But this isn't merely a flash fad for startups. IBM is said to have had flexible vacation time for every employee since 2003. People who work for the company simply give their supervisors a heads up, but otherwise, take time off when they want it.
Selected reader comments concerning this article follow:
Palmisano said the group pledged support for the administration's work to get free-trade agreements passed in Congress, citing the council's support for the Korea Trade Agreement. "Seventy percent of our industry is outside the United States and most of the growth is outside of the United States, so we need a competitive playing field," he said.
It's interesting to do some calculation to see how much of an insult this $1,000 "bonus" is. Let's assume that you, as a loyal IBM employee, work 2080 hours per year for 5 years. (We'll err on the side of IBM here and assume you don't work any overtime.) The $1000 bonus works out to just under ten cents an hour!
Now let's figure out how long it takes our esteemed leader to earn a $1000 given his current compensation. According to http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/12/AQXZ.html, Sam's total compensation in 2009 was $21.3 Million. Let's assume Sam works 70 hours a week, and never takes time off for vacations, holidays, or illnesses. That's 3640 hours or 218,400 minutes per year. That works out to pay of $97.53 per hour.
So, Sam earns his $1,000 in just a few seconds after his first ten minutes of the year!
Take a look at this historical video about IBM by IBM and reflect upon the period of years that you served in its history.
Mine was 1960 â€" 1988 and I loved (almost) every minute of it. The â€˜almostâ€™ part of it was the few times (3) that I worked to a real A--H---. The beauty of the company was that all I had to do was make contacts with a past â€˜rabbiâ€™ and get a new position elsewhere, usually a promotion. BTW, eventually those three were discovered and finally got what was coming to them!
When I retired in 1988, I took the famed FAP buyout at age 49. Every promise made to me by IBM about my medical in the future has been kept, albeit not as lucrative as it was 22 years ago. I still love the memories of my career at IBM, 10 years in domestic, 9 years in AFE and 9 years in EMEA. FAP gave me 5 & 5 to age and service, two years salary and medical for life and I went out, did other things and made some real money besides.
Please appreciate what you have & had and stop looking for more or you will become a â€˜partâ€™ of the problem we have here in America today, gimme, gimme gimme!
WATCH THIS and enjoy it. It is memorable and great! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39jtNUGgmd4
No medical, no dental, and half of my promised pension. Treated like gold my @$$.
How about the wonderful way of having a conference call and telling people they are gone. Very respectful, eh? Or having people work for a full year and THEN have a manager tell you that your work was not acceptable. Very respectful, eh?
No one loved IBM more than me. I was a very proud employee even when this started "changing" but when IBM lost respect for me, I lost respect for it. I am happy to receive my retirement payment each month, but I EARNED it. 40+ years in a variety of jobs and divisions. So, while some of you are still enamored it appears, that on this list, many many more are not. Life is still good.
I have worked with many LARGE corporations who, while conscious of the need for change, did not do it entirely on the backs of US employees. So, while change was necessary, unfortunately we did not have executives with any creativity other than sending 100,000+ jobs offshore.
I did not ask for a lot of perks. Just to be paid for the results I provided to IBM. Your post makes it seem like, as employees, we did not want change. WE wanted to be part of it and not just the "fat to be cut". Personally I do not care anymore. I am out and enjoying my life but I also recognize that with a bit more brainpower at the top change might have been a positive thing.
I realize that there are IBM executives over the years that are very polarizing, but some had to play the hand they were dealt. Lou Gerstner's book "Elephants can Dance" is very enlightening. When Lou took over, IBM was 2-3 weeks from not making payroll. Keep in mind that I've been here 40+ years so I've seen some interesting events in this Company.
My observation is that the problems being discussed really started back in the early 80's after T.J. Watson Jr. stepped down. The leadership started to change but where I see the biggest change was in 1986 (the forced march of PSR's to marketing & then out the door), and then in 2000 with the note that came out that utilization was king over all.
A number of us were involved in skills and resource utilization studies done in the mid-90's after utilization had been put in place for a bit. Early on, Professional Services and Consulting had that to deal with. Data we provided then (1989 or so) indicated that it would take about 3-4 years and Services would no longer have the skills to compete or deliver. We didn't miss far. There was a world-wide study on Skills & Resource Utilization done in 1995 of employees from line delivery thru country managers. Across the board, the results came back that utilization was killing the company but we were not allowed to present those to the Executive Committee (seems we gored someone sacred ox).
We started the Knowledge Management project to help spread knowledge from more experienced people to those trying to learn. Contrast that with Utilization and it just doesn't work. Working smarter (more efficiently) always takes a back seat when you have to fill 40 or more hours regardless of how productive you might have been.
As far as gong from a PBC 3 to a 2, congratulations. Usually a PBC3 is to move you out. I can say that with some degree of certainty as I got on that many years ago as a 4 with an improvement plan (seems I caught my manager altering time cards in violation of federal labor law and called him out). It didn't last long as the powers that be a the time realized that to back him would get them all in a bunch of trouble.
Fast forward to John Akers. He did away with the Resident Managers (think of them as the IBM Supreme Court with the power to relieve anyone up to a division president), the Quarter Century Club, IBM Club, and a number of other ideas such as making all divisions compete with each other (that resulted in some very interesting sales calls). The list is endless of the things he did to screw up this great company.
Now consider the overall employment picture out there as this has been brewing for a bunch of years. CEO's lobbying Congress for concessions on labor law to eliminate pensions, etc. Corporations looting pension funds to further stock growth, and my overall favorite, using pension income to inflate corporate profit figures to enhance executive bonus potential.
That, coupled with the social structure of "it's all about me" is one of the feeders to the situation we all find ourselves in now.
This problem has been brewing a long time and will take a while to straighten out. Unfortunately, it won't be done until we have honest leadership in our Government, our Corporations, our schools, and we are honest with ourselves. The overall question I'd ask is "how do I do my best every day so I can be an example to my family, community, and co-workers". Additionally, we all need to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.
This is a problem born of complacency and by not questioning what is going on. There is nothing wrong with questioning a decision made by a manager as long as it's done respectively. A non-answer ("I told you so!" is indicative of an abuse of power and needs to be called out immediately.
I guess the bottom line is that I was looking for a job when I came to IBM and found a career. I always knew that I could be gone at any moment so the only thing I knew to do was be ethical, moral, and do the best job I could.
All that said, I retired in 2010 after 40+ years. I took very seriously the responsibility to my family to plan for the future in the event that the company and government failed to do their part. When I retired, I took the lump sum and annuity because I wanted to make sure that I had protected as much as I could against corporate malfeasance.
Will I be able to do all that I wanted to do in retirement? I have no idea for sure but as plans stand now, I think so. My heart goes out to those stuck in either the cash balance or second choice plans as I think they got screwed, but again, it was a greed issue (again back to ethics and morals, I'll leave it to you to figure out where that failed) that has the corporate executives making some really bad decisions. That and the fortitude to tell the stock analysts that we're no longer playing the quarterly/monthly return game. The only CEO out there with the guts to do that is Warren Buffet. He doesn't play that anymore.
My best to all of you still there. I do miss the people, the daily discussions, the customers, and the projects, but I do not miss plane flights, and the constant project direction changing caused by managers afraid to tell those above that we need a clear direction and a plan that lasts longer than a month or quarter.
I, too, loved IBM at first, but when that PBC garbage was implemented, it just went downhill year after year. Like you guys, the pay is missed, but they can have that stupid PBC and utilization mess.
When our manager announced the program that was the lead-in to a utilization quota, I told the guy next to me, "My TBMC just went up." He said, "What is TBMC?" I replied, "Time Between Mouse Clicks. I moooooooovvvve the mouse, I cliiiiiiick the mouse, I moooooooovvvve the mouse, I cliiiiiiick the mouse,..."
I applaud you folks who received a 3 and got it overturned or brought it up to a 2. There are still good people managers in IBM, but they are being ruined because of the manage-by-numbers-only mentality. I think if Tom Watson came back from the grave, half the managers today would be walking around with knots on their heads from Tom's cane.
The appeal committee overturned my 3. I had an incredible amount of documentation proving that I was not a 3. My manager was given reprimands about the 3 from this process. I don't know what they were because I have just heard through the grapevine. One that I know for sure was she was told she had to give a warning. I received no warning mid-year. I think she knew if she gave me a warning that I would defend myself.
I am now branded and am having to work to save my reputation because the manager has gone around bad-mouthing me. But I'm not the only one she bullied so her actions with others are coming to light.
IBM does not expect you to defend yourself. There is a mentality that the boss is all-powerful. They get discombobulated when you defend yourself. If you get a 3, you have been marked in some way anyway. The rating system is unfair and is just a way to stop giving good bonuses and to identify people to lay off. You have nothing to lose by defending yourself and everything to gain. If the decision is overturned you will have gained some credibility.
The appeal team is made up of 5 people - 2 managers, and 3 at your band level. Don't go to an arbitrator. I feel that my appeal team was very fair. Probably because they were made up of other employees who are feeling the pinch. I've heard that even stars have gotten 2's this year.
You also need to find an option or plan b for when the layoffs do happen. Sorry if this is rambling. But the main message I want to get across is DEFEND YOURSELF!
You were right to fight it via the panel. It works when bad choices were made no matter how the PBC process is carried out. That is one thing that I'm glad I'll never have to do again. Retirement is wonderful.
...it's easy for people … to become cynical, which leads to politics, which can create a cancer that can topple even the greatest companies. Cynicism is that first cell, so to speak, that can metastasize within an organization." One "recipe for cynicism," she says, is for bosses to fail to acknowledge other employees' great ideas or ignore big issues raised by employees.
Sam Palmisano , chairman of IBM, is expected to visit Bangalore during the second week of February and trigger the company's centenary celebrations by addressing employees apart from holding other meetings with IBM's customers and scientists at Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science, at least three people who have been invited to attend these meetings confirmed to ET last week.
Not all of IBM's India staff will be eligible for this incentive, as the company has laid down several criteria. "Only those who are IBM employees as of December 31, 2010, are eligible — full-timers and part-timers included," the spokesman added. Also, since these stock incentives will not vest until 2015, anybody quitting the company before June 16 of 2015 will lose the eligibility.
Over 150 reader comments were posted for this article. The following are a few of them:
In my department we have been hiring supplementals for the past several years as we cannot get approval for full time hires. Now in a couple days I have to tell at least 2 people (I am a manager) that in 3 weeks they are out on the street. This will be a tough message given IBM's messaging around how successful 2010 was financially. I better get back to working on my resume - its only a matter of time before my turn comes.
BTW: Supps were supposed to be a cushion to insure full employment for full time employees. In hard times they were supposed to be the first to go. Perhaps you are too new to have heard that great lie we were fed. It was included in the lower pay but great benefits speech we all heard for years. For me it was 1993 when I watched good IBMers pushed out the door while low paid supps and sub-contractors kept their jobs.
Smart move on keeping the resume well oiled. I can not wait to Global Foundries to get tooled up and watch the brain drain from Fishkill and Burlington.
My wife has been going through a nasty infectious disease problem since last July. She had 3 operations in 2010 and was scheduled for her 4th and final on 12/28/10. Unfortunately she acquired an infectious disease on 12/27 and the operation had to be postponed
She is now undergoing daily infusions via a PICC line for 6 weeks.
The doctor recommended the medication and a home-health provider to assist. I was surprised to find out that my Aetna PPO would not cover either, even though the medication is in their formulary and although the care-giver is not in their network I had signed up with a "PPO" with Out-of-Network benefits. The Aetna PPO literature I received says "No deductible" for out-of-network caregivers.
We are now in the position of having IBM Benefits and Aetna arguing with each other. Aetna is saying IBM does not know the plan they had offered employees and IBM is saying we should be covered and we should talk to Aetna. The people at Aetna are not familiar with this plan. Catch-22!!
It is currently in the Aetna "Appeal Process" which they say could take up to 17 days.
In the meantime we must keep the treatment going by promising to pay for it ourselves if Aetna does not agree that it is covered.
Not sure what to expect from this plan in the future and thought I would alert others that might run into a similar situation. Will definitely not go with this plan next year.
"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.
But an improved business climate and a more competitive economy are already underway. That's how we got to 2.9 percent growth. The existing economy is more productive—"competitive" to use the president's frame—precisely because it shed 8 million jobs. The jobless recovery is necessarily so—companies are "growing" by laying off employees and paying those they keep less.
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