This is the hidden side of life at IBM Japan. For a period of eight months, Fujita, whose name has been changed to protect her anonymity, averages 18 to 20 hours of work per day, including Saturdays and Sundays. Her working hours are particularly demanding since she interfaces with programmers in different time zones, including those in the U.S. ...
Overtime has become a problem of such severity that it is now associated with a host of physical and mental illnesses. In Japan, death by over work, or karoshi, is a legally recognized cause of death. According to Japan's Health Ministry, over 100 workers died from work-related causes including strokes, heart attacks and suicide in 2013, sparking lawsuits and calls for limits on amounts of overtime work. ...
When asked about overtime policies, a spokesperson for IBM Japan says the firm "take(s) employee concerns seriously, including those around extensive overtime," and encourages employees to raise issues with management or human resources. In addition, IBM Japan says the current business environment requires some overtime work, but that it complies with Japanese labor regulations.
Pros: Potentially the best wage you can find in VT with decent hours and good benefits coverage.
Advice to Management: Sack the lot of your old boys club upper management and get the idiot who decided on a 3-year LTS contract sacked! Change your hiring policy to something realistic like eight months to six month hire. If you want employees to stay, invest, INVEST, INVEST in them. I know it's a factory, but people deserve respect.
Advice to Management:
Pros: I take pride in working for IBM. IBM is easily recognizable as a leader in the tech industry. When I tell people I work there they say, "Oh, wow!" They pay relatively well, but in recent years it has not been as competitive as other companies.
Cons: In recent years, IBM has failed to invest in new in-house research and development. I have seen my salary go from being competitive 5 years ago to merely average now. I have not received a pay increase in several years, and a promotion in 8 years, although I have been consistently rated well. In our organization there are not as many promotions today as there were 5 years ago. This could and should be fixed at the VP level and above. Benefits are poor. It is fine if you are single, but if you have a family it is very costly.
Advice to Management: Invest in your current employees or they will leave. It is easier and more cost effective to keep good employees than to hire new ones and have to train them from scratch. If you do not invest in research and development IBM will lose its relevance.
Pros: Relaxed office culture with very interesting and engaging projects. Wages are sub par for industry but still fairly decent. They still have a lot of good talent but must be mindful if they wish to retain these people.
Cons: The rating system is stacked against the employee with forced stacked rankings. Management is giving themselves huge bonuses; meanwhile, next to no bonuses or raises for years. Besides that there are constantly secret RAs, IBM SPEAK for firing high-cost workers and outsourcing jobs. This all results in a very bad work place morale.
Advice to Management: They would not listen and I would personally like to see most of them RAed starting with CEO.
Pros: Brand value, resources, flexibility, ability to work from home. Plenty of smart people and perhaps a good place to learn how big companies approach problems and operate on a global scale. Great for technical people who prefer extremely well-defined roles where every process and procedure is already laid out.
Cons: Aging, stodgy, painfully slow promotion schedule, endless career ladder, and almost everyone's a lifer. This makes the environment incredibly myopic, political, and people are expected to stay well within their tightly defined roles and position on the totem pole. Workloads and expectations are high, and it's the kind of place where it's OK (and expected) for managers to regularly ream their hardworking staff the slightest typo, shortcoming, oversight, etc. As a result, people often fear their managers, who fear their managers, and so on.
Advice to Management: Partnerships and acquisitions can only get IBM so far; at some point IBM has to start inventing things again and making products that the next generation of people actually want to use. Stop listening to the customers of yesterday and build what the businesses of tomorrow need (hint, they are young, small, and they do not relate to anything you are currently building, selling, or talking about.) Some outside blood at the top would really help — IBM just cannot see outside of their own walls and time is running out. Right now watching IBM compete is like watching an old geezer doing the macarena at a wedding, surrounded by a few other old cronies who are telling them they still got it.
Pros: The people, flexible working, the brand. Great if you're just starting your consulting career or for a limited period as an experienced hire, but limited benefit to sticking around.
Cons: Zero culture, no sense of team, limited opportunity to network/socialise with wider team. Constantly renaming teams/reorganising. Hard to navigate the huge pool of information. Outdated, monolithic, performance review process, especially for those in the middle bands (8 and 9). Very top heavy, organisational structure. Definitely all about who you know, not what you know. Benefits plan is a joke. Prime example Pru Vitality not even delivering the most basic of perks automatically included in the lowest tier of cover. IBM have negotiated these out to make it cheaper for the company.
Advice to Management: Get rid of career framework completely. Figure out what you want to be when you grow up and stick to it. Stop all the repetitive and confusing comms. Define your knowledge management structure and tidy up W3 — it's impossible to find anything. Get rid of the antique ThinkPads; give consultants the tools to succeed.
Pros: Huge variety of projects, with opportunities in pretty much every field. Access to internal experts in each field. Access to experts in the whole chain of operations right from Industry SMEs to technology experts to technology support people, everyone within the same company.
Cons: Less control over the kind of projects one wants to work on. Excess emphasis on billing and utilization during yearly ratings. Work life balance not maintained but varies from project to project.
Advice to Management: Compared to other services companies, there is lesser importance given within IBM on whether employees are satisfied with their work. No counselling or mentoring is inbuilt into the system and is all left to chance and individual networking. I think there is a lot of lost potential because of this gap.
http://www.endicottalliance.org/thedisintegrationofemploymentinIBM.htm To all Alliance supporters, send and share the above link to the article "The disintegration of employment in IBM" far and wide. Put it on your FaceBook page; send it to newspapers; send it with comments to your political reps and send it to your co-workers. Help break the secrecy of IBM job cuts. Put some pressure on IBM. -Alliance-
Alliance reply: Because IBM workers and ex-IBM workers won't talk to the media on record. We have had hundreds of inquiries about the situation inside IBM. The Alliance gives them information and leads but reporters need workers to talk to. Far too many times we have asked IBMers or ex-IBMers to talk on record and fear holds them back. Anonymous doesn't cut it. Thankfully there have been a brave few that have talked about IBM publicly. You should thank them for doing what so few will.
In contrast, in some European countries there are work councils that regulate things so tightly that you have to get permission from the government to work overtime, or for example travel on a Sunday, or you are breaking the law and face legal action. Some of my colleagues in Europe take nearly month long vacations.
The cultures and work environments vary greatly in different countries. I think the USA is somewhere in the middle of all of these extremes and more than anything the work-from-home model with a global company is pushing the work day quite a bit.
@observer, You are precisely correct which is why I decided to leave IBM after 30 years. The "I just want to hang on a few more years and dodge the next RA" culture is very toxic and depressing to work in daily. It's like a giant game of musical chairs where every couple of months the music stops and your chair might be gone. I agree with @anonymous in reply that people are somewhat afraid of the world outside IBM. IBM is such a big company that many roles are inward focussed and it's like getting released form prison after 20 years...you would imagine the outside world would be hard to survive in.
But I completely disagree with @anonymous that "all companies are going this way". If they are, they are nowhere near it. I have worked for two different large IT companies since leaving IBM and find they are night and day different from IBM in this regard. I have felt respected and value greatly by these companies and I didn't feel that at all for my last 10 years at IBM.
Anyone that is feeling fearful of stepping out of the IBM fold needs to really make the leap of at least starting a job search. With tools like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, you can get a good feel for what's out there and what your value is. If you are still working at IBM, then you most likely have good skills and are a very hard worker. Other companies value that. You have nothing to lose by starting to search and will empower you to feel helpless. It might even empower you to join the Alliance if you know how vibrant the market is and that you can always leave if you want. -GoneIn2013-
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