The lineage of all those devices, in one way or another, flows directly back to a press conference some 30 years ago tomorrow. On August 12, 1981, IBM rented out a ballroom at the elegant Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and introduced its landmark 5150 personal computer.
Looking at the beige box today, nothing seems particularly remarkable. The rectangular CPU, with two black bays for floppy disks, isn't a marvel of design brilliance. There's nothing striking about the lines, the graphics, the color palette. The 5150 wasn't even the first PC. Apple, Atari, and Commodore produced so-called microcomputers that preceded it. And IBM's creation was inferior in some ways to those rivals.
There is definitely overlap with the bands that is much more than the level's had IMHO. It is not uncommon that a band 07 could be performing a level 57 (advisory) job. Also, a person who is a band 08 could be performing a level 59 (senior) job. BTW, band 06 might have the widest band vs. level comparison. The equivalent is level 52 AND 54 (associate and senior associate) for this band. Some could say an experienced band 6 can be doing level 55 (staff)work, especially when there is a paucity of promotions in IBM now.
In the current system, you damn well better hire on with a good salary because there's no such thing as getting caught up. With raises going to only "1" and "2+" performers (who make up an increasingly smaller percentage of employees), and those raises being miniscule (3% for a "1" performer, 1.5% or less for a "2+" performer), you'll never catch up with what more recent hires get. And, if you're a "2" performer (which is most likely more than 50% of all employees), recent history shows you'll never get a raise.
Is it any wonder IBM is bleeding employees? And, if the economy *ever* gets better, expect an even larger exodus.
IBM is what you get when a company is managed by bean counters.
Personal and very humble opinion is that those abilities, even for executives, no longer exist in IBM. They are for the most part powerless in the face of expense controls.
Eventually, those that are good, excellent employees will gradually move to where they are respected. Respect means paying for performance and that has been broken for a long time.
Gerstner in his book "Who says Elephants Can't Dance?" says he fixed this problem with the massive across IBM "variable pay" based on IBM performance. I have yet to find a single IBM employee that believes if they work harder today that it will affect their variable pay. Yet no one seems to challenge his assumptions, eh?
BTW, I have ALWAYS talk about salary at every corporation where I have been. I do NOT have a written contract which forbids it and it is legal to do so. Just because a manager says so does not make it so. In at least two cases two former peers got raises to my level. Information is power and my parents who were in unions raised me not to buy 100% into the corporate mantra. It is business and not family nor team no matter how much is said to the contrary. Would a family or team dump thousands so that a few at the top could live like kings? As Orwell wrote "some pigs are better than others".
So I guess it always has to be put within the context of honest sharing of information. As I said, I think the current generation is much more open in these discussions, but businesses have brought that on themselves to a large degree with the lack of respect and belief that employees are expendable and interchangeable.
As an example of the "new generation" and the silliness of the new IBM pay policies here is one experience I had recently:
A friend of mine was resourced and at the time made 90,000 per year. He was gone for about 18 months and was then rehired by IBM at 120,000 per year. So IBM gave him a 30% raise, caused grief in his life that destroyed his loyalty to the company and is now working a lot less enthusiastically because of how he was treated. The paycheck is just a paycheck (but a much bigger one, eh?) - how much silliness is that? Is that maximizing stockholder value, treating people with respect or even good common business sense? I think not.
Notice we talked salary! So some of this new generation stuff, I like! Maybe you can teach an old dog a new trick or two. Cheers, Pete.
At least in the "old IBM" they touted "your overall compensation package" (i.e. your salary, your pension, your ESOP, your paid vacation, your retirement medical, etc.). Now does anyone ever hear of this anymore to even dare discuss it?
Under the FHA, IBM places $2500 a year into a notional account each year for 10 years, starting when you reach 40 years of age. Each year, the money in the account earns interest at a rate equivalent to the average of the 1-year treasury bill rate for the months of August, September and October, plus 1 percent. For 2011, the rate is 1.3%.
Employees who were already over the age of 40 on 7/1/99 received an opening balance credit to their accounts to take a bit of the sting out of the conversion to the FHA. This credit ranged from $120 for someone who was just over 40 to around $20,000 for someone who was age 49.
When you leave IBM, you can use the FHA money to purchase medical insurance only from IBM. But to qualify, you have to be at least age 55 with 15 years of service, or, if you had at least 1 year of service on 7/1/99, you can use the FHA if you leave at any age with 30 or more years of service.
Based on the cost of IBM retiree medical insurance and the typical FHA balance that a retiree can expect to have, the money in the FHA will be enough to pay for medical coverage for 4 to 5 years for a single person, or 2-3 years for a retiree + spouse.
Once the money in the FHA account runs out, you can still purchase retiree medical coverage out of your own pocket. In 2011, this costs around $6500 per year for a single person on the high deductible plan and $10,000 a year for the low deductible plan. Double those numbers for retiree + spouse coverage.
Sources in IBM India said right now, it is the bottom of the employment pyramid that will be impacted, but do not rule out senior people also being asked to leave. Earlier this month, HSBC Bank announced that it would cut 10,000 jobs. Although HR experts say at least five per cent would be from India, the company spokesperson clarified that the ‘announcement would have no impact on India.'
Now with his own timeline drawing short he will probably unleash a maelstrom of nastiness against the US, Canadian and other 1st world country's loyal employees. I passed the CWA (Communication Workers of America) local office here in Poughkeepsie and gave a horn toot of solidarity to these folks, bedecked in their red tee-shirted splendor. They are fighting for things already lost by the IBM US worker, given up with scarcely a fight. But it's not too late to organize and fight for a fair contract. Never think you cannot be RA'd. The warning shots have been fired, and they keep getting closer. If you are a 1 appraised engineer, and working 14 hours a day, you may be safe for awhile, but better go for a checkup...all that sitting can lead to blood clots.
Cons: Surprisingly, IBM offers no job security, or stability, even for outstanding achievement. You are expected to make IBM successful, and your reward is in your paycheck. There is no guarantee that your achievements will be considered during the continuous "musical chair" strategy IBM uses. Best advice - Get in, excel, and be prepared with an exit strategy.
Advice to Senior Management: Upper management is too far removed from the action. Get connected with the people that are working hard to make IBM successful. First level managers don't have much management experience, and don't "bubble-up" outstanding effort being made by their teams.
Cons: IBM's consulting business suffers from far too many processes, and upper and middle management are likely overweight. The processes are largely driven by corporate bean counters and their methods pervert what should be every consulting company's mission: to bring value to the client. GBS measures individual success in terms of how many billable hours are charged to the client, rather than the value that is created for the client. I would argue adamantly that the latter will create much greater and sustainable business growth whereas the former only focuses on short-term quarterly reports to the shareholders. Consultants are expected to work these significantly longer hours in order for the company to be "competitive." Seeing that there are so many processes and approval mechanisms in the day-to-day, I would say that the company can be more competitive by being more efficient.
Training budgets are so low that almost no one can take classes outside of what is offered on the intranet. Intranet training, moreover, is specifically geared to IBM's core functions as an IT and services company. However, there is no flexibility should your field be on the frontier of IBM, such as Smarter Planet, which focuses on improving the nation's health care and sustainable development. Such subject matter training is not offered in the intranet curriculum.
Advice to Senior Management: Surely a business that specializes in business consulting can look internally to streamline itself.
Cons: Worst in employee compensation - especially if you are a long timer in the company - don't ever stay for more than 4-5 years! IBM benchmarks your salary to be the median of the worst in industry and best salary in industry. That means if you will never be paid the best salary, in this company how much ever good you are!
Long timers will get stagnated with not much career growth.
No good employee benefits except for trainings that are available.
Performance evaluation is the worst that I have seen in the industry. It's all subjective and driven by the perceptions of the manager. Your manager is the god and be always in his/her good books; that is the key for survival (even if you don't do any work!) Everything (your promotion, hike, bonus or any thing else), all are linked with your annual evaluation rating (so called "PBC rating" - 1,2,3, etc.) and surrounds around that magic number. If you are not in the top 10% list of your team forget about any good hike or promotion or benefits for the next one year.
Worst HR policies. The actual HR team hides behind the so called "people managers" and drive the policies through them. The people managers act as puppets in the hands of HR with no good power to take any meaningful decisions. No accountability for the actual HR team on employees.
The company was very good when it was a small organization in the late 90s to early 2K. Now it's just another government-like massive junk organization with lot of red tapism in it. Worst policies and procedures. Not at all employee friendly.
They boast a lot about their market leadership position in innovation, brand name, technology advancement etc. etc., but all those are done by a small % of the company's workforce in some labs in some other foreign countries. As a regular normal employee who work in usual projects you will never get to see any of those stuff in your lifetime nor will be able to be a part of those.
Advice to Senior Management: Please open up your eyes and see the amount of erosion of the good skilled people from this great company. You need to change your notion that you can run a good company by just hiring a set of low cost college students from 3rd or 4th grade colleges by paying few pennies. If you need quality in your product, you need to pay for quality raw material (aka good technical resources). If you continue the current trend, the history of the company will get over in the 110th year. Change your HR policies first. Make your HR team accountable for the employees. HR also should be questioned why the quality of the products and services are getting degraded. Give credit to the long timers and value their loyalty to the organization instead of taking their loyalty for granted and paying them peanuts while you hire junk from the market paying through nose!
For years, U.S. companies went off shore to get cheaper labor and lower manufacturing costs for products to be sold to Americans. Now, as the nation's economy stalls and personal incomes stagnate, they see consumers in Asia and Latin America as offering brighter prospects for future sales and profits. In effect, as many corporate executives look ahead, the United States has a diminishing place in their thinking.
The nation's tax laws reinforce the pattern. American companies have piled up mountains of profits overseas, but they must pay very high taxes if they bring the money home. So instead of investing back home, they are more apt to put the money into overseas expansion, adding jobs there. ...
Major layoff announcements by big corporations already have begun to rise again in the U.S., hitting a 16-month high of 66,414 jobs to be shed in coming months, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Strikingly, the largest layoff actions last month were accompanied by disclosures that the same companies planned to ramp up their operations — including hiring — in emerging economies. ...
"Now there are more doubts about how temporary the slowdown is" in American consumer spending and economic activity, said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. "Instead of positioning for demand in the U.S.," she said, "larger companies will shift more resources abroad and small businesses will be staying in the sidelines. ... Pent-up demand isn't enough."
The walkout is unusual at a time when unemployment is steep and organized labor has lost several big battles. But union leaders are angry that Verizon has budged little from its long list of demands during six weeks of negotiations. The unions have resisted Verizon’s requests for concessions on scores of issues because the company has been very profitable overall, with net income of $6.9 billion in the first six months of this year.
But the answer is clear: I would have made a statement declaring that giving in to this kind of blackmail would constitute a violation of my oath of office, and that my lawyers, on careful reflection, have determined that there are several legal options that allow me to ignore this extortionate demand. ...
As Mr. Chait said in his article, the first thing you need to understand is that modern Republicans don’t care about deficits. They only pretend to care when they believe that deficit hawkery can be used to dismantle social programs; as soon as the conversation turns to taxes, or anything else that would require them and their friends to make even the smallest sacrifice, deficits don’t matter at all.
Alliance Reply: So you expect Randy to tell the truth and say and do things in the employees interests? Fight for a contract and organize, and stop 'wondering' what Randy or Sammy or any of the Executives are being informed about what is going on, or doing. THEY are the ones that initiate these kinds of 'initiatives". They all know what they are doing. Join the union and fight for a contract. Right now our brothers and sisters in the CWA and IBEW are fighting Verizon. They already have contracts; but the company is trying to take away the things that the contracts protect. The union is out there fighting together. That's what IBMers need to do. Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701 is 100% in solidarity with the Verizon workers.
Alliance Reply: We will not give up. We must continue to make it clear that there is no other option. Thanks for your support as always, Exodus2007. We appreciate your comments, too.
Alliance Reply: We do honor and show solidarity to our union brothers & sisters, in CWA. We have also posted a notice on our web page front, with our commitment to Stand with Verizon workers. We encourage everyone to visit www.cwa-union.org and keep updated on our fight. Thank you for notifying IBMers of what it means to fight together.
"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.
Young people have heard of this mythical time -- but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, "When did this all end?", I say, "It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981."
Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to "go for it" -- to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.
And they've succeeded
On the other hand, it’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies. The people who rated subprime-backed securities are now declaring that they are the judges of fiscal policy? Really?
Just to make it perfect, it turns out that S&P got the math wrong by $2 trillion, and after much discussion conceded the point — then went ahead with the downgrade.
In short, S&P is just making stuff up — and after the mortgage debacle, they really don’t have that right. So this is an outrage — not because America is A-OK, but because these people are in no position to pass judgment.
A week later and we are even more amazed by the failure of Mr. Obama and the Democratic leadership to stand up to this intransigence. If they do not start pushing back, with the same ferocity, the results will be disastrous. ...
And while “no new taxes” pledges are almost always big political winners, Americans are also figuring out that the country cannot keep on this way. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, 63 percent support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year to help address the deficit.
If that is not enough to energize the White House, here are a few more facts. To avoid across-the-board cuts, Congress must enact at least another $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction measures over the 10 years. For all of the talk of “big government,” there is no way to cut that much in discretionary programs without crippling basic functions. Lawmakers could eliminate the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pell Grants, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and Head Start and still not cut $110 billion annually.
Through a combination of fear and fervor, Republican leaders in Congress and in the presidential campaign have lined up behind a radical new strategy in which all major decisions are made under threat — to shut the government in April, to implode the economy in July, to cut off money for the Federal Aviation Administration in August. Party leaders have said they will do this again and again, in perpetuity. ...
This rightward flood tide has also picked up most of the Republican presidential field. Considering what a clear triumph the final bill was for the Republicans, cutting $2.4 trillion in spending without a dime of new tax revenue, at least a few candidates would logically have supported it. Only Jon Huntsman, however, has spoken up for it. The rest said they found it insufficiently ruthless, fearing a primary loss if they seemed the slightest bit soft.
In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:
“I know you’re scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn’t work out. And it didn’t work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can’t promise that we won’t make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again.”
A story isn’t a policy. But that simple narrative — and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it — would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn’t tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit — a deficit that didn’t exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.
And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.
The Republicans have a wrong-headed but consistent message: reduce taxes and government and the economy will magically blossom. The Reagan and Bush years demonstrate this ideology is BS, but there is no countervailing message because the Obama Administration is lost. If the president really believed the number one problem facing America was jobs he would have refused to negotiate with Republicans when they manufactured the debt limit crisis; Obama should have said, "This has nothing to do with creating jobs and will make the economy worse. Congress, get to work on America's real problems!" ...
We've now seen at least five examples where Obama had an opportunity to make a real difference and lost it by being overly accommodating: the amount of the original stimulus, whether or not to break up "too-big-to-fail" banks, health care, the federal budget crisis, and the debt crisis. (It's probably true that the president caved to the military on Afghanistan, but we don't know as much about that negotiation.) In the debt crisis negotiation, Republicans got what they wanted because the president was soft. ...
It didn't have to be like this. President Obama had two opportunities to call the Republicans' bluff and chose not to. In December he could have refused to sign any budget deal that did not include ending the egregious tax cuts for millionaires and raising the debt ceiling. On August 2nd, he could have refused to sign a debt-limit agreement that did not include new revenues. In both cases he could have dared the Republicans to shut down the economy. The bottom line for Liberals: we're on our own. It's naïve to expect help from President Obama. The economy will continue to spiral downward and Liberals will have to figure out how to save it.
First, it is worth mentioning the important background here. S&P, along with the other credit rating agencies, rated hundreds of billions of dollars of subprime mortgage backed securities as investment grade. They were paid tens of millions of dollar by the investment banks for these ratings. We know that concerns were raised by their own people about the quality of many of these issues. This was at the least astoundingly incompetent. It was quite possibly criminal. ...
Finally, what does the risk of default on U.S. government debt mean? The debt is issued in dollars. That means it is payable in dollars. The U.S. government prints dollars. This means that if for some reason the government was unable to tax or borrow to raise the money to pay its debt then it could always print it. This may carry a risk of inflation, but S&P is not in the business of making inflation predictions, they are in the business of assessing the likelihood that debt will be repaid. (Of course if they are worried that inflation will erode the value of U.S. debt, S&P would also have to downgrade all debt denominated in dollars everywhere in the world.) In short, there is no coherent explanation that can be given for S&P's downgrade. This downgrade was not made based on the economics. We can only speculate about the true motive.
Combine this visual depiction of our supposed "shared sacrifices" and "painful cuts" with the extremes of wealth and poverty our culture editor, Cord, shared yesterday—how the 400 wealthiest Americans are now richer than the bottom 50 percent of citizens—and it's not hard to understand why people are protesting.
Because our country is now finding itself in the worst kind of decline — a slow decline, just slow enough for us to keep deluding ourselves that nothing really fundamental needs to change if our future is to match our past. ...
Regarding growth, we surely need a much smarter long-term fiscal plan than the one that just came out of Washington. We need to cut spending in areas and on a time schedule that will hurt the least; we need to raise taxes in ways that will hurt the least (now is the perfect time for a gasoline tax rather than payroll taxes); and we need to use some of these revenues to invest in the pillars of our growth, with special emphasis on infrastructure, research and incentives for risk-taking and start-ups. We need to offer every possible incentive to get Americans to start new businesses to grow out of this hole.
Let’s start with S.& P.’s lack of credibility. If there’s a single word that best describes the rating agency’s decision to downgrade America, it’s chutzpah — traditionally defined by the example of the young man who kills his parents, then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.
America’s large budget deficit is, after all, primarily the result of the economic slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis. And S.& P., along with its sister rating agencies, played a major role in causing that crisis, by giving AAA ratings to mortgage-backed assets that have since turned into toxic waste.
Nor did the bad judgment stop there. Notoriously, S.& P. gave Lehman Brothers, whose collapse triggered a global panic, an A rating right up to the month of its demise. And how did the rating agency react after this A-rated firm went bankrupt? By issuing a report denying that it had done anything wrong.
So these people are now pronouncing on the creditworthiness of the United States of America?
How did he not see that the Republicans would bludgeon him with the lack of jobs after he agreed to their spending cuts -- which would only lower the number of jobs in the country? How could anyone not see that and think they know anything about politics?
But their largess is, of course, conditional. Should we require of them anything, especially a small portion of their wealth for the nation that made them rich -- ah, sorry, I mean, made them "job creators" -- well, then they will turn their backs on us. There will be no jobs for you, you ingrates!
I hope you're all clear on this, goddammit. Because these job creators are busy folks. They travel a lot, to places where they are indeed creating jobs, like China and the Marshall Islands and such. There they have plenty of folks happy to reward them for their largess -- with more largess, in the form of dirt-low taxes and even dirtier and lower environmental standards, or as they call them, "job killing regulations."
What some may not know is that a number of employers, including household-name companies, have taken the position that the unemployed should forget about obtaining a job altogether.
Log on to any jobs site, do a quick search and the results may surprise you: slews of job ads are essentially warning the out-of-work that they worthless and disposable. Welcome to 21st Century, post-Recession hiring discrimination: where you must be an “employed or recently employed” person to get a job.
Yes, for those individuals who make up the 9.1 percent unemployed in the United States, many laid off through no fault of their own, misfortune is a disqualifier. Numerous employers, staffing agencies and online job posting firms have adopted policies that explicitly deny employment to the unemployed. And they don’t even try to cover up their intent. The language in the qualification requirement sections of the ads leave nothing to the imagination: “currently employed,” “must be currently employed,” “currently employed on a permanent basis,” “must be currently or recently employed” etc. If you are none of the above, as 14 million Americans are, you’re out of luck.
It will all be a piece of Kabuki theater. The way this deal ends is fairly easy to predict – it's a set-up that will result in fairly deep cuts to domestic spending, won't raise taxes on the wealthy and will leave “defense” spending largely untouched – a process that will force cuts to important public services.
If all this isn’t obscene enough, to further demonstrate how the global economy has now been completely rigged, Deloitte’s analysis predicated, based on current trends, that US millionaire households will see a 225 percent increase in wealth to $87.1 trillion by 2020. Accounting for wealth hidden in offshore accounts, they are projected to have over $100 trillion in total within the next decade. ...
Now consider, according to the latest IRS data, only 0.076 percent of the population, less than one-tenth of one percent, earned over $1 million in 2009.
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