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Highlights—February 7, 2015

  • IEEE Spectrum:

    Massive Worldwide Layoff Under Way At IBM. By Tekla Perry. Excerpts: IBMers: Please share your experience with me directly at t.perry@ieee.org, on Twitter @teklaperry, or in the comments below. Keep yourself anonymous if you’d like, identify your job function and location if you’re willing, but tell us your story, we want to hear it.

    Project Chrome, a massive layoff that IBM says is not a massive layoff, is under way. According to tech writer Robert X. Cringely, reporting in Forbes, the company’s workforce will be reduced 26 percent as part of this initiative. With potentially more than 100,000 people at risk, this could be the largest single layoff by any U.S. corporation since 1993, when IBM cut 60,000 people from its roster. Cringely writes that notices have started going out, and reports that most of the 26 percent will be gone by the end of February. ...

    IBM immediately denied Cringely’s report, stating that a planned $600 million “workforce rebalancing” is going to involve layoffs (or what the company calls “resource actions”) of just thousands of people. But Cringely responded that he never said that the workforce reductions would be all called layoffs—instead, multiple tactics are being used, including pushing employees out through low ratings (more on that in a moment). And some managers are indeed admitting to employees that their jobs have been eliminated as part of Project Chrome, leading employees to coin a new catchphrase: “Getting Chromed.” ...

    But then there’s that performance rating scheme—also known as a stealth layoff—that involves giving previously highly rated employees the lowest rating (a 3) before showing them the door. A 3 can lead to immediate dismissal, particularly for employees who signed on to what IBM calls the “Transition to Retirement” program, in which employees commit to a specific retirement date and accept cuts in hours and pay in return for being protected from dismissal unless they get a poor performance rating.

    For a regular full-time employee, a rating of 3 can put him or her into what is called a performance improvement plan, and if the rating doesn’t improve in a set period of time, the employee can be fired for cause. PIPs are not uncommon in the business world; it’s the number being given and the dramatically short length of time to improve that is concerning employees. Giving out 3s works to the company’s benefit because it can lead to reduced severance benefits.

    This isn’t the first time IBM employees have received aberrant poor performance reviews shortly before a layoff. A former employee who was cut in a resource action, or RA, in 2010 confirmed this, telling me that after years of top ratings, he received a 3 just before he was let go, even though he’d just had what he perceived as his best year ever. ...

    Of course, the appearance of the situation, in the eyes of employees and the public, is not being helped by the fact amid IBM’s actions comes the board’s announcement on Friday of a big raise for CEO Ginni Rometty.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • Agreed, I've never seen it this bad at IBM ever, it's utterly demeaning...you are the lucky one if you get the full severance package. You are made to feel like you are lucky to be working for IBM. I don't know ONE IBM employee that is happy, NOT ONE! Oh wait, there is one...Ginni Rometty.

      Being at will employees, IBM can do what they want, they quit disclosing how many workers are let go per age category within severance packages so the age discrimination would not be detected. IBM figures let them sue us as IBM's pockets are bigger than any of the worker bees. The customers will continue to suffer if they don't wake up and shop elsewhere.

    • Wow. Just...wow. I can understand if a business entity has to let people go. But seriously? Rewarding long term loyalty, hard work, and sacrifice with a slap in the face poor performance rating so they can drop people? *shakes head*

      A massive company wide program to attempt to reduce head count through a variety of methods, while attempting to bypass or reduce the benefits the people being let go, were due, is despicable. I have to wonder if some of these coordinate actions aren't skirting the law regarding mass layoffs/etc. that may affect local communities.

      It seems not so long ago that IBM was embroiled in some legal issues about properly paying out overtime... which they did, then issued 15% cuts in compensation...IBM Responds To Overtime Lawsuits With 15% Salary Cuts.

      I hope that all of the people being affected are able to find new jobs. As for IBM itself...wow. Just...wow.

    • IBM is shedding businesses they no longer want to be in, and down staffing businesses that don't directly contribute to cloud, analytics, and mobile. Chrome is a tectonic shift at IBM due to necessity. IBM is fighting for its life due to missing market opportunities and pissing customers away. Anyone here think that this isn't going to be the biggest layoff in US history is simply trolling.
    • Wait, are you speaking of Ginni and her minion execs? It's not the older employees that are keeping IBM from advancing; it's the leaders of IBM. The older workers have no say in the matter as to how IBM should be run, being on the front lines, innovation etc. They deal with the customers on a daily basis; management won't listen to what the workers have to say. If they did, they wouldn't be in this mess to begin with.

      There are way too many layers of non-essential management to get any decisions made in a timely manner. IBM is a dinosaur and always will be. Day late dollar short.

    • Is it common for a corporation as large as IBM to have a tiered severance package based on performance? Several commentators at the Alliance@IBM have suggested "PBC 3" ratings were given for 2014, then they were handed a reduced severance based on this lower rating. That sounds completely despicable and border-line sociopathic.
    • Welcome to 35 years of Reaganomics coming to fruition.
    • Same tactics were applied to me last year—I was given a performance rating of 3 and in less than a month, I was fired miserably. I thank God I found a new job in less than a month with one of IBM's biggest clients around. Got my former colleague IBMers reporting to me like a boss, LOL. IBM is a pretty messed up place to work.
    • I had 26 years in with IBM and called it quits Dec 2013. Nepotism, favoritism and inept management after years of being proud to be an IBMer was all I could take. I knew this day was coming 3 years ago and so I hit the course work in preparation for leaving and got the hell out that mess and found a great place that truly appreciates good work. I wish the good people who lost their jobs the best and you should know it's not you. Back stabbing, greedy individuals have messed up a great company. I truly hope it fails as it does not deserve to continue in its current form.
    • Was told on 1/22 I was part of this RA. Last day 2/27. No reason given for why I was included.

      I’ve been an employee for 8 years, 43 years old, 16 years industry experience. I work at a client in NYC. Have been on that project for 4+ years, renewed multiple times, and was contracted through June. That project limits billed utilization to 40 hours per week (even though I work 50-70 hours per week) which is less than the requirement for my band, making it impossible to meet the IBM yearly utilization goal. However, I have had consistent 2, 2+ ratings except for one year where I got a 3 because I had to go out on medical leave for 2 months (emergency surgery) on top of being benched for 2 months at the beginning of that same year.

    • I don't work for IBM but I do live near the Boulder, CO location. If you're an employee being laid off from IBM there's always Oracle in Broomfield, CO. I've worked at the Oracle facility for a short time and I can tell you the employees are very happy there. Maybe they have a place for you since IBM doesn't. Best of luck to all the employees being laid off.
    • Perfect example of why we need MORE unions and union membership in the private sector. How many billions has IBM made, and that's not good enough? BS reviews, laying off people in their 50's and early 60's because they usually are at the top of the salary scale. This BS happens at my workplace, and the US government lets these corporations get away with it. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE. I don't think until the people revolt at the door step of the US Capitol will anything be done.
    • I was RA'd after 19 years of dedicated service. I got the ole 3 PBC which I have never seen throughout my entire career. There is no doubt in my mind that I am being discriminated against my age - 51. Architect in SO.
    • ...The sad part of all this is that the letter band managers, directors and up, get compensated by eliminating expenses. Many of these should not be in the business but they are protected. From time to time, someone gets fired, but that is an anomaly. So in the end, the soldiers, the ones that bring the revenue to the company and make those senior managers look good, are the same ones that are being stabbed in the back. ...

      Fellow IBMers, there is life after IBM, take the money and use all of the benefits and before long if you are flexible, you will see that grass is indeed greener elsewhere.

    • The article is absolutely true, and Cringley has been right on with his comments about IBM over the years. I was a loyal, high performing, IBM manager (band 10, the highest level below executive), with degrees in engineering and a global executive MBA from a top university. I always received high performance ratings, hired and retained top talent, etc.

      I and six high-performing employees, all women in their 40s and 50s, were "RA'd" in 2013. At the time, we were among the top technical leaders in software group social media marketing, training others on the latest techniques in social, mobile, and analytics, so the propaganda about IBM needing to upgrade skills is complete BS.

      I was also forced to hire brand new college hires right before the firing of my best experienced people. Do you think we are recommending IBM technology in our new companies?

    • I worked for IBM in the 90s. They still had some integrity then, but they were learning how to let people off. I was a "Blue Book" employee (one of the last hired on that basis at my location) and these were aggressively targeted around '98/'99. These experiences helped me understand the "team" talk from HR was steaming manure intended to get you to work long hours and make sacrifices for future career rewards that typically never came for the vast majority.

      Virtually all corporations play these games to suck the life out of the young, fresh ones. And when they are tired and burned out (5-7 years?) they get laid off and replaced by a fresh batch of gullibles...at lower pay.

      Bring back trade unions.

      Might be good business in the short term, but in the long term it's a terrible way to run a society.

    • "Resourced" in 2012 after 11 years of 2+ ratings. Told I was being rated a 3 by my new manager right after my client left the room, and after he told my manager how grateful that I had been the PM on the job and was a credit to IBM. They make you sign away your rights if you want the severance package.

      Of the large group laid off, most were over 50, with a smattering of 20 year olds so that the average cleared them of ageism claims. After being told I was a 3, none of the executives I had worked with for years would return my calls. They also blacklist you so you can't find another job in the company. I wish I had joined any of the class action suits that came up over the 11 years instead of being loyal.

      Working 50 -70 hours a week, getting "A" ratings on every project review, surpassing financial targets, having clients who love you - it all means nothing to this company. Glad I'm out.

      Wish I jumped ship years earlier though. I hope that all the new folks can find jobs. I was out of work for a year and will be paying off that debt for years to come. This is not your father's IBM, that company died years ago. This is just another outsourcing company with tricky salesmen, the best lawyers money can buy, and contracts that can't be broken.

      Whatever you do, don't get down on yourselves for being laid off. The work you did was probably excellent, IBM just didn't deserve you. Best of luck from someone who has been there!

    • Congratulations to Spectrum for carrying this article. I have never been more proud to be a member of IEEE.
    • So when does IBM tell their servants in Congress and the White House that they can't find any qualified Americans to work for them and they need to increase H1B again?
    • This is another example of a USA corporation not understanding the Bell curve. First, no one knows how to precisely measure employee contributions and competence in a quantitative, non-judgmental way and, even if were possible, companies like IBM that hire very talented people would end up with employee contributions clustered around a mean with small, meaningless differences. When companies hire the top 5 percent of college graduates and then assume their performances will follow a Bell curve distribution, they are stretching the limits of probability.

      Second, employee performance is influenced by the match between their capabilities, the needs of the job and the ability of their managers to make that match. All too often, poor performance means bad management. Third, if IBM wishes to dismiss the lower 20 percent of its employees, it should start with the HR Department and then be rid of its management. Fourth, this example of corporate incompetence probably means that its stock market value will increase.

    • I was in IBM's Learning/HR team until 2006. When I joined, IBM invested $1.2B worldwide in the education of its staff each year. When I left, IBM invested $800M annual in its staff. Apart from reducing its education's team headcount by hundreds, IBM systematically divested in the development of its best asset - its people. Now IBM products and services are increasing rejected by clients and IBM management is taking out its poor performance on its workers through massive layoffs.

      To IBM Management: You are the problem. You directly caused this. You will be held responsible. Shame.

      To the IBM workers: You are the heroes. The sooner you emotionally divorce IBM, the sooner you will recover and find someone who values you.

    • Google provide free sleeping pods and workplace recreation, Facebook provide free meals. IBM eliminates coffee and tea satchels for its employees.

      It is not that IBM can't afford to provide instant coffee or support employee training. It is that IBM management is consumed by so much greed.

      IBM's reductions at every turn reflect how little it values its people. Ironically IBM's divesting in its people is now hurting its clients, business outlook and making it likely that a start-up will knock it out of the game.

    • Just a week prior Ginni posted a webcast for 2014 and IBM's future plans. The praise she received in the comments were disgusting. But now that most of those idiots are probably RA'd I wonder how they feel about their brown nosing.
  • The Register:

    Tough at the top: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty troughs $10 MEELLION+, Bumper pay deal for Big Blue execs amid worker job cuts. By Paul Kunert. Excerpts: It may not be the best time to be one of the great unwashed at IBM but it certainly pays to be on the exec team, particularly if your name is Virginia Rometty.

    At a time when Big Blue is cutting its cloth according to the new era of cloud, mobility, social, analytics and security by chopping thousands of job, the CEO got a bumper pay deal.

    An SEC filing showed Ginni Rometty and her generals each pocketed millions for 2014 despite the company reporting top-line declines for 11 consecutive quarters and a sliding market cap.

    The filing showed Rometty took home a bonus of $3.6m (she refused one in 2013, citing disappointment at the company's output) on top of on top of $1.6m in wages and a $5m incentive target: a total cash wad of $10.2m. ...

    Not wanting her team to feel left out, chief beancounter Martin Shroeter, software and systems bigwig Steve Mills and senior veep John Kelly also received salaries averaging $723,000 each, plus an average cash bonus of $747,000 and average bonuses of $976,000.

    Calendar Q4 topped off a relatively awful year for IBM. Sales slipped 12 per cent in the quarter to $24.1bn and were down 5.7 per cent for the 12 months. Net profit was down 11.3 per cent in the quarter to $5.5bn and down 27.1 per cent to £12bn for the year. The share price is down 14 per cent on last year. ,,,

    The bumper pay deal enjoyed by Rometty and others in the exec team have understandably gone down very badly with staff, some of whom are heading for the exit. Workers have taken to the Alliance@IBM blog, an employee organisation, to vent their anger.

    “If there is anyone left who doubts the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of this company just look at the huge bonuses the execs are giving themselves and compare it to the way they are treating everyone else in the organisation,” said one.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • A mockery of performance related pay. When the exec's are paid huge sums for presiding over a great companies decline - something is wrong. Has this pay been approved by the shareholders as yet?
    • Re: A mockery of performance related pay "Has this pay been approved by the shareholders as yet?" Unfortunately, shareholders love it when CEOs start laying people off - because it makes everyone think there's a plan.
    • A bigger, better version of last year. Last year (when I was still doing time on the inside of IBM), there was a ballyhoo of "nobody is getting a PBC bonus". But that was a sham: use-less Ginni and her cronies picked up massive bonuses through other routes, whilst the brains and the workers grafted on, thankless. And this year - worse than ever, and greedier than ever. Glad to be gone.
    • It's all about branding. "IBM currently has about 15,000 job openings around the world for new skills in growth areas such as cloud, analytics, security, and social and mobile technologies

      Skill is not the word I would apply to what I have seen of IBM lately. Past feats of engineering are replaced with slap dash shoddiness. IBM is a name that once represented something meaningful. Unfortunately too many suckers, I mean stockholders, and the disconnected people of the C-suite think it still does. It is just a label that you affix to something to justify the higher price.

    • Welcome to the world of the 1%. Now get back to your cubes you proles, these Execs needs some more millions for their yachts.
    • Re: It's all about branding I'm one of those skilled people. Still there, for now. And yes, the work I produce is completely substandard and a fraction of what I could do. Why? Because I couldn't give a fuck any more. The more customers desert IBM the quicker I get redundancy.

      As for Ginni and her pals, why would they give a shit either? They're driving the company into the ground and getting the payouts from doing so. Do you really think they're going to care that there's going to be no more IBM at the end of the decade?

  • Fortune:

    Anatomy Of A Layoff: How IBM Is Likely To Spin This Week's Force Reduction. By Robert X. Cringely. Excerpts: IBM doesn’t like me. After my column last week predicting massive cuts at the giant computer company, IBM now says I’m wrong, and that there will be nowhere near 110,000 IBM employees laid off. But like my young sons who never hit each other but instead push, slap, graze, or brush, I think IBM is dissembling, fixating on the term 110,000 layoffs, which by the way I never used. Whatever the word, what counts is how many fewer people will be paid by IBM on March 1 compared to today.

    There are many ways to spin a work force reduction. Here’s how one IBMer source (I have dozens) explained the tricks to me this morning:

    “If you’re following the Endicott Alliance discussion board (an organization of IBM workers) you know that they are only ‘officially’ laying off several thousand (maybe 12K I’m guessing), but others are being pushed out by being given poor performance ratings. This includes people on their ‘bridge to retirement’ program that took that option, thinking it kept them ‘safe’ from resource actions (layoffs/firings). There is a loophole that says they can be dismissed for ‘performance’ reasons, which is exactly why many of my long-time, devoted, hard working peers are suddenly getting the worst rating, a 3. It’s so they can be dismissed without any separation package and no hit to the RA, or workforce rebalancing, fund…

    It used to be something like 10 percent of employees ‘had’ to be labeled 3′s, but recently the required number of 3′s was way, way upped according to some managers. So that’s how they are doing it…

    Some managers have teams of hard working people that put in tons of overtime and do everything they are asked, and by requirement some must be given 1′s, some 2+, some 2, and unfortunately some 3′s…

    They also got rid of some employees by ‘stuffing’ them into the Lenovo x86 acquisition, shipping tons of people over there that never even worked on x86 stuff. Lenovo has discovered this and has given some of them a way better package (year salary and benefits), and taking it up quietly with IBM.” ...

    Another source told me the plan was to give the people notice before January 28th so they would be off the books by the end of February — one month. That implies a lot of firings, offshore staff reductions, contractors released or strongly motivated early retirements. None of those are layoffs. There will probably be lots of normal layoffs, too, with the required notice. I’m told that senior managers throughout IBM have been pleading for the last few months with higher-up executives not to go through with this because of the risk of consequences such as IBM “breaking” accounts or failing to meet contract obligations. IBM’s customers are going to be the biggest casualty to this week’s staff reductions. That is the message IBM is likely trying to avoid.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • As an IBM employee for a decade now what I find it insane is that every time the CEO and the senior executive leadership team fails to make shareholder expectations they pretend to be doing something by restructuring …aka laying off employee’s..and changing division names in IBM. What is even more insane is why the key shareholders put up with this nonsense. Obviously like any leadership team if they do not produce results, for sure after 11 straight quarters in a role..you would think they would ask the CEO Ginny Rometty and her senior leadership to step down. Obviously what they are doing ins’t working and they need fresh leadership. Instead great employees and visionaries that make IBM great are being fired and the guts of the company are being ripped apart…what a mess
    • Excellent comment. I just left (less than 4 weeks ago) for some of those very reasons. The leadership at IBM in the software sales arena is filled with people that can’t sell, never sold, or they’ve been life long IBMers and don’t know what it takes to make a cold call, set a meeting, and start a “net new” opportunity…most of them simply glide along and boast that they’re “banded executives”…11 straight quarters demands a change…start a program that replaces all sales management with hungry, start-up mentality professionals that put the customer first…then, start re-investing in your software brands...the nana second customers find out you’re NOT putting a dime back into R&D to enhance those software brands things will get worse...just sayin…”continuous engineering/sustain mode” isn’t a good business practice…nor is short changing your customers to keep that ESP!
    • The crude redefinition of ‘Unsatisfactory Performance’ is a cruelly effective tool which has been used for ‘resource actions’ for a few years now.

      IBM first split personnel management from task management a few years ago and Palmisano exaggerated that split. Regardless of the quality of the real job being done by a ‘resource’, the PBC rating applied by the PDM – ‘personnel development manager’ – at the annual review has been managed from the top to enforce the percentage of headcount for whom salary increases / promotions could apply.

      The move from a broad distribution of review dates based on the anniversary date of staff employment (The old A&C – ‘Appraisal and Counselling’ – system) to an annual orchestrated corporate HR action – the PBC review – gave the company a major tool in the accounting calendar with which to ‘manage cost’.

      It also, incidentally, provided a serious distraction during the critical year end period while ‘resources’ were forced to focus on soliciting their own peer review feedback and providing feedback on others.

      Re-numbering the ratings from 1,2,3,4 to 1,2+, 2,3 was a childish attempt to disguise the resource engineering that was going on. In the meantime, ‘task management’ went out of the window. Good technical leaders found themselves ‘offered’ additional PBC Objectives to act as PDMs for increasingly large groups of resources, often in unrelated areas of the organisation. If the technical leaders declined this offer, they’d find their own ratings slipping from 2+ to 2 (2 to 3 in ‘old money’).

      These same technical leaders found themselves increasingly swamped by the enormity of the problems caused by ‘three tier’ – onshore/nearshore/offshore – delivery, with tier 1 working frantically onshore to clean up the undisciplined mess often delivered by tier 3 offshore. Those who, in the interests of the customer, found themselves working on such un-costed and consequently unbillable activity would find their overall ratings suppressed still further as a result.

      I’m old enough to remember the once great corporate ethic of ‘Respect for the Individual’. Akers may have had flaws, but the extent of self-destruction on Palmisano’s watch was eye-watering. A tough act to follow and an even tougher one to recover from. Good luck, Ginni.

    • You are spot on the way IBM will let this play out. I was a Director and left IBM in 2007 because of the LEAN farce being driven by now disgraced Bob Moffat. I still have many friends in executive positions and they are telling me that they were “tricked” into the 3 ratings for employees and have exposed some of their best people to getting fired for supposed performance issues. \

      The broader issue for IBM, HP and CSC or any other US based services company is that their cost structure is too high and they are continually losing ground to the Indian pure plays. There is no good answer available to compete and these companies are headed for the path US manufacturing was led down – specialized or custom work staying in the US and everything that smells like a commodity is offshore. The same is happening in Outsourcing services.

      I don’t necessarily blame IBM for it efforts to compete but it treats US workers like children and isn’t honest about their futures or lack thereof. The same thing is happening at IBM’s US competitors – HP of note. Between Mark Hurd and Meg Whitman – over 100K people have lost their jobs. Since I now work for HP – I can say that HP is about 3- 4 years behind IBM and sadly will take the same path.

    • Whatever benefits there ever were to working at IBM have all but disappeared at this point. Pay was abysmal this quarter, morale has never been lower and hard working people are being rewarded with arbitrarily low performance ratings. Leadership is completely clueless about what’s actually driving the problem, and how could they not be? We are one of the largest technology companies on earth, and out internal reporting system is a never-ending, duplicitous series of Excel spreadsheets. We own the best Business Intelligence solution in the market, and we don’t use it. All the restructuring in the world isn’t going to fix this problem.
    • ‘I think IBM is dissembling.’ Yuh think? The working IBMers, those that are left, regard these pronouncements like the Joe Isuzu ads: How can you tell when they’re lying? Their lips move.

      IBM is a schizophrenic world: those on the gravy train, middle/upper management and sales, who think that this is forever the best of all possible IBMs…and the people who invent, produce and fix, the worker bees, who have a *much* more jaundiced view. Namely that the profiteers there are running the business into the ground, destroying its ability to produce product and serve the customers, looking to make a bundle and get out before the whole thing falls down around their ears.

      In a way, *any* blog on IBM is a cheap shot, liking firing at the broadside of the barn from three feet: a bull’s eye every time

    • Rob, everything in your article above is true and verified 100%. It is correct they wanted everyone to be notified by the end of January 2015 because they wanted to experience 11 months of savings. It is also true management have lowered everyone’s performance rating. It has happened to myself, and everyone around me that I know.
  • Times of India:

    Techies join hands against IT firm job cuts. By Manash Pratim Gohain. Excerpt: Fear of large scale retrenchment for the first time prompted professionals from the IT industry to come together under one platform to initiate a joint struggle on Sunday. After job cuts at TCS and fearing similar action by other companies, IT professionals from TCS, Wipro, IBM, HCL, Tech Mahindra, Deloitte, Samsung, Accenture from locations like Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore gathered in the capital to meet the IT Professional Welfare Association (ITPWA) and discuss "Job Security in IT Industry".
  • The Register:

    IBM chasing ex-staffers for $20 payments. Big Blue jobs shifting under PYRAMID SALES SCHEME. By Simon Sharwood. Excerpts: IBM's nasty round of job-shedding is in part due to a pyramid scheme, in the form of a new Digital Sales Center in Cairo, Egypt, home to the nation's most famous pyramids.

    IBM's not being shy about why it's making new investments in Egypt: its canned statement about the new facility features the CEO of the Egyptian Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) bragging about his nation's “... low cost, skilled talent pool … accent-free multi-lingual capabilities, as well as its strong technical competencies.”

    IBM says it plans to hire 800 people in Egypt, as part of an effort to “ transform the way IBM digitally engages with clients and business partners across 70 countries in the region.” That transformation will see “A specialized IT sales force will provide services to IBM clients in Arabic, English, French and Portuguese”.

    While all that's going on in the land of the Pharaohs, former IBM staff are complaining that the company is pursuing them for tiny sums after it fires them.

    Edited posts to a site maintained by the Union covering IBM members offer up tales such as a staffer being sent a bill for US$21. Figuring out why his former employer felt it was owed such a sum took several hours of IBM time, a rich irony given the company's drive to cut costs. Another post tells of a request to a recently-fired staffer for a $534 payment, to correct an error IBM made.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • “transform the way IBM digitally engages with clients and business partners across 70 countries in the region.” Translation: "It's cheaper."
    • I think if I received a bill for $20 from an employer who'd just fired me like that, I'd write back and ask for a full cost breakdown to justify why I owed them the money. That would easily cost them more than $20 even if it turned out that I had to pay it.
  • WRAL TechWire:

    Union: CEO's $3.7M bonus, raise 'like rubbing salt in a wound'. Excerpt: Capping a week in which IBM began laying off thousands of workers, Big Blue on Friday disclosed that chair and CEO Ginny Rometty is getting a $3.7 million bonus and a 6.7% raise. The union seeking to represent IBM workers reacts with anger, calls for workers to unionize.

    Rometty was given the financial boost despite the fact IBM revenues and profits declined in 2014.

    "Like rubbing salt in a wound the news today is that CEO Rometty will be getting a $3 million dollar bonus," Alliance@IBM said in a statement issued after the Rometty financial package details were disclosed in a regulatory filing.

    • "This after firing thousands of workers last year.
    • "After firing an unknown number this week.
    • "After dismal quarter after quarter.
    • "After doing nothing to repair the dismal morale of employees.
    • "How much more insult does she expect IBM workers to take?
    • "The answer is up to you."
  • Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up blog:

    IBM: "I’ve Been Manipulated"? Excerpts: To Wall Street, however, IBM could stand for “I’ve Been Manipulated,” because no public company we can think of does a better job of schmoozing Wall Street’s Finest and convincing them that there’s a there there, when in fact the there is not quite as there as it might seem.

    The quarterly earnings calls are curiously synthetic, almost antiseptic affairs, run by the CFO and focused strictly on the numbers: on the revenue number, on the cash flow number, on the share buyback number, and on the earnings number. In particular, the per share earnings number.

    The CEO never graces the call, and no actual business operators discuss their business. No success stories are told, no customers highlighted. It is all about margins and currencies and so-called one-time charges and so-called one-time gains, and tax rates, and how all those things added up to the earnings per share that quarter.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Worst Company Ever”

      Former Employee — Cognos Pre-Sales (CTP) in Atlanta, GA. Pros: Can't think of a single one other than the perceived reputation is that IBM produces good managers. Cons: No competitive salary, no investment in employees, no investment in products or technology, yearly lay-offs, matrix management, awful internal and external websites for customers and partners, growth by acquisition only, cost control by lay-offs only. Advice to Senior Management: Learn what works at the companies you acquire and keep it. IBM is where software goes to die. The industry joke used to be that Infor was the product graveyard. Now it's IBM.
    • “A spreadsheet driven death march”

      Former Employee — Manager I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Great people to work with and, being a large company, you can find a number of great opportunities to grow. There are also employers who will look at experience with IBM favorably when evaluating you for employment.

      Cons:

      • No focus on customer satisfaction or experience, revenue and earnings per share rule above all else
      • A sadistic focus on PBC performance ratings to root out some percentage of employees twice a year, whether employees are truly worthy of a poor rating or not.
      • Salary lags well behind competitors. IBM admits this, and it has been compounded over the last few years when raises were few and far between.
      • 401k matching only takes place if you are employed on 15 December. If you leave or are let go before that, then kiss the match good bye.
      • Health insurance benefits are extremely poor and expensive. I think IBM will eventually push employees into the exchanges, at the very least, to cover dependents.
      • Most areas have been cut severely over the years so staff are overworked and spread very thin.
      • IBM has a concept called work-life integration, that effectively means that there is no balance. Your work is your life, so you arrange family and other commitments around that. You'll work 60-70 hours a week and like it.
      • Navigating red tape is a burden.
      • Many employees are too focused on their next job to do a decent job in the current one
      • Training programs around CAMMS, on the surface are nice, but the program was extremely time consuming (on top of long weeks) and difficult to keep up with for many. The real issue here is that the program was used as a hammer at year's end to drum many out.
      • Acquired companies are pillaged. IBM buys very good companies, loads them up with slow processes, beats them into submission, and sucks out all of the life. IBM is left with revenue streams and very little of what made the product or business acquired great in the first place.
      • It's a very cold and very impersonal place to work. To be asked your serial number before trying to do just about anything in company is dehumanizing.

      Advice to Senior Management: Try to actually live 1-3-9. You have great employees all over the world and too many good ones are unmotivated and leaving for better opportunities. You have great customers who suffer from poor products and poor execution and in both cases IBM just doesn't care. Financial engineering and earnings per share is all that matters. Now we see the company chasing the CAMMS business where it is already behind the curve and where margins are eventually going to be razor thin. I was beaten down and just couldn't take it anymore. By caring just a little about who does the work and caring about the customer, people like me would go to the ends of the earth for your company.

    • “Too many layoffs, hard to support customers”

      Current Employee — Senior Technical Writer in San Jose, CA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: The people are great, but the best minds are leaving, if they can. Cons: The latest round of layoffs had nothing to do with performance; whole organizations were gutted. They threw out some of the best talent as well as the few remaining low performers. Advice to Senior Management: Start investing in the future and stop weakening the company with financial engineering shenanigans. Let the stock fall where it may if you must. Take care of your customers or someone else will.
    • “Once a Great Place”

      Current Employee — Senior IT Specialist in Dallas, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years).

      Pros: Relationships with coworkers, and clients. They are flexible with Dr visits and working from home when needed.

      Cons:

      • So many to list, no pay raises here, probably won't see any in the next few years either
      • Very few promotions, so if you are looking to move up, this is no longer the place.
      • The rating system is outdated, and ratings are not based on actual performance, but are based on your manager having x number of this rating, x number of that rating, and having to fill ratings that were passed down to them.
      • Resource actions (layoffs) are every quarter, which detracts from the job and you are more concerned on how not to be laid off than doing your job.
      • Management is more interested in pleasing Wall Street than its employees.
      • There is also a bit of the good ole boy network, it is who you know, not what you know.

      Advice to Senior Management: Change the rating system to a more modern one, give pay raises, listen to those in the trenches, don't use lay offs as a motivator, make your managers accountable for their actions.

    • “Out of touch chiefs...overwhelmed Indians”

      Former Employee — Project Manager. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 8 years).

      Pros: Lots of the work can be done remotely with plenty of tools to allow for success. Benefits are better than average.

      Cons:

      • Out-of-touch management who focus on cost cutting with non-existent long term planning
      • Heavy politics and siloed department in-fighting for resources
      • Talent retention secondary as performance reviews based primarily on factors outside of employees control
      • 60 hour weeks common unless part of the sales organization
      • Heavy reliance on global staff with limited communication and widely varied technical capabilities
      • Quality of customer support degrades rapidly depending on the size of the account.

      Advice to Senior Management: Build up infrastructure with focus on improving end-to-end customer support and engagement. Foster an environment to retain talent across the organization rather than rebalance/replace within siloed groups/divisions on a regular basis. Focus on building long-term value thru customer and resource retention rather than short-term gains.

    • “Company does not understand how to reward or retain its talented work force”

      Former Employee — Senior Software Engineer in Littleton, MA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: The company has a lot of talented people — the Software Group consists largely of acquired companies, and the people bring with them a passion for the products they work on. My complaints about IBM have nothing to do with the quality of its employees.

      Work schedule is fairly flexible and benefits are decent. Office space in Littleton, MA was reasonably nice, though all cubes.

      Cons: IBM seems to have a "resource action" (massive layoff) every year, regardless of whether or not the company is profitable. Additionally, their review process has "quotas" for each rating, meaning that even the very solid performers can go for years without getting a raise, and good people are "set up" with poor reviews only to be cut in the next round of layoffs. Though that never happened to me, I saw it happen repeatedly to co-workers: good, talented people.

      Things aren't any better for the people left behind after all of these cuts — people who leave (whether via attrition or layoffs) are not replaced, and projects are under-resourced and people overworked. And you have to watch as good people are given their walking papers, wondering when it'll be you.

      IBM also talks about "work-life integration" as opposed to "work-life balance," implying flexibility in work schedules, when what it really means is having to do phone meetings at 6:00 AM or 9:00 PM, if working with people in radically different time zones, which seems to be the rule rather than the exception as IBM offshores more and more of its US jobs. Overall, it creates a toxic environment that crushes the spirit out of people who have a lot to give.

      Advice to Senior Management: Reward and retain your talented people. That includes the good solid performers that make up most of the software group, not just the 1% at the top.

    • “No longer a good place to work”

      Current Employee — Senior Managing Consultant. I have been working at IBM part-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Very large company with many different types of business units. Locations all over the world. A company that everybody knows. Cons: Raises for above average employees have been rare to non-existent for several years. Overall corporate financial results have also been poor. However, the CEO and other top level executive were recently given raises and large bonuses despite the financial performance. At about the same time, another round of lay-offs was conducted affecting several thousand US employees.
    • “Rats from a sinking ship.”

      Current Employee — Course Developer in Toronto, ON (Canada). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Cons: Leadership is solely focused on Earnings Per Share, and not on customers or employees. There are undisclosed yearly layoffs ("workforce rebalancing") of around 10% per year, and stacked (forced-distribution) ranking, which is used to justify cuts where the earnings are not performing as desired, and to shift the workforce to cheaper labor by off-shoring jobs and hiring new grads. This is resulting in plummeting employee morale, engagement, and loyalty.

      The drive to increase speed and cost savings removes any pride in the quality of work you do, or the feeling of empowerment to be able to do a good job.

      Leadership responds to any negative feedback by blaming employees with a "beatings will continue until morale improves" philosophy. If you want a good sense of what employees are really thinking, go to the IBM Alliance web site, which is the only place to get any sense of the yearly bloodshed.

      There is a general consensus that IBM engages in age-discrimination by "resource actioning" a disproportionate number of employees over 50. However, the company has changed it's reporting process so that it is impossible to prove this in court (after having been successfully sued in the past for this practice).

      Advice to Senior Management: Stop focusing on arbitrary EPS targets. Focus on customers and quality, and stop treating your employees like numbers on a spreadsheet. Your employees are smart — they can figure out what is really going on, no matter how much money you pour into propaganda videos.

    • “Great people, poor overall corporate direction”

      Current Employee — Sales.

      Pros: I've worked here for over 15 years, and my co-workers are top-notch. I've had about 10 managers. I would say 4 were great, 4 very good, and none 'bad'.

      Cons: Cost-cutting measures to cut people with experience, and replace with low-cost non-experienced contractors to save a dime, has cost IBM millions. It slows our response to clients in so many ways, and our quotes need to be checked 18 times for accuracy. Changes to our processes and people happen so often, never really sure what the 'right' way is, or who to ask. Many of our key internal tools are ancient, and IBM will not invest any money to update or improve them. Our business laptops are old and slow.

      Advice to Senior Management: Mindless cost-cutting to meet a magic yearly cost number is very short-sighted. Although you believe you can measure the cost savings, your clueless to all the money being lost by the impact of the cuts.

    • “I can't recommend IBM for anyone or as a supplier for anything.”

      Current Employee — Senior Managing Consultant in Copenhagen (Denmark). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: Your are in the same positions as 80% of your colleagues.

      Cons: The upper and middle management is useless and incompetent. They have built a nepotism culture around themselves to hide their incompetence and the results they never have achieved. Projects/accounts are not managed by the best for the job but of those who have been the best to profile themselves in the crony layers of management. The result is that customers are delivered outdated solutions supported by underpaid and under-skilled IBM'ers (graduates, Indians, Filipinos etc), adding nothing to customers' value creation.

      IBM Denmark has not been able to build a business around the major acquisitions that were made 10 years ago. In reality these acquisitions have only been used as cash cows, milking the customers that came to IBM. Customers have since fled from IBM because of the extremely poor quality of deliveries from IBM to extra ordinary high prices.

      Most of the employees in IBM Denmark don't agree with the managerial decisions and the culture that have been build up inside IBM in the last decade.

      It is clear to most that the decline of IBM Denmark will continue and the management-related initiatives have made matters worse for IBM and its customers. As an employee or customer it is time to leave a company that once could and would live up to its own values.

      Advice to Senior Management: At least 50% of the management must go. Otherwise the fall and decline of IBM will continue. Sorry.

    • “Poor employee investment continues”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Great work/life balance when needed. Extremely talented co-workers. Lots of different technologies to keep you busy. Cons: Very top heavy. More concern for shareholders which leads to a lack of investment in employees. Advice to Senior Management: Get back to the days of actually investing in your employees and customers and you will find that the business results will follow.
    • “So glad I left before the RA”

      Former Employee — Strategy in Raleigh, NC I worked at IBM full-time (more than 10 years.)

      Pros: My teammates who are typically smart and hardworking and frequently considered to be industry experts. Option to work out of home office was nice.

      Cons: Miserable morale and loss of respect for employees. Shifting people out of the business when their skills and knowledge of how to get things done will be lost forever. Recent restructuring created many new senior exec jobs just before the Resource Action which eliminated many lower-level employees. Employees were given low performance ratings to ensure they do not get their bonus on the way out the door, however, senior execs will all get bonuses this year.

      Advice to Senior Management: Very poor actions and employee relations demonstrated in Jan 2015: massive restructuring. Employees find out through instant messaging who their new manager/org will be, followed by unprecedented low PBC ratings, resource actions and then announcements of executive raises and bonuses. How many of us will recommend to our children, families, neighbors? I was not RA'd but I will not work in such a company any longer. Absolutely the work environment I have ever worked in.

    • “Excessive levels of management, little care for employees, low salaries, advancement is difficult.”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Dubuque, IA. Pros: Great benefits and vacation time. Flexible work schedule. Opportunities for self paced learning. Cons: Low salaries. Company will not hesitate to lay off as many people as it takes to boost numbers for investors. IBM moves extremely slowly and will not be able to keep up with the rapidly changing IT field. Too many levels of management. Advice to Senior Management: Listen to your employees. Most of them are undervalued, worked to death and not recognized for their effort while the few who work the system get praised for doing nothing.
    • “Disorganized sinking ship”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Potentially flexible work locations. Sometimes easy to float around not doing anything. Cons: Terrible compensation; disorganized; awful; employee development is a joke; review process is nonsense; tend to be aged-bias...younger for cheaper is the motto.
    • “Poor choice”

      Current Employee — Staff Software Engineer. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Work/life balance is OK; you can work from home as much as you want. Cons: No direction, no communication from above, constant threats of layoffs, no bonuses even though CEO's get them when company is doing terrible. No raises, poor compensation, increasingly expensive benefits, sneaky 401k match (end of year), old processes, cumbersome meetings, childish attempts to modernize to 'CLOUD' and new tech, low quality new hires. Advice to Senior Management: IBM needs major management change and needs to compensate it's employees.
    • “Once was proud of working at IBM — now it's a toxic environment of layoffs, benefit cuts, poor morale.”

      Current Employee — ZSystems Software Engineer in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: With over 30 years experience here, about the only thing that still falls into the realm of PRO is decent flexibility for remote workers.

      Cons: In the last decade, internal education classes have gone from best of breed to non-existent. Benefits have been cut across the board. The PBC ranking has gone from a reasonable performance-based system to just a curved ranking system to build the next layoff candidate list. Very few raises, little opportunity for internal advancement. And finally, a petty cost management system that's reached the point where employees must not only supply their own office supplies, but their own monitors and keyboards too. IBM provides one laptop and charger, which are now on a 4-year replacement cycle.

      Advice to Senior Management: Bring back real education; current Think40 options are just advertising pitches. Bring back at least some recognition of employee's worth, and be more open in communicating with them. It's a week after the most recent RA cycle has begun, and our team has yet to hear if we are effected or not. And fix the PBC system. With the current ranking method in place, there is no incentive to assist team members with issues — it only helps them compete against you when positions are stacked at the end of the year.

    • “Time to leave!”

      Current Employee — IT Architect in Atlanta, GA. Pros: some employees are allowed to work from home. Cons: Constantly worried about layoffs, cuts in employee benefits, no respect for employees. CEO plays financial engineering games and sales engineering games. Company is reporting sales that are "give aways" and will hurt the company in long term — all designed to make the CEO "look good." Advice to Senior Management: Fire Ginni, replace the Board and bring in an outsider to lead the company.
    • “Not a place for innovation”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Melbourne (Australia). I worked at IBM full-time (less than a year). Pros: Pay was about industry standard. Having IBM on your CV can possibly carry some weight for people who still think of IBM the way it used to be many years ago. Cons: Terrible toxic culture. No room to be innovative or show initiative. Seems hell bent on making life difficult and costly for their customers.
    • “No sales so people pinched”

      Former Employee — Solutions Architect in Philadelphia, PA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Training, investment in technical job families, and broad product portfolio creates an ever-changing list of career opportunities. IBM's move to the Cloud points to a possible future beyond the mainframe. Cons: Poor sales attainment means completely unattainable comp plans due to jacked-up quota targets. Whether Sales or Sales Engineering, words like "Target Incentive" are a punch line. No one expects to make, much less over achieve targets in IBM. Advice to Senior Management: Stop hiring commodity sales and technical professionals. Pull your heads out of the early 2000s and embrace a changed world.
    • “Constant Job losses”

      Former Employee — Project Manager in London, England (UK). I worked at IBM (more than 5 years). Pros: Work from home; salary good although bonus often poor or non existent despite CEO getting hers for under performance. Cons: Constant restructures: I had 4 managers in 12 months. Threat of redundancy constant. Usually offer redundancy once or twice a year and threaten you to be forced if you don't take it. Morale because of this low. PBC reviews for each employee often fixed just to hit numbers and no union, so they do what they like. Advice to Senior Management: Ginni R enjoy your huge bonus that you don't deserve.
    • “10% Genius, 90% Mediocrity”

      Former Employee — Senior IT Specialist in London, England (UK). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      Pros: Some really sharp and innovative people. They acquire some really great companies. Scope to move around within IBM. Great to have it on your CV.

      Cons: Layer upon later of soul-crushing pointless managers. They destroy some really great acquisitions. Lots of people who have made a career out of sending emails full of the latest buzzwords and having meetings about having meetings.

      Advice to Senior Management: Get rid of all the bureaucracy and encourage the innovation and agility that you pay lip service to. Stop culling employees — it creates an awful culture.

    • “Should be NO STARS”

      Current Employee — Communications Manager in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: There are no pros to working at a company that devalues employees, bullies you into working 80 hours a week. Only good ones left are so burnt out they don't have the energy to update their resumes.

      Cons:

      • no raises
      • no promotions
      • no values
      • no training
      • no future
      • no leaders that have any skills
      • abusive cutthroat environment
      • unprofessional behaviour

      Advice to Senior Management: Board of directors needs to eliminate every level of management and above

    • “Similar to Federal Government”

      Current Employee — Brand Sales in Chicago, IL. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Good place to hide if you want to be a slacker; just get connected to management to cover for you. Cons: Has destroyed every acquisition acquired. Endless levels of management hiding behind Excel spreadsheets. Advice to Senior Management: Sell the company off.
    • “Lots of "transformation" going on, losing a lot of good talent”

      Current Employee — Client Technical Specialist.

      Pros: Very good base pay for technical sales coming out of school. Work from home.

      Cons: Used to have odd bonus structure in which you didn't know whether you would get a bonus or how much you would get. Now it's still unclear, but at least it's directly tied to sales.

      Lack of growth—very hard to get promotions unless you get lucky and are put onto large accounts that are making the company lots of money.

      Horrible processes that require employees to track every task they do with clients. This task input takes a lot of time and is time wasted.

      IBM is hiring a ton of new people out of college to get rid of the older people, then they are laying off the older resources and also laying off the new resources, stretching the workforce thin.

      Almost impossible to move around in the company if you are technical.

    • “If you land a position ALWAYS continue to interview to leave”

      Current Employee — Architect in Atlanta, GA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years).

      Pros: Great benefits. If you are young you can make it for a little while; just be sure your division is mentioned in annual report to shareholders.

      Cons: Doesn't care about employees; layoffs every year (sometimes twice a year); slow at being innovative; cares about IBM bottom line NEVER employee; rarely get pay increases.

      Advice to Senior Management:Get back to putting "trust and personal responsibility in ALL relationships". You can start by caring for YOUR employees. Employees spend more time worried if they will have a job instead of doing their job. Employees run a business, so care for them before your bottom line. Don't be a bunch of greedy pigs; eventually you will get slaughtered.

    • “30 years at IBM and I wish I never left my Federal service job”

      Current Employee — I/T Specialist In Global Business Services, Band 7 in Durham, NC. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      Pros: IBM has health benefits and vacation days, and many of the people I work with are top notch.

      Cons: The vacation days will be hard to take due to demands of the job, and for every vacation day you do take, plan to work 8 hours unpaid overtime to make up your "utilization". The people who are not top notch are incompetent at their work, and they make work for the top notch employees who are frustrated. Once hired do not expect more than a 1% raise and not every year.

      Advice to Senior Management: The C-level execs should resign and allow the employees to run the company.

    • “Oh Well! Lasted a year — not bad...NOT!”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros: Work from home, great benefits, lots of travel. If you are a go-getter you will learn a lot! Met some great and some not-so-great people.

      Cons: The most messed up treatment of employees. Disparate management styles (or lack there of). It's all about productivity and making contacts. NOT about merit or skills. You spend most of your time kissing up to the few people that actually have the work and hope they share with you. In some cases you will see people with the same skills as you working 125% of the time while you sit home with nothing to do. I was praised in my first year, got a raise, got a good rating and made some good contacts, but some how I got let go. Then they tell you "no worries" you can find a job internally! BULL!

      Look, if you are a seasoned consultant or a newbie looking to learn — go for it but expect no longevity unless you get lucky enough to meet the right person or have the specific skill that Ginnie has decided to go after this week. I went through 3 managers, 4 departments and changed my direction and business focus 2 times.

      Advice to Senior Management: 1) Instead of kissing up to the stakeholders, try a little resource management. Senior managers are managing to the market and line managers are totally clueless! 2) Stop the ridiculous internal charging. If you really want to do this right create functional teams that can work together to — hey- deliver a good product!

    • “Good benefits, culture lacking”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros: Excellent salary for a first job out of college, great benefits for a young single person, 3 weeks paid-time off to start. I am lucky in that most of my team is on site and so I have many people with ample experience to help me. Some really interesting stuff is happening — if you can get on the right team. Depending on the manager, generally able to work from home frequently and flexible hours. Seems to be lots of opportunity to move around in the company.

      Cons: Culture is seriously lacking and morale is generally mediocre. The population skews older, with young people struggling to meet each other. Location is outside of Boston, so for those relocating getting started on a social life is hard. Tons of "blue tape" to get anything done. Rating system that determines bonuses seems broken and criteria seems to vary from manager to manager. A definite sense of being resigned, or even cynicism, from a lot of employees, makes you question where things are going and if you should stick around.

    • “If you want a real career, go elsewhere.”

      Current Employee — Technician in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years.) Pros: Good training, good benefits, food stamp eligibility at entry level. Cons: Lower salaries than competition, retirement plan poor, constant layoffs.
    • “No bonuses, no worthwhile training, pay rises frozen yet again, constant reorgs...use them for the IBM name on your CV”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee.

      Pros:

      • You get an impressive name on your CV as the IBM name still carries weight
      • You can work for some impressive clients
      • Some projects can be interesting and you can boost your CV
      • Working for IBM is just a vehicle to use to end up with a company you enjoy working for.

      Cons:

      • Very long working hours as projects are constantly under resourced and set to stupid timelines.
      • Working for a smarter planet? Not really. People work longer and work harder but not always smarter.
      • Lack of respect from senior management to their employees.
      • Employees work very hard for no reward other than the salary that IBM must pay. Pay has been frozen yet again and bonuses are not paid out very widely. So when you see in your contract about the bonus ... don't count on it.
      • Head banging bureaucracy.
      • If you are junior, it can be a good place to work because you will be exposed to a lot whilst having to play the game of confidence and competence to the client but it's often a charade. Still, you get the experience.

      Advice to Senior Management: I have no advice to them.

    • “Non Existent Graduate Program”

      Current Employee — Technical Specialist in London, England (UK). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: A lot of flexibility, good people, and a good helping of interesting work, work/life balance is good.

      Cons: Lacking any focus or direction at all levels. Graduate program, which I am currently on, is frankly appalling, and provides little or no useful support to someone starting out on their career. Over burdened with nonsensical processes and let down by an incredibly arbitrary review system.

      Advice to Senior Management: Start recognizing the value of people to your organization and get your head round the fact if you don't then those quarterly results that seem so important are going to end up in the toilet.

    • “I was an intern”

      Former Intern — Marketing Intern in Raleigh, NC. I worked at IBM as an intern (less than a year.) Pros: It looks good on your resume; thats really about it. Cons: Most people work from home, which causes huge disconnects. Many people who said they would refer me somewhere, or something along those didn't hold up to their word, and it says a lot about their culture there. A lot of things end up falling through the cracks and people generally don't have your back because you are just a phone call and not an actual person. Advice to Senior Management: Start connecting with your employees more and honor your word! Little things like that go a long way.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 02/01/15:

    I am at the partner level and was included in the resource action in spite of consistently high performance numbers. It was weak business conditions and the fact that the other partners were more important to the existing projects. I am the only woman in the work group and one of only a handful in the whole region. I am a women in my 50s and will no doubt face age/gender discrimination. The male partners that were retained have crucial chummy drinking buddy relationships with their customers. The treatment and support of professional women, in spite of the window dressing at the top layers is appalling. The other senior women are competitive not supportive.

    The leader of my group that made the decision to let me go let two women and a black man go last year (in total). I have an MBA and tons of experience and have always always been successful and well regarded in other companies. I had far better signings numbers than the male partners that were kept. In fact one had zero for signings and the other had 500k. I had 3.2m.

    I took all the CAMS training and am conversant in IBM's assets yet I am also not allowed to be considered for the new business units, again in spite of strong pbc results and email accolades from over 7 senior people. A company that cannot make the best use of the talent they have and allow age and gender bias is not an ethical company. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/01/15:

    If there is anyone left who doubts the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of this company just look at the huge bonuses the execs are giving themselves and compare it to the way they are treating everyone else in the organisation. -SickOfIt-
  • Comment 02/01/15:

    Notified 01/28/2015. Div 07 - GTS - SO. Age 57. 30+ years. Project Manager. PBC 2+ for last 5 years. All 1's for 2 decades prior. Standard package. Last day is 02/27/2015. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/01/15:

    I spent 30 year in the HR dept of Italian HQ in Milano; was assigned for two years in Armonk and held several international HR tasks. At the time IBM was well known for a cornerstone of its policies: respect for individuals.

    During the tenure of Mr. Gerstner this IBM principle was progressively cancelled, substituted by the word "execution". Many high-level managers felt authorized to consider their colleagues as servants to be dismissed without personal consideration for any "business reason"; if not they were to be fired for missing execution.

    Today managerial tools like teamwork, performance appraisal, proper rewarding, internal communication, are considered useless and even time consuming. Workforce is a commodity all around the world. Manager/employee communication is a mere loss of time. Selfishness and lack of strategic business views are the main qualities of present top managers. They do not want even to consider that employee dedication, professional growth, teamwork, respect, pride in the company are the real ingredients for long term business success. My best wishes to all RA's around the world and good luck. -Pier Luigi Salvini-

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    In 1981 when I joined IBM, it was the company every college graduate wanted to work for. Look where it is now in the ranking...bad management and leadership! -Ex IBMer-
  • Comment 02/02/15:

    I feel deeply for the all employees who are either remaining or RA'ed. IBM is hell to work for, though it's heaven for top management to achieve their personal greed while slaughtering the people who work hard to provide family a decent life. I left IBM on my own terms in 2013 after refusing a new retention and having to repay the company a retention I was given in 2012. I became sick of this retention crap. Retention is a cheap way to keep employees while not raising their salaries and benefits.\

    My family has been happier than ever since I left this grave. Should IBM value good employees, it should raise their salaries instead of drip-feeding them year by year with retentions. Ahh, our mighty Ginni just got a *proper* recognition including a nice pay raise and millions in bonus. I *hope* Ginni can sleep well receiving such perks by shedding the blood of the hundreds of thousands *resources* working hard to survive.

    While typing this, I kinda realized the logic of *performance reward* IBM follows - whoever manages to sink the ship the fastest gets rewarded the most. No wonder why Ginni and her close acquaintances are getting bloated wallets. Good job! IBM management will no doubt achieve target - sinking the once legendary IBM ship to the very bottom of the deep *blue* sea. Sigh!!! -Resurrected_From_Hell-

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    I don't understand my fellow employees! Another round of firings and an announcement of the CEO's compensation and yet only 43 new Alliance members since the beginning of December. I would expect to see thousands joining after last week. I'm still employed by IBM after a very long career and I'm glad I'm approaching the end of that career. I just hope I can hang in there long enough to retire on my terms. Come on IBM'ers, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? -Long time IBMer-
  • Comment 02/02/15:

    This is how I see it: We can leave or we can organize for a contract. But before choosing to leave, consider this: The situation we are facing is much bigger than just us. Our company is positioning itself to be an HR "thought leader". The same analytics and tools that are being used to surgically select terminations here will be rolled out to other companies quickly. No worker will be safe anywhere under this insane treatment of human resources as "just-in-time inventory". -AFellowPeasant-
  • Comment 02/02/15:

    Got my call last Wed along with everyone else. Aged 59, 36 years IBM service, all in GTS teams (and their many alphabet predecessors), my last PBC rating a 2 after 1s & 2+ over the rest of the years at IBM. Numerous 100% Clubs, Golden Circle & even CEO Awards. None of that mattered at all at the end of the day.

    I know I am in a better space than a lot of the people on the site as this is not the IBM I joined in 1979. So I am ready to go with head held high anyway. I just want to wish everyone affected by this the best of luck and remind them not to define themselves by this RA process. They are far better than this.

    In my time I have worked with some incredibly talented and inspirational people at IBM, probably some of the people who have already commented on this site !! One thing I remember well was the guy that gave me my first managers role in 1989. He refused to use the term "resource" and used to fine us $1 if we used it in meetings. He always said "they have names, or collectively they are our people and we will use one of those descriptions from now on".

    So I will say to our people (still in fear of the fine), move on when the time is right for you to do so, and to leave this life lesson in the rear view mirror, for you are so much better than this. For the people who remain, good luck, but I would consider joining the Alliance in some form to protect yourselves. You will need an effective tool in your arsenal sometime soon.

    I have never felt the need to join one, and now its too late, but the last few years has taught me that this is a ruthless world and exec team. The timing of the pay raise, $3.6M bonus and a bucket full of shares after missing the targets and you walk with 6 months pay or less speaks volumes! The bodies are not even cold so to speak. I found out about this site from a colleague a few months ago and have been watching the last few weeks with interest as the thing unraveled. I will make a donation to the site. Thanks and Goodbye -Readytomoveon-

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    I've worked at IBM for just over 5 years and have been given my first 3 and on a PIP; no package offered (but after reading all this I'm going to go back and ask). I did not put a response to the PBC, but am wondering how long we have to request a review and how do we even ask for one if we can once it is submitted? The review process isn't listed anywhere. If anyone knows how I'd appreciate if they can post.

    Also does anyone know if our medical insurance will cover us through the end of the year if we get let go after our PIP? (I have medical conditions which I need it for and am unsure how to proceed if I get let go.) I feel like my management is completely lacking of any direction and are only retaining the people who chose to be yes men instead of the actual talent and looking to replace us with cheaper labor. I look around and the only ones left are the ones that never challenge the direction because something can be done a better way or always do what they are told. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    Would someone please explain to me how IBM has gotten away with not filing anything in the WARN system? -GTS - PM-

    Alliance reply: IBM has been playing this game for years. The WARN notifications are local and IBM keeps the number of cuts at a given time under the threshold limit per resource action. We used to rely on the RA packs that IBM gave to terminated workers that list the age/title/number cut at a given business unit. They no longer do that. We need sources inside IBM that know the cuts to let us know. Help break the secrecy.

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    I just paid to become a full voting member. For the amount that I have been on this website over the past couple of months I feel that it is the right thing to do to support. Notice the lack of any sort of reporting in the news on this event. Is the news media in IBM's back pocket? Shouldn't someone be picking this up and reporting on it? Someone other than a local college TV station? Am I a little bitter with being a 50 + individual being let go while the mid-20 year old new hires kept their jobs? Yes, you betcha!!! -GTS - PM-

    Alliance reply: First of all thank you for joining the Alliance. As far as media reports, Google Alliance@IBM or IBM job cuts and you will see lots of coverage.

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    4900 laid off in US in total, including myself -Gone- Alliance reply: Thank you for the information. We have been hearing it was close to 5000 notified. Sorry for your job loss.
  • Comment 02/02/15:

    In late August 2014, Rometty sold or exercised options on roughly $6.7M worth of stock valued around $192 per share. By mid-October, IBM stock was at $162. Isn't insider trading like this illegal? Stockholders should be outraged. Further, stockholders should be outraged that the IBM Board of Directors gave Ms. Rometty a raise and bonus. Class action suit anyone? -Ex-Blue-
  • Comment 02/02/15:

    Hopefully after reading this it will encourage more people to join the Alliance. In 2013 I was RA’D I was rated as a 1 on my PBC. Everyone including my idiot of a manager (who was new) came to me for answers. My manager made fun of everyone and enjoyed going after employees; she even pulled an employee's work cell phone and found out a possible affair an employee was having with a manager.

    Six months after she got rid of 4 people all in their 50’s and 60’s in her dept she left. I heard she is now a pastor; what a joke.

    IBM bought us from another company and our severance was grandfathered in for 2 years. After the 2 years was up we were RA’d which means we only got 5 weeks’ severance and 1 person got 1 week severance. It doesn’t matter what is on your PBC they are just getting rid of old timers; Age discrimination “YES”.

    I’m seeing the membership going up, but it should be going through the roof. One thing I did was file the petition with Trade/TRA and I got my 2 years of college paid for free.

    I did make sure I kept notes and gave Trade in Washington DC all the dirty things IBM had did. BTW a couple of months after I left I had a lawyer call and talk to me about IBM and China I told them anything I knew, but that was very little. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell everything you know after you are RA’D. People in numbers can move mountains and please spread the word to join the Alliance IBM. -Gone in 2013-

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    This is just incredible The IBM board of directors did a huge favor for mediocre CEOs the world over on Friday by announcing (quietly) that it has granted Chairman and Chief Executive Virginia Rometty a $3.6-million bonus for 2014 and a $13.3-million stock incentive award payable in 2018. She's also getting a 6.7% bump in her base salary, to $1.6 million from $1.5 million. All of us IBM employees are totally getting the shaft being employed by IBM. Join the union asap. -ANA-
  • Comment 02/02/15:

    To the -Anonymous- who asked "does anyone know if our medical insurance will cover us through the end of the year if we get let go after our PIP"? If you get a separation package, you'll get transitional medical coverage for 6 months, since you've been at IBM for more than 5 years (same deal for both the minimized and full package). That means you'll pay the same rate you're paying now for medical for 6 months, after which you can pay the much higher COBRA rate for another year (if you can't get a better deal elsewhere). Note that this is only for medical, you have to pay the full group rate for dental and vision if you want those.

    If you don't get a package, you'll get no transitional medical coverage, but I believe you'll still have access to the COBRA rate for 18 months. You and anyone else on a PIP should press your manager for details on what happens if you fail. Your manager is supposed to document your specific goals and what happens at the end of the PIP. I've been led to believe that people on a PIP will get the package if they fail, but I wouldn't count on that unless you get it in writing from your manager. -Survivor-

  • Comment 02/02/15:

    I got my RA notice on Wednesday. I'm 57, 10 years with IBM. I was not surprised as I knew I would be the one to have my role move to a lower cost location. I'm a Band 8 financial analyst in STG and it's a relief for me to know I am leaving. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/03/15:

    To - Anonymous- "Ive worked at IBM for just over 5 years and have been given my first 3 and on a PIP, no package offered (but after reading all this I'm going to go back and ask). I did not put a response to the PBC, but am wondering how long we have to request a review and how do we even ask for one if we can once it is submitted? The review process isn't listed anywhere, if anyone knows how id appreciate if they can post."

    There isn't anymore PBC review process by an independent 3rd party, or the HR. Everything is manage by first and second line managers. -HRP-

  • Comment 02/03/15:

    So, let me get this right, Ginny fails miserably to achieve her promised $20 EPS and she is rewarded with $3.6m and a 6.7% increase in pay, meanwhile those who have been working their arses off get PBC's lower than ever, or RA'd ? Is IBM about to go bankrupt? -anon-
  • Comment 02/03/15:

    My wife has been notified of her last day. She has worked there for almost 25 years. The max she can get is 6 months of salary. Last few years have been been hell for her on how many hours these f*****s ask her to put every week. So regardless that we'll be facing a challenge I'm glad it's over. I'm also happy that I quit IBM 21 years back. Things will continue to get worse for sure. -JC-
  • Comment 02/03/15:

    I cringe every time I hear someone say they don’t want a union, "because it gives the lazy employees an excuse not to work".

    Well what about companies that don’t have a union and gives the “Good Ole Boys” an excuse to hire and cover their friends that aren’t qualified for the job and don’t do any work?

    Before IBM bought us, our company did not have a union and I saw innocent people fired for no reason except they didn’t like them.

    The year I was let go we had one of the "good ole boys" being protected from upper management, moved into our dept, and after we were let go they moved this person again.

    This employee made well over 100K while other employees made about 38K and were busting their rear-ends while this guy sat there or took walks.

    The "good ole boy" at one time, was our manager, who couldn’t do the job (per his own words) so they moved him to another dept. so he didn’t have to do anything.

    Hopefully this story will even get more people to join the union; membership should be going through the roof. Anyone who was not affected by the RA’s this time: Don’t think it’s over. Your time will be next and for the areas or cities not affected it will be coming and you need to make your voices heard. Enough is enough! -Gone in 2013-

  • Comment 02/03/15:

    To the -anonymous- who asked me "how many weeks of severance does the separation package provide for 16+ years of IBMer?" Depends on the separation package: The full one, which you'll only get for an RA, is one week for every 6 months of service, maximum 26 weeks; the minimized package is one week for every year, maximum 13 weeks. For 16 years you'll get the maximum. Transitional medical coverage is the same for both packages: 3 months for < 5 years of service, 6 months for 5 to < 25 years, 1 year for 25+ years. -Survivor-
  • Comment 02/03/15:

    I have another unbelievable tale. After being 'forced' to retire almost 7 months ago, IBM sends me a letter stating that I owe them $530.00. ARE YOU SERIOUS?. I have been going back and forth asking the Payroll people to show me details as to why I owe them $534.00.They keep sending me letters stating that they overpaid me on my 401K match.

    With Ginni getting 3.6M in BONUS and a 16% raise they can't write off $534 even if it was their mistake! You wonder why the company is in the mess they are in. They are paying someone to send these letters and waste a lot of time for $530.00!

    They also kept 20 days of unused vacation which they did not pay. Has anyone gotten these types of notifications after leaving the company? Also, by the way what was the highest pay raise you ever received? Most of my raises were 3 to 4%. Once in the mid 1980s I got a 10% in the good old days! Signed -Happy to be Gone-

  • Comment 02/03/15:

    Have been told I'm "resourced" with last day at IBM being 2/27/15. It's a relief. I don't have to be silent any more. Shame on me for doing so! I have seen managers hit employees, and then C&A team buried the complaint. I've been bullied myself, have evidence of poor air quality and soil issues around Fishkill that link to the cancer cell allegations. Heard directly from a VP about the contamination in the soil which stopped IBM's interest in building a child care center in the area.

    Heard directly from an exec who was told she should not have children if she wanted her career to continue. Oh, there are so many stories.

    As for me, I am a disabled American with a mentally ill child. This goes to show that IBM management cares nothing about their fellow humans. They care only about themselves and money. Oh, I met and exceeded all my performance commitments in 2014 and was rated 3. Will not sign off on that. I will sleep better at night NOT being an IBMer. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/03/15:

    IBM 8-K SEC filings on Aug. 28 show Rometty (or her proxies) executed 32 sales of IBM stock on Aug. 27, selling some 26,113 shares at an average value of $191.74 for a $5 million gain. On the same day, Rometty purchased 27,678 shares of IBM stock at an average cost of $96.73, making her net take on the day about $2.3 million. This CEO is so corrupt; this is unbelievable. This BS must stop in IBM. We are in desperate need of union. She lays off thousands of people while she makes millions. She is a crook and is full of greed. -ANA-
  • Comment 02/03/15:

    To -Happy To Be Gone-: I've been with IBM 10 years and have never received 1 cent in pay raises. And several 3's. Despite (as I mentioned in a previous post) always being rated as a very top outstanding performer by the company/boss I contract to. Haven't had a single penny bonus for the last 3 years either; will have to see what happens this March. Also, last year, approximately 75 people in our org were let go, based on age/salary, apparently. They started with Band 8's, and it was pretty much consistent with the oldest & highest paid being terminated. -IBM = Idiots Become Managers-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    For those of you concerned about possible age or gender discrimination in the latest RA it only takes one of you to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will force IBM is provide the age and gender demographics for the latest RA. Don't wait for someone else to file the EEOC claim just go ahead and do it yourself. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    I was RA'd March 2014 after 18 years at IBM at 54 years old, with 26 weeks severance, bridge to retirement when I turned 55 later in the year. I wonder if I was considered to be RA'd or Retired Early since I got the Ginny congratulations retirement letter? Yeah, right! I asked to be put on the Lenovo list since I spent 80% of my time on System x but they said no since I was not a System x resource funded by System x they could not move me.

    IBM sent me a bill in August after I was gone for about 5 months for about $21.00 that appeared to be a monthly bill, after several back and forth calls over several days asking for the details I finally paid it. They said is could have been anything over the 18 years and that made no sense. Once again their mistake in accounting as something was not done correct. Never got a specific answer, but they spent hours trying to track down the details of about $21.00.

    Interesting to see the job openings on ibm.com usually during layoffs the jobs are frozen and you can not transfer to another position. IBM wants more H1B workers because there is no talent in the US — makes no sense. -bobcat-

  • Comment 02/04/15:

    To -Sacrificial Lamb- about Lump Sum Severance... When my wife was RA'd, she received two hard copy checks at her close out. Her last pay check and severance. I heard (but didn't know anyone in this camp) that for remote folks, they needed to send their equipment in first. 401k loan repayment would be setup with Fidelity. -Anon-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    To Alliance. I heard shortly after the 28th that IBM is bringing in 900 landed resources, currently in the process of finalizing their H1-Bs. -done ibm-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    It is age discrimination and here is how you can see it for yourself. Scroll through this forum and view the comments where people who were RA'd posted their positions, age, pbc rating and other information. Now search the public IBM job posting site for those same positions like Architect, Project Manager, SAP, or any other. You will see that there are a number of open jobs in the US for every position that just had RA's. So why wouldn't IBM look to fill these open positions with experienced people from the company?? Its because IBM wants the older, higher salaried people out.

    This is the public jobs site: https://jobs3.netmedia1.com/cp/faces/job_search and if that doesn't work go to ibm.com and search for jobs. -Maxwell Smart-

  • Comment 02/04/15:

    -Maxwell Smart- IBM has been practicing age discrimination ever since Lou became CEO. In relation to this issue, IBM is an "At Will Employer" and they can fire anyone they wish without just cause. IBM's attitude is "sue us, employee, but you have no grounds for a law suit." This is why IBM is in need of a union. They do not care about you as an employee, You are just head count on a sheet of paper who can be discarded at any time. Any person who works for IBM today should be looking for other employment. You have no protection without a employee contract union. Days of respect for the individual are long gone in IBM. -ANA-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    The IBM plan for US employees over most of the last decade has been to incrementally make the workplace a worse and worse place, hoping that people will get fed up and leave on their own, thus saving them severance pay packages. What they didn't count on, however, is that the vast majority of the people they brought in thru outsourcing agreements were already top performers, and, regardless of the miserable treatment at IBM, still have pride in their work, and a sense of responsibility to the customer, so they worked the 80 hour weeks, reworked the terrible code from offshore even though offshore got all the credit, covered for offshore at every turn, and still did a great job.

    Some folks left, but some folks may have had family, obligations, etc, that did not allow them to just pick up and move to another state at the drop of a hat following another job. But there comes a point when IBM has pushed all they can, and the best performers (and, by association, usually the highest-paid) wouldn't quit and leave on their own (often because of a clause in the contract that says you can't go back to work for who you contracted to for 6 months) - so they found another loophole - give the 3's, make up reasons why, or saddle them with completely unrealistic and unattainable goals, so you can fire them and withhold all or part of the severance package.

    Oh, and give some of them the package, and also fire a few younger ones or put them on PIP, so you can argue that wasn't really the case. Would be interesting to find out in a couple months, how many of the older/higher-paid people put on a PIP were"unable" to meet the requirements for continued employment vs how many of the younger/lower-paid ones WERE "able" to improve? -IBM = Idiots Become Managers-

  • Comment 02/04/15:

    I was blindsided with a PBC rating of "3". Fortunately for me, I moved to a different group/division in October...out of GBS. My new manager was able to go to HR and get it changed to a "2". So I eked this one out. I had a perfectly good review midyear in July with GBS. I have never been more than a 2+ and even a 1. This was mind numbing and hurtful to my core. I work and always have worked over the top for IBM. I cannot believe that I'd get caught up in something as vindictive as this. It's not fair and it's not right. I am not an under-performer. What I am is over 55 and a target. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    An employer is looking for people—If you find any interested friends or colleagues, please direct them to me at either koconnor@courion.com or kevinocon@live.com. They can also call me on my cell 774.245.9590 or try me on LinkedIn. Good luck to everyone. There is life after IBM...take it from me! I am much happier and healthier! -AZ-
  • Comment 02/04/15:

    Notified 01/28/2015. Div 07 - GTS - SO. Age 63. Project Manager. PBC 2+ or 1 for many years prior, now 2. Standard package. -Ghost of TJW-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    My stomach fell this morning when I heard about the massive layoffs at IBM. I gave my all to IBM for 14 years, I let my job define me. I was part of the March 2014 RA. It was same MO received my first 3 PBC. In my years of IBM I never had below a 2+ and mostly hit 1's. Overnight, it felt like I went from great leader to nothing. I was called at 5:30 AM on a Friday morning and read a script that I was part of the RA.

    I was hired in as a B9, 58 at the time of my RA and had 13 years longevity. Do the math - I know it was age discrimination. I know what IBMers are going through I was broken and devastated. Please reach out to me — if I can help you in any way! There are certain things I found out by living the nightmare of IBM HR and being involved in an RA. I would have filed a complaint but thought IBM had all law actions covered by giving me a 3. I know right now you are feeling many emotions but - There is life after IBM -- Believe me! -Gina M-

  • Comment 02/05/15:

    From an earlier question — RA'd in March 2014. Yes with 18 years of service and bridge to retirement at 55 later in 2014, I am eligible for the FHA. The FHA is not all that great, you have to have and be able to prove full-time healthcare insurance coverage with no gaps in coverage until you use the FHA at some time in the future. You can only use the FHA for IBM insurance, no ACA (Obamacare)or non-IBM plans can be paid for with FHA funds. I suspect the FHA will pay for a year of IBM coverage at best.

    I also received my retirement gift of Maui Jim sunglasses, $1500 for career retraining to be used within a year and Ginny's congratulations letter. Not a bad package overall considering they do not have to give you anything, but it still sucks after 18 years often with zero pay raises and looking for a new job at 55.

    I even had to take a cut in base pay from a base salary with no bonus to base salary with a bonus plan, if you do that a few times in your career, switching back and forth you make less base pay after years of service than when you started since you have to give up 10% of your base pay each time you switch to a bonus plan. All I have seen in 18 years was cuts in benefits constantly, with no upside. -bobcat-

  • Comment 02/05/15:

    To Happy to Be Gone — I left IBM on my own. About 3 months after I left I got a letter stating that I owed them around 500 USD. One month letter I got another letter. This time they said I owed more. I called them and in my case the reason was taxes they did not collect. Honestly speaking I did not believe it. I considered not paying, but in the end I came to the conclusion that it was not worth the headache. So I told them I would pay them, but in monthly payments of 10 USD. They agreed to that. -Blue Never Again-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    UK Based left today; handed laptop in and asked systems guy how many had been returned today due to redundancy. Considering this is a small site he said 30 and this was at 10am in the morning. Also had to queue at reception with various people handing in passes and company car keys. Glad to get out; hope I am wrong for those left but I can imagine switching on the news some time and IBM will be down the pan. GLAD TO BE GONE.COM -Gladtogo-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    I left in Sept 2013 at 65 after 18 years at IBM (Research and Consulting) — no retirement plan since I just missed the cut when they changed the plan — felt that the company was no longer a place where I could feel good working. Immediately took a job at a new company — where I have been for almost 18 months and the difference is like night and day. So, just wanted to encourage people that there are still a lot of companies that value employees (as well as their customers — something I think IBM has lost ) -gone_and_glad-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    Hi Here is the information for the recruiter Hiring Project Manager, for top tier global management consulting firm, in Manhattan, to join the IT Security organization in support of multiple new initiatives to improve enterprise security controls, programs and policies across all lines of business. Hiring:
    • Manager, IT Security Compliance Manager
    • Manager, Security Monitoring and Incident Response
    • Senior Associate, Business Analyst
    • CTO
    • Director of Development
    • C#/.NET Developer
    • Java Developer
    • Data Systems Engineer
    • Software Architect
    • IT Data Scientist Director, IT Asset Management

    Positions are all located in Greater NY Area (northern NJ, NYC, ) For more information, call Roz Mallin at 212-993-8000 x216. Send resume to rozm@edpworld.com -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/05/15:

    3 pieces of advice for those recently RA'd:
    • Don't bother searching the IBM jobs database. I had a friend who actually found a manager who wanted to take him, but the VP killed it. You're better off freshening up your resume and looking outside. If you really want to come back check in @ 6 mos, but expect it to be a hurdle even then.
    • If you are putting away pre-tax money to cover medical expenses, you can use your entire yearly amount, but only while you are an IBM employee. Get glasses and prescription suns; get a blood pressure machine on drugstore.com, but use up those funds before your last day. IBM benefits will acknowledge this if you call (at least they did in 2012).
    • If you think you may need extra funds and already own a home, get a HELOC now, while you are still employed. Same goes for refinancing

    Best of luck to you all — at least the economy is doing better. Lots of opportunity here in Seattle. -exBeemer2012-

  • Comment 02/05/15:

    GBS / AMS India - In October 2014 all travel ready resources in my team with H1 and L1 visas were mandated to relocate to US. In some cases customer did not want to have these resources in US and IBM agreed to charge India billing rates for some time. Now it is clear that this strategy was for KT from US employees to GD landed. Also on several AMS contract GD landed resources are being assigned as DPEs with specific targets to replace other US employees on these contracts with GD landed. -landed@us-

    Alliance reply: Anyone with information on the use of landed resources in IBM USA please send to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com. We need to push back hard on this. IBM US workers should not be fired and replaced with landed resources.

  • Comment 02/05/15:

    If you have been RA'd, brush up your resume and don't look back. There are plenty of opportunities at good companies if you have good experience. I left IBM in 2005 and have never had trouble finding jobs equivalent or better to what I had at IBM. It is very liberating to leave IBM. Think of the possibilities. For example, you could get a job at Oracle and start kicking IBM's a**. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    I worked as a contractor for IBM for 2.5 years. The company is crap. I left 6 months ago. Perfect timing. Feel bad for all the folks I know over there. Not a good place to work. Hope Ginny enjoys her three vacation homes. -BarryO-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    Outsourced from Fannie Mae to IBM 10 months ago. Got RA'ed like everyone else last week. Cannot get a straight answer if my 14 years at FM will be taken as employment so I can get more then 2 weeks severance, didn't get severance from FM. My vacation got transferred over as if I worked for IBM 15 years, manager says call HR rep, HR rep said talk to manager. Question: Can't get a straight answer and I will be gone in 7 weeks and don't know what the hell is going on, any advice? -Trying to get answers-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    The Alliance was quoted on the Senate floor today. It was about IBM's job cuts and the use of offshore workers to replace US workers. Go Alliance! -another member-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    Has anyone noticed a significant reduction in your Pension (Annuity) calculation in 2015? Mine dropped over 5% from last year for no known reason. I am in the "new" Pension plan since I didn't meet the age requirement to stay on the old plan. THANKS! -eec-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    Fully retired from IBM in 1995. My Dad also retired after 30 years. I am forever grateful we both worked at IBM during the good golden years. I feel bad for those who work there now and those of you who had been and are about to be forced out. The IBM I worked for would never have done to the employees what is being done to you. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/05/15:

    Sam Palmisano got $200 million retirement package and $1 million to staff and furnish his office. I got a cheap retirement gift (worth less than $200 bucks!) and a photocopied signature of Ginni wishing me well on my retirement after 30 plus years. Cheap Bas---ds! Employees (or "resources" according to IBM) need a contract also! Join the Alliance. -IBM_Pauper-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    To 'Trying to get answers' – for any employees that join IBM as a result of an outsourcing transaction, it will depend on the terms and conditions of the outsourcing contract. If it was negotiated that your previous years would transfer as IBM service, then that’s the deal. However, if that was not in the contract, and only your vacation years roll over, then it is not in the contract. You will need to go to ‘About You’ in IBM HR Website (w3) and check your SRD (Service Reference Date) or if you were re-hired, your re-hire date. Severance will be based on either SRD or re-hire date. -IBM_Pauper-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    I got a PBC 3 for the first time and no explanation was given. My manager harshly hurried me to sign it on last Tuesday, but I refused and requested for explanation. However, I received a PBC completion notification at 5:00PM without my signature. In the next morning, I was notified being RAd. Yesterday, I received my manager’s invitation to discuss the PBC. Is that supposed to be a joke? I declined his invitation and just asked him to document why I was a rating 3. My age is in the age 50’s, and have been in the current dept (SO/GTS) only for 5 months. I had a very good mid-year review with GBS. Can anyone advise me why the manager wants to discuss my PBC now? Did I do the right thing to decline him? -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    On the topic of H1B's and the supposed STEM skills gap amongst U.S. workers, check-out this Dec. 2014 slide deck from the elite big business lobbyist group of CEOs of which Ginny is an active member (http://businessroundtable.org/about/members/virginia-m-rometty): Change the Equation Survey on U.S. Workforce Skills -- http://businessroundtable.org/sites/default/files/STEM%20Survey%20Slides.pdf

    Notice the title of the slide deck and the targeted questions all specifying the "U.S. Workforce." I guess when you poll the members of your own lobbyist group (and likely other elite C-Suite level folks from other companies that may not be members) on a supposed issue impacting their companies, using carefully crafted questions and then massage those results to gain sympathetic responses from the politicians you're presenting to, one can certainly see how the tweaks of the laws regarding H1B visas (allowing more, extending durations, relaxing acceptance criteria, etc.) are being pushed to occur/are occurring.

    For reference, another article on Business Roundtable: Why Obama, execs relished each other's company -- http://www.cnbc.com/id/102239702 "To begin with, the Roundtable is the white-glove business lobby for the biggest of the big." -@N0NYm0U$-

  • Comment 02/06/15: Regarding the downgrading of PBCs, it is enforced by HR. HR gives second-level managers and their first-line managers a "distribution". The distribution now includes more 2 and 3 appraisals than ever before. It's extraordinarily unfair when you consider that after 6 years of layoffs, how could anyone be remaining except top performers? And now you are going to give them a 3? The other reason they are getting 3 appraisals — they are doing technical work when most technical work has already been moved overseas. Either way, it is a tremendous slap in the face and a deplorably damaging lie, intended to increase attrition and unfairly justify a PIP, leading to lower severance packages.

    It's about money without consideration for impact to employee's confidence, self-esteem, and health. It is really stressful to be put through the 3-check PIP, and IBM is just PURE SCUM for doing this to its employees. Just give them a regular RA, but don't try to tell us that our performance is under par. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/06/15:

    Just so I have this straight; IBM reduces the severance for PBC 3 rated individuals ignoring your ratings for previous 10-15-20 yrs of service? So some of you may be 1 and 2+ for 15 years and with a 2014 PBC 3, due to a change of the HR forced distribution, are now subject to half the severance? Whoever came of with that ingenious idea is scum of the earth, no doubt.

    I think IBM is counting on individuals not challenging this, and I get the "at will" no contract stuff. But collectively, I think you all may be able to make a little noise and perhaps even get this decision reversed. There may yet be some decent person in the exec chain that can point this out. I doubt Ginni even knows about it. This is an HR/Finance ploy to make a number and get a bonus. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/06/15:

    In response to Anonymous who refused to sign the PBC. It is not mandatory for you to sign it. There is an option for manager to conclude PBC without the employee's signature. There is no point to appeal the PBC rating either. All ratings are final and managed solely by your first- and second-line manager. HR is completely out of the picture. As for your stellar mid-year review while you were still with GBS. IT DOESN'T COUNT! TBDM was done on 4th quarter of the year; it will be whoever your 4Q manager/organization decides your fade. (TBDM = Team Based Decision Making — group of managers deciding who gets a 3) -PBC'SAJOKE-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    "Been with IBM 1.5 years. never got a PBC, even got present RA and signed all documents, still didn't get latest PBC result."

    I've been talking to people and becoming aware that there is a group out there in this 'limbo' state that hasn't received their PBC ratings yet. It sounds like this poster is one of them, and was just let go without even that formality. Are there others of you that haven't received PBC ratings yet for 2014? They were supposed to be in Jan 27. Nothing like living every day and trying to work under this kind of stress. Maybe this is yet another Project Chrome tactic to stagger these firings out so they are less visible to the media and clients. -WaitingForACallFromMyManager-

  • Comment 02/06/15:

    -Anonymous- You don't have to sign the PBC in order for the manager to finalize it in the system. I retired at the end of 2013 after being on the T2R for 18 months. My manager asked me in December 2013 if it was OK if he gave me a 3 for 2013 since I was retiring anyway and it could help him give somebody that was staying a 2 in hopes of being able to keep that person. Of course I agreed to that since I had and still have no plans of ever going back to IBM. However, the part I didn't realize is that he never even sent me the PBC to look at, let alone sign before I retired. So, my final rating after many years of 2+'s and 1's is a 3 and I never even saw the justification that was given for it. It doesn't really matter to me but those are the kind of games played with the PBC system. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of people retiring towards the end of any year are also rated 3's either knowingly or unknowingly. -longtimebeemer-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    If you are in the US and were laid off by IBM be sure to contact (and register at) your local Workforce Center immediately for effective and practical assistance. To find your nearest Workforce Center start with the state map here: http://us.jobs/state-workforce-agencies.asp. Or enter the following terms in a web search engine: <YOUR_STATE> state workforce centers.

    The "Workforce Centers" may be also called "American Job Centers."

    Be sure to ask your counselor if your job loss is already covered (or might be petitioned to cover) training and assistance provided by the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA). The TAA has been providing assistance to US workers after a trade-related layoff since 2002.

    Overview of the TAA program (up to two years of job training tuition, income, and supplies): www.doleta.gov/tradeact/docs/program_brochure2014.pdf

    No need to wait. Contact or visit a center as soon as you receive your RA notification. -Anonymous-

  • Comment 02/06/15:

    IBM took a resource action of admin staff (IBM employees) who support IBM executives (Band D and Band C) of approximately 10-12%. IBM has hired full time new assistants (permanent) in Costa Rica. Here is the kicker they are asking for volunteers from the remaining assistants to train the new assistants in Costa Rica, no additional compensation. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    Good to know news has made it to the Senate floor. We also need to do what we can to get the news out in the public eye in every way possible. Regardless of your political leanings, try to get the word out thru whatever channels possible — such as "Open Mike Fridays" on Rush Limbaugh, where you can air whatever gripe you want. Or viewer email on various shows, such as the "Mad As Hell" segment on Bill O'Reilly. Whatever it takes to get the word of these illegal and criminal corporate acts and the politicians they buy off spread far and wide. -IBM = Idiots Become Managers-
  • Comment 02/06/15:

    Re: AnonIbmer "Do I see a trend of IBMers just under age 55 years old getting RAed? This means they lose all of their Future Health Account, correct?"

    You damn well see this trend and I am right in the sweet spot. Turning 55 in June and been at IBM for 18 years ago last November. I knew I was in the cross hairs and as soon as I got the unfounded PBC 3 was certain of it. When I got the urgent meeting notice with FLM I figured that the PIP thing was not the option and the "don't let the door hit you in the ass" was for sure. I figured I was on a list to save money because in June when turning 55 I was eligible for FHA. After a lot of frustration and disappointment I started going thru the package and saw something about a "Bridge to Retirement" option. It took 3 calls to the employee service center to finally get an onshore knowledgeable guy who provided me with the one little piece of good news.

    I can take the Bridge option (which is basically like an unpaid leave of absence but still accrues time with IBM) and it will get me from Feb 27th(my last day) thru my birthday in June until the end of that month and thereby qualifying me to be eligible for my FHA account(about 33K BTW). He did day something about needing to fill out the Bridge To Retirement Form (one of many in the package) and it needed to be evaluated and approved. Hopefully not another disappointment coming because of some concocted HR loophole. Just an FYI for the large amount of us in my age group being discriminated against by being kicked out. Good luck to all of us "Sacrificial Lambs" -Sacrificial Lamb-

  • Comment 02/06/15: For those on cash balance plan and entitled to the 'enhanced annuity', yes, the rate used for the enhanced annuity is lower this year than it was in 2014. The rate of return I would have gotten on my enhanced annuity if I had started payments in 2014 would have been about 8%. In 2015 the rate of return is about 7.5%. There is also a decrease in the amount the 'enhanced' portion of the annuity contributes and the 'enhanced' portion decreases until it is 0 at age 65. Your annuity payment is calculated in part based on what year you commence taking the benefit (i.e.. your BCD). Other factors of course are your age and type of annuity selected, etc.

    Sometime in November, likely mid to late in the month, the online tool will be loaded with the rates for 2016. If you use the online tool in Net Benefits late in November, you should be able to compare if your annuity payment is higher for a BCD in 2015 (i.e. Dec 1, 2015) OR higher if you wait and have your BCD January 1, 2016, for example. The rates are reset each year, and you will lock in for life at whatever rate was used for the year you commence benefits (your BCD). Even if you call Nov 30 and tell them you are retiring THAT day, they have to honor the date you select, and will make payments retroactive to your BCD. I don't want to 'eat' another drop in the rate of return so I don't plan to lock in on my date until I see the 2016 rates. Do your homework in advance so you know what decisions regarding retiree benefits you need to make i.e. medical, % of FHA you want to spend on premiums, etc.

    If you are using the online tool, you should also ensure you are lowering the future credit rate displayed to a more likely number...it defaults to 6%. I set it to 1%. This is the interest being paid on the balance of your account each year it sits there. The historic return has been laughable...closer to 1% for years now.

    It is critical to set this to a value based on current interest rates (near 0) to get a realistic picture of the lump sum and thus annuity payments if your planned BCD is several years out. Remember though, you will not know an exact payout until they have set the annuity rates in late November for the next year. The assumptions PDF generated when you run a scenario from Net Benefits contains a lot of detail you should read. You should also call and speak to someone and get your questions answered. You will be speaking to someone from Fidelity, NOT someone from HR or IBM. I have found they provide very straight-forward. answers. -ReadYourPlanInfo-

  • Comment 02/06/15:

    Hi — Long term member here: Some suggestions to other Alliance members. Let's try to focus attention on the things that we can address as a group. As members, remind visitors to this web site, (in your comments) that their stories and experiences are important; but we need to move forward with a simple plan. We need members to grow the membership with still employed IBMers across the US. RA'd and fired IBMers information and experiences are valuable to us for reference.

    Alliance is doing a good job. I think that the Alliance staff wishes to continue helping IBMers, members or not, through their RA or firing. However, there's much more to organizing than just joining, paying dues and reading these comment sections. Based on the thermometer number, there is a desire to help Alliance@IBM grow. That thermometer needs to rise even faster. Growth includes getting the word out, and yes, even going public with your membership. Alliance has never forced anyone to go public and they never will; but they have mentioned it as a strategy that could really work well, if enough members, went public inside IBM.

    The NLRB recently ruled that employees can use the employer's email system to organize on *non-work* times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/12/business/ruling-lets-work-email-be-used-to-organize-unions.html?ref=business&smid=tw-nytimesbusiness&_r=1

    And "protected concerted activity" information is invaluable for staying on course, while organizing. Members should read this link: http://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/protected-concerted-activity

    As members, the best use of that is, be public inside IBM, and then begin contacting other IBMers (non-management) on your lunch break or coffee break or any *non-work* times. This could expand the membership quickly. More actions could be taken to show IBM that IBM employees are fighting back with numbers and determination. I suggest that members contact Alliance staff for a list of organizing steps and strategies that must be used, and what NOT to do, for legal reasons. There will be push back, resistance, and union busting tactics from IBM to shut down the organizing movement.

    Alliance@IBM is CWA Local 1701. CWA will be available for advice and council when the situation requires. There are federal and state labor laws in our favor; but they only go so far. Just be sure that if you are in doubt about any action you want to take, contact the Alliance first and make sure it's legal, BEFORE you do it. If we do this as a group and coordinate several groups all over the US, we CAN be effective and we CAN win. Let's do this! -A_long_term_member-

  • Comment 02/07/15:

    To -Anon2- I have three sons. Two of them double majored in computer science and math. The third double majored in computer science and economics. I advised all three to stay away from IBM. One works at Google, one started his own company and the third is production lead at a government contractor. Two of them have been solicited by IBM to apply, but neither responded. Most importantly though, they are all happy with their jobs, something that wouldn't have occurred had they come to IBM. -Mark1-
  • Comment 02/07/15:

    Hello, Alliance or a legal exporter, I have had chronic medical problem and am under treatment for a long time by several medical agents. My medical problem is getting worse recently. I should be for eligible for short term disability benefits from IBM. My questions are: 1) If it is against US labor law to turn down my claim since I am on an RA list? 2) If my claim is approved, will my last day (Feb 27) still be kept the same or changed to the end of the Short Term Disability? -needToKnow-
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alerts. This week's articles include:
    • President’s Budget Offers a Mixed Bag for Seniors
    • Changing District Demographics May Have Powerful Effect on Medicare Coalition
    • The House Tries to Repeal the Affordable Care Act: Take 56
    • Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint Make News Threatening Social Security
    • Wisconsin Alliance to Celebrate its 10th Anniversary
    • Medicare Turns 50: Staying Resolute in the Face of Continued Attacks
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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