answer just about any question. “I used to be a database admin” “I used to build servers.” And so on. My manager could help me with PC issues better than the Help Desk. I watched them all leave mostly by RA. And my job got more difficult as they were replaced by less experienced resources. It was my turn Oct 2015. I am a PM with relevant experience. My skills have not expired. I was replaced by an off-shore PM with far less experience.
    • It’s interesting that you bring that up Project Manager, because many companies are backing off of offshoring because of the high turnover and low expertise level of much of the offshore staff. Even in 2007, when I worked for another company, I would train offshore consultants from 10-12 pm each night, on top of my full day consulting for our product. No sooner than I would train a consultant, he would leave and there would be a new voice or voices on the phone and it would start over again. After about 3 iterations, I found another job.
    • With the severance package the way it is now there is really no reason to sign away your rights. I would leave as soon as they told me. No way I would train a replacement. Now if six months pay was on the table still it might be a different story. We are always under a hiring freeze anymore and that doesn’t exclude internal candidates. Plenty of positions posted but they aren’t really planning on filling them. “By the way, other companies just walk you out that day as a security risk.” Have seen this first hand at other mega corps. Sometimes if you turn in a two week notice they would just say “forget it” and walk you out that day.
    • I’m being layed-off but I asked to be because I’m tired of the crap that goes on. My staff that remains on the account are treated like cattle. The work doesn’t go away and the employees left behind are basically told to “suck it up”.

      IBM keeps taking away benefits so that it is no longer in my best interest to stay around.

      I’m walking away while I can still walk. I’ve almost “checked out” at this point. I’m finishing my projects which could easily complete by May 31 unless the others staying around get disgusted that they have to do more going forward. The client continues to complain that they aren’t getting enough service. My manager has told them to talk to his manager because there is nothing he can do.

      I was told I could get my 10 & 1/2 days accumulated vacation time in 2016 paid to me on my last paycheck according to the Service Center. I know my manager told me the company wanted me to take my vacation but I’m getting “screwed over” on my severance check so I don’t feel bad about it.

      My manager will probably be asked to be layed-off during the next round. It’s only a matter of time before all jobs go over to India or a sub-contracting company on the sole account that I work on.

      I hope I can make it through to Medicare before IBM goes “belly-up” so that I can stay on their insurance plan through the Future Health Account. I have no more loyalty and would recommend any IT professional coming in to the work force to not join IBM.

    • I hope I can make it through to Medicare before IBM goes “belly-up” so that I can stay on their insurance plan through the Future Health Account.

      You better be very close to age 65. When I retired, I had $40K in my FHA. At IBM’s retiree medical rates, my wife and I would exhaust the FHA in about 2.5 years. I chose to get medical insurance through “ObamaCare” and plan to use the FHA to pay for a Medicare supplement when I’m older. My pension is small enough that we get a pretty substantial Premium Tax Credit from the ACA.

  • The Register:

    IBM has to give Indiana some pocket change after $1.3bn web fiasco. Big Blue found in breach of contract over controversial portal. By Shaun Nichols. Excerpts: IBM could face a $120m bill after losing its case against the US state of Indiana over a botched government project.

    A ruling [PDF] from the Indiana State Supreme Court this week sided with the government in finding Big Blue in breach of contract following the failed launch of a web portal.

    Each side had filed against the other for breach of contract after the state terminated a $1.3bn Master Services Agreement (MSA) contract with Big Blue to build a new website for its Family and Social Services Administration's welfare eligibility system. ...

    Following a series of setbacks and missed goals, including problems stemming from a series of floods in Indiana, the state opted to terminate the contract in 2009, citing issues including "excessive wait times at local offices and for appointments, incorrectly categorized imaged documents, high staff turnover, inaccurate and incomplete data gathering, scheduling problems, clients not receiving mailed correspondence, poor communication to all staff, unresolved help-ticket requests and untimely application and redetermination processing times for various welfare programs." ...

    "Because IBM failed to perform satisfactorily as determined by the State (and by its own admission), consistently failed to meet certain timeliness metrics, and failed to assist the State in achieving its Policy Objectives, we hold that IBM did materially breach the MSA through its collective breaches in light of the MSA as a whole," the court said in issuing its decision.

    IBM did not respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

  • IT Jungle:

    More Jobs Lost Than Found During IBM Resource Action. By Dan Burger. Excerpts: IBM's latest "Resource Action," as it calls layoffs, has put the company in a position that is hard to defend. Big Blue has a ton of employees who were hired five, 10, 15, or 20 years ago to do work that no longer aligns with IBM's strategic road map. Sorry folks, this company is not who you thought it was. And it's no longer making money the way we thought it would. So things are changing.

    Years of good job reviews and loyalty to the company get you a "Thanks for Coming" award. By executive decision, IBM is going in a different direction. And in a global economy, shifting the workforce to countries where wages are lower is the Smarter Planet way of doing things.

    How do you make this sound like a good idea, unless it's the stockholders you're talking to?

    Big Blue doesn't really want to talk about it. For certain, it doesn't want to talk about the collateral damages. And it's less and less interested in mitigating that damage. Too costly for the company to bear.

    IBM refuses to be open about the number of jobs it is cutting or which geographies (some people would call them communities) are most affected. That silence leads to speculation that workers in the United States will be the most likely to lose their jobs, an assertion that is not refuted by the company, which has trimmed its US workforce considerably in recent years, but makes no public accounting of the job liquidation. ...

    What IBM does choose to talk about is a claimed 25,000 job openings and a claimed 70,000 people hired in 2015. Details of where these current job opportunities are located are not revealed. And the 70,000 people hired are unaccounted for as well.

    So instead of the story becoming IBM helps U.S. economy through job creation, it becomes IBM crushes the American Dream and sends more jobs overseas. And the hired are more accurately described as the acquired--riding along with new business acquisitions, which is not to be confused with job creation.

    Those who have watched IBM's human resources efforts for several years realize the company has a habit of making sizable job reductions in the first quarter of the year. In the Bernstein report mentioned earlier, it was noted an annual savings of $1 billion in operating costs is IBM's reward for what it refers to as "workforce rebalancing." The biggest gains in operational savings are accomplished by completing cuts in Q1.

  • European Works Council:

    Statement – second massive restructuring in 2016, just six weeks after first job cuts. Excerpts: Just six weeks after IBM announced the first significant workforce rebalancing action of 2016 in Europe, an additional and even bigger European restructuring was presented at the Extraordinary Meeting on March 16th 2016. The total foreseen HC impact of this second reduction is almost 50% higher than the first round of job cuts, which was presented at the Extraordinary Meeting on January 27th 2016. The combined impact of both restructuring actions varies by country, but primarily Western-European countries are confronted with reductions which sometimes exceed 10% to 15% of current staff. Over the past 3,5 years IBM conducted almost ten restructuring actions in Europe, which sliced roughly 25% of jobs in especially the Western-European countries. ...

    New in IBM’s restructuring approach is the strong focus on involuntary reductions. The company applies in several European countries only the legal minimum notice period and redundancy payment, irrespective of the years of service of individual employees. During this notice period IBM expects employees to continue their work for the company ‘as usual’ while looking in parallel for alternative job opportunities. This approach is planned to be applied broadly around Europe. The EWC believes that IBM clearly explores the legal boundaries country by country, aiming at minimizing severance payments and making significant savings. To the EWC this is not acceptable.

    The involuntary approach triggers extremely negative sentiments, unrest, stress and disengagement amongst the European workforce. In various European countries, IBM employees started to share their views in blogs and write for example that “their executive community have found new and exciting ways to screw [their] employees into the ground”. It is heard that employees and representative bodies in various European countries consider to start court cases against IBM. The EWC wonders if IBM is aware of the destructive impact of the chosen approach to the company’s brand image and reputation. The restructuring news was covered already by several news media around the world and could resonate negatively in the market, possibly damaging engagements with existing and new customers. The EWC believes that IBMers should leave the company as ambassadors, not as opponents or enemies. ...

    Financial techniques and affordability with short term pay back times should never become the dominant decision making criteria for collective dismissals. The EWC requests that this strategy cease and a more forward looking, voluntary approach to growing the business by engaging employees is pursued. The EWC expects to be informed and fully involved.

    Selected reader comments from the Watching IBM Facebook page follow:

    • Watching IBM: Watching IBM has also learned that jobs are being eliminated at IBM in Saudi Arabia. GBS and GTS. Severance cut like everywhere else. Work being moved to India.
    • Watching IBM: Sent to Watching IBM from the UK: "I am an IBM employee who transferred into IBM from WPP in the UK on March 1st 2015. As you are aware, IBM gave notice to employees that work would be offshored and "near-shored" on this account to deliver savings.

      On Thursday we were notified that IBM would be looking to make 116 involuntary redundancies from the UK WPP staff. I don't know the exact number of people in scope, but I think this represents about 65% of the UK WPP account. It will be interesting to see how this pans out because some staff will work on transformation of the WPP estate. The work is going to India."

  • International Business Times:

    IBM job cuts: 'Massive' new round of sackings as tech giant to slash European workforce. By Jason Murdock. Excerpts: The news comes just weeks after Big Blue announced the culling of up to a third of its staff in the US in what was described as a "mass firing". One soon-to-be former IBM employee spoke to IEEE Spectrum about the situation. He said: "It is bad, really bad. It's a mass lay-off today. It is a sad day for IBM. People are being told not to talk about it. I was told by a manager in getting the news [of my job being made redundant], who was reading off of a script, that one third of the US workforce is being 'rebalanced,' which is what they call it." ...

    An IBM spokesperson told IBTimes UK: "IBM has begun a consultation process with employee representative groups. IBM continually remixes skills – our clients expect no less as they look to IBM to help them take advantage of innovations and new technologies. Globally, IBM continues to invest in skills needed for the future."

  • MC Press Online:

    Questionable Ethics in Restructuring IBM. By Steve Pitcher. Excerpts: IBM has begun a new round of layoffs that could see the U.S. workforce reduced by 14,000 of the current 70,000 employees. The news was broken by Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi last week. Sacconaghi arrived at the 14,000 estimate with simple math. He noted that IBM historically followed large gains with cuts to the workforce. IBM has recently reached a $1 billion settlement with the Japanese Tax Authority, which was included on their 10-K report filed February 23, 2016. Since every job cut costs a company, in IBM's case $70,000, Sacconaghi divided the $1 billion gain by 70,000, which is about 14,285. ...

    As I write this, on the careers section of IBM's website, there are 7809 job openings worldwide for all languages. There are 2114 jobs open in the U.S., which is roughly 27 percent of the total.

    At this time last year, when it was reported that IBM would be laying off (RAed, or Resource Actioned) one quarter of its worldwide workforce, IBM also came out with some outlandish numbers of its own. Then, "15,000 jobs were available worldwide." I did my fact-checking back then too and found 6,117 jobs worldwide and 2,042 available in the U.S. That's 33 percent on U.S. soil. That's a downward trend for U.S. jobs year over year. I don't need to buy Watson in the cloud to help figure that out.

    I'd be more than willing to make an addendum to this article if someone at IBM would explain to me how those numbers work. If there are 25,000 jobs, I want to know where the other 17,000 are posted. I'll stick an edit right here. ...

    So the way I read this, IBM's workforce changed by only 2,000 live bodies, yet 79,000 left the company and 77,000 were hired. That's some turnover. It would be great if IBM published their hiring numbers or workforce levels by country so you can see the levels in the U.S. drop and the numbers elsewhere rise. They're not going to do anything that foolish. You have to speculate. Leaked documents show IBM India now has more workers than IBM in the U.S. Why? Take a guess. The average IBM India employee is paid $17,000 per year. ...

    That has to be the saddest part of what IBM has become: service and support. Fifteen—heck, ten—years ago, you used to call IBM and have a highly qualified support person fix the problem for you. Fix it! I mean they'd do a screen share with an actual IBM product like Sametime and take control of your screen and solve the problem, all while giving you a bit of knowledge transfer so you can fix it the next time. You didn't have to send in gigabytes of server logs and have PMRs open for months at a time. I've had PMRs open so long that overseas support reps have actually changed jobs. ...

    There are some really good people at IBM. The leaders need to be stepping up and answering the bell about these resource actions, openly and honestly. While you may not agree with Carrier's decision to move those 1400 manufacturing jobs to Mexico, at least they were up front with the workers about it. They manned up, looked people in the eyes, and told the workers face to face that there's cheaper work in Mexico. Ethically, it's valid. Morally, it's repugnant. Better one out of two.

    But when you hear various reports about IBM severance packages being revised for the latest round of layoffs...what a kick in the teeth that must be. Imagine your severance being cut from six months pay to one. It guts me as a human being to hear about it. I couldn't imagine going through it. It's tragic when employees give decades of their life to build up a company only to have themselves and their work cast aside, replaced by foreign workers all in the name of shareholder value.

  • LinkedIn:

    #LifeAfterIBM -- One Year Later. By Tim Collins Director, Foundation Relations, Regional Advancement Officer at Transylvania University. Excerpts: A few months ago, I shared on social media that I planned to write a blog post on the one-year anniversary of my (voluntary) retirement from IBM, at the end of 2014. I received more replies than I expected. There was lots of encouragement and support. I received many private messages asking me to cover this point or that. Several people asked me to be balanced – what did I miss about IBM, and not so much. ...

    What do I miss about IBM?

    • I miss my IBM friends. Many of us are still connected on social networks, but it’s not quite the same as seeing them and working together on shared projects and common experience.
    • I miss some great IBM bosses I had, who counseled, supported, guided and helped me to succeed. I won’t list names, but you know who you are. ...

    What don’t I miss about IBM?

    • I don’t miss quarterly revenue and profitability reports, being driven maniacally to meet analyst and shareholder expectations, chronic cost control, benefit cuts (e.g., US 401(k) contribution timing), Resource Actions (RA) (that means firing people in big groups), and the fear of never knowing when you might get tapped on the shoulder or have to tap someone else.
    • It’s Q1, so it’s RA time. Can anyone explain the logic of how cutting “worker bees” (primarily in high wage countries) is the tactic when the company’s lack of top line growth is due to the actions or inaction of senior leaders on strategy, and their high cost? Can anyone explain how you grow revenue with unrelenting RAs that damage trust and instill fear?
    • Engaged, committed employees are essential to any company’s success. IBM talks the talk, but their behavior suggests they don’t believe it. Why would employees be loyal and engaged when IBM leadership is demonstrably not loyal to them?
    • I’m not saying IBM or any other company should take “workforce rebalancing” off the list. However, when it is an ongoing, primary source of cost savings (labor arbitrage) and profit padding, year after year, it is unconsciously debilitating, depressing and hurts business results. Has it worked to grow the top line (IBM has had 15 consecutive quarters of declining revenue)? No. Is it improving employee productivity, teamwork and engagement? From what I have seen, no. Maybe try something else?
    • The Glassdoor ratings for IBM are telling, and not good news. With five as a top score, IBM has a 3.3 overall rating, 2.7 rating for senior management, 2.9 rating for compensation & benefits. Only 59% of IBMers would recommend it to a friend as a place to work. Only 54% approve of the CEO, and 34% have a positive business outlook. Vis-à-vis other technology firms, IBM performs very poorly here.
    • I don’t miss feeling obligated or expected to work every single weekend and holiday, and 70 or 80 or more (sometimes much more) hours a week (not bragging or lamenting, just stating facts).
      • I’m happy to have in my rear view mirror the non-stop pressure, escalating demands, the 24/7/52/365 anytime, anywhere, all the time workplace, and last minute “this has to get done now” demands. Yes, some of this was self-imposed, but not the majority.
      • More hours does not equal more productivity or better results; in many cases, it means less, and it also drives down creativity. "Fresh eyes" are important, and so is being well rested, healthy and a whole human being.
      • I don’t miss the Sunday night dread of spending several hours working every single Sunday afternoon or evening, and often Saturdays too, to get ready for the new week, having to check email to see what came in while I was enjoying my personal time. You IBMers are nodding your head right now; you know of which I speak. It's not normal. It should be challenged and changed. To be clear, I am not advocating for a stress-free work life. I am suggesting that enabling employees to live whole, well-rounded lives is a good thing for employer and employee. It means you're healthier, happier, more productive, and better able to think creatively and contribute more when you are at work. Not enough managers in IBM serve their employees, and the company, by telling them to go home, put away the computer, be with their families and leave the computer at home when they are on holiday. Work hard. Play hard.
    • I don’t miss bureaucracy, iron grip control by Finance, lack of sufficient reward for good and great performance, slow and laborious decision-making, too many layers, and all too frequent brown nosing and managing up behavior. Particularly among executives and senior leaders, there's not enough humility (and way too much arrogance), vulnerability (show emotion, admit when you're wrong) or servant leadership (instead of self-serving behavior).

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • I left IBM many years ago (voluntarily) and while some of what you say was true then...I must say it seems to be getting worse rather than better. It's almost a given to say "I miss the great people with whom I worked"...who wouldn't? But, really telling is the list of "don't miss" items...most, if not all, driven by financial considerations...reminds one of the "old saw"...execs spending more time "managing the numbers than managing the business." Glad you pursued a chance to make a difference in an environment that values "making a difference above making the Qtr."
    • I retired voluntarily in 2011 and agree with your list! The thing I don't miss is having to write performance evaluations for an outstanding team ... and being told a certain number of them would have to get low marks. No forced distribution? Not true.
    • I am speechless...Hats off to you. What you said about large layoffs is so true. I wish these top guys would learn to value the employees. Like I read a quote sometimes back on LinkedIn, can't remember the exact words, but it went some what like this... "Train people so that they would leave you, but treat people so well that they would want to stay" Unfortunately doesn't happen in many corporations, and where this is happening you can see those companies growing by leaps and bound.
    • Your comments ring so very true! I was in my twenty-fifth year when I got my tap on the shoulder. I was working for the worse manager I ever had at IBM; he was incredibly nasty, vile, and racist, and I had no desire to be there if I had to be in the same city as he. I was a loyal IBMer, but things were rapidly changing, and not for the better. My experiences with family, neighbors, friends and former colleagues, tell me that companies espouse a desire for loyally from their employees, but don't give it in return.
    • Well said. I left voluntarily 7 months ago and have been extraordinarily happy ever since. I took a large pay cut in leaving - again, voluntarily - just to be away from the stress that was affecting my health, the idiocy of rudderless (mis)management from senior leaders, and the onerous, unforgiving processes.

      Like you, I once was engaged and enthused by the good that we as IBMers could do in the world, but that feeling dissolved in one of the many mass "resource actions" I witnessed over the past 3 years I was there.

      Before leaving, I talked with many other former IBMers who had left to pursue other paths. To a person, they shared these same feelings. I'm very glad I left, and I continue to wish better for my friends & former colleagues who are sticking it out at the foundering Big Blue.

    • I'm just over two years out ... what drove me out (voluntarily) was, as you remark, the absence of a realisation that people make a great company great. If you get that right then market share and shareholder returns will follow. Unfortunately neither the current leader nor the previous one seem to have got that right. But in it's heyday, when it was good IBM was really good.
    • You must be kidding. 59% would recommend IBM to a friend??? I hope that I don't have such friends
    • Since you’ve been gone, IBM has shifted more jobs off shore. Even jobs needing the security of staying in this country. American sub-contractors are asked to do more and be paid less. Customers are not given the contracted-for number of people to work on their jobs. A once great company, now bottom-line driven, going in the toilet.
    • Coming up on my 3rd Anniversary (departure), I had actually forgotten about that dreaded term “RA”. Thanks for the memories.. Having been acquired in 2008, it actually seemed logical and prudent that some staff adjustments should be made. After 3 successive years of RAs, coming up with names for the sake of hitting a target did not make sense and for the most part could not be justified. If those affected only knew..
    • Thanks for a great post. After 20 years at Big Blue I have to admit I am very disappointed in the current climate. For many years I felt 'cared for' as an employee. That is definitely not the case today. The only reason I remain is that I have the great pleasure of working with very talented and committed people. Best to you in your new (1 year old) role.
    • Tim, I couldn't agree more with your points on the current state of IBM. I left after 20 years to a small dynamic company and the difference is stark. IBM has lost the ability to trust its workers. The 1st and 2nd line managers have very little power and yet the amount of administrivia they have to contend with, is mind boggling. Can the battleship turn before its on the rocks?
    • Tim- as a participant in the current IBM RA, your comments really hit home. While I could take the hint and retire, I'm not convinced I have to more skills to offer. So many talented senior technical folks were hit again. And so close to their actual retirement date. I hope I can articulate where I am in a year, as well as you have. Your efforts with the LGBT community is much appreciated.
    • You have articulated very eloquently my feelings about life after IBM. I took early retirement from IBM UK 6 years ago and I still miss two aspects - the people (my wonderful colleagues) and 'buzz'. But like you, my life has changed. I have time now for things that matter...my family, my local community, volunteering, service work, building new skills etc etc. I loved working for IBM - and for 33 years it was my career and my life - and now it has enabled me to enjoy the next phase....Life After!
  • InformationWeek:

    8 Biggest H-1B Employers In 2015. By Dawn Kawamoto. Excerpts: The impact of H-1B workers on American tech jobs has been a hot-button issue, and now the controversial topic is a talking point in the current presidential race. So, now is a good time learn more about last year's 8 largest H-1B employers.

    No. 8 -- IBM India Private.

    Approved Petitions: 2,500
    Top Occupations: System Analysis and Computer Programming 87.8%
    Median Wage: $71,510
    Education Level: Bachelor's 58%, Master's 7%
    Country of Origin: 87.3% India
    Share of H-1B Workers Sponsored for Green Cards: 11%
    Share of H-1B Workers with US University Advanced Degrees: 10%

    IBM India is a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM. In June 2006, IBM announced it would triple its investment in India over three years, a country that at the time had 43,000 IBM employees and was the largest IBM operation outside of the US. By 2013, according to a New York Post report, IBM's workforce in India was larger than in the US.

    In 2013 the Department of Justice hit IBM with an H-1B related fine and penalties. Big Blue was forced to pay a $44,400 civil penalties fine, revamp its hiring and recruiting policies, train human resource workers on complying with the Immigration and Nationality Act, and submit to two years of reporting requirements. The Department of Justice took action, citing IBM for favoring H-1B visa holders and foreign student visa holders over US software and apps developers.

  • Watching IBM FaceBook Page. Selected posts follow:
    • Watching IBM: Watching IBM is hearing that more US job cuts will take place at the end of March and June/July. Expect cuts every quarter. As always keep this site informed and updated. Time for the Big Blue Flu worldwide.
      • Very sad, because they are clearly way past the dead weight and cutting into some very good people now. Can't tell you how many people were in disbelief and what their comments were when they heard that this happened to me. And management ... is by and large ... totally protected. Imagine ... aspiring to be a manager just so you can be protected from being RAed.
        • Watching IBM: Hearing that the next cuts will target lower management as well as workers.
        • I can't believe that I'm saying this, but IBM has some pretty good people in line management positions. My hope is that they're able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
        • From my experience, the good ones are fewer and fewer as the management teams have become more politically motivated and less employee-oriented. The Peter Principle in full bloom.
  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • "Upper management is out of touch"

      Current Employee — Development Engineer in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (less than a year). Pros: Work-life balance is nice. I travel a lot in my free time and the hours are flexible to accommodate that. Great teammates. The job is fun. Cons: Upper management doesn't have a clue. Keeps laying off older experienced employees but doesn't hire anyone to replace them. They also slashed bonuses this year while rewarding the CEO/board. Advice to Management: Listen to your employees, not just the yes men. Morale is crumbling and yet you keep cutting benefits and devaluing the work your employees do. Remember who makes your products and is the reason IBM is great, and act like it. We are not just a line on a spreadsheet.
    • "March 2nd mass layoff — Don't work @ IBM — here's why"

      Current Employee — Sales Manager in Denver, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Cons: On March 2, 2016 IBM gave the pink slip to thousands (IBM won't disclose how many). I was a senior employee with very good annual reviews and spent 13 years of my career contributing to IBM. The company changed its severance pay structure in 2016. When severance pay was 6 months, that was a big deal. But now severance pay is only 1 month - regardless of years of service! The greed and arrogance of the IBM execs to change this policy in anticipation of the mass layoffs announced on March 2, 2016 is vulgar and sickening.

      Greed of executives at expense of those employees who have put in years of service.

      IBM preaches that IBM takes care of its own - that's a lie!

      Advice to Management: IBM was built on the backs of loyal and hard working employees only to have them dismissed with HR gimmicks and shadowy maneuverings while the execs continue to make huge bonuses as IBM continues to crater.

    • "Definitely a great employer"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Flexibility and life/work balance are huge to me. Cons: I have not identified any up to this point.
    • "Software Engineer"

      Current Employee — Software Engineer in San Jose, CA.

      Pros: It's a great opportunity stepping stone for starting a career. It looks good on a resume, and they have the resources to afford bringing you up to speed.


      • Sterile company culture
      • Tons of bureaucracy
      • Still using Lotus Notes
      • Large drive to push a product before it's ready to make a deadline
      • ESPP is pretty much not worth the hassle
    • "A lot of hot air about reinvention but vision-less existence on the brink of obsolescence"

      Former Employee — Service Delivery Manager in Delhi (India). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      Pros: A few pockets here and there of work from home and flexibility, but drying up fast due to the lack of proper vision from the middle management.

      Cons: Turning from technology to financial engineering to artificially inflate EPS, which seems to be the only goal to be achieved in the universe and through the only means possible. 14 straight quarters of revenue decline. Non-existent compensation reviews, or pay hikes as per marker standards, while CEO pockets $20 million as bonus for failing in her role miserably. Mindless cutting down on multiple layers of management, to cut costs and saddling managers with too much of work, often adding up to 80 hours a week and then of course some more over the weekends.

      Advice to Management: Get your act together, however, it may already be too late!

    • "Business Development Rep"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Costa Mesa, CA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Some of the best people I have worked with over many years, + option to work from home was why I stayed. Cons: The longer you are there, the bigger the target on your back. With all recent acquisitions, it has been out with the old, in with the new. Very hard to advance anymore even as a top performer if you have been there for many years. All movement is either lateral or out. Advice to Management: You are sacrificing long-term talent for short-term financial gains.
    • "Nothing to see here."

      Current Employee — Security Compliance in Chicago, IL. Pros: Free coffee, checks came on time. Decent, but expensive healthcare. Cons: They haven't cleaned the coffee pot in four years. No joke. No raises and promotions in 4 years. Consistent high reviews. Continually firing hundreds of employees. Replacing mid-level employees with 10+ years of experience with college students. Massive internal procedures rivaling the federal government in complexity and inefficiency. Actively outsourcing everything not nailed down. Huge performance pressure to match staff reductions. Secretive reorganization plans which revolve around firing and outsourcing. Advice to Management: Try work in other fields with more competition, preferably something based on actually earning profit from production goals. Maybe read a book with "management" in the title. Spend less time jockeying for your promotions to ask "Is this good for the customers?"
    • "Toxic"

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in London, England (UK). Pros: My colleagues from the last 15 years. Absolutely nothing else. Cons: Toxic environment of short-term decision making via columns in a spreadsheet. No overall strategy that is being followed. The worst part of IBM is the absolute lack of care of their employees. It is a disgrace. Advice to Management: Make some strategic decisions and stick to them. If you can't make decisions without blindly following what somebody has told you to do, then why are you there?
    • "Not a good time to join"

      Current Employee — Project Manager in San Jose, CA.


      • Exciting technology in specific areas, like Watson and big data
      • Large bank of internal jobs that never see external posting. I've had good opportunities though I had to seek them out myself. Internal networking helps a lot. My past few positions were recommended to me by colleagues.
      • Access to a lot of free self-paced training
      • Flexible policy towards sick time, and most jobs are accommodating of occasionally needing to step away for family, doctor, etc needs.


      • Frequent "Resource Actions". Most recent one includes many people who are top performers, which is concerning.
      • It is rare to find someone who is not doing the work of two or more employees (when they lay off part of your team, those remaining absorb the work, every time)
      • Severe retention problems with those < 5 years of service at the company
      • Compensation is not competitive with the market in locations like the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle metro, NYC. Salaries have been flat for years (with only 5-10% of the company getting a raise in the last few years). Bonuses are frequently 2% or less for those with 2+ ratings. Many years 2+ gets no raise or bonus.
      • Unless you are based at one of the large centers, do not expect much career development
      • 401k matching was changed so they only invest their match at the end of the year. That means if you leave the company before December, you do not get your match. Even if you stay, you miss out on that portion of the investment during the remainder of the year.
      • Benefits have steadily declined over time, with larger copays and poorer insurance packages. Be prepared to be offered either HMO or a PPO with a $2100 deductible per individual. Vacation allowance is poor until you hit 5 years. It also caps out at 20 days after 10 years.
      • I've worked in several different parts of the company and in all there is an expectation that you check your email through the weekend and vacations and be available by phone always.
      • Despite the "Think 40" (hours of education) goal, very little time is given for development and education. You're expected to do this on your own time.
      • Little support for professional certifications though they do have their own internal ones
      • The change in performance assessment sounds great in theory but in practice it depends on your manager. Most that I have worked for do not take time to meet with employees. I moved to a new job and a new manager over six months ago. She has met with me three times, for about 15 minutes to discuss my performance in my new job. This is typical. The expectation is that they meet with you at least 1-2 times per month.

      Advice to Management: You will never reach your goals of transforming the company while driving away the talent you rely on.

    • "Sr. Development Manager"

      Current Employee — Senior Development Manager in Columbus, OH. I have been working at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Salary is very competitive and my co-workers are great professionals. Cons: Layoffs for the past 5 years have eroded morale. Deeply. The size of the company creates a lot of silos where you feel disconnected from the mission of the business unit you are in and without any real means of significantly advancing your career. Advice to Management: Make a decision to allow a truly remote work force (it feels that way even if you are in the office) or co-locate teams in the same spot. I manage 20+ employees none of whom are in my time zone.
    • "The Disposable Employee Factory"

      Former Employee — Consultant in Lansing, MI. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: They hire some good people. If you must work at home, they will love you for that.

      Cons: More bad managers than good. Employee development is virtual and done in a vacuum. They cut people rather than retrain them, which means IBM does not value the institutional knowledge required to work effectively in the company. Because the workforce is largely virtual, the collaboration suffers. It is difficult to find new opportunities in different organizations. Being a new employee is difficult. The strategy changes yearly, and is often buzz-word driven. I was there twice. The first time it was the best place to work. The second time...well, I left of my own accord and can't tell you the relief I've felt.

      Advice to Management: Hire the right managers, invest in managers and people, and when changing strategies for the umpteenth time, consider the impact on morale at the employee and client level. Don't put your worst people in the delivery organizations and contracts - put your best people. They spend the most time with your valued customers. But I've said this before to no avail... Best of luck to the folks still there.

    • "This company has become a joke"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Work from home. Fairly flexible and decent work-life balance. There can be opportunities for growth and travel. Cons: Management focus is purely on the bottomline. Outsourcing job has become an annual occurrence with no end in sight. The processes and procedures will make you pull your hair out. Nothing is done efficiently here. I hate to say it but ever since Ginni has taken over the company has fallen apart. Advice to Management: Focus on the good employees you have. We are not just a number. Enable us to do our jobs properly.
    • "Perfect Place to work"

      Current Employee — Recruitment Specialist in Bangalore (India). Pros: It's employee friendly, growth oriented, diversity...lot more. Cons: I don't see anything negative.
    • "Great products, poor sales execution, terrible culture"

      Former Employee — Program Executive in Denver, CO. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: As the name implies, IBM is an international/global company and the right roles provide the opportunity to work with colleagues and clients all over the world. Given the monolithically huge size of the corporation, one can have a lifetime of jobs within the same company.

      Cons: The biggest con of IBM is the current culture of distrust, fear, and bitterness engendered by on-going layoffs and substantially reduced severance packages that dramatically affect longtime employees.

      Advice to Management: Spin off the consulting services organization. There is more value in separate entities as no one really sees IBM consultants as anything more than expensive salespeople. Also, do a better job of not killing the cool technologies you acquire. Some of the capabilities acquired over the past several years are amazing, but get subverted by the IBM bureaucracy.

    • "No respect"

      Former Employee — Systems Architect in Mobile, AL. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: I worked in the systems business in field sales. The work-life balance was good. The pay was mediocre. Since revenue was dropping each quarter the axe was always falling.

      Cons: Eventually after all the cuts the only ones left were the 20+ year IBMers who were married to IBM. Anybody who had talent and was not afraid to leave left. There are still a few good folks left. I wish them well. My advice is if you decide to leave be prepared to be terminated the same day. Do not tell them where you are going. They have no right to know.

      Advice to Management: Get out of the hardware business. You are just milking it. No investment, shrinking revenue, less relevance everyday. Sell while there is at least a bit of value left. Let someone else make a go of it.

    • "UK Tech Support"

      Current Employee — Software Technical Support in Leeds, England (UK). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Large diverse company, great strength in technical colleagues. Access to large technical libraries, and software to hone skills. Breadth of platform and product exposure.

      Cons: Aggressive employee restructuring, with heavy emphasis on 'off-shoring' roles. Weak low-level management, unwilling/able to challenge some corporate decisions which are likely to harm customer base. Pay structure, review procedure, productivity targets. Corporate has lost sense of its role in after sales technical support; now only interested in 'shop-front' sales with no apparent interest in working positively towards customer retention.

      Advice to Management: Return to core IBM principles of 30 years ago. Take time to understand your customer base, value staff and the role that all elements of employees - not just shop-front sales - bring to make IBM function

    • "Service Delivery Manager"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Bangalore (India). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Job security; work from home option; less pressure, but of course, depends on the project. Brand name.

      Cons: Lots of cost cutting done in India. Not even coffee vending machines are there. Very bad quality cafeteria and food. Yearly hikes come in the range of 200 Rupees per month for best performers. I know several guys staying in IBM for more than five years and are still getting the same pay. Never stay here for more than one year. Small project funds allocated don't reach the employees. Just get some experience and move out fast to other companies with better package. If you want just the same salary and designation stay here just for work-life balance alone.

      Advice to Management: Management in India is pathetic and knows just to do cost cutting. The US guys still consider India as the land of poverty and snake charmers and slums. Unless these people change there is not going to be much difference in the way IBM operates in India.

    • "Stay Away"

      Former Employee — Project Executive in Ephrata, PA. I worked at IBM (more than 10 years). Pros: Flexibility with work hours. People are good to work with. Cons: Pay is not very good. Advancement opportunities don't exist. Always have a fear of being laid off.
    • "Account Manager from Acquisition"

      Former Employee — Account Executive in Herndon, VA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: The benefits of the organization were outstanding. Further, there was no shortage of resources online on the internal network. Cons: Antiquated systems from everything to desktop systems to the CRM systems. The amount of internal meetings was suffocating. Advice to Management: Let your reps get out and sell. Set no more than 20% of time for internal meetings.
    • "Why I would would not want to stay..."

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: IBM offers pretty good healthcare benefits. Cons: IBM has gone down a dark path over the years. They have moved far left on how they treat their employees. They have found new ways to disrespect their hard-working money makers by not rewarding the hard dedicated employees. And have truly become the worst place to work. They have made their employees lean toward not being loyal to them any longer.
    • "Detriments far outweigh the benefits."

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Work-life balance is great. I work with some really talented people, a few are among the best in the industry. Cons: Constant layoffs, constantly being asked to do more with less and less, poor raises (far less than COLA), poor bonuses, shrinking benefits, human capital considered a liability instead of an asset. Advice to Management: The financial tricks to squeeze out EPS growth will work for only so long and you're nearing the bottom of the barrel. At some point you still need to deliver value to your clients, something you are doing less and less and losing market share. You need to value the talent that your human capital brings better.
    • "Project Manager"

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Great company to work for. Cons: I cannot think of any.
    • "IBM 2016 - Sales"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Can be endless opportunities, if your job role allows you any time to research them. Cons: Too much focus on internal processes - not on over delivering on customer needs. Advice to Management: Most time is spent on internal IBM requirements vs. customer facing engagement. Many people find holes to hide in like under-staffed departments but still are not delivering on their role. Management needs to look deeper and remove all the spreadsheet reporting inside IBM. Calls and spreadsheets - day after day.
    • "Hardware Engineer"

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: I worked with a lot of really smart people and people that were willing to go above and beyond in my time here. Cons: The company cares only about the bottom line and not the employees. The company is trying to squeeze as much as possible out of the employees that are left. Layoffs, long hours, and lack of concern for work life balance are normal.
    • "Programmer"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Awesome work-life balance, great career opportunities, good benefits. Cons: I am very happy...no concerns.
    • "Technical Services Professional"

      Former Employee — Technical Solutions Manager in Saint Louis, MO. Pros: Work from home. Great client. Pay was average. Cons: Work was sent offshore and we had to train the people who were replacing us. No opportunity to get another job within IBM. Advice to Management: There needs to be more important things than maximizing profit on a contract. People make this job happen and there needs to be recognition of that.
    • "Once a great company"

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Some fantastic teammates to work with, and interesting technologies and challenges. Cons: Only out to make money for shareholders, and burning both their own house, as well as the houses of customers in the process. They have completely lost their core vision for building for the sake of customer happiness/improvement...C-level management's only thoughts appear to be "how can we do this cheaper and with less resources/people?" Advice to Management: Focus on the customer, and your most valuable assets: your employees, and then the money will come back naturally; otherwise, you are continuing down the path of the demise of a once great company.
    • "Senior Managing Consultant"

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: Interesting work with many different clients. Cons: Turned into a venture capital firm. IBM buys revenue streams - keeps some - throws the rest away. Advice to Management: N/A - No one is listening - too busy buying revenue streams.
    • "Software Engineer in Boeblingen"

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Böblingen (Germany). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: One of the biggest IT companies in the world with a lot of history. Large spread of businesses, including hardware, software, and services. Cons: Too much focus on shareholders and stock price. Average compensation. Very limited options to move internationally. Missed the cloud computing wave. Advice to Management: Focus less on shareholder value but more on customers and employees.
    • "lost its relevance"

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros: some really great people to work with, although the pool of great people is getting smaller by the day. Flexibility to work from home.

      Cons: Poor corporate strategy and ridiculous financial targets has meant most of staff are overworked and in constant fear of redundancies. As a result, not a pleasant work environment. IBM is playing catch up with changes in technology and in many respects is no longer relevant except for a number legacy technologies such as mainframe.

      Advice to Management: Show a bit of respect to the staff; I have never worked in a company with such poor morale. Maybe celebrate success rather than just driving people into the ground.

    • "Executive"

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time (less than a year). Pros: Lots of very talented IBMers — dedicated people who work hard. Generally they try and do what's right for the customers and partners they support, and are appreciated by the customers and partners. Cons: Upline management has little to no clue what's going on in the technology industry. Rewards cascaded up and blame down. Despite disastrous financial performance, not a single senior executive has been shown the door. Near psychopathic abusive behavior is tolerated and in same cases even encouraged; the dedicated IBMers mentioned above are rarely the ones promoted.
    • "Account Manager, Field Sales"

      Former Employee — SoftLayer Enterprise Sales Account Executive. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Proud to say you work for "Big Blue." Feels like a sense of career accomplishment. Well established company with a long history.

      Cons: Too many Chiefs & Indians. Expect to have a 1:1 conversation with a customer? You can forget it. So many different departments all wanting to get their fingers in your account or opportunity. Legacy IBMers have a sense of entitlement when in actuality they should be made to retire. Their "old school" way of thinking is what has them following AWS. Lotus Notes (IBM owned) for email; give me a break. Doesn't integrate with Salesforce but then, IBM uses its own CRM, SalesConnect which is terrible. Let's just say I was proud to work there but the name doesn't live up to the hype.

    • "Product Offering Manager"

      Current Employee — Offering Management in Fishers, IN. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Work from home, flexible hours. Cons: Never know when the hammer is going to drop. Job security is a myth. Older you are, the more likely you will get the axe.
    • "Business Development Exec"

      Current Employee — Business Development Executive in Littleton, MA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: 105+ years in IT; strong brand reputation; larger enterprise; Cognitive Leader. Cons: Aggressively working to become the Cloud Provider of choice; Amazon, Microsoft, Google primary competitors with early market entrance advantage.
  • Financial Times:

    Price of branded prescription drugs in the US doubles in 5 years. By David Crow. Excerpt: Express Scripts, a “pharmacy benefits manager” that negotiates with drugmakers on behalf of US health insurers and employers, said the average wholesale price of branded medicines, which are protected by patents, rose 16 per cent last year and was up a total of 98 per cent since 2011.
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert — March 18, 2016 (PDF). Stories this week include:
    • House Republican Budget Resolution Turns to Seniors for Cuts
    • Alliance Fights to Stop “Paycheck Deception” in Missouri
    • AFL-CIO Survey Spotlights Critical Issues for Working Women
    • Sign up for Midwest Regional Conference in Detroit by April 4th
    • Former New Hampshire Alliance Executive Vice President Elissa Jane Lang, 1948 – 2016
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert — March 25, 2016 (PDF). Stories this week include:
    • New EBRI Survey shows increasing divide between those on track for retirement and those falling behind
    • Affordable Care Act’s 6th Anniversary
    • Alliance Presses the National Institute of Health to Make Prostate Cancer Drug More Affordable
    • Sign up for Midwest Regional Conference in Detroit by April 4th
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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