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    Highlights—December 30, 2006

  • Workforce Management: Judge Says Cash-Balance Plans Discriminate. Excerpts: Rejecting the reasoning of a federal appeals court, a U.S. district court judge says cash-balance pension plans discriminate against older employees.
    The plans are age discriminatory because when an account balance is converted to a retirement annuity, “cash-balance plans are not age-neutral,” wrote Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. [...]
    Scheindlin’s decision comes about four months after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled in a widely publicized decision involving IBM Corp. that the plans do not violate age discrimination law. [...]
    Since the appeals court ruling, two district court judges in other cash-balance-plan suits have rejected age discrimination charges, while two judges, including Scheindlin, have found the plans to be age discriminatory in their design. The split in the courts shows that it will be some time before the age discrimination issue will be resolved, says Nancy Ross, a partner with McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago.
  • Wall Street Journal, courtesy of California Nurses Association: Schwarzenegger Wrestles With Health Care - Governor Aims to Cover California's Uninsured Millions, Raising Issue's Profile Nationally. By Jim Carlton. Excerpts: Mr. Schwarzenegger has been huddling with advisers in the past few weeks to come up with a plan to provide health coverage to the state's 6.5 million uninsured and underinsured. Details of the strategy haven't been announced. He has signaled that in his annual State of the State address Jan. 9 he will make health care the top priority for 2007 and likely include a plan to cover the uninsured.
    While people involved with the effort say details could take months to hammer out, the fact that Mr. Schwarzenegger plans to spotlight health care when his second term begins in January is likely to boost national attention on one of the most intractable policy dilemmas facing the entire country.
    In an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Daily News on Monday, the governor said the problem of the uninsured is "devastating to our economy and working families," citing those reasons as why "fixing our broken health-care system is my number one priority for 2007."
  • New York Times: Chile Proposes to Reform Pension System. By Larry Rohter. Excerpts: Responding to growing complaints that the privatized pension system here is failing to deliver adequate benefits, the Chilean government has recommended that it be supplanted by a system in which the state would play a much larger role. The current system is a favorite of free-enterprise enthusiasts, including President Bush.
    The changes, part of a reform package scheduled to go to Congress early next year, include a guaranteed minimum pension for the country’s poorest citizens, even those who have never contributed to the private system.
    The proposal also contains measures meant to stimulate competition, reducing the high costs to contributors and the extraordinarily high profits for pension fund administrators that analysts blame for some of the current problems.
    “This is a radical reform, because it moves us from a system based solely on individual savings to one that includes a pillar of solidarity based on one’s rights as a citizen, and not contributions,” Labor Minister Osvaldo Andrade told reporters when the plan was announced on Dec. 15. “We are integrating systems that are fundamentally different.”
    Social Security in the United States, like national pension systems in many countries, is based on a pay-as-you-go arrangement in which workers, employers and the government all contribute. Under the Chilean system, in contrast, workers are required to pay 10 percent of their salaries into private investment accounts that they control; employers do not participate, and the state’s contribution has been reduced.
    In recent years, that pioneering privatized system has been emulated by a score of other countries and praised by leaders of many others. Mr. Bush, for example, proposed using the Chilean model as the basis for a reshaping of Social Security, calling the system here “a great example” and saying the United States could “take some lessons from Chile.”
  • Forbes: Big Blue Busts Out. Excerpts: ThinkEquity analyst Eric Ross wrote in a client note that he used to think IBM’s weak services business would drag down the company’s earnings. But new numbers coming in from the Armonk, New York-based tech titan have convinced Ross to upgrade his rating to “Buy” from “Sell.” [...]
    Why the change of heart? First, Ross argued that there is increased performance and profitability in IBM’s global service segment. The analyst used to harbor a weak outlook on the global services business, driven by underwhelming technology services overall. Not anymore. “We now believe this segment (approximately 50% of total revenues) has turned the corner toward strong performance this quarter,” Ross wrote. “The salespeople we have spoken with are extremely confident and say productivity is increasing, driving margins higher.” [...]
    Another reason for optimism: strong software sales. “We believe software is outpacing overall growth, driven by services,” Ross noted. He also highlighted the fact that product bundling is robust, driving sales at the Tivoli business-software division.
    “IBM has tremendous free cash flow,” Christopher said in an interview. “And the company has demonstrated its ability to deliver that over time.” Free cash is money that can be put to work for acquisitions or to return money to shareholders via dividends and stock repurchases.
  • KRON-TV (San Francisco): Hitting Retirees and Baby Boomers Where it Hurts Most. Excerpts: An estimated 20 million baby boomers and retirees in the United States are bearing the brunt of recent major corporate employers' moves to eliminate or drastically reduce healthcare benefits promised to their employees during their working careers.
    Those either at or nearing retirement age, who claim these are earned benefits, have been shocked to find out that federal law finds it perfectly legal for a company to take away such benefits, even if mandated by employment contract.
    C. William Jones, a retiree from NYNEX, now a part of Verizon says, "Millions of people from my generation dedicated a lifetime to one employer with the promise that if we accepted lower pay scales in our working years, we would be provided health benefits in retirement." [...]
    ProtectSeniors.Org is advocating in Congress for the Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act (HR 1322) which would amend the ERISA pension laws to make it illegal for an employer to either reduce or cancel earned health benefits after an employee has retired. It would also require corporations who have already slashed these earned benefits to reinstate them to their former workers.
    In recent years, many of the largest and most well-known American corporations have been canceling or drastically reducing those health benefit protections for their current and retired employees, citing cost and global competition.
  • In a Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board post, "ibmaccountant" answers the following question from a fellow poster: Any retiree health benefits for new hires? Full excerpt: There are no retiree health benefits for IBM new hires.
    The company strategy is to get completely out of providing any benefits or having any relationship with a non-executive employee after their termination of employment.
    There is no defined retirement for new hire IBM employees. Retirement, according to IBM HR, is now considered a form of employee directed termination of employment.
  • Washington Post: Seize the Chance. The politics of inequality have shifted. Now policy must follow. Excerpts: This series opened with the observation that Americans prefer not to discuss inequality. Nine months later, the climate has changed. John W. Snow, who served as Treasury secretary until July, broke ground for this administration by acknowledging that inequality was worth debating -- though he never quite conceded it was a problem. His successor, Henry M. Paulson Jr., forthrightly declared that "amid this country's strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren't feeling the benefits." Meanwhile, Ben S. Bernanke, installed by President Bush as Federal Reserve chairman, has called for the fruits of globalization to be distributed more evenly. During his 2000 presidential campaign, Mr. Bush quipped that his base consisted of the "haves and the have-mores." We doubt he would make this joke now. [...]
    Take our suggested tax increase: A 5-percentage-point increase in the rate paid by the top 1 percent of households. Members of Congress appear to believe that calling for a tax increase -- any tax increase -- is political suicide. But can it really be true that voters are wedded to all of the tax cuts enacted this decade, even though the richest 1 percent stand to pocket more than a third of the windfall? By definition, the tax increase we suggest would not affect 99 percent of households, and it would not damage growth either. It would merely restore the top rate that existed in the 1990s -- a period when the U.S. economy performed excellently. [...]
    Inequality has increased in most rich countries over the past quarter-century. We do not claim that eliminating it is possible, nor even desirable: Unequal rewards help motivate people to work and innovate. But excessively unequal rewards can backfire. They can allow a successful elite to insulate itself from the rest of society, actually dulling competition and incentives, which is why economists find no evidence that more unequal societies grow faster -- and some evidence of the opposite. The level of inequality in the United States is bad for the social fabric without being good for economic dynamism. There are win-win opportunities to reduce inequality and at the same time boost efficiency. When the new Congress convenes in January, it should seize them.
  • New York Times: Gilded Paychecks. Pay Packages Allow Executives to Jump Ship With Less Risk. By Julie Creswell. Excerpts: It’s called the “golden hello.”
    For a chief executive of a large corporation, it is the one thing — more than the corporate jet or any other perk — that must be guaranteed before the executive will move to run another company.
    W. James McNerney Jr., a former superstar manager at General Electric, received not one, but two such deals in recent years, worth tens of millions of dollars. In each deal, he was given any bonuses, stock options, restricted stock and pension benefits that he would have abandoned by leaving his previous employer.
    Such golden hello payments are intended to make the executive “whole” — in essence to treat the executive as if his career were one smooth ascent with no costly interruptions. And these multimillion-dollar payments and perks are used to draw in not only chief executives, but virtually every member of the executive suite. If “golden parachutes” — rich exit packages of extra cash, stock or retirement benefits — are needed at times to kick out chief executives, golden hellos are increasingly needed to get them in the door. [...]
    Matching salaries, guaranteed bonuses and millions of dollars in stock options are typical. On top of that, chief executives are made whole on lucrative pension benefits, often being credited at the new company for years of service elsewhere — a perk rarely available to nonexecutive employees.
    These days, though, some executives are demanding that companies make up losses they may face from the sale of a home if they relocate, or that they receive price protection on losses they might incur in stock they own in the company they are leaving. [...]
    Furthermore, the huge pension benefit packages and other retirement perks that chief executives are demanding come at a time when many corporations are severely reducing pension benefits for employees. While top executives are credited for years of service they did not work in order to more rapidly vest their supplemental executive retirement plans, or SERPs, employees of several large corporations have seen their traditional defined-benefit plans frozen or sharply reduced this year in favor of less-generous 401(k) plans that do not offer the same guaranteed payouts.
    At Boeing, efforts are under way to move more employees out of defined-benefit plans and into defined-contribution plans, says Charles Bofferding, the executive director at the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, the union that represents 21,000 Boeing employees.
    “They’re doing that to everyone but the big dogs, who continue to get defined-benefit plans,” Mr. Bofferding said. “When you have a different set of principles for the top people versus the rest of the employees, it undermines the top people’s moral authority to lead.”
  • IBM Employee Issues Yahoo! message board post sent to the moderator of the message board. Full excerpt: Let me tell you what they do for admins at some of the sites for the holidays...If you are lucky enough to have an admin manager who feels you deserve an outing, you will be told that you will be paying for your own lunch and please try to bring a grab bag gift for an hour at an off-site restaurant. You are also asked to chip in for a gift for your manager. You may also get to go home afterwards. Of course, if you have a busy desk, you cannot take advantage of this "perk" and must go directly back to work.
    The admin is also strongly encouraged to go to this luncheon as part of "teaming". May I remind everyone that these are some of the lowest paid of the IBM jobs; they continually get ignored at Christmas by the people they support - even though they have to send out Christmas baskets to their principals' friends and clients; they sit crammed in a pen with other admins out in the open with people continually interrupting them while they do TEAs and make detailed travel and meeting preparations.
    If they tell their manager that they are overloaded, they are told that they "can't take the stress". If they get sick because of the workload, they are then told by their manager that "it is their own fault because they do not know how to ask for help or delegate". The unspoken rule is NO OVERTIME but if you MUST work it, you have to claim it and get paid BUT you will be dunned at PBC time for not knowing how to structure your time. Ultimately, the admins work through their lunches, work the overtime but remain mum and do not put in for it. We know it is a matter of time before they contract us out so we live with the sword of damacles over our heads. So happy holidays to all...
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • Washington Post: Shift in Congress Puts Health Care Back on the Table. Expecting a Mixed Reaction Across the Aisle, Democrats Plan to Offer Ideas on Drug Cost, Safety. By Christopher Lee. Excerpts: Health care is set to return to the national political stage in 2007, setting up partisan clashes in Congress that could end with rare vetoes from President Bush and help to define the 2008 presidential campaigns. [...]
    Two of the House Democrats' top priorities in their "Six for '06" campaign agenda involved health care. Within the first 100 hours of the new Congress, Democratic leaders intend to pass bills in the House that would lift restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research and require the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Los Angeles Times: Going universal. The American healthcare system is, simply put, a mess, but we may finally be ready to fix it. By Ezra Klein. Excerpts: The statistics, by now, are well known. Forty-seven million uninsured Americans. Premium increases of 81% since 2000. Small businesses failing, big businesses foundering, individuals priced out and, amid all this, skyrocketing profits for insurers, hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
    The American health system, put simply, is a mess. An expensive one. Indeed, in 2002, we spent $5,267 per capita on healthcare — $1,821 more than Switzerland, the nearest runner-up. And yet we had higher infant mortality, lower life expectancy, more price inflation and an actual uninsured population, a phenomenon virtually unknown in the rest of the developed world, where universal healthcare is, well, universal.
    These are unsustainable trends. The U.S. healthcare system cannot, in its current form, go on forever, or even for very much longer — employers can't afford it, individuals can't handle it and the country's conscience won't countenance it. [...]
    Few mention this, but the American healthcare system is something of a mistake. It blossomed out of a World War II tax reform meant to guard against corporate war profiteering. Liberals, with their usual combination of good intentions and inadequate foresight, imposed massive marginal tax rates on corporations, effectively freezing their profits at prewar levels. But the law had a loophole: Corporations could funnel their wartime riches into employee benefits, such as healthcare, thus putting the cash to use within their company. And so they did, creating the employer-based healthcare system.
  • PlanSponsor: Americans Cite Health Care in Retirement as Top Concern. Excerpts: Echoing the findings of other similar polls, a new survey from Edward Jones found that nearly one-third of Americans are most concerned about not having enough to pay for their health care needs in retirement.
    An Edward Jones news release said the number of respondents expressing the health care concern significantly eclipsed the number who cited other issues such as having to work during one's later years. Not surprisingly, nearly half of those respondents nearest to retirement age (55 to 64 years old) were much more likely to be concerned about health care costs than their younger counterparts (43% vs.10%). [...]
    Retirement concerns were also not confined to those households with lower incomes. In fact, the reverse is true as those with an income of more than $75,000 were much more concerned about paying for their health care later in life (33%) than those with an income of $25,000 (16%)
New on the Alliance@IBM Site:
  • From the Job Cuts Status & Comments page
    • Comments 12/28/06: It has been impossible for me to get into the holiday spirit this year. Right up to Dec. 24th we got emails about what's coming for 07 and NONE of it was positive. Basically the notes are saying your job is going away in 07 so get ready. New process and procedure is coming fast and furious one note said. Tools to allow India to do our jobs. Thanks for the holiday spirit IBM. -Anonymous-
  • From the General Visitor's Comment page:
    • Comment 12/22/06: I wonder if the Alliance or one of the readers here can help me. Here's the problem ... I have two brothers. One brother is an IBM Executive in Armonk. The other was put to death in the electric chair for murder. My mother died from insanity when I was three years old. My two sisters are prostitutes and my father sells drugs to grade school students. Recently I met a girl who was just released from a reformatory where she served time for killing her dog with a ball peen hammer, and I want to marry her. My problem is - should I tell her about my brother the IBM Executive? -Anonymous-
  • Pension Comments page
  • IBM employees on employee raises
    • Comment 12/26/06: Salary = $58k; Band Level = 6; Job Title = Software Test Engr.; Years Service = 29; Hours/Week = 40; Your Gender = M; Div Name = STD; Location = Endicott; Message = Job went to India, out looking for another job now. Not too promising after 1 month. Looks like from other level 6's Endicott is on the low end of the pay scale! -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/27/06: Salary = 78K; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Technical Services Professional-Advisor; Years Service = 5; Hours/Week = 50-60; Your Gender = Male; Div Name = IGS; Location = Customer Site; Message = Just a general comment about the the absurdity of the IBM Lack of Pay Policy. How many companies do know that pay by geographical location? I know that at some locations there is a premium due to cost of living allowances and I concur with those 100%. What I object to is that for the past three years everyone in my geographical location has seen their compensation potential decrease 10% a year, while certain other locations see their pay bands get a 10% increase. What is up with that????? In my case without a raise in three years the maximum in my band has come down to meet my salary. The end result is that there is very little incentive to do more than what is barely necessary to keep your job. No reason to go above and beyond -Anonymous-
    • Comment 12/28/06: Salary = 70K; Band Level = 7; Job Title = Staff Software Engineer; Years Service = 3; Hours/Week = 40 (yea, right!); Your Gender = Male; Message = Started at $56K with 3 raises in 2+ years (now I'm around $70K with eyes on bigger gigs around IBM). The key to IBM is not working longer, but smarter and knowing exactly what you want. Of course, some more money would be nice. But if you don't like the pay, then get an MBA and switch to I-Banking or something...there the newbies make $160K easy. -Anonymous-

Vault Message Board Posts
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Some sample posts follow:
  • "Newbie needs to leave" by "ibm_disappoint". Full excerpt: I'm one of those new recruits who thought Dose and his friends were overly negative, and that it'd be different for me. Hah!
    After 6 months, I've willing to take a hit to my employment history and look for another job.
    NOT because I'm unable to execute -- I'm well-appreciated and two AP's have offered to coach me for promotion (my 'official' mentor is non-existent).
    Rather, I'm afraid of who I'd become if I succeed. The politics, infighting, and self-protection is the worst I've seen. I've worked for a multinational before, and understand large organizations are more bureaucratic and political. Still, this takes the cake.
    For those of you happy in IBM, perhaps you lucked into a better practice, or better projects. I'm glad for you and wish you the best. Me, I'm running...
  • "Thanks for posting" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: I can see how someone would discount what is said on an anonymous message board. IBM has built a propaganda machine in its recruiting organization that is difficult to overcome, and there is something to be said for size and history.
    However, if you ask yourself what is the most likely accurate depiction of the environment here based on what "Dose and his friends" say, and the likely story and motivation behind what we say based on the content, it is not hard to see that this is really the way it is.
    I commend you on having seen the future. It is not just about the compensation policies or project choices - it is also about who you spend your days with during your formative career years. They will influence who you become as a worker, and as a person.
    Life is too short to allow yourself to spend any time with people that you don't like to be with. Don't settle! Good luck with your job search!
  • "No problem" by "ibm_disappoint". Full excerpt: Part of why I'm able to leave is that I'm actually well past my 'formative years.' I know enough to know what a 'good, though lean and challenging' culture looks like, even in a huge corporation.
    This isn't it. Or at least, not in the portion I'm being exposed to.
    I do worry about what this culture does to brand new professionals. I'd hope they have friends to turn to outside the organization that will provide them another perspective.
  • "Your last point is extremely important" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: Yes, we need to give the brand new professionals a bit of perspective.
    To IBM, unfortunately, such newbies have become expensive necessities -- oh how our senior management wishes the Indians and the Argentines and the Slovaks could take over all band 6 work! The medium to longer term future for US band 6s just is not there. They will be dropped ASAP in favor of foreign nationals, when and if the foreign nationals can actually do the work. Culturally, we are in a VERY dysfunctional environment.
  • "feeling a bit guilty" by "mltman". Full excerpt: Truthfully, I'm feeling a bit guilty about leaving. Recently, they really seemed to make an effort to keep me with these recent increases. I've always received large PBC bonuses and other bonuses throughout the year. Still even with all this... I feel stagnant, under-utilized, and just downright bored. I work half as hard I really can yet I've gotten PBC 1 every year with the company so far. The thing is that they have taken care of me much better than anyone else I know of except for me...its still not enough. I just don't want to feel bored and hate going to work everyday...and the extra pay increase is just icing on the cake I guess.
    Dose - I haven't actually given my notification to IBM yet. What would be your recommendation for delicately trying to submit my resignation? I know I'm going to get everything possible from them to get me to stay (including a guilt trip). Then when they realize I'm gone...they are going to get me to try to push out the date that I'm leaving, etc. Any help would be appreciated as I would like to keep this as civil as possible.
  • "Pull an OJ" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: Not the 90's version...the early 80s version.
    You are probably too young to remember those old Hertz commercials, where OJ was running through the airport dodging passengers, and sometimes running them over. Just do everything at the last minute, like he did. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2887239303217084802&q=OJ+Hertz
    But seriously, I think that in order for you to make a clean, quick break, an attitude adjustment is in order. If you happen to be one of the few staff that we have that are in the extreme right tail of the talent pool, then you should not feel appreciative about your treatment, or guilty about leaving. The recent salary increases are long overdue, and you haven't received much of anything in the way of compensation for your contributions or worth to IBM.
    Take the total salary that you should have been making in each of the last few years based on your increasing market value. Then compare that to the amount you actually made - not based on the nominal salary at year-end, but based on the actually salary that you earned. Note that there is almost zero value to the latest double digit increase, and the previous increase is only worth 50% of the nominal value. That is the amount that IBM has extorted from you, and in return you got "taken care of", and had an "opportunity to learn". The former isn’t worth much, and the latter is something that you could have gotten anywhere. Furthermore, with many other companies, you could have actually learned from team-mates and managers that are actually competent at what they do. How do I know this? - If you really had a well-managed high-performing team, you would not be indispensable.
    Now take the amount of gross margin that IBM made on your billings over the past few years and compare it to: 1) The amount you actually made over that time period and 2) What you should have been earning based on market value. There are two ways to look at this. First, get an appreciation for how much more IBM has earned on your talents and effort, as compared to what you were paid. Second, get an appreciation for how insignificant was the increase that you should have gotten every year as a percentage of the amount that IBM made from your work. This should give you a clear line of sight into the stupidity and short-sightedness of the IBM compensation policy. If for some reason you decided to stay, you would have nothing but flat trajectory for the foreseeable future, and you will still be stagnant in terms of learning opportunity.
    As far as feeling guilty, the only guilt you should feel is at being part of a company that employs a corrupt and deferred "star system" in its compensation practices. I have no doubt that there are more than a few hard-working and capable project staff whose contributions warranted a market increase, but have still received nothing, while the quarterback has eaten up the entire salary cap. The other guilt you should feel is in having allowed yourself to be taken advantage of for the past few years.
    I would wait until exactly two weeks before your confirmed start date, and send an E-mail to your practice leader, project manager, and HR rep telling them you have formally accepted another job on a particular start date, and your last day is the day before that start date. Then, enjoy the ride, with your newfound attitude adjustment. You don't sound like the type that would be willing to tell IBM how they screwed up with you, but if you were, you would really enjoy it and it would help you to make a clean break, and clear any residue of guilt out of your conscience. You can quote me if you like, even if you work for me!
    Only one thing left to say: Go Mitman! Go! You don’t own a white Bronco do you?
  • "point taken" by "mltman". Full excerpt: I actually do remember the OJ Hertz commercials though just barely.
    Anyway, I couldn't agree with you more. You are correct when you say that I'd rather not get into it explaining why they messed up. Thinking more about it...its not that I feel guilty not rather that I'm really not looking forward to the guilt trip that my PMs and SAM are going to give me in an attempt to get me to stay. That's obviously not the best way to get someone to change their mind. Unfortunately, I know them all well enough to know what is coming. I already know that I'm going to end up explaining everything that when wrong as I'm eventually going to lose my patience from the guilt trip. Then again, I may be wrong and I sincerely hope so.
    Either way, I am just venting at this point. I've been a frequent visitor to this board for the like few years though rarely writing anything. I've learned my about IBM and received more real information about how to navigate the bureaucracy here than anywhere else. I just wanted to say thanks for the advice.
  • "I don't get your point" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: Why should you care what IBM thinks of your departure? Do you for a moment think they are at all concerned with losing a good employee? Don't bet on it ... especially in the temple of IBM Finance, where all US employees are considered overpriced and replaceable (except, of course, for the finance people themselves.)
    Based on what you have written, there are two possible explanations: either you were, as Dose said, far to the right on the talent curve, or you were, situationally speaking, on the right project at the right time. If you are a brilliant SME, get somewhere else fast and make more money. If you were in the right place at the right time, remember that the situation will change, the wheel will turn, and then you will find it drearier yet to remain at IBM.
    Get the hell out, make it snappy, and don't think too much about what you are leaving behind. It ain't much.
  • "excellent point" by "mltman". Full excerpt: I really do not care what IBM thinks. Rather I care what my co-workers think. In my job search, I have encountered more than a few individuals that I knew or who knew someone that I knew. I guess all I'm saying is if I have the choice or leaving on good terms or bad terms that I would prefer good for obvious reasons.
    As far as your two possible explanations go, I'd like to say that maybe its a combination of the two but probably leaning towards the latter. I'm definitely in a right place at the right time situation where the project will have serious heartburn at letting me go. This scenario will not likely exist in 6 months and I will likely find it even drearier to remain as you have pointed out. Then again, I've been trying to get off my current project for 9 months with no end in sight so who knows if this role will ever change if I remain.
    In either case, I'm going to accept the offer that I mentioned earlier. Thanks for responding wonderaboutibm and Dose... It actually helps to write out my situation and have others confirm that I'm not completely crazy :).
  • "Me, neither" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: ...not sure what to make of what you write, mltman. It is downright weird, weird, weird.
    I have a little trouble believing the numbers. As Dose noted, if you are really up 30% in salary this year, just think of how many have to be pushed down to 0 raise to keep the average raise at the generally accepted 2.75%.
    And yet, and yet now another employer is willing to pay you 10% more. Well ... if that is the market, the explanation just may be that you do have some value to IBM and that you were, to this past June at least, grotesquely underpaid. So maybe IBM has one less way underpaid employee on a project, although many others remain underpaid. These others simply aren't the fair-haired boys of the moment.
    And the business about not even notifying you of a raise? Is your post for real?
  • "No notification" by "mltman". Full excerpt: It is true that I was not notified about the pay raise, but that was likely just a timing issue. I found the information on aboutyou before my manager actually notified me. The raise was effective 12/16 so I wouldn't be paid until 12/31 so I guess she figured that she had to the end of the month to notify me.
    As far as the validity of my post. I swear every bit of it is 100% true. I had almost no increase in a couple of years then in the last six months almost 30%. That's actually part of the reason why I started this job search was that I knew I was grossly underpaid. The recent increases do get me pretty close to market I think though this new offer may actually pay above market as they really want me. Its with a few old co-workers who are trying to recruit me. I suspect they are willing to pay a bit extra for someone they know will do a good job as you never know how someone new will really perform.
    I honestly really feel bad about leaving IBM. I really have no complaints about my experiences here. I did learn a lot and they did at least take care of me much better than most others.
  • "i believe his numbers" by "saleen22". Full excerpt: I'm up about 20% this year myself. And I do understand his guilt...when people are looking out for you and allocating a chunk of their pool of money for raises for you, you'd like to show your appreciation with a little loyalty. Even though we work at a huge company, we (including mgt) are all still people.
  • "i believe your numbers" by "fenugeek". Full excerpt: There are pockets of sanity within IBM. I find myself in the same situation - loyalty to my manager who has gone to bat for me more than once, but distrust of anything and anyone more than two levels above me.
  • "You mean?" by "wonderaboutibm". Full excerpt: Loyalty to IBM since they screwed a multitude of others at raise time so they could bring a chosen few like you up to the market rate? Not much of a loyalty ...
  • "And..." by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: ...deferred the action for several years until they sensed that you were on the verge of bolting for a real career opportunity? Is that the kind of behavior that incites a sense of loyalty from you?
  • "Repost^12" by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: I have answered this question (i.e. "why don't you leave IBM") many times. The short answer is that I am close to retirement, I am making more than my desired living wage (i.e. there is no marginal utility to moving up), I have a great deal of control and independence which would take time to replicate elsewhere, it is very liberating to not have to worry about kissing a$$, I rarely have to spend time with the many incompetent and self-serving buffoons that comprise the management/leadership ranks at IBM, I enjoy the challenge of holding the practice together in this environment, and I can make a much bigger difference for staff in an exploitative company than in a more classically managed company. On that last point, said another way, where does a missionary go – East Africa or West Palm Beach?!
    If anyone else finds himself with this profile, I recommend staying at IBM. However, it is unlikely that someone considering coming to IBM would find himself in this situation.
    As far as my influence on our offshore hiring practices, that is an absurd argument. If IBM decides that hiring semi-educated East European vertically-challenged lesbians is a viable alternative to offering a competitive salary to more conventional and capable members of the applicant pool, that is on them, not on me.
    While we are on the subject of alleged hypocrisy, if this is "just a job" (and not worthy of the type of evaluation and scrutiny that we offer here), then why are you leaving?!
  • "So we agree on everything then..." by "Dose of reality". Full excerpt: ...except in how best to use what we believe.
    Agree: Jobs are less important than family, friends, and I will have to add spirituality.
    However, that doesn't mean that you should settle for a company that habitually screws its employees. You are either extremely jaded, naive, or just plain lacking in self-respect if you believe that every company operates this way.
    Agree (slight rephrase): Companies are in business to maximize shareholder value, (not to simply "make money").
    You do not maximize shareholder value by habitually screwing your employees, tearing down your delivery capabilities, and demotivating your workforce. The incremental financial resources required to equitably compensate employees and provide a favorable career opportunity more than pay for themselves in revenue increases if a company avoids building a culture of exploitation. Of course if every potential employee chooses to believe that it is like that at every company and puts up with it, then the company gets to have their cake and eat it too, all on the backs of its exploited labor. Thank you for being part of the problem!
    Agree: IBM is not a great place to work.
    You stand idly by and make excuses for everything here, while I advise others to avoid it. Which of us is the better person? You obviously haven’t been here very long, or have selective memory, if you have the audacity to make the comment: "I never see you writing any useful practical advice to anyone who is asking for real information". It just so happens that every informational post that I make also has the quintessential practical advice related to the IBM career decision question - Don't come here!
    You really shouldn't even pretend to know what my pre-IBM career path was, as it was about as eclectic and varied as any that of any PwC partner that ever graced its halls. The only thing left for me is retirement and some writing projects, all of which are being fed and supported by my time here at IBM.
    I referred to you and consultingxxxxx as doormats in another thread. I do appreciate the time you have taken to confirm my claim in your latest post.


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