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Highlights—January 30, 2010

  • Westchester County Business Journal: IBM posts record profits, fewer jobs. By Jim Gordon. Excerpts: For IBM, 2010 brought record profits and thousands of fewer jobs in the United States. That was the sum of the report from Big Blue to investors last week along with indications that 2010 will bring the same formula of strong profits and more outsourcing of jobs overseas. On Jan. 19, IBM reported for 2009 a record profit of $13.4 billion for the year, up 9 percent from 2008's net income of $12.3 billion. The company's revenue fell to $95.8 billion last year, down from $103.6 billion a year before. IBM was able to boost its profit despite lower sales by cutting more than $9 billion of costs and expenses.

    Though IBM does not discuss job-cut figures, the group Alliance@IBM, a union supported group, said IBM cut thousands of jobs in the United States in 2009 while increasing its overseas work force. State records show about 1,000 jobs were cut in Dutchess and Orange counties, reducing IBM’s Hudson Valley work force to below 10,000 for the first time since 1999. “Last year IBMers remember the company also announced record profits and the very next day terminated about 5,000 employees around the country,” said Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, who worked 26 years for the company. “So when employees look at record profits, they don’t see any connection between record profits and them keeping their job. All they see is shareholders doing well and employees finding the unemployment line.”

    Doug Shelton, who was identified by an IBM spokesman as the company official who could discuss job cuts, did not return a call seeking comment.

    According to Alliance, IBM had 105,000 U.S. workers at the end of 2009, down from 115,000 in 2008, continuing a trend that saw their domestic work force shrink from about 134,000 workers in 2005.

    Meanwhile, IBM hired tens of thousand of workers overseas in 2009. According to Alliance, citing IBM reports as their source, Big Blue hired some 13,300 workers in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan, where about 850 workers were hired. IBM hired 18,800 people in India in 2009, and 7,000 in Latin America. Meanwhile, the company hired some 3,500 workers in the United States and 2,900 in Europe. ...

    “IBM is not making the company smaller, jobs are being off-shored and sent out of the United States,” said Conrad. “Worldwide the company is growing, it’s just not growing in the U.S. They are getting record profits by cutting jobs here and paying lower wages, lower benefits overseas. They can pay Indian and Chinese workers a fraction of what they pay workers here. It’s about cost cutting to improve shareholder profits.” ...

    Conrad said that he expects IBM will reduce its American work force soon, so as to maximize profits for the year. “The next couple of weeks we’re going to see job cuts again,” said Conrad. “Last year it started right about now and continued right through till May. They like to get this done early in the year to reap the full benefits. “It’s pretty scary,” said Conrad. “How do you have an economic recovery if companies like IBM keep throwing employees out of work in this country and moving jobs off shore?”

  • Purple Slinky: Obama Pledges No Tax Incentives for Companies That Outsource-does That Include Ibm? Excerpts: On Wednesday January 28th, President Obama stood in front of the Senate and America in his first State of the Union address after one year in office and pledged many things one being that he was not going to offer tax incentives to companies that off-shore jobs. Interesting will that include a big campaign contributor IBM and Sam Palmisano?

    One year ago Obama was inviting Sam Palmisano to all kinds of White House affairs to discuss job creation. I assume Obama meant in the US - but for sure we know Sam Palmisano did not. Check out UTube and you will see Obama and Sam Palmisano shoulder to shoulder talking about high speed rail service and the Grid and how the government and Uncle Sam Palmisano (a cousin) to Uncle Sam apparently where going to create all kinds of work when Obama gave Sam all those Omnibus Stimulus dollars of yours and mine.

    Did anyone believe it then- well you know I didn’t. Did the White House ever clue Obama in about Sam Palmisano’s out-souring of jobs to all the BRIC countries?

    So in his State of the Union address Obama says he will not put up with off-shoring all those good American jobs out of the country. He goes on to say NO MORE TAX incentives for companies who do that. Was Obama crossing his fingers, did he say behind our backs oh- but we will excuse IBM because Sam Palmisano made those big campaign contributions. He might say to Joe Biden- lets make Sam Palmisano an earmark- we just won’t tell America. What the heck they will never know. We kept the health plan a secret this will be easy.

    Then Obama went on to say that China , Brazil, and Germany were not sitting on the side lines they were building their infrastructure and creating jobs, but of course he did not say IBM and other American companies where the backbone of this job creation via outsourcing.

  • Fortune: 100 Best Companies to Work For 2010. Editor's note: IBM competitors on the list include SAS, Google, Boston Computing Group, Ernst & Young, Microsoft, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, and KPMG. Although IBM led the list through the end of the 80's and into the 90's, it has not been on it since.
  • LinkedIn: The Greater IBM Connection. Selected comments follow:
    • Sam, you and your executive team are making major bucks and i know you all think you are the best of the best and the smartest of the smart. There is more than $$ in life and you have not figured that out. Laying us off last year is a great indicator. You preached helping the economy and photos with Obama are really swell. But, you put 10k loyal people out of work. I helped give you and IBM $70M last year and you sent me packing. You have made a great mistake, i'm sure not the last. I and the others will do better elsewhere. Sam, you're not all that.
    • I would advise him (Sam Palmisano) to look at his management system. It divides the IBM population into "royalty" and workers.
    • Actually, I have a question for those on this discussion thread. Why is it that top management/executives have contracts, and most regular employees have "At-Will Employment" ? Is it commonplace in Corporations to create contracts to attract and retain top management positions? It seems very unfair when someone is let go for whatever reasons, but they are still entitled to large compensation provisions in their contracts. Even the bailout bank execs were entitled to their millions in bonuses because it was in their contracts. Why not have the same at-will employment for everyone?
    • I asked that question face to face of a very senior IBM executive after a few drinks at the free liquor bar located in the Management Development Center many years ago, when I had seen that "Personnel" became "HR" and "people" became known as "resources". I was in middle manager's school at the time.

      It was a quick and simple answer. In IBM, everyone below a lettered band position is a RESOURCE and everyone in lettered bands is an ASSET. All efforts will be done to retain assets, primarily because they have knowledge of sensitive and many times embarrassing information of the company. An asset is part of the inner circle, with a "svengali" mentor, etc.

      Resources, on the other hand, are disposable, just like tools. You know the rest of the story.

    • I don't know if this is a hypothetical question or if you really meet with Sam. However, reading thru the comments I saw a lot of state of the industry, customer focus and quality questions.

      If I would have the chance to ask I would try get a perspective on social responsibility. This not only for IBM, but also for the industry in general and leadership in specific. Reading thru the comments it seems many her seem to have a similar issue than I do related to the throw away culture of US employers. These employers are deemed to be entitled to receive bail-outs, but in return do not do anything related to their social responsibility.

      In the "old" IBM an employee was an investment, that needed to be fostered to strive and invent. Today it is purely a numbers game. What do leaders like Sam think about their responsibility to their employees and how do that plan to make it not just about the numbers. Don't get me wrong I understand that cuts are sometimes necessary, but it seems that in a downturn companies start to just blindly throw 10 - 20% cuts around.

      In my perspective a leader has a certain amount of responsibility and cuts like the described are just an excuse for bad long-term planning. The responsible company plans with buffers and has strategic plans for expansion/reduction. However, it seems we still subscribe to the roller-coaster model of hire and fire.

      I would also contest that this is a reason for motivational issues in the work force, if you are seen as cost and a number you act like it, as well as the customer and quality focus, with people not taking the pride in their work and the brand as they have been shown they are not an investment the company has made they are just considered a cost factor.

      How do leaders at that top tier see factors like this and find a good balance of growth/revenue and responsibility to their workforce. I would like to believe that solving this inherit conflict will transform a company and make it succeed in the long-term and add longevity to their company. I'm not saying everything can be explained this way, but think it would be interesting to hear about this topic.

  • JobVent: Working at IBM — Reviews by Employees. Selected reviews follow:
      • From Wichita, KS — 10/09/2009. The executives seem so focused on financial trickery in order to achieve their bonuses that they continually drain the company of it's true resources instead of truly leading the way into the future. They lack vision to grow & evolve, but rely instead on shell games and sleight of hand tricks that won't last forever.
      • From Rochester, Minnesota — 10/10/2009 Category Rating Pay 3 Respect -5 Benefits 4 Job Security -5 Work/Life Balance 0 Career Potential/Growth -4 Location -2 Co-worker Competence 1 Work Environment -4 Not a very technically advanced company. They're still doing that J2EE stuff that other companies abandoned years ago (probably because they have so much invested in WebSphere). The managers are especially not very technical. This makes it easy for smooth-talkers who look and talk 'professional' to go far. It doesn't matter what you say, only how you say it. If you want to get ahead in technical positions in IBM, don't bother learning your craft. Just learn good presentation skills. The managers can't tell the difference.

        The PBC system is ridiculous. The managers decide on your number first and then come up with the reasons for it afterwards. And, of course, you're 'graded on a curve'. You can only get a good PBC rating if one of your colleagues gets a bad rating. It makes for an unpleasant work environment. They try to give the appearance of objectivity to something that is hard to quantify. It would be nice if your manager could just tell you at the end of the year whether he thought you did a good or a bad job without all the rigmarole of the PBC process. And forget about ever getting a pat on the back from your manager or a kind word.

      • From Florida — 10/10/2009. You are CONSTANTLY under fear you will lose your job.
      • From East Fishkill, NY — 10/10/2009 Category Rating Pay 2 Respect 1 Benefits 2 Job Security -5 Work/Life Balance -4 Career Potential/Growth -5 Location 0 Co-worker Competence 2 Work Environment 5 I am a work at home employee. I love the fact that I have been able to stay home and continue my employment with Big Blue. I have over 25 years in the company so I've seen the good and the bad and now the ugly. Unfortunately, the ugly keeps coming, and I haven't seen much good in a while. I am in constant fear of my job as I am an I/T support person. All our jobs are moving to the BRIC countries, or one of the new GDF sites. (The GDF is IBM's new data center LEAN model). It's just a matter of time. I have been trying to find a new position in the company for over 2 years now, and have not had any luck.

        Basically, there are no I/T jobs in the US anymore unless I move to one of the new GDF sites. IBM offers no moving and living. That might be ok I'd suck it up and move my family if I would have some sort of job security for the next year or two. IBM requires a one year commitment from anyone taking a job at the new GDF. However the kicker is that IBM will not make any such promise to the employee. They have the power to lay you off whenever they want.

        All the employees pretty much know that our salaries are higher than any of the new hires coming into the GDF. Also, the position levels are several bands below the current structure. At this point, is an unwritten fact that if you move on your own dime to the new GDF, you will be kept around ONLY until they can find someone cheaper to replace you.

        IBM is keeping costs to a minimum. That means NO education for US employees unless you can find something free, and then you're on your own to make the time to take the class.

        I think even management has given up on IBM. The first line managers have become face-less drones on the other end of a telephone. They don't offer any information, rarely offer a pat on the back, and even rarer still are they aware of what is going on with the customers we support. They are all pretty much technically challenged (read - not I/T skills).

        My U.S. co-workers are great. I have never seen such a great group of technically adept people anywhere. They put in countless overtime hours, without any form of extra compensation, handle 24x7 pager rotation duty (again without any extra compensation). They always go above and beyond what is expected, even knowing it be compensated in the form of an award, or come through on their appraisal or in the form of a raise. It will be difficult for IBM to duplicate that level of expertise in the BRIC countries for many years to come (if at all). But hey, they're cheaper, so it's ok.

        I have to mention benefits. Every year, IBM attacks another benefit. From the decimation of the pension plan, to raising the cost for the employee stock offering. (Employees used to be able to purchase IBM stock at 15% off the market price, it is now 5%). Every year, we have to pay more for medical (I pay over $400 a month for my family).

      • From Rochester, MN — 10/10/2009. Pay (after 10 yrs) is no where near market level for the experience, type, and amount of work that you do. Very little respect or support from management. Benefits cut every year. ABSOLUTELY NO JOB SECURITY, especially in last 5 years. A lot of unpaid OT expected, weekend and holiday work expected. I have worked with a lot of different people, and I must say these people were the most intelligent, hard-working people I have ever met.... not that management would ever recognize it. Work@Home was allowed and encouraged, but that may be changing as well. No future for US employees - I would not recommend working for this company.
      • From Atlanta,GA — 10/11/2009 Category Rating Pay -3 Respect -5 Benefits -4 Job Security -4 Work/Life Balance -5 Career Potential/Growth -5 Location -3 Co-worker Competence 4 Work Environment -4 I was in Sales, however we are run by accountants , all we heard was budget cuts budget cuts... NO Strategy and no help from management just make cold calls and log them... Everything is about management reports and how it looks upstairs.. Thank god I left on my own terms after many many years . IBM is not the company it used to be. I would never recommend them to anyone to work for. The way they are continuing on expense cuts will lead to their downfall...
      • From Raleigh, NC Good employees shouldn't have to worry about their job every waking day. The IBM US population is down to 28% of the total IBM population worldwide. Raises are poor, bonuses even worse. Award payouts can take up to one year because even though IBM shows record profits quarter after quarter, they can't cut a measly 2500 - 5k check to an employee for an award that was granted in 2008. DO NOT JOIN IBM IF YOU LIVE IN THE US...
      • From Midwest — 10/11/2009. IBM treats it's employees so poorly that it boggles the mind why anyone would choose to stay. I'm so glad that I left, and have a good job now with a company that values my work. IBM was a great company at one time, but those days are long gone. People are stressed out & over-worked. Raises are non-existent. And every year the company continues to cut benefits & outsource American jobs. Like Nero fiddling while Rome burned; Sam and his cronies are bleeding the company dry.
      • From Florida — 10/12/2009. IBM treats employees like disposables. There is no future working in such a horrible place. Worst job I ever had.
      • From Houston, TX — 10/13/2009. 9 year IBMer has seen this company go down the tubes. As others have stated, your peers are generally motivated, brilliant folks who are overworked and underpaid. The company keeps firing people and shipping jobs overseas, but the talent and, more importantly, ownership is just not the same. Customers have started taking notice and we are losing deals due to poor support.

        Pay used to be above average, now is stale even as other benefits and bonuses have eroded. PBC rating system is bogus, it's all about your manager's opinion of the job you're doing. Working from home is great, but the number of hours offsets that. I'm seriously considering bailing for a local job with fewer hours.

        There are no education or training opportunities here (and even if there were, there's no time to do them, because we are so short staffed that there aren't enough people to do the work even when everyone is here, let alone when someone is taking vacation, training, etc) and IBM has lost all of their respect for the individual.

        There was a time when we had the opportunity to do the right thing, but that has passed and now the only thing that matters are quarterly earnings. Customer sat is in the tank and employee morale is at an all time low. Advice: don't join IBM if you have another viable alternative, and if you are an IBM employee in the US, like me, your days are numbered.

      • From Somers, NY — 10/23/2009. LOOK ELSEWHERE. If you came here to read reviews so you could decide whether or not to take a job at IBM, my advise, as an IBMer who spent 25 years with the company (including many years in management) is to look elsewhere.

        Why? Unfortunately, the IBM of today is totally focused on the bottom line, is led by bean-counters (accountants types) who are helping prop up the stock price on the backs of laid off workers and the poor souls left behind who have to do 2 to 3 people's jobs, seems to be solely focused on padding the pockets of the senior executives who have a LOT of stock options they want to exercise in a couple of years (thus the need to artificially drive up the stock price), has a very flawed appraisal system (called the PBC system) which forces managers to "skew" the ratings to match a normal "bell shaped" curve distribution (a system that is demoralizing and an unfair means of keeping pay increases and bonuses low), expects everyone to put in at least 50 to 60 hours per week or more (anything less just won’t do or you’ll end up way behind), has lost any sense of decency or respect for the individual (you’ll be a small cog in a big machine), often promotes incompetent kiss-ups into management and executive-level positions (OK, I was a manager, but I didn’t get there by being a kiss-up), and will work you to the bone as you live in daily fear of losing your job (since in a global economy this global company has the hots for low-cost, “global resources” and will turn you out in a heartbeat if they can find a way to “offshore” your job).

        In January of 2009, the day after IBM announced the highest earnings in the history of the company, I was advised my services were no longer needed because I was being vastly overpaid for work that others in overseas locations could likely do (although not as well, but who cares) for 1/5th to 1/8th the cost. My job didn’t go away, it was just transferred to an inexperienced team outside the U.S. IBM has even laid off senior project managers who were 100% billable on external, customer engagements – just to save a buck – and has left customers high-and-dry. Why? Because they felt they could get cheaper resources to do the job. It didn’t matter that the customer was miffed, only that IBM could save money.

        If you like the idea of developing stress-related illnesses such as insomnia, arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), hair loss, skin rashes, headaches, muscle tension, and ulcers – then by all means, give IBM a try. If, however, you prefer to be treated decently, shown a reasonable level of respect, paid fairly, and have the chance of really enjoying your job, then by all means -- look elsewhere if IBM comes knocking.

      • From FL — 10/24/2009. I worked for IBM for 15 yrs and left voluntarily in July. IBM has become a company devoid of integrity and ethics. They blatantly lie to the employees and ask the employees to lie to the customer. There was no longer any respect for the employee or the customer. Customer SAT is no longer a consideration when making decisions. It had become all about enriching those at the top (at the expense of the worker bees) and cutting costs. I would not recommend IBM as a place of employment for anyone!
      • From Tucson, AZ — 11/03/2009. I was with IBM for over a decade, all at the Tucson site. When I first started in the 90's, it was a great place. Working hard actually got you somewhere. There was team work and camaraderie. Promotions meant something, and band 9s weren't a dime a dozen. Snacks and drinks were usually provided at most meetings. Of course that all changed.

        First the reimbursements for telecommuting costs were eliminated (ie., broadband). Then all the administrative assistants were kicked out. The IBM Help Desk was 're-branded' the IBM Lack-of-Help Desk by almost every employee which experienced some kind of frustrating problem. Education reimbursements dried up, and you basically had to be on the "pet list" to have any chance of participating. IBM AZ became the company's health-care "experiment", by introducing new plans (which usually did not benefit the employees) and seeing what kind of reception they garnered. There was a 'type' of work/life balance, if you can call it being able to come and go as you please as long as you attended all kinds of after hour meetings, worked until all hours of the night, and gave up going on vacation to meet the "needs of the business". But 'oh yeah, if you don't take all your vacation this year you'll lose it'. I don't see any problems with managers hiring their kids and relatives, however if those people are morons then all they're doing is wasting company resources.

        By the time I got swept up in the mass layoffs earlier this year (2009), there was no resemblance to the IBM of the late 20th century. Promotions are now given by managers to their pets without merit, every department has at least 4 or 5 band 9's, education reimbursement what?, and incompetent project managers and underlings seem to run rampant. If you don't participate in meetings all day long, you're considered a pariah. I was frequently chastised by a former boss when I was not actively attending every possible meeting she could assign me to. I guess she felt our jobs could be done at night, when there weren't any more meetings. She also thought it was appropriate to berate myself and my team members in her office with the door open so everyone down the hall could hear her yelling.

        It's unfortunate that most managers of the Tucson site today are incompetent and only use intimidation to get things done or force their people into line. What happened to the people who inspired loyalty by giving their employees respect and treating them fairly? Sadly, most have left IBM years ago. What a pity.

      • From New York — 11/23/2009. Having worked for IBM since the late 70's I have seen the company go through multiple changes. Many of these changes were necessary for the company to survive.. It has transitioned from a company that had "Respect for the Individual" to a company who looks at it's employees as a disposable commodity. It used to retrain employees during those transitions but now it fires them. It has transitioned from having reputation of being one of the best companies to work for in the world because it was employee focused to an average company because it is bottom lined, Wall Street focused. Unfortunately this will catch up to them and it will be a sad day for the hard working, loyal people who brought the company to great heights. All as I can say is shame on the current executive management team and BOD. Tom Watson and Tom Watson Jr. would never have let this happened.
      • From London — 12/02/2009. Rubbish company that treats its employees like rubbish. Salary increases are non existent regardless of how well the company does, only the few chosen A&^ lickers and Top Talent resources get their salaries review. Career opportunities are only available to those willing to buy into their poor process and to admire their poorly prepare executives. Vindictive company that will mark, if you dare to point flaws in how they evaluate employees. Joining this company was the worst mistake of my life, I will stick around and will get out here as soon as I can.
      • From RTP, NC — 12/04/2009. This once great company is now God forsaken. For the sake of your health, happiness, family and future, steer clear of working here. You will be treated as a commodity with zero "respect for the individual", zero training (budget freezes), zero growth opportunity, zero humanity (beyond your immediate coworkers), and you will be replaced at the company's earliest convenience with cheaper labor, independent of your qualifications, experience, dedication, skills, or misguided loyalty.

        The company does not value quality, only cost. You will be treated like an animal and will be worked to death. You will deeply regret investing any loyalty into this company as it would be one-sided only (your side) and will not be returned in any shape, fashion, or form (company side). The executives are greedy and are only in it for their own short-term personal gain before they can jettison out with their golden parachutes, leaving the company and our country raped, pillaged, and destroyed.

        Independent of company performance, they will skin-flint you out of any raises, promotion, or training opportunities. The company is continuously devising clever ways to skirt the law and utilizes co-employment schemes to cheat workers out of benefits. The company is forever rebalancing the workforce to lower-cost labor, and ultimately would like to enforce the return of slavery, so that "resources" can be free again at zero cost to the company; with no other purpose than to enrich their greedy and hell-bound executive overlords. For the love of God, do not work here!

      • From Armonk, NY — 12/10/2009. In the past 5 years, IBM has systematically replaced 30 thousand of your fellow US citizens, a stadium full of your friends, family, and neighbors, with cheaper foreign labor. The pace is accelerating.

        That little stirring you feel in your heart when you see your coworkers, friends and country get systematically abused, mistreated, fired and replaced for cheaper labor, and those left in your group underfunded, understaffed, and grossly overworked to pick up the pieces; when the company cheats workers of jobs and benefits through supplemental employment, H-1B visas, and co-employment schemes, then robs the rest of their pensions; not because the company is doing poorly, but in times where the stock price continues to rise on record profits; and you see these things done not for the long-term good of the company, but only for short-term greed and executive rape - that little stirring is God's way of reminding you of your sense of decency, morality and human dignity.

        No more US layoffs! "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing". Let us not assassinate this country further, Mr. Palmisano. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

      • From Brno, Czech Republic — 12/11/2009. IBM is the greatest place that I have ever worked in my life.
      • From Brno, Czech Republic — 12/11/2009. With the loads of cash I am making, the BMW company car, and the hot chicks, what's not to like?
      • From London — 12/11/2009. The worst company and I am so regretful to work for.
      • From Endicott, NY — 12/14/2009. I worked for IBM in Endicott for almost ten years, five and one-half years of which were supporting IBM but employed by Fidelity. I had the opportunity to work with many fine people, managers included, during that time. IBM as a company, however, leaves much to be desired. Worked in an employee services function (travel/relo) outsourced (sold) to Fidelity in 2002, sold back to IBM in 2008, and then our entire function was offshored by IBM in 2009. The Fidelity years were by far the best.

        When we were bought back by IBM in 2008, it was the usual two-faced BS about how glad they were to have us back, what a mistake they had made selling us in 2002, and then 6 months later they were telling us our jobs would be offshore in a year. I was lucky enough to get out before the axe fell, and found a real job for an employer that appreciates my efforts, recognizes I have a life outside of work, and provides me with work more meaningful than making the IBM executives rich.

        Most of my coworkers weren't so lucky, and now find themselves out of work. All this is my long-winded way of saying if you want to be just a faceless commodity to be bought, sold, and discarded on a whim, go work for IBM. You'll fit right in. If not, look elsewhere. Don't let the cache of IBM sucker you in because the company today is not the IBM of even ten years ago.

        The other reviews here are true...PBC's are a joke with ratings determined high above immediate management, raises are paltry and arbitrary, respect for the individual gone, training non-existent unless you count lame web-based pabulum, byzantine outdated processes, and poorly defined lines of responsibility. IBM continues to survive only because of it's sheer size, but sooner or later even that won't save it unless executive management wakes up and starts to look past their next stock option exercise or quarterly P&L results.

      • From Tokyo — 12/14/2009. Originally with Cognos. Was downhill right from the signing of our contracts after the acquisition. Received no severance as a "contractor" when "selective" (and very discriminatory) RA(resourced actions) hit our group. HR was not helpful at all. Just ignored us - thanks a lot ! FLMs as well as the 2nd line and higher management are mostly dead wood. Incompetence does not even come close to describing their cluelessness. PBCs a joke. BCGs even more so considering what we've seen with senior execs being allowed to "retire" after being arrested by the FBI for suspected insider trading violations. No respect to the hard working employee. Treated like yesterdays trash. Beware. Avoid it like the plague.
      • From Atlanta, GA — 12/18/2009. I was resourced in March 2009 but retained for two additional months to finish a project because there were no competent resources left. I had horrible transition management and didn't receive my last paycheck until 10 days after it was due. This also happened to two other co-workers who were resourced.

        The rationale for those that were not resourced within my division was a total lie, as their skill set did not match the "future" direction of the division. The true criteria was age, salary and attachment to the incompetent management that made the decisions. There were actual people who were "on the bench" and had not been utilized who were retained. I worked on a project where all of us resourced had well above 100% utilization and solid prospects for continued utilization.

        Flash forward six months. IBM chose to cancel my COBRA for no apparent reason. After an extensive process, during which I was given inaccurate information MULTIPLE times, it was reinstated. I continued to regularly apply for jobs but at the time of my COBRA cancellation, my account mysteriously disappeared on the NetMedia job board.

        I would never recommend IBM as an employer. They have systematically eliminated millions of U.S. jobs. There is no forward vision, respect for employees or opportunity for advancement unless you are a "declared' diversity employee.

      • From Boulder, Colorado — 12/23/2009. 32 years working for IBM. The pay is excellent. It's based on a merit/performance rating system so there are many that contribute little and are paid accordingly. For the top performers, the pay increases and potential to earn more are unlimited. Work location is great since I have the option to work from my home office or the IBM office in Boulder. As far as job security, IBM can let you go at any time for any reason but I've been employed by IBM during good times and bad times for 32 years and I have not worried about my job security. In IBM job security is determined by how much IBM wants to keep you based on what you are contributing to the business now/today. The benefits are decent, paid vacation, holidays, medical, dental, vision. I don't take these benefits for granted since I know many working people do not enjoy these same benefits. Overall, I am very glad I spent my career working for IBM and I will continue to work for IBM until I'm ready to leave on my own terms.
      • From Washington, DC — 12/27/2009. IBM Public Sector sucks! If you get hired for a certain Metro area then they won't let you move somewhere else. They say you were hired for the metro area and that those projects take precedence over anything. They won't let you take on many internal projects and they expect you to put in at least 44 hours a week (which you will not be paid extra for). They don't care about your family or anything.. They want you on the project dead or alive.. Managers have no respect. Worst company I have every worked for.
      • From Fairfax, VA — 12/31/2009. After being acquired by IBM in 1995 as an original Lotus employee, I saw the affect IBM had on the morale at Lotus. The focus of good solid software became controlled by IBM accountants and they wanted products shipped regardless of quality. QC went out the window when IBM came to town. Products are highly buggy and management terrible as IBMers began to infiltrate the Lotus group.

        In 2009, IBM decided to get rid of as many over 50 workers as they could and they also eliminated a lot of the original Lotus experts in favor of lower paid and totally inexperienced IBMers from other divisions. They had no experience or history with Lotus software but now are selling it. Terrible decision and not one person in my group could adequately represent or demo the products. Microsoft and Google will take major market share from Lotus but the accountants only see lower cost of sales.

        Avoid IBM at all costs and avoid selecting their products. They laid off over 10,000 Americans in 2009 and many of the jobs were moved to communist and third world countries

      • From London — 01/05/2010. Where do I begin? I suppose at the beginning. I joined IBM in an acquisition in 2001. Prior to IBM, I'd worked in IT for 15 years, both as a permanent employee and on short term contracts. When I joined IBM, I, along with my colleagues, was excited. I was about to become an IBMer. To me it stood for something. I was about to work for a great company with a great reputation.

        How wrong I was.

        Over the years IBM has showed its true colours as an employer time and time again. IBM is a greedy, immoral, dishonest, disrespectful, miserly, untrustworthy, lying, two-faced, bloated weasel of a company. It treats its employees with utter contempt. It has no loyalty.

        As a manager, I have been forced annually to deliver poor appraisals to team members who have bust a gut for IBM. I have brought good people to tears by telling them that they are "relatively low performers". These low performers get no bonuses. These low performers get no pay rises. Year after year after year. Yet these same "low performers" work long hours FOR FREE, to keep this sick puppy of a company afloat. These low performers continually pick up the pieces when services off-shored in haste to India fall in an undignified heap under the supervision of inadequately skilled off-shore employees.

        I've had enough of IBM. I've tried for years now to help IBM improve from the inside, to persuade my managers that we are damaging ourselves and our company in our approach to business. I've failed. I've now decided that I'll get out of this vile, decrepit bucket of an organization as soon as possible in 2010. For my colleagues' sakes, I really hope that IBM improves. Sadly, I fear that it won't.

        As a footnote, I Ieave you with this. A good friend of mine, an ex-IBMer, lost her fight against cancer in 2009. I know she wouldn't mind me mentioning this. She had left IBM a couple of years prior to her passing. Her sons read her eulogy, which she had written herself before the end came.

        In that eulogy she found time to mention how much she had grown to loathe working for IBM. This was a rational. capable, intelligent, funny, normal, brilliant woman. In her last testament to this Earth, she took the time to pen a couple of sentences on what a horrible company IBM had become. To me, that says more that an infinite number of monkeys blogging for an eternity on IBM could do (I include my self in the number of monkeys). Think about it, if you had one speech left to make in this world, how deeply would you have to dislike your employer (or ex-employer) to rubbish them in that speech?

      • From Heartland of US. — 01/19/2010. I ended up at IBM through an acquisition. I've been here 8 years and the work environment has only gotten worse over time. No pay raises, no bonuses, no promotions. Hard work is not rewarded. You're expected to give your all to IBM and get nothing in return. I'm hoping to find another job before I become of the next victims of a resource action. With jobs at my location quickly being transitioned out of the country to either India or Argentina, it won't be long before this location is shut down. My advise is to avoid working at IBM.
      • From Poughkeepsie, NY — 01/26/2010. Worked at IBM for almost 36 years. It was great when I started ... respect for the individual was key and I was treated very well. There was clear interest in building your career and your skills. At this point I've been working 60 hours a week. My last three appraisals were a 2+ then a 2 then a 3 this year. I don't do slave well ... and the respect for the individual ... or at least respect for a person is gone here. I'm hoping to be RA'd. I won't quit because I want to get a severance package ... but I'm really praying to get RA'd at this point.
      • From Austin, TX — 01/26/2010. CPay at IBM seems to be below the market average, so I'll give them a -2 for that. Respect for the Individual is gone completely from the current IBM. Employees are disposable resources to be acquired from the lowest cost provider (with all the quality problems that entails), and dismissed at will (-5). Benefits have been disappearing over the years so that the company is certainly no better, and I feel a little worse than the industry average (-1).

        There is no job security at IBM. I have seen 1, 2+, 2 and 3 performers fired during resource actions. I have seen an entire 2nd line organization fired during a resource action (-5). Work/life balance - Multiple deliverables per year (>5), developers are expected to be on call 24x7x52 (continuous crunch time) - (-5). There is no career potential/growth in the United States/Canada/Europe (US/Canada/Europe are seen by the Executives as places for "cost savings"; i.e. outsource all the jobs to BRIC) - all growth is in the BRIC countries (-5). I can work from home a couple of days a week, which seems like a pretty typical bennie for the industry (0).

        Co-worker competence - This varies wildly dependent on whether or not you are dealing with a global resource, a H1-B/L-1 visa holder, or a domestic employee, so I'm not going to rate it. Work environment - the above list says it all (-5).

      • From BANGLOE — 01/26/2010. Worst, All tamil mangers in india. they used to speak tamil in office also.
      • From Tulsa,OK — 01/27/2010. IBM is on a big kick to reduce expenses, no matter the fallout. -5 for Respect - if you're not in India or an even lower-cost country, you're expected to rescue the lower-cost workers from their mistakes, without credit or compensation. -5 for Benefits - there is no way to get a pay increase. -5 for Job Security - no matter how competent you are, IBM is always looking to replace you with someone who appears to cost less. -5 for Work/Life Balance - _always_ on call to rescue the less competent. -5 for Career Potential/Growth - no pay increases, no real recognition for above-and-beyond performance. 0 for Location - working from home and near family count for something. -4 for Co-worker Competence - the US workforce is dwindling under cost pressure and the offshore replacements are less efficient and less competent, with us expected to cover for them. -4 for Work Environment - the pressure to do more with less, with poor work hours, is relentless.
      • From n/a — 01/27/2010. IBM is now just another run of the mill company. I work for two weeks and they pay me for two weeks. As a former IBM chairman was alleged to have said, "If you want loyalty, get a dog". I have a dog and am not loyal to IBM since they tried to STEAL a portion of my pension in 1999.
      • From California — 01/27/2010. Pay: They tell us they do surveys and we are paid well...not quite sure they are asking the right questions of the right people...so its time for me to look. Respect: While the old ways generated entitlement, the new ways are draconian. There is limited respect...I think there are fragments still around. Benefits: Still some of the best, regardless of the history...its a global economy.... Job Security: Its all relative...if you are in a "growth" country...no problem. If you are in a "major market", paranoia is its own reward.

        Work/Life Balance: That is now an old-school phrase...its now Work/Life Integration...which essentially means all work...and squeeze in some Life if you're lucky...the preventative HealthCare programs and initiatives offered are fundamentally meaningless if you have no time to do them.

        Career Potential/Growth: Ahh...in my first managerial role, I was ranked a 1 (top of the statistical heap). I did not see any potential job/role that would further negatively impact my Work/Life Integration...so I voluntarily ceased to be a manager...but not a leader...the story continues...but I am looking outside for better opportunities.

        Location: Flexibility is nice, but expense accounting is horrible. I work from home, but am not allowed to account for mileage from home, even when I cannot get a mobile work area at the local office...its just a way to foist more expenses on the rank and file...and improve the quantitative bottom line.

        Competence: I continually have to set context and direction for co-workers...they are all good people, basically, but some just don't get it...so others have to cover for them and do their work for them.

        Work environment: Lets just say the reality does not match the corporate rhetoric...bottomline...everything is about the money....revenue or expense....which goes to Wall Street and the return to the stockholders. Smarter Planet is a nice marketing initiative, which has its roots in reality. The issue is that once you understand being smarter...understanding true sustainability and true carrying capacity of the earth...the quantitative model of corporations and Wall Street breaks down. We need new, qualitative measurements on how to gauge human progress...GDP is not the only criteria of a life well lived.

        Oh, well..on to better, not necessarily bigger, things...

      • From Philadelphia, PA — 01/28/2010. I wish I did not join the company.
  • Seeking Alpha: 5 Funny Business Blunders of 2009. By Robert Salomon. Excerpt: Mistake #5: IBM offers foreign assignments to its laid off employees. IBM lays off thousands of North American workers, and then gives them the opportunity to apply for similar jobs in countries such as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and Slovenia — if they’re “willing to work on local terms and conditions.” Big Blue magnanimously offers to help with moving costs and provide visa assistance.
  • Financial Times: More corporate lobbying is bad business. By Mark Roe. Excerpts: But the potential corporate, business and economic consequences of the decision, assuming it stands, are profound. Conservative and business media have thus far favoured the decision as helpful to business; but it is not at all clear that it is favourable to the economy. It is likely to hurt the dynamism of the American economy, perhaps severely.

    The Court’s decision will strengthen the hand of incumbent interests over unorganised emerging interests. That is not good. Incumbent business interests often see upstarts as competing unfairly, as needing to be regulated, and as deserving of being suppressed. Incumbent businesses like politicians to squelch new entrants. With their chequebooks now opened up, they will support politicians who seek to regulate and suppress upstarts. Upstarts do not have money yet to finance their own political campaigns, they are disorganised, and they don’t yet know the ropes in Washington and the state legislatures. They are new, weak, and inexperienced.

    The ruling will also strengthen further the hands of managers and directors inside large American companies. They, after all, are the ones who decide whether to contribute to political campaigns, not shareholders. Corporate and securities law in the US already strongly favours managers over shareholders. Usually, it is just fine that shareholders are distant from the corporation and its directors; shareholders don’t know the company’s business, while directors and managers do. But when directors or executives stumble, American shareholders (in contrast to British and other nations’) today have only weak tools to influence or replace the faltering chief executive.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of the Washington Post: Will corporate ads buy 2010 voters? The Supreme Court has opened the door to a new era of big and possibly shadowy election spending, rolled back anti-corruption laws and emboldened critics of fundraising limits to press on. In the middle of it all will be voters, trying to figure out who's telling the truth. The court's ruling Thursday lets corporate America start advertising candidates much as they market products and tell viewers to vote for or against them. While it almost certainly will lead to a barrage of hard-hitting TV ads in the 2010 elections, its implications reach far beyond that. ...

    The ruling was a victory for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the National Rifle Association and other interest groups most likely to run ads with money from their treasuries. It's unlikely major corporations would want their name on an ad, but they can avoid that by giving money to interest groups, who would then run ads and disclose the spending under the groups' names. It also presents a new option to wealthy individuals who were allowed to spend millions on their own to run election-time candidate ads before, but now can join forces to do so and get more bang for their bucks. ...

    Campaign finance watchdogs predict members of Congress now will cast their votes on controversial legislation with an eye to whether their position on it risks inviting a barrage of special-interest ads against them before the election, or on the flip side, could draw outside spending favorable to them. "I just think the court got it dead wrong if it thinks that a $10 million expenditure in a campaign can't buy influence of a corrupting nature the same way that a $10 million contribution can," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, who pressed for the ban on election-season corporate- and union-financed ads that the court swept away. ...

    Heartened by the court's view that corporations have the same free-speech rights as citizens, opponents of campaign finance restrictions think the time is ripe to press the justices to go still further and do something not allowed since the robber-baron bribery scandals of a century ago: let corporations and unions give money directly to candidates. ...

    The ruling could bring more than office politics to the workplace. Bopp reads it to permit corporations and unions to speak freely about elections to employees and authorize partisan politicking on their property, rather than stop at simply encouraging workers to vote, as they've had to do until now.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "HP Engineering Exodus?" By "zimowski". Full excerpt: Ran into some old IBM and HP friends at a concert yesterday. One was still employed by IBM. She lamented on how "respect for the individual" is a distant memory. Knowing that she has reached the 30 year mark, I asked her why she hasn't retired. She told me she didn't have any hobbies and didn't know what she'd do with all her free time. Didn't say so, but was thinking not being disrespected seems like it might be reason enough.

    But in all honesty, what I heard from my HP friends was even more alarming. Mark Hurd apparently takes HP in and out of businesses frequently in his continual drive to make HP more profitable. When a decision is made to exit a business, the employees associated with that business, according to my friends, are simply fired. There is no retraining, no pretense that a position might be available elsewhere in HP. Out of curiosity, did a search on layoffs at HP and found an interesting read. According to Mark Hurd:

    "In this country, we have a problem. The source of this country's greatness has been its technical talent . . . But you have to go where the tech talent is, and right now the tech talent is in Asia." "We often can't keep [engineers] in the country even after they've graduated from U.S. universities like Stanford."

    Bottom line: What's happening at IBM is industry wide and there are very few places to hide, even in Silicon Valley. For additional details, see: http://nerdtwilight.wordpress.com/category/layoffs/

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: HP Engineering Exodus?" by "ignatz713". Excerpt: Incredibly, it isn't. It's the Stockholm syndrome, pure and simple. Those inside don't have any idea about just how badly off they are. Once outside and free, they can't believe they/we put up with being beaten down as much as they/we were. I predict your friend won't leave until they FIRE her, and then hopefully she will be brave enough to come here and tell us all her horror stories. Speaking of which, where ARE the 10,424 others who were FIRED in 2009? They can't all be looking forward to lunch every other Thursday in RTP, can they?
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: HP Engineering Exodus?" By "nyjints5". Full excerpt: I had two reasons why I didn't voluntarily retire after hitting 30 years of service. It certainly wasn't because I had nothing to do with my free time and needed a hobby to keep busy. Nor was my feeling of being disrespected by IBM enough impetus to make me leave voluntarily.

    I wanted 6 months severance pay, and the ability to collect NY State unemployment insurance. Neither of which I'd have gotten if I had voluntarily raised my hand. Your friend may not be located in New York, and therefore collecting unemployment insurance could be different for her than it was for me. If she raises her hand and volunteers to retire, IBM will gladly shake it, but as for putting any severance pay in it, she can forget that.

    Look, IBM has treated it's employee in a very shabby manner since the early 1990's. Due to that, I made it a priority to try to get something in return from them. I think I earned that after being treated so poorly for 16 years. All I ever did for the 17 years prior to 1993 was work as hard as could for IBM, simply because they treated me so well during those years. When their attitude towards me changed, I changed mine towards them. IMHO, anyone with 30 years is crazy if they leave voluntarily after what IBM has put the employee's through since 1993.

  • New Embattled Minority: Wall Street Brokers. By N. R. Kleinfield. Excerpts: The well-groomed brokers and traders bent on sticking up for Wall Street gathered on Wednesday in best-behaved form — no chanting, no shrill whistling, pretty much no noise at all — to mark the formation of the financial world’s modest alternative to the Tea Party movement.

    Things had gotten entirely too annoying. First it was White House (and populist) complaints about Wall Street recklessness and greed (humongous bonuses). Now it was White House desire to attach new regulations and taxes to banks. Enough!

    And so a rally was organized at lunchtime on the 23rd floor of 14 Wall Street, directly across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, in the cushy offices of John Thomas Financial, a three-year-old investment house. It was much more comfortable than, say, the street. As Thomas Belesis, the 35-year-old chief executive of John Thomas who hatched the idea, put it, “It’s cold out.” ...

    The event didn’t quite go the way it was foreshadowed. The press alert promised a “rally with hundreds of brokers and traders.” In fact, about 30 of the attendees were from elsewhere on Wall Street. The rest were the brokers and traders at John Thomas. Since the rally was held on the firm’s 25,000-square-foot trading floor, where some 100 brokers had their desks, most of the attendees were basically working.

  • Wall Street Journal: Gates to Pump $10 Billion Into Vaccines. By Robert A. Guth. Excerpt: Philanthropists Bill Gates and Melinda Gates said Friday they would spend $10 billion to develop and deliver new vaccines over the next decade, highlighting growing concerns that the global recession and competing government priorities will stifle efforts to control diseases in developing countries. The money, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, marks an increase from the roughly $800 million the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation now spends annually on vaccine work. "Hopefully we'll have some breakthroughs," Mr. Gates said in an interview this week, pointing to funding from his foundation aimed at finding a vaccine for malaria.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
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  • Alliance@IBM: IBM owes the citizens of Iowa the facts! IBM went to Dubuque, Iowa in 2009 with fanfare and their hand out. With the promise of 1300 jobs for the Iowa economy, IBM demanded and secured $52 million in taxpayer money and other incentives to build a new global service center. So how many employees has IBM hired in Dubuque?

    According to media sources, the key players in giving IBM the money do not know. State, local and economic development officials all repeat the IBM line that hiring is “on track”. So how many employees does “on track” mean? How is it possible that those responsible for handing out the money do not know the number of employees hired? Where is the accountability to Iowa taxpayers? Why isn’t IBM disclosing the employee number?

    While there certainly are positive aspects of IBM establishing a facility in Dubuque, it must be remembered that IBM is notorious for not being transparent and open on hiring and job cut numbers. IBM’s stonewalling of information must end.

    The Alliance@IBM is calling on IBM to disclose the following:

    • How many IBM employees have been hired at the Dubuque facility?
    • How many non-IBM contractors have been hired?
    • Have any foreign workers been hired to work at the Dubuque facility?
    • If so, how many have been hired?
    • How many IBM employees in the Dubuque facility transferred from other IBM locations?
    • Do any of the employees “reporting” to Dubuque live outside the State?
    • Is any of the work targeted to be offshored?

    IBM must immediately disclose the true number of employees in the Dubuque facility. The citizens of Iowa deserve transparency and accountability for their money.

  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 1/25/10: Why do I always see layoffs referenced to PBC ratings? Your PBC has NOTHING to do with your layoff. There are 2 things that have to do with your layoff. 1. How many people top management is telling the little first line managers they need to cut. And 2, at the little first line manager level, who their pets are and who are not. If you are not the first line managers pet, you are gone, period! The PBC is a smoke screen. It has nothing to do with anything. If you want to keep your job from going overseas, get raises, get real variable pay based on performance, a union is the only way you're going to get it. Thinking you're safe because you have a 1 or 2 PBC is pure dreaming. -Gone_in_07-
    • Comment 1/26/10: Friend of a friend I trust said his area in STG announced an RA today. No info on size, location RCH and probably others. -annonymous-
    • Comment 1/26/10: The perception that the higher your PBC rating the less likely you are to be RA'ed is exactly what management wants employees to believe. Work 'em to near death then throw 'em out. Suckers! -anon-
    • Comment 1/27/10: Latest rumour passing around IBM: 5.2 Global Sourcing January 2010 IBM will transfer the majority of its operational and technical support infrastructure for both mainframe and midrange services to a primarily India-based support model. The areas of support include mainframe and midrange Server Operations, Production Control, Operating Systems, Storage Administration, CICS, and DB2. Today, these services are staffed across the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. To accomplish this move, IBM will hire and staff positions in India, then perform knowledge-transfer from existing organizations to the India-organization. IBM will retain local positions for project office and key technical positions.

      Knowledge Transfer Plan The key component of this transformation is achieving an efficient and effective transfer of institutional knowledge of the product set and of the DFS-managed environment. Tasks to address these knowledge gaps and the associated knowledge transfer will be scheduled into a labor transition plan which is separately shared with DFS. The IBM project office and Sr. Project Delivery Executive will work with DFS to ensure a smooth transition. This timing of transitioning labor is dependent on IBM's ability to staff positions and perform knowledge transfer with the effort scheduled to begin in 1Q2010 and continue into 2011. -A Nony Mouse-

    • Comment 1/28/10: Well now that a new bill coming in by the President not allowing any tax breaks for US companies who hire overseas will be passed maybe IBM will bring people back or move out all together. Either way people will get a clear picture soon enough I think. -Whatever-
  • General Visitor's Comment page
    • Comment 1/22/10: Just heard that on the US East Coast, they plan to let go 250 CSR because they have too many, since work has been taken over by 3rd party. Funny, there is not a mention of it here. That is a lot of people. Those are the repair people, carry tool bags and our first interface with the customer. I think they are under Global Services. Can some one please respond to confirm? -Young Lady-
    • Comment 1/25/10: Watched NFL football games on TV and seen the condescending IBM commercials. "smarter planet" just like "OnDemand" (guess that one is passe now) ,gee, buzz words, all smoke,all mirrors. It gives the impression that IBM can solve ALL the world's problems so we become a "smarter planet". A computer or information system even with people supporting it doesn't fix everything. It simply can't. It can't feed you, cloth you, or wipe your a$$. Next will IBM say it can help prevent natural disasters???! I feel these IBM commercials are referring to us ALL as being lacking and stupid. I also wonder how many of the employees saying "I am an IBMer" in these commercials are now a former IBMer who were forced out in an RA or left on their own. A "smarter planet" for IBM would be one in which the employees get a voice for themselves since IBM gives them none even on a TV commercial. -UNIONProud-
    • Comment 1/25/10: just heard the most devastating news feb 4th. so it's really gonna happen. -from a Poughkeepsie friend-
    • Comment 1/26/10: Rumors have it, layoffs 1Q in GBS , across the board: operations, practitioners, etc. I didn't post in job cuts b/c I don't have specifics. -anon- Alliance reply: Please let us know when you do have specifics.
    • Comment 1/26/10: Re: just heard the most devastating news feb 4th. so it's really gonna happen What's gonna happen? Sale of IGS? Layoffs? IBM abandons the US 100%? Gee, maybe you'd like to share the details with the rest of us? Departments? Divisions effected? Numbers? You're just sparking panic at a time when nobody needs it with statements like that. -anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/10: I was an IBM SWG executive in the US that they let go. I was unhappy at first by now thinking about it -I did not deserve to keep my job-while others lost their job: Obama Pledges to eliminate tax incentives for companies that outsource. Oh by the way I am completely unemployable and contemplating a job as a bag boy on the coast of Maine- Where my summer home is. Drop by and say hello. Well talk about the job and the old days before I lost my soul. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/10: to -Glad2BeGone-, I applaud your testimony on the reality we as IBMer's face day to day and year to year. It is people like you that make a difference. I was one who worked 50 to 70 hours a week for several years and my last year of busting my ass was rewarded with a 2 on my PBC. I felt totally demoralized with no retribution of any kind, no thank you from my manager for all of my hard work, NO INCENTIVE TO CONTINUE TO BUST MY A$$ ANY LONGER. I no longer care about my performance, As in the movie Office Space, My only Incentive is to not get fired, I do just enough work to not get noticed and I don't give a crap if they fired me or RA'd me or whatever you want to label it. I have had it with this company and I would happily take the layoff. A layoff would be the best Incentive they could possibly offer me, because It would offer me unemployment insurance and the needed time to seek out another job. Of course I am scared of being unemployed, but at this point, I think it would be a huge relief to not have to work for this bastard company any longer. Here's to you Sam, kiss my a$$.-Hopeful-for-a-Union-
  • Pension Comments page
  • Raise and Salary Comments IBM CEO Sam Palmisano: "I am pleased to announce that we will not only be paying bonuses to IBMers worldwide, based on individual performance, but that they'll be funded from a pool of money nearly the same size as last year's. That's significant in this economy -- and especially so, given the size of the 2007 pool. Further, our salary increase plan will continue, covering about 60 percent of our workforce. As always, increases will go to our highest performers and contributors. We should all feel good about the company's ability to invest in people in these very concrete ways."
    • Comment 1/26/10: Salary = 18000; #Yrs Since Raise = 3; %Raise = 4; Band Level = 6; This Yr-PBC = 3; Job Title = Financial Analyst; Years Service = 5; Hours/Week = 45; Div Name = GTS; Location = South Africa; Message = completely unacceptable. Just got my review, cannot believe this. No justification given as to why I was made a 3. The only reason provided was because the company has to keep ratings low so they don't have to splash out big increases to many employees. I will def be looking elsewhere. Don't understand how this has taken me 5yrs to realize -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/28/10: South Africa FA, hey man, don't leave the company, stay onboard and do as little as possible to get by. Give back what they gave you. Nothing. Milk the pig, it's fun and you will be so much happier. -Oinkman-
  • PBC Comments;
    • Comment 1/22/10: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 31; Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = I joined the Union because I'm so angry with the company, about 3 years ago. This method of cutting people sucks. Great bias against age and weight. All year I encouraged my friend as she worked her ass off because she had a 3. Now I have one. I am real close to not giving a damn. Just wait the sucker out. This is a very very bad work environment. You don't even have a clue as to what is coming. Or how you are being evaluated. Some comparison matrix Bull Shit. Mgr was disgusted and took rest of day off after telling me. He said he thinks they plan to go down to 30K employees. To be honest, those were not even his words on my pbc report... he doesn't write like that. Isn't that something? I also call to question if mgrs are valid mgrs. They do not meet the labor law description of a mgr. Because they have huge work assignment. But he is a an ass hole to not tell me so I could look for another job. Now stuck with this damn 3. -None-

      Alliance reply: If you have the opportunity to retire (you listed 31 years service); then it may be your only option to sanity. We thank you for joining and supporting Alliance@IBM, and organizing, encouraging your co-workers to join and organize, as well. Please tell us more about your situation: Contact Us

    • Comment 1/23/10: I took a 2 this year. The first time in my 10+ IBM career. I've was told that in SWG, 14% more people received a 2 this year. My impression is that management has tightened up the curve for what qualifies for a 2,2+. The important point to remember is that if you are a 2: no raise and lower variable payout. In other words, it's another non-transparent way to squeeze costs out of the system. -SWGGuy-
    • Comment 1/23/10: Band Level = 9; Years Service = 10+; Prior Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr PBC = 2+; Message = I don't recall my bonus last year and since IBM only made $13B and Mike Daniels said we didn't hit the revenue and profit targets it doesn't matter. I'll get just as much as I did last year, more than likely. That said, my leadership team seems to be more fair this year than last (I transferred willfully). I know this is not what a lot of you want to hear but there are a lot of managers around that care even though they don't have enough power. -Anonymous-
    • Comment 1/24/10: Can someone answer me a few simple questions PLEASE? Does anyone hear anything good from a PBC review? It's always the Same Ole S%$# year after year and it just gets worse actually. Also, where is the motivation to work in IBM when this PBC process is meant to dishearten you, break you, and get rid of you? -whyworkatIBM-
    • Comment 1/24/10: Band Level = 6; Years Service = 1; This Yr PBC = 3; Message = I got 3 rating in india. Please do let me know what they are going to do with me. -XX-
    • Comment 1/24/10: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 7; Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2+; This Yr Bonus = ?; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Union member for 2 years. -bohica-
    • Comment 1/25/10: -XX- It could be two things: 1) If this is your first PBC IBM sticks you with the lowest rating even if you made your commitments since your are new employee still and the IBM bar is raised "higher" for you. 2) If this is not your first PBC then you being pushed out of IBM. Getting a PBC 3 is basically becoming the same in IBM India as is happening in IBM USA. Why not join the Alliance to fight being unfairly appraised and being pushed out with this 3? -IBMUnionYES-
    • Comment 1/25/10: Band Level = 10; Years Service = 30; Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 2; Message = work harder, work harder, work harder than at end of year get some BS that relative contribution isn't same as others in band. Just a BS way of saying your boss didn't have a clue or really doesn't care. Time to start coasting and hoping they tap me on the shoulder to leave -Joe Screwed-
    • Comment 1/25/10: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 6; Prior Yr PBC = 1; This Yr PBC = 1; This Yr Bonus = tbd; Prior Yr Bonus = 12000; Message = in 6 years my ratings have been 2+, 2+,1,2+,1,1 I don't know why everyone else has such bad impressions. I work my ass off. I get involved. Under my manager, you get what you deserve. He called last years raises BS since IBM did so well. He tells it as it is and gives us the ratings we deserve. If you're not happy with your rating, do something about it! Find out what work outside your immediate department you can do. Ask up your management chain for additional challenges under their other groups! -Canada-
    • Comment 1/26/10: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 4; Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = ?; Message = Same BS as others. "I was told it's not because I'm not doing a good job, it's because relative to my peers the content of my projects are not as complex as theirs." No where at any time was this ever communicated except during PBC review. They change the rules to fit their needs. Ex employer outsourced to IBM so job was going away anyway but the way in which they lower your PBC to avoid the bonus is a crock. This is one skank company. -John Doe-
    • Comment 1/26/10: Band Level = 6; Years Service = 1; Prior Yr PBC = 0; This Yr PBC = 3; Message = Got a PBC 3 this year -sunny-
    • Comment 1/26/10: Band Level = 6; Years Service = 13; Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Well so much for PBC and 360's what a load of crock all that hard work over the years, if you are rated against your band level and all your colleagues are (contractors $$££), then what hope in hell have you got as they are never graded. How can and permie employee be correctly graded if Managers are never in to check on there daily work, the Office environment is working from home now and every ones a Task Manager ;-) within IBM. .. There are far too many Management changes in 1yr for anyone to make a difference on any account when the *** hits the fan they run out as quick as they came in.. I say bring it all back in house !! less demotivation and far less stresses at work seeing those 2 and 3 for most ppl.. -anonymous UK-
    • Comment 1/27/10: Band Level = 7; Years Service = 31; Prior Yr PBC = 2; This Yr PBC = 3; This Yr Bonus = 0; Prior Yr Bonus = 0; Message = Well, I am going to fight this. I am not sure what the process is. From what I am told, you meet with the 2nd line mgr. Say you disagree, have all your talking points, then go before a review board. Then make the case again. I documented my work and last year. I even documented and commented SameTime Chats. One additional item ... they are using a formula or metric to decide who did this or that.... then that damn decision block needs to be in the PBC. This is BS for my PBC to contain some passion for work or supporting the business statements.... when the actual evaluation is based on some other metric. So my advise is to document what happens, keep notes, and ask the mgr for a mid year pbc feedback. If the mgr does not give that mid year and at the end of year, drops a person on their rating ... then that is a fault. The problem here is "we" the people are more honorable than what the company has become. -Young Lady-
    • Comment 1/28/10: Band Level = 8; Years Service = 19; Message = -Young Lady- I have 2 pieces of advice for you as I went through this last year before getting RA'd in March. First, if you choose to challenge your rating, do NOT let your 2nd line handle it. Most likely it was your 2nd line or above pushing these ratings on your first line. I let my 2nd line handle my review last year and found out he was meeting privately with the first line and the HR rep to solidify their position. HR is no longer an employee's friend, they are there to support management. Go with the panel peer review. Second, start planning for life after IBM. If there is an RA this year, good chance you'll be on it, especially if you've had a few 2's in a row. This too is another way for management to initiate separation. Make sure the resume is up to date, start applying outside, so if you do get tagged you will be one step ahead of everyone else. -Incognito-
    • Comment 1/28/10: These people that post about their fantastic ratings and bonuses, who seem unable to comprehend what all the fuss is about at IBM, who think that everyone else is whining and not working hard enough… they are either clueless about reality or are management shills. Then again, they may be smarmy kiss-asses. In any case, their comments are fooling nobody but themselves. -Joe-
    • Comment 1/28/10: If you want to appeal your PBC rating, the first thing to do is discuss it with your second line manager (and of course they will try and discourage you from officially appealing). If you decide, after that discussion, to formally appeal do your research and have facts, fact, and more fact. Do NOT go into the appeal review with vague accomplishments, etc. Have specific examples of your relative contribution and how it is better than most of your peers. To find out how to appeal, do a search on w3 "appeal process" or something similar. You should find a the web page with instructions on how to move forward with your appeal. Remember, without a contract in place we (non-mgrs.) are at the mercy of HR and HR WORKS FOR MANAGEMENT NOT FOR THE EMPLOYEE!!!! Remember management will use RELATIVE CONTRIBUTION as a all-purpose excuse for your low rating. AND THEY ALWAYS WIN IN THE APPEAL PROCESS. Good Luck All! JOIN THE ALLIANCE!!!!! -anon-
    • Comment 1/28/10: -Johnny Be Good- Not sure, but you might be a manager!! If not, you will soon find out why many on here are complaining. We were all where you are once. Our only sin was crossing over some arbitrary "pay threshold" whereby management no longer considers one a good "ROI". It will happen to you and when it does we will all be here to read your posted complaints. By the way, if you are happy at IBM and you aren't a manager, why are you perusing this site? Hmmmm..... -Ben Dover-
    • Comment 1/28/10: To: -Young Lady-, you are exactly right, "people are more honorable than the company". This is exactly why I have been advocating to be as dishonorable and disloyal to the company as they are to you. The company is depending on our natural good will, our faithfulness, high morals and ethics. Yet they are not returning the same. Lower your ethics, morals and standards and you'll sleep like a baby. Don't worry about dotting every 'i' and crossing every 't' because ibm sure doesn't. This strategy has worked for me for many years. I feel so much better for getting back much of what was stolen from me. --
  • International Comments
    • Comment 1/27/10: Country = UK; Union Affiliate = No; Job Title = Consultant; IBM Division = Global Services; Message = Can't remember how much cash IBM has in reserve but evidently it's not enough to help UK staff support their customers: virtually all overtime has been banned until end of March. I guess it proves again that no matter how much money you have it's never enough... -Northener-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
Minimize
  • Washington Post editorial: Abandoning health care after the Brown election, and other Washington nonsense. By Steven Pearlstein. Excerpt: People, let's get a grip! Okay, so Massachusetts voters elected a hunky, unknown Republican to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. That's no reason to ignore the result of a national general election, throw out a year's worth of hard work on a range of important issues and rush to embrace a bunch of simple-minded solutions meant to mollify an angry electorate.
  • San Francisco Chronicle: California single-payer plan advances. By Wyatt Buchanan. Excerpt: As national health care reform grew more uncertain, the California Legislature on Thursday pushed forward a controversial proposal to create a single-payer health system in the state. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 6-3 along party lines, with Democrats in favor of the proposal, which will be considered by the full Senate next week. The vote came two days after Massachusetts voters elected a Republican U.S. senator to fill the seat long held by Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy - putting President Obama's national health bill in jeopardy. Backers of the California plan said the timing was coincidental and due to legislative timelines.
News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

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

  • Huffington Post: Obama's State of the Focus Group Speech. By Arianna Huffington. Excerpts: The president, we were told, spent a good deal of time in the days leading up to his State of the Union address, going over it with a fine-toothed comb, making changes and additions in longhand. But judging from the speech, he also spent a lot of time going over the results of focus groups and polls. Indeed, the speech, despite its charm, humor, and occasionally impassioned rhetoric, had the feel of being focus-grouped within an inch of its life. There was a decidedly paint-by-poll-numbers air about it.

    Focus group participants say they are concerned about the deficit? Then let's throw in a 3-year spending freeze, delivered with a populist spin. "Like any cash-strapped family," the president said, "we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will."

    Sure, the freeze will actually have little impact on the multi-trillion dollar deficit, exempts budget-bloating defense spending, and, as Steve Clemons puts it, "will essentially forfeit America's growth future to China." But "spending freeze" moved the test dials -- so spending freeze it is!

    Remember when serious health care reform was going to be the main path to reducing long-term budget deficits? Not anymore. Now we're going to freeze spending -- except, of course, on the wars of choice we are fighting, at a cost of $250 billion a year, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The president and his team know that the spending freeze is little more than what The Economist's Ryan Avent calls "a bright shining gimmick." And no one in the administration could really have believed that conservatives would suddenly swoon and fall into line at the mere mention of "freezing discretionary spending." Indeed, the reaction of Republicans to his announcement that the freeze won't take effect until 2011 was so derisive that Obama fired back with a caustic ad lib: "That's how budgets are done."

    The truth is, the American people are not angry because of all the money the government has spent this year -- except, of course, the people who believe Obama was born in Kenya, is a Muslim, and a Socialist. The rest of the people, the ones Obama has a chance of reaching, are angry because the vast majority of that money went to -- and continues to go to -- rescuing Wall Street, which has thanked taxpayers by reducing lending, recording record profits, paying out massive bonuses, and using our money to pay lobbyists to scuttle financial reform. That is what is putting voters on the electoral warpath.

  • New York Times op-ed: March of the Peacocks. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Last week, the Center for American Progress, a think tank with close ties to the Obama administration, published an acerbic essay about the difference between true deficit hawks and showy “deficit peacocks.” You can identify deficit peacocks, readers were told, by the way they pretend that our budget problems can be solved with gimmicks like a temporary freeze in nondefense discretionary spending.

    One week later, in the State of the Union address, President Obama proposed a temporary freeze in nondefense discretionary spending.

    Wait, it gets worse. To justify the freeze, Mr. Obama used language that was almost identical to widely ridiculed remarks early last year by John Boehner, the House minority leader. Boehner then: “American families are tightening their belt, but they don’t see government tightening its belt.” Obama now: “Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same.” ...

    Meanwhile, health care reform faces a troubled outlook. Congressional Democrats may yet manage to pass a bill; they’ll be committing political suicide if they don’t. But there’s no question that Republicans were very successful at demonizing the plan. And, crucially, what they demonized most effectively were the cost-control efforts: modest, totally reasonable measures to ensure that Medicare dollars are spent wisely became evil “death panels.”

    So if health reform fails, you can forget about any serious effort to rein in rising Medicare costs. And even if it succeeds, many politicians will have learned a hard lesson: you don’t get any credit for doing the fiscally responsible thing. It’s better, for the sake of your career, to just pretend that you’re fiscally responsible — that is, to be a deficit peacock.

    So we’re paralyzed in the face of mass unemployment and out-of-control health care costs. Don’t blame Mr. Obama. There’s only so much one man can do, even if he sits in the White House. Blame our political culture instead, a culture that rewards hypocrisy and irresponsibility rather than serious efforts to solve America’s problems. And blame the filibuster, under which 41 senators can make the country ungovernable, if they choose — and they have so chosen.

    I’m sorry to say this, but the state of the union — not the speech, but the thing itself — isn’t looking very good.

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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