Yes, @Arie, I was a "proud IBMer" who was among the first fruits of the layoffs last year. I was angry, and then I was energized, then I was worried, then I was depressed. I mean, how long can good people be out of work, right? Well, paying work? Coming up on a year, so, yea, that sucked, and I know Sam, et al, didn't cut their bonuses for me.
On the other hand, we were doing good work, and my stock was profiting, and that is another audience you play to - the stockholders and the Street. So, they did good. No one said the had to BE good, and I have been employed too long to think that any big company believes their own BS that "our people make the difference". That's just advertising.
And yet, the very practices that IBM developed - remote work, collaborative tools, social media, virtual teaming, ad hoc partnerships - this could well displace the model of an international conglomerate. That should scare the pants off of the Big Corporations.
Look, for many years they made more and more profit with their little "total quality, empowered employee" models. The problem is that they showed their hand - they don't REALLY care for us, beyond what we can give them, beyond the balance of the spreadsheet. Business remains feudal, with the rich at the top, protected, and the serfs outside the wall, loyally ding for the company.
But, loyalty is earned, and what I learned is to first be loyal to myself. It is like when you are in the airplane, ignoring the flight attendant - she says, "first, put on your own mask, THEN help others". You have to take care of yourself first.
There is no reason to be anything but situationally loyal to a company that doesn't care about me. There is every reason to take everything you can get and be ready to move when it is right for you.
I was determined to do the right things for IBM and my colleagues. Unfortunately the changing of the guard and with the acquisition of "outsiders" who were not true blue changed the culture of IBM and more specifically my work environment. Others gave up their individuality and pride/ethics/values, what ever you wish to call it and did the proper selling of their souls. Truth of the matter is they are still there, I am not. But, I left with my integrity and IBM taught me another valuable lesson, as it always does and always will. I want IBM to be successful, but I do wish it would get back to some of its basic values.
I was interested in researching this one topic since I had heard many times that the long term shareholder value has not been exactly faithful to Watson's Sr.'s hopes. Shareholder value is key to me because as an insider of a small privately held corporation and as an investor with IRAs and other investments, this is ultimately tied to my long term prospects. I decided to research what I thought was just the verification of a hypothesis that I thought was just a fact: IBM stock is and has always been a great long term equity investment.
To analyze this hypothesis, I went to Yahoo Finance, looked up the IBM quote, requested a stock chart of the equity and extended it to the maximum time frame (1962 - present). I then compared to Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Just select "compare", then add HPQ and then request Yahoo finance to draw the chart of both stock on the same scale. The resulting chart was an eye popper! I suggest all of you do the same and see the chart for your yourselves.
I'd be more disappointed as an investor than as an employee.
The comparison of course doesn't include dividends, which both stocks provide, so I guess we'd have to see what the difference would be after re-investing the dividends from 1962 to present but I imagine it can't even put a dent on the difference quoted on the chart after 58 years. True, there have been periods of time where the stock may be a hot performer relative to other shares and the market, but over the long haul, this isn't a shareholder track record to brag about, according to the Yahoo finance graph.
The Yahoo graph implies that IBM equity value seems to have lost its leadership in the 70's and never regained it against HPQ. Building a false perception is sometimes more important than the truth? Any comments?
I did as you said, but I went you one better. I added MSFT, CSCO, INTC, AAPL and EMC (large cap technology companies). All of the added ones went public in the 1980's. The chart is startling. IBM has been a laggard for decades. The chart: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=my&s=IBM&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=hpq%2Cmsft%2Cintc+emc+csco+aapl
So now I have a few new questions for Sam: How do explain the lack of success of IBM stock price versus it's peers, especially when IBM was considered the technology industry leader for many of those years ? Why is IBM not able to transfer its leadership in Research (leader in patents) into new products that can generate revenue growth ? How are you able to retain our position when you have not been successful in your most important responsibility: maximizing shareholder returns?
Michael Shaw, over at Bag News Notes, provides a sobering analysis of Getty Images photographer John Moore’s shots of Harvey Lesser being evicted. He begins by citing a Frank Rich column in the New York Times that was inspired by the film “Up in the Air”:
"What gives our Great Recession its particular darkness … is the disconnect between the corporate culture that is dictating the firing and the rest of us. In the shorthand of the day, it’s the dichotomy between Wall Street and Main Street, though that oversimplifies the divide. This disconnect isn’t just about the huge gap in income between the financial sector and the rest of America. Nor is it just about the inequities of a government bailout that rescued the irresponsible bankers who helped crash the economy while shortchanging the innocent victims of their reckless gambles. What “Up in the Air” captures is less didactic. It makes palpable the cultural and even physical chasm that opened up between the two Americas for years before the financial collapse."
The private-equity deal makers who bought and sold once-solid companies like trading cards, saddling them with debt, never saw the workers whose jobs were shredded by their cunning games of financial looting. The geniuses in Washington and on Wall Street who invented junk mortgages and then bundled and sold them as securities didn’t live in the same neighborhoods as the mortgagees, small investors and retirees left holding the bag once the housing bubble burst.
Those at the top are separated from the consequences of their actions.
How about this governor showing some real guts and going after the rich and powerful corporations who are skating on their tax obligations to Indiana? How about a "profile in courage" there for a change? It seems Gov. Mitch Daniels is more than willing to pick on local firefighters and teachers first, rather than asking the nation's biggest, most profitable corporations to pay their fair share. It's interesting that as recently as 1990, corporate income taxes accounted for 12 percent of our state budget; now they account for just 6 percent. ...
Secondly, let's recoup monies that are owed when big corporations don't perform. Exhibit A is the governor's failed experiment with privatizing welfare benefits and eligibility. Somehow, the state already has spent $340 million on this 10-year, $1.3 billion contract, and it was a complete flop. Documents were lost, Medicaid and food stamps weren't timely processed, and taxpayers didn't save one thin dime. Rather than give IBM a parting gift of $4.4 million as a going-away prize, how about the governor commission a detailed audit, demand transparency and recoup every penny that any vendor or contractor owes the state of Indiana? Somehow the governor found $180 million to give IBM as a contract add-on in August, when the contract was obviously failing. He needs to recover any money owed Hoosier taxpayers under this debacle.
1. Forced Ranking. The idea behind forced ranking is that when you evaluate your employees against one another, you'll see who's most critical on the team and who's most expendable. This theory rests on the notion that we can exhort our reports to work together for the sake of the team 364 days a year and then, when it really counts, pit them against one another in a zero-sum competitive exercise. That's a decent strategy for TV shows such as Survivor but disastrous for organizations that intend to stay in business for the long term. What to do instead: Evaluate employees against written goals and move quickly to remove poor performers all the time (not just once a year). ...
3. Overdone Policy Manuals. You know who's making money for your employer right now? Workers who are selling, building, or inventing stuff. You know who's spending the business's money right now? Other employees (most easily found in HR, IT, and Finance) who've been commanded to write, administer, and enforce the 10,000 policies that make up your company's employee handbook. Overblown policy efforts squelch creativity, bake fear into your culture, and make busywork for countless office admins, on top of wasting paper, time, and brain cells. What to do instead? Nuke one unnecessary or outdated policy every week and require the CEO's signature to add any new ones. ...
7. Jack-Booted Layoffs. It's no shame to have to reduce your workforce, but why treat departing employees like convicted felons? Anyone who tells you that an RIF requires perp-walk guided exits is someone to add to the next layoff list himself. One-on-one pink-slip discussions and dignified, non-immediate departures are the new norm for ethical organizations. If you have to march your loyal, redundant co-workers out the door, it says lots about the kind of workplace you've built. What to do instead: Deal with performance problems independently of staff reductions. Treat those employees you're forced to let go like the mature professionals they are.
9. Mandatory Performance-Review Bell Curves. The evil twin to forced ranking systems is the annual review protocol that commands managers to assign their employees in equal numbers into groups of Poor, Fair, Good, Above Average, and Excellent employees. If a CEO has so little faith in his or her managers that she'd plan for, much less settle for, a workforce where 50% of the people range from so-so to dismal, that CEO requires too little from the management team. Forcing performance-review (and salary-increase) distributions into a bell curve exalts and institutionalizes mediocrity. What to do instead: Set high standards for employee reviews and raise them every year. Counsel or remove managers who can't move past Easy Grader status, and trust the rest of your managers to review their employees fairly. If you can't trust your leadership team members to assess their employees, how can you trust them to manage at all?
For many managers, these actions feel unavoidable. But even if downsizing, right-sizing, or restructuring (choose your euphemism) is an accepted weapon in the modern management arsenal, it's often a big mistake. In fact, there is a growing body of academic research suggesting that firms incur big costs when they cut workers. Some of these costs are obvious, such as the direct costs of severance and outplacement, and some are intuitive, such as the toll on morale and productivity as anxiety ("Will I be next?") infects remaining workers.
But some of the drawbacks are surprising. Much of the conventional wisdom about downsizing—like the fact that it automatically drives a company's stock price higher, or increases profitability—turns out to be wrong. There's substantial research into the physical and health effects of downsizing on employees—research that reinforces the seemingly hyperbolic notion that layoffs are literally killing people. There is also empirical evidence showing that labor-market flexibility isn't necessarily so good for countries, either. A recent study of 20 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development economies over a 20-year period by two Dutch economists found that labor-productivity growth was higher in economies having more highly regulated industrial-relations systems—meaning they had more formal prohibitions against the letting go of workers. ...
Layoffs don't even reliably cut costs. That's because when a layoff is announced, several things happen. First, people head for the door—and it is often the best people (who haven't been laid off) who are the most capable of finding alternative work. Second, companies often lose people they didn't want to lose. I had a friend who worked in senior management for a large insurance company. When the company decided to downsize in the face of growing competition in financial services, he took the package—only to be told by the CEO that the company really didn't want to lose him. So, he was "rehired" even as he retained his severance. A few years later, the same thing happened again. One survey by the American Management Association (AMA) revealed that about one third of the companies that had laid people off subsequently rehired some of them as contractors because they still needed their skills.
Managers also underestimate the extent to which layoffs reduce morale and increase fear in the workplace. The AMA survey found that 88 percent of the companies that had downsized said that morale had declined. That carries costs, now and in the future. When the current recession ends, the first thing lots of employees are going to do is to look for another job. In the face of management actions that signal that companies don't value employees, virtually every human-resource consulting firm reports high levels of employee disengagement and distrust of management. The Gallup organization finds that active disengagement—which Gallup defines as working to sabotage the performance of your employer—ranges from 16 percent to 19 percent. Employees who are unhappy and stressed out are more likely to steal from their employers—an especially large problem for retailers, where employee theft typically exceeds shoplifting losses.
Consider the absurdity of a recent front-page Poughkeepsie Journal story on IBM reporting record earnings and profits and yet anticipating job cuts ("IBM sets profit record but hints at job cuts," Jan. 20). What gives? One would expect dismal earnings would result in layoffs, but record profits?
It speaks to what is wrong with capitalism as practiced in 21st century America. Profits are made at the expense of employees and their security. Could IBM be a little less profitable without letting go staff? Could the executives whose bonuses depend on the firing of others to maximize their bottom line give up their greedy and ill-gotten gains for the benefit of the workers whose manual and intellectual contributions allow them to make a profit in the first place? Why ask that question when executives can lay off workers and then magnanimously rehire them on a contract basis for less money with no benefits. Gone are the days of relative corporate ethics and responsibilities vis a vis their employees.
IBM is not the focus here, only the local example of how capitalism has gone wrong and why there is an unfortunate necessity for government intervention and regulation of the financial institutions and the large corporations that make record profits by putting Americans out of work.
WAKE UP PEOPLE! STOP DRINKING THE KOOLAID. It's all about M_O_N_E_Y!!! Customers are SCREAMING! about incompetence amongst the field force. What does IBM do? Send them more DVD's to learn how to fix products they have never seen. What they really should do is send the field force to a Rosetta Stone class so they can learn how to speak Urdu or Filipino in the hopes that they can communicate with their internal support people.
Do IBM employees even realize how underpaid they are? I have met "techs" working for Fortune 100 companies whose only task is to "ping servers" all day, look at logs and place service calls to the appropriate vendors. They are making $100,000 per year + benefits.. The SSR fixing the machine is lucky to be making 50k with overtime. Hell, go manage a McDonald's and make more.
Get ready SSR's because ESA is ending your job and the big one is right down the pike....Organizing is the only way but unfortunately IBM is real smart and they are banking on the noobs, living at home with mama, buying that Corvette and working for IBM with the promise of "greater things to come" to keep them going. And guess what? It will work like a charm. It has for the past 100 years. -PissGetty-
I suspect a Shop Steward could end this practice once and for all. You can really screw up a mismatcher, er, dispatcher by asking them to TENT the call and tell you who its assigned to. Then make them call out the person who carries the workload. That's right, they no longer tell you who exactly has the workload on a TENT, Just the managers group. That's why. That's also why only the pets have access to the MPI database . Can't have you actually getting real credit for the work you do. Gotta let the Team lead show twice the work on paper you have and see how positive his / her attitude is! So why are you complaining? That's one of the ways they get you to show a bad attitude so you can have your appraisal lowered. Gotta love a level playing field dontcha! -Exodus2007-
I ran into one of my former IBM co-workers the other day and we had lunch. He informed me that the service division is as close to a shambles as it possibly can be. The mainframe people have mostly left on their own accord getting out while they could after 25-30yrs. The existing server people are being cross-trained on mainframes but are not receiving any job reclassification (more money) for doing this. "If you don't like it, leave." is the current management attitude. One does not just take a class or two and become a mainframe SSR, it is a position one works into over a few years. Good luck major accounts when no one is qualified to perform your service.
By the way major accounts are re-thinking IBM, especially in the point-of-sale (retail) sector and accounts are dropping like flies. Standby and call out pay have been eliminated and the SSR is expected to be available 24/7. I guess if you have an adult beverage with dinner and then get a call out you would be subject to firing. So much for respect for the individual, family life and career advancement. Also, support is now a joke since the knowledgeable personnel have been let go and all that's left are people who read you pages in the manual with no other knowledge. Then, the biggest joke, the most aloof, arrogant SSR in our group who would never lend a hand to another unless he garnered brownie points is attending manager school and is the heir apparent when the manager retires next year. Typical IBM garbage.
There needs to be a major revolt, enough is enough. IBM is using the current economic downturn to further bully its employees. Sadly, no one is really interested in organizing. Computer people tend to be the last of the cowboys and rugged individualists. Remember that a contract has worked with similar service organizations like AT&T. With a union contract the average worker would at least stand a chance with the forceful management styles that currently exist in the cesspool IBM has become. I sadly remember when this company was something to be proud of and that management took pride in developing its rank and file employees into the newer generation of company managers. I hope there's a special place in hell for Palmisano and his cronies. I'm so glad I'm gone. -Outahere-
It is not clear that Republicans and the White House are willing to negotiate seriously with each other, and Mr. Obama has rejected Republican demands that he start from scratch in developing health care legislation. But Congressional Republicans have laid out principles and alternatives that provide a road map to what a Republican health care bill would look like if they had the power to decide the outcome. ...
The Republicans rely more on the market and less on government. They would not require employers to provide insurance. They oppose the Democrats’ call for a big expansion of Medicaid, which Republicans say would burden states with huge long-term liabilities. While the Congressional Budget Office has not analyzed all the Republican proposals, it is clear that they would not provide coverage to anything like the number of people — more than 30 million — who would gain insurance under the Democrats’ proposals. ...
Democrats said the Republican proposals would do little to solve the crisis in health care. The proposals are “as skimpy as a hospital gown,” said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas. Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, said, “If the Republicans’ health care plan was a plan for a fire department, they would rush into a burning building, and they would rush out and leave everybody behind.”
Now, Mr. Gingrich was just repeating the current party line. Furious denunciations of any effort to seek cost savings in Medicare — death panels! — have been central to Republican efforts to demonize health reform. What’s amazing, however, is that they’re getting away with it.
Why is this amazing? It’s not just the fact that Republicans are now posing as staunch defenders of a program they have hated ever since the days when Ronald Reagan warned that Medicare would destroy America’s freedom. Nor is it even the fact that, as House speaker, Mr. Gingrich personally tried to ram through deep cuts in Medicare — and, in 1995, went so far as to shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting those cuts.
After all, you could explain this about-face by supposing that Republicans have had a change of heart, that they have finally realized just how much good Medicare does. And if you believe that, I’ve got some mortgage-backed securities you might want to buy.
No, what’s truly mind-boggling is this: Even as Republicans denounce modest proposals to rein in Medicare’s rising costs, they are, themselves, seeking to dismantle the whole program. And the process of dismantling would begin with spending cuts of about $650 billion over the next decade. Math is hard, but I do believe that’s more than the roughly $400 billion (not $500 billion) in Medicare savings projected for the Democratic health bills.
What I’m talking about here is the “Roadmap for America’s Future,” the budget plan recently released by Representative Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee. Other leading Republicans have been bobbing and weaving on the official status of this proposal, but it’s pretty clear that Mr. Ryan’s vision does, in fact, represent what the G.O.P. would try to do if it returns to power. Read more...
"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.
A brief history lesson: In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting “I do not allow!” This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century.
Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison.
Last week, after nine months, the Senate finally approved Martha Johnson to head the General Services Administration, which runs government buildings and purchases supplies. It’s an essentially nonpolitical position, and nobody questioned Ms. Johnson’s qualifications: she was approved by a vote of 94 to 2. But Senator Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, had put a “hold” on her appointment to pressure the government into approving a building project in Kansas City.
This dubious achievement may have inspired Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama. In any case, Mr. Shelby has now placed a hold on all outstanding Obama administration nominations — about 70 high-level government positions — until his state gets a tanker contract and a counterterrorism center. ...
The truth is that given the state of American politics, the way the Senate works is no longer consistent with a functioning government. Senators themselves should recognize this fact and push through changes in those rules, including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session.
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Sample posts follow:
We all have to play nice-nice with our GR (global resource) peers. and when your GR team lead sends notes to IBM US mgmt that they need MORE WORK from their US counterparts, IBM mgmt. rolls over and gives them more work. Reminds me of an old CCR song: Fortunate Son.
And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! more! more. What a sad, pathetic, f'ng company.
What's more pathetic is how India is not held accountable since they are Sam's chosen ones and how anyone who reports problems with India are considered anti-team, racist and uncooperative.
The sacred cows over in India aren't cattle, they're the "office boys" pretending to be IT professionals working for IBM. What a sad, pathetic f'ng company indeed.
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.