That is essentially what goes on at I.B.M., one of the cornerstones of corporate America, where each of the 355,000 workers is entitled to three or more weeks of vacation. The company does not keep track of who takes how much time or when, does not dole out choice vacation times by seniority and does not let people carry days off from year to year. [...]
But the flip side of flexibility, at least at I.B.M., is peer pressure. Mr. Hanny and other I.B.M. employees, including his assistant, Shari Chiara, say that they frequently check their e-mail and voice mail messages while on vacation. Bosses sometimes ask subordinates to cancel days off to meet deadlines.
Some workplace experts say such continued blurring of the boundaries between work and play can overtax employees and lead to health problems, particularly at companies where there is an expectation that everyone is always on call. [...]
Frances Schneider, who retired from an I.B.M. sales division last year, after 34 years, said one thing never changed; there was not one year in which she took all her allotted time off.
“It wasn’t seven days a week, but people ended up putting in longer hours because of all the flexibility, without really thinking about it,” Ms. Schneider said. “Although you had this wonderful freedom to take days when you want, you really couldn’t. I.B.M. tends to be a group of workaholics.”
It’s true that “flex time” is encouraged, but that usually means much more work, not less, as the employee often ends up working long hours deep into the night, multiple days per week, and over the weekend as well. Then there is taking the laptop on vacation…. As things are now, it appears that companies that encourage their employees to work from home are getting the better end of the bargain by far. Certainly that appears to be the case for many folks I know at IBM. There is nothing directly wrong with this, but let’s not pretend that the employer is doing the employee any favors! — Posted by Owen
The comment above about the database tracking tool is true. In some ways it makes for much tighter control of vacation time. A computer will do a far better job of tracking (and enforcing) vacation time than a human every time. I don’t know where the author got the impression that IBM doesn’t track vacation time; nothing could be further from the truth! Also consider that with a never ending crush of work, it’s almost impossible for anyone to get away for more than a few days. Your work is still waiting for you when you get back, along with all the work you missed. In lean, hyper environments, there’s nobody to pick your work up while you were gone. The employee pays the price for their few precious days off with double or triple the work to do when they get back. Some way to rest and rejuvenate! — Posted by Bob
Try asking one of the business consultants who are scrambling for their next project, a hardware engineer who knows their job is going to China, or a software engineer who knows their job is going to India how much vacation they took last year.
I worked 70+ hours a week on a project for 6 months. My reward at the end? a week of extra vacation. Do you think I had time to take it?
My experience is that they don’t track vacation, instead they load you up with so much work, you can’t afford to take your allotment. — Posted by never use it all
Is no one else bothered by the fact that two posters have said the main idea of the Times article is simply false?
“I don’t know where the author got the impression that IBM doesn’t track vacation time; nothing could be further from the truth!”
Wake up, sheeple! Everything you know is wrong! — Posted by Jim Pharo
At least work laws and culture in Europe has partially maintained the benefits for the workers that make it all possible. In the US, we work with the myths of pride, creativity, and some type of uber-fulfillment from work well done. Terms often heard at IBM today include such Orwellian phrases as “failed to execute” (when the organization failed to reach an impossibly high revenue, corporate, or work goal), or, “we just posted our best quarter in history, and revenue is up over xx% year to year! Unfortunately, we still didn’t make our numbers!” This is straight out of “Dilbert,” but increasingly common today.
Europe still has unions, or at least the vestige of the idea that the employee should share in a few of the benefits of the constantly rising productivity. In the US, we are constantly told that it’s a privilege to work for the big company, and that we are lucky to work for one of the greatest companies in the world, in the greatest country in the world.
The US is number one in myth only. When the modern, educated US worker wakes up to the fact that they are far, far behind most of the rest of the “modern world” in benefits, work/life balance, health care, etc. - then maybe something will change. Until then, all the IBMers I know will continue to go around overworked, under-rewarded, and scared for their jobs - all the while with a big, happy forced smile permanently glued to their face, lest someone think they are not the consummate team player.
High Tech in the US is the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century sweat shop, and IBM is the perfect model of the new reality. The final indignity is to constantly work in global virtual teams with people from all over the world, where you see your team peers getting vast amounts of time off, while you are lucky to get your five or six US holidays a year, and few weeks of vacation after many years in the work force. — Posted by Loyal IBM Employee
I see so many bright people just burning out and were just asked for more. There are a few good mgmt out there but most are in the some boat as us. No backups so when you’re gone so your work piles up which makes people not want to take vacation.
We can take off whenever our schedule allows but in the term billable hours drives us to how much we have to work in a year. You are then compared to the rest of the team so if you work 10 to 12% OT per week you still can be the lowest number of hours in the Dept.
We have people in my group that have averaged 40% OT since the begriming of the year. These are salaried people so only IBM gets the $$ not the employee. I’m just hanging in hoping someday it will change. — Posted by another IBM'r
Unfortunately, most people have become hypnotized by the “unions are always bad” mantra of the mainstream media, which are sponsored by the big corporations.
At least the “socialized medicine is always bad” myth seems to be falling, and we can only hope that the fall of the other reactionary myths will not be far behind. — Posted by Tom
I can’t tell you how many people I have seen take their vacations just to take essential IBM (online) training that their job roles did not allow time for, or to catch up on critical project work that they don’t have time for during the day, since they are busy doing the work of what used to be 3-4 people.. It’s hard to complain that you are overworked and frequently working past midnight from home, especially when your boss and many of your peers are doing the exact same thing. Who do you complain to then?
It’s also very common to be in a meeting or on a conference call with someone and find out that they are on vacation, (maybe even have been all week) yet they have been in the office or on-line and engaged almost as much as you have. Most amazing of all is when the person on vacation doesn’t even blink about still working.
I’ve even heard someone on vacation say something like, “don’t worry, it’s OK. I’ll take some time off this afternoon and go to my kid’s ball game.” The ability to use a few hours of their own vacation day for themselves seemed like a benefit or reward to them. This is when you know you are not in Kansas anymore. I’d like to see someone from the NYT write a front page article about this IBM, as this is the only IBM I know. — Posted by IBMer
I found the attitude toward people’s personal regeneration and private time in my place to be unhealthy. Which is why I decided to leave. I don’t want to have a heart attack by the time I am 40. — Posted by Anna
White collar workers today are often now working under more stress and the same unfair conditions than the blue collar conditions that brought about unions decades ago. A standard work week of 60-70+ hours a week, plus more time from home needs some larger force to roll it back.
There’s a lot of corporate money and lobbying going into convincing you that unions are un-American. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s union efforts that largely built the great middle class prosperity of the US, which is fast eroding today.
As an exIBMer, I can tell you that almost everyone I know in IBM is desperate for a union, or some type of relief from the insanity that passes as normal working conditions. Even with heroic effort 365 days a year, it’s almost impossible to get anything beyond an average review, as then they have to pay you more money. I was one of the lucky few who got above average reviews, and I still didn’t get any raises, in spite of IBM’s insistence that it “pays for performance.”
I really did hear things like, “the work is it’s own reward” more than you might think. IBM has long forgotten that people work to live, not live to work. A few “brown bag lunch” sessions about work/life balance, and IBM has itself well convinced that it’s at the top of the heap - it’s very deluded; they simply don’t get it. — Posted by Former IBM
My son is 23 years old and just started a job in Europe and is given 5 weeks vacation. Wake up America, you have been sold a bill of goods. — Posted by carmen
I don’t know who researched this article, but they got IBM all wrong. IBM loves flex time, especially on the Software side of the house, as it allows them to put impossible work commitments on employees, who often have to work until the wee hours of the morning to barely keep up. At least on the Software side (SWIG) the conditions can best be described as “Death March” more often than not.
It’s amazing that IBM is boasting of its flexible working conditions, especially when those conditions allow for the greatest possible overwork of its employees. It’s no benefit to me that I get to take a bit of time in the morning to take my kid to the dentist if I end up working to 2 AM the next two mornings.
I’m reminded of the movie Animal House, and the line, “thank you sir, may I have another?!” Working at the office, or working at home in my living room, the impact is the same. It’s not time spent for me and my family…. — Posted by IBM SWG Guy
The joke around IBM was, Saturdays are the best day of the week because that means you can work in your PJs. Seriously, I’d expect better research from the NY Times. No one at IBM (except in someone working PR) would find any grain of truth to this. I’ll read NY Times articles in the future with a lot more skepticism. — Posted by Been Blue
IBM stands for “I’ve Been Misled” as anyone who has ever worked for IBM will tell you this article is an incredible feat of fiction. I can’t believe the NYT fell for this fantasy! I’m proud to be an IBM employee, but even for me, this is absolutely ridiculous. I’d write more, but I have to go back to my work in my 60+ hour a week job as a “flexible” IBM employee. Thanks for the good laugh. — Posted by Tom@IBM
I worked for 3 years at IBM (in Global services) after an outsource from another large company.
Let me assure you that post 2 (Tom) is correct. There is a Lotus Notes interface called “Vacation Planner” that you put your vacation totals in. I was a first line manager (initially with 20 direct reports) and all of my team was required to put their totals in the tool. I put my totals in the tool and ’shared’ them with my manager. And yes, they were tracked. It may have been a contract requirement on our account as part of the outsourcing agreement.
When my combined service with my previous employer and IBM reached 20 years, I received a 5th week of vacation. Newer outsourcing deals cap vacation at 4 weeks max, generally. You also get some personal days mixed in with some floating holidays, on our ‘deal’ it was 3 Floating, 2 personal days so I had about 6 weeks total.
There was no way you could ever just go on vacation and do no IBM work as a manager. I remember being in the Outer Banks (NC) when a layoff notification came through. There I was out on the back deck, searching for a open wireless network so I could download the correct forms so I could notify (via cell phone) my employees who were being terminated. I would have preferred to do it “face-to-face” but I was not afforded that luxury. That was not a lot of fun.
So there I was calling folks and terminating them while my family and friends were at the beach.
Generally I considered it a good day if I worked ‘only’ 3-4 hours a day on vacation, as my normal day was 10-12 hours.
Regarding the ‘flexibility’ of working at home, the article shows Luis H. Rodriguez frolicking with his children near his ThinkPad. When I worked at home, the corporate instant messaging software “Sametime” was ALWAYS up and my bosses had Sametime up and running on their BlackBerry devices. I remember getting a message at 9pm one night (I was working) and my boss was off to a dinner party and needed a wine recommendation. He ‘pinged’ me because he knew I was always “online’ and working.
I agree with the quote “I.B.M. tends to be a group of workaholics.” I worked with a remarkable bunch of people, who did some really great work.
I left voluntarily to work at a small IT firm because the 80-90 hour work weeks were more than I could stand. — Posted by Former Big Bluer
For years and years, IBM has been requiring more and more work of its employees. They’ve called this “raising the bar” and each year the executives tell us that we need to “give 110%” of what we did last year to reach our new goals. It doesn’t take long for that 110% to compound itself and for employees to be doing the work that used to be done by two employees. To enforce this, each year IBM cuts back the employees working on projects and those who remain are required to pick up the slack while they worry about whether they will be the next target of a layoff.
It’s not uncommon to find IBMers who have to work 60 hours a week or more to get their work done. There have been many cases in IBM’s development organizations where employees have been required to work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for periods of three to six months in order to keep a project on track. To go on vacation or miss even one day in the 6-day week would guarantee a poor appraisal, and perhaps even being fired.
The net result is that it is often difficult for IBM employees to take even 3 weeks of vacation a year.
Several studies have shown that not taking at least 2 weeks of continuous vacation to allow one to totally disconnect from work can have adverse health effects. Yet, the IBM environment prevents many employees from being able to do just that. A nurse I know who works at a local hospital in the cardiac care unit says they get more patients from IBM than any other employer (and IBM is not the largest employer in the area). Many of them are far too young to be having heart attacks. She put it simply - stress kills.
The unending workload in IBM, the stress of the job and having to keep up with the work, even while on vacation, creates an unhealthy work environment. — Posted by K
IBM regular, exempt employees in service delivery are expected to work a minimum of 15% unpaid overtime each week and every recorded minute is billable to the external customer. In addition to the 15% weekly overtime, IBM regular employees are ‘encouraged’ to work unpaid overtime to make up time that is not billable to a customer and that time includes sick days, vacation and any time spent in training. The company expects a minimum of 2100 billable hours per regular service delivery employee per year; so much for EARNED vacation benefits!
On the flip side, IBM does provide its contractors with involuntary, unpaid vacation time. Whenever the company needs to ‘adjust’ the quarterly bottom line, the contractors are forced to take time off without pay. For the third quarter 2007, service delivery contractors are being furloughed for 80 hours each; I can just hear those executive achievement incentives being deposited now. — Posted by Contracting
We worked long hours with lots of pressure and little time off. While in theory you get paid for all the hours worked, the reality is that if you wanted to keep your job you did not report all the hours you worked. Also,in my time there I was lucky to get off a week a year.
IBM lets you work from home but you are consequently then always working and never away from it. Telecommuting sounds great but the reality is much more of a mixed bag, especially for consultants.
IBM and other such companies are extracting every ounce of work they can get out of consultants with no concern for the individual. It is a very tough and unforgiving business.
And yet we need the work, the alternative of no work or low paying work is much worse. So the message is suck it up and learn to live with it. — Posted by Tom L
The outsourcing was part of a review of Xerox's operations that had been carried out by the document firm in a bid to control costs. Under the original plan, Xerox was to outsource the jobs to IBM, without a single staff member losing their job or even being forced to move premises.
However, according to reports on Wednesday, the 900 jobs are now on the line with IBM planning to outsource the positions to a cheaper central European economy. Workers will be made redundant over the next two years, with IBM carrying out the cuts in two stages, each resulting in 450 job losses.
Indeed, the company is so well entrenched in the subcontinent that in 2006, Chief Executive Samuel J. Palmisano was voted "IT leader of the year" by Nasscom, India's software industry association. And local heavyweights view IBM as a formidable competitor, as it has signed up a roster of blue-chip clients such as real estate developer DLF, state-run Canara Bank, and the Indian tax department. "IBM has really understood what India is all about," says Nasscom President Kiran Karnik.
At the same time, the company has worked hard to integrate India into its worldwide operations. That has allowed IBM to eliminate 20,000 jobs in high-cost markets such as the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The success of this strategy was confirmed this summer when IBM reported second-quarter revenues were up 9%, to $23.8 billion—powered in part by a 10% increase at its IT services group, which suffered mightily at the hands of its Indian rivals in the early part of this decade.
Nor is it difficult to recruit workers in Newton anymore. Absent Maytag, a good wage in central Iowa is $12 or $13 an hour. The trick is to get that much as well as health insurance — and if not the wage, then at least the health insurance, even if that means commuting 40 to 50 miles, as more than a few ex-Maytag workers are now doing.
The downshift is reflected in the Labor Department’s national data. Median family income has risen at an average annual rate of only six-tenths of a percent, adjusted for inflation, since the mid-1970s — in sharp contrast to the 2.8 percent growth rate in the preceding 26 years.
That is when Rappresentanza Sindacale Unitaria IBM Vimercate (RSU), the official trade union representing IBM's 9,000 workers in Italy, is planning a most novel form of industrial action – a strike on Second Life – and it wants as many avatars as possible manning the picket lines. [...]
A statement sent to The Register by the RSU sets out the reasons for the industrial action as follows:
It seems that the reasons for this first virtual strike are related to the renew of the internal agreement. While IBM is one of the company with major profits, its employees are receiving very few fruits of this big mountain of money.
The internal climate is below all the IT industries (taking advantages for the famous IBM's competitor: HP), and the drop that overflowed the glass is the long and inconclusive negotiation for the internal agreement. While the works council, supported by the majority of IBM Italy employees, was asking for a small salary increase, IBM responded with the complete suppression of the "productive results benefit", with a loss for a single employee of €1000 per year. For a company that wants to lead the corporate social responsibility, this is really too much.
On an 11-1 vote Tuesday, August 21, the 3rd Circuit denied a request by AARP for the full appeals court to review a unanimous decision by a three-judge 3rd Circuit panel. In that June ruling, the panel said the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has the authority to implement a rule that would exempt from the Age Discrimination in Employment Act health plan changes for retired workers when they become eligible for Medicare.
The Census Bureau reported yesterday that median household income rose 0.7 percent last year — its second annual increase in a row — to $48,201. The share of households living in poverty fell to 12.3 percent from 12.6 percent in 2005. This seems like welcome news, but a deeper look at the belated improvement in these numbers — more than five years after the end of the last recession — underscores how the gains from economic growth have failed to benefit most of the population.
The median household income last year was still about $1,000 less than in 2000, before the onset of the last recession. In 2006, 36.5 million Americans were living in poverty — 5 million more than six years before, when the poverty rate fell to 11.3 percent. [...]
Over all, the new data on incomes and poverty mesh consistently with the pattern of the last five years, in which the spoils of the nation’s economic growth have flowed almost exclusively to the wealthy and the extremely wealthy, leaving little for everybody else.
Standard measures of inequality did not increase last year, according to the new census data. But over a longer period, the trend becomes crystal clear: the only group for which earnings in 2006 exceeded those of 2000 were the households in the top five percent of the earnings distribution. For everybody else, they were lower.
The number of uninsured Americans has been rising inexorably over the past six years as soaring health care costs have driven up premiums, employers have scaled back or eliminated health benefits and hard-pressed families have found themselves unable to purchase insurance at a reasonable price. Last year, the number of uninsured Americans increased by a daunting 2.2 million, from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47.0 million in 2006. That scotched any hope that the faltering economic recovery would help alleviate the problem.
The main reason for the upsurge in uninsured Americans is that employment-based coverage continued to deteriorate. Indeed, the number of full-time workers without health insurance rose from 20.8 million in 2005 to 22.0 million in 2006, presumably because either the employers or the workers or both found it too costly.
At the same time, workers at the bottom rung of the U.S. economy received the first federal minimum wage increase in a decade. But the new wage of $5.85 an hour, after being adjusted for inflation, stands 7 percent below where the minimum wage stood a decade ago.
On average, CEOs at major American corporations saw $1.3 million in pension gains last year. By contrast, 58.5 percent of American households led by a 45- to 54-year old even had a retirement account in 2004, the most recent year these figures were available. [...]
The top 386 CEOs in the study took in perks, such as housing allowances and travel benefits, worth on average $438,342 in 2006. It would take a minimum wage worker 36 years to earn the equivalent of what CEOs averaged in just perks alone. [...]
American executives significantly out-earn their European counterparts, the study found. In 2006, the 20 highest-paid European managers made an average of $12.5 million, a third as much as the 20 highest-paid U.S. executives took home last year.
Such polls allow Kucinich to joke that, far from being in the loony left, “I’m in the center. Everyone else is to the right of me.” More seriously, in a recent visit to the Globe, he accused the other Democratic candidates of faking it on healthcare reform.
“One of the greatest hoaxes of this campaign — everyone’s for universal healthcare,” Kucinich said. “It’s like a mantra. But when you get into the details, you find out that all the other candidates are talking about maintaining the existing for-profit system.”
Kucinich quoted the 2003 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine that found that 31 percent of healthcare expenditures pay not for actual care but for administrative costs. That compares with only 16.7 percent in Canada. Administrative and clerical employees make up 27 percent of the healthcare workforce in the United States, compared with 19 percent in Canada.
“With 46 million Americans without any health insurance at all and another 50 million underinsured,” Kucinich said, “isn’t it really time to look at the other models that exist that are workable for all the other industrialized nations in the world? When you think about it, the only thing that’s stopping us is the hold that the private insurers have on our political system . . . corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing, the cost of paperwork. . .”
The hold of the healthcare industry on the top candidates is already apparent. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top recipient of campaign contributions so far from the pharmaceutical and health products industry is Republican Mitt Romney ($228,260). But the next two are Democrats Barack Obama ($161,124) and Hillary Clinton ($146,000). The top recipient of contributions from health professionals is Clinton ($990,611). Romney is second at $806,837, and Obama third at $748,637.
Implementing a single-payer (universal) health-care system for all Americans is long overdue. It is a basic right of citizenship. Any attempt to hasten the dialogue in this regard has invoked the instant wrath of the universal health-care naysayers. Over the years, we have stood idly by and allowed the status quo barriers to become much more formidable than need be. The time is now to attack the real and imaginary barriers with fresh innovative thought as to how best achieve a viable single-payer system. [...]
Opposition forces have thus far relied on rhetorical “scare tactics” to protect the status quo. The primary risk to the opposition would be any action taken that may result in a reduction of profit. For many of us who have experienced the denial of medical service or medication, or the unreasonable delay in providing timely medical decisions, or at the very least, health-care coverage that is less than satisfactory, do you really believe that our well-being is of paramount concern to those overseeing the full spectrum of insured services? How many of us (having any form of paid medical coverage today) can honestly say that we’re confident that our insurance company or third-party provider has our health-care interest at heart? Premiums, co-payments and deductibles continue to increase each year yet we must still fight for our medical needs. Unfortunately for many, waging these battles becomes far too exhausting or they’re simply not equipped to challenge the status quo.
Health-care decisions must be made solely by health-care professionals, pure and simple. Each and every insurance company and third party provider has a phalanx of front-line clerical personnel programmed with a checklist of “reasons” why your claim is to be denied or that the surgery ordered by your doctor is unnecessary or that medication “A” prescribed by your doctor is not right for you and that you should be using medication “B.” The fox has been in charge of the henhouse far too long.
"While HSA plans have grown rapidly in the last few years, they have missed their mark," Woodbury said in the report, "attracting enrollees with high incomes who are more likely than low-income people to already have coverage. "Furthermore, the plans do not appear to be making system-wide changes toward lowering costs, as some proponents expected."
HSAs have "limited usefulness, primarily for high-income taxpayers," said Ed Kahn, special counsel for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, an advocacy group for low-income people. But the high co-pays and high deductibles associated with HSAs discourage low- and moderate-income people from seeking needed health care, he said. "It's like tossing a defective life preserver to somebody who is already drowning," Kahn said.
They’d have a point: many American families with middle-class incomes do send their kids to school at public expense, so taxpayers without school-age children subsidize families that do. And the effect is to displace the private sector: if public schools weren’t available, many families would pay for private schools instead.
So let’s end this un-American system and make education what it should be — a matter of individual responsibility and private enterprise. Oh, and we shouldn’t have any government mandates that force children to get educated, either. As a Republican presidential candidate might say, the future of America’s education system lies in free-market solutions, not socialist models.
O.K., in case you’re wondering, I haven’t lost my mind, I’m drawing an analogy. The real Heritage press release, titled “The Middle-Class Welfare Kid Next Door,” is an attack on proposals to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Such an expansion, says Heritage, will “displace private insurance with government-sponsored health care coverage.” And Rudy Giuliani’s call for “free-market solutions, not socialist models” was about health care, not education.
The United States has some of the poorest measures of health in the world, and often we are among the worst. Among developed countries, we trail those with national health systems in almost every way health care is measured.
Compared to European countries we have the highest infant mortality. The average in the U.S. is worst than the infant-death rate among the poorest of Canada. Mothers don’t do well here, either - we have a maternal death rate that is between two and three times that of the Europeans. At the other end of the age spectrum, we have the shortest life expectancy when compared to all European countries, Australia and Japan.
And even for those lucky enough to have insurance, 28 percent report having difficulty getting needed care. Of course, we know they all have to wait in long lines to get care in those European countries, right?
Wrong - the percent of people in the other countries report having to wait at much lower rates than we do - only about 15 percent report difficulty getting care.
But we all know they control health care spending in those countries by rationing health care, right? Wrong again! Take a look at high cost procedures and compare how we do:
The fact that really angers us is that in spite of these woeful statistics, we end up paying more than anybody else in the world for health care. Health care costs per person are as much as double other developed countries. The average cost of health care in America is more than $7,000 per year. Most European countries spend $3,000 to $4,000 per year. In fact, the portion of annual cost of health care in America that is paid by public funds (Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans, government employees) is more than half of our costs and exceeds most other countries total expense.
Where does all this money go?
Profit. To those who say we can’t let the “government run health care” and we should let the market solve our problem: “Wake up. The market is the problem.” For-profit health care has been shown in numerous studies to be excessively costly, prone to abuse and fraud, and poorer quality. For-profit HMO patients get fewer preventive services. For-profit HMO patients with stroke get less rehabilitation and end up in nursing homes more than fee-for-service patients. For-profit hospitals have a 2 percent higher death rate and yet cost 19 percent more. For-profit hospitals hire fewer nurses and having fewer nurses has been shown to lead to poorer outcomes. The fee-for-service environment promotes the use of unnecessary treatments and surgeries. As many as one-third of all hospital admissions are preventable and one-fifth of many surgeries are unnecessary.
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
I am tired of seeing other IBMer's RA'd while they have been great workers and high PBC performers. I don't understand how we can throw so much knowledge away on this company via RA's of good folks. I am sick of every engagement now being measured by the volume of complaints versus customer sat. The less complaints you have on the account, the more the bean counters cut. When the client threatens to pull the contract, you have the right staffing numbers. I am tired of the 60 hours a week for 40 hours pay. I hate Sam and company.
Best wishes to all of the family of IBMer's out there. I hope that everyone takes heed of the actions of IBM'er.. polish the resume.. be prepared for the next round of cuts coming soon.
I urge you to support the people but damage the brand as you go forward in what will be a singularly successful career from now on. Don't forget who screwed you. Not your colleagues, but the brand and the inept leadership in Armonk.
The plan appears to be to suck everything out of any sales, development and manufacturing based in the US. They appear to be getting ready to move everything overseas, except for a few sales and marketing functions. I'll bet that by 2010 we'll see that Cringley was right, that there's less than 30K US based full time employees. Yes, they'll be tons of contractors, H1B's etc., but very few full time employees.
The company had 2 choices: go up the value curve or espouse the commoditization by going down hill. The old saying: "You cut your throat? Watch me cut mine deeper!" applies here.
Good luck. I'm sure you won't need it but I offer it to an anonymous fellow colleague because it's the right thing to do. Moral leadership. A quality that IBM management has conveniently disposed of in the trash bin of history, but like a dead rattler may come to bite them.
Gerstner destroyed the soul of the company and created the "new" IBM employee. The new employee doesn't think about what's good for the client or for the company, but what's good for him/her.
It's isn't your father's IBM. In the old IBM, there was discipline based on respect and trust. Once the employees lost their respect and trust of management, it became more a "what's in it for me" environment.
There is no hope except for what Sam has in plan. Squeeze the blood out of the stone and leave eviscerated IBM Americas, ready for sale and move the company overseas.
The only way to get IBM to reform and serve its stakeholders is massive regime change such as taking out the top 4 to 5 layers of executives - and the board of directors too. Replace Sam with a no-nonsense outsider who is committed to reform and who has the guts to fire any remaining managers that don't get with the reform agenda That's what it would take to purge IBM of the "little Gerstners".
Of course this could never happen - the execs the the board of directors are too entrenched.
IBM is near dead - the rickety carcass hasn't yet fallen over, the vultures are circling awaiting the final movement. The odor of extreme sickness permeates the company. Every day the culture inside gets weaker and weaker. Good people leaving the company in droves.
It is soon to stagger and fall to its knees, unable to eat or drink, then to lay down and die. Soon, the carcass will stink - that dreadful stench of the dead that is beyond description. Soon the vultures and maggots will pick apart the carcass, leaving just the bones, bleached white by the hot sun.
And that will be Sam and Lou's legacy - a pile of bleached bones of a once proud and vital company. Bones, only bones.
My experience was that all the brilliance in the world is useless when you don't understand production work. It takes about 10 years to really get to understand that taking the time to get it right - the first time - is cheaper than hiring some inexperienced college hire who makes lots of mistakes and cannot communicate. Add cultural and language problems only makes it worse.
It's the same reason you hire an old fat lawyer who knows his stuff and has seen it before over a new green graduate when you really are putting your reputation, life and money on the table.
GE maintains their pipeline of top tier in-country recruits with the FMP and IMLP management training programs. This class has upward mobility, along with the handful of mid-career experienced hires they bring in to round out the skills needed. The offshore resources are just that – second class citizens that do the drone work.
This divide ensures that the management development pipeline is filled with top tier talent which is needed for success, and the drones just do the menial work and then move on or die, just like drones are supposed to do.
At IBM we just bottom feed to fill the whole roster, and wonder why we can’t develop the middle tiers of the hierarchy with capable talent.
Today's highly compensated executives face many difficulties, including figuring out how they can possibly spend all of the rich rewards they've earned on the backs of ordinary workers. Take a look at the insider trading of many of our IBM executives—spending the cash from all that stock "acquired at $0 per share" must be a real challenge! Or, imagine the difficulty IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will face spending his $10,000 to $20,000 a day pension when he retires!
As a way of helping out our beleaguered, modern-day robber barons this site will periodically feature "spending opportunities" that the "upper crust" of our society may want to take advantage of!
Not even a business-oriented network like LinkedIn will do. To put it bluntly, Conner wants powerful friends: the kind of people who board private jets after cutting business deals. People who don't get stopped by the bouncer at New York's Bungalow 8 nightclub. People with connections who can open doors and get his company noticed. People with log-ins to aSmallWorld.
But who says your trip has to be all work and no play?
Today, luxury rental car outfitters can set you up with a vehicle right from the airport. Many of the big-name companies, like Hertz, Budget and Dollar, have Prestige or Style Series collections featuring BMWs, Mercedes and Hummers. And for those with bigger budgets, some specialty companies will put you behind the wheels of vehicles you've only dreamed of driving.
What's driving interest in these rentals is a desire by top executives to maintain the comforts of home on the road. If you regularly drive an Infiniti, you're probably not going to be happy renting an "econobox," says Joe Brancatelli, founder of the business-travel Web site Joe Sent Me. There's also an aspirational aspect to consider: If you drive a Ford at home, this may be your only chance to get the feel of a Ferrari.
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