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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—August 22, 2015

  • Yahoo! Finance:

    The 100 hour work week in Japan. By Justine Underhill. Excerpts: At 3 a.m. on Monday morning, Eriko Fujita leaves the IBM offices in Tokyo. She rushes home to take a shower and get a few hours of sleep before she returns to her office at 7 a.m.

    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.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “No work life balance”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: The IBM name and that is it. Cons: No respect for employees. Everything is driven by quarterly projects. Advice to Management: None.
    • “LTS Exploitation Joke”

      Former Employee — Manufacturing Operator in Burlington, VT. I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year).

      Pros: Potentially the best wage you can find in VT with decent hours and good benefits coverage.

      Cons:

      • No job security
      • Dead slow conversion rates
      • Poorly informed management
      • Lack of ejection for weak employees
      • Draining morale
      • High school attitudes and environments
      • Lots of lazy people on shift making your job harder and the days longer
      • No chance for personal improvement for anyone not inside an office
      • *Think 40 is a joke*
      • No employee investment outside of permanent staff
      • Three year sentence with no job security or commitment
      • Can be let go with no reason
      • Emotionally draining
      • Made to feel like you're fighting a wall to get converted
      • Made to feel like a second class citizen due to your LTS status
      • Employer's work scheduled makes finding work impossible
      • Forced to change shift on conversion regardless of outside life. YOUR LIFE MUST MEET THE NEEDS OF THE EMPLOYER! If you don't change shifts, you never get converted; this means COMPULSORY NIGHTS.

      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.

    • “Senior Consultant”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM (more than 3 years).

      Pros:

      • Great work/life balance
      • Great hours and generous pay
      • Good benefits
      • 401k match

      Cons:

      • You're in line with a thousand other people for advancement
      • Little control over your projects or management chain
      • Very few education opportunities for younger employees — they think having a portal full of 90's era learnings tools means employee education
      • No culture
      • Completely disjointed community without any clear connections

      Advice to Management:

      • Keep listening to your millennials
      • Learn how to manage millennials; they are your future or they will all leave
      • Create culture
    • “Consulting IT specialist”

      Current Employee — Consulting IT Specialist in Endicott, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: My area is flexible and works for my family. I am a work-at-home employee and this is a huge help. Benefits are average at best. There are career opportunities if you are able and willing to travel/work at client site. Cons: Utilization targets are high as you give back all earned time off. Resource actions seem to happen every quarter so I am always on pins and needles. Rating system is unfair. Variable pay, and raises are anemic at best and reward only the top few. Advice to Management: Value your long-term employees as they are the ones that, time and again, save the day. Reward them appropriately.
    • “Software Engineer”

      Current Employee — Advisory Software Engineer in Baltimore, MD. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: It's very stable. If you have a decent manager, they can be pretty flexible about working remotely and whatnot. Cons: Very little of what IBM does is sexy, or high-quality. The bureaucracy is incredibly stifling, and sadly, after a while it becomes easier to just avoid doing anything that would invite paperwork, rather than to fight through it.
    • “IT Tech”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Company still lets you go home at the end of your (more than 8 hour day) but rest assured...you WILL get a phone call, text or e-mail that will cause you to continue working at home. Cons: Deaf senior management...it's impossible to communicate to CHQ when things are broken; middle management simply hides it all. Advice to Management: There are many, many smart and hard working people in your company and it's time to recognize the talent drain that's being caused by the lack of recognition and reward in the technical community.
    • “Working for a legend of a company”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee. Pros: You walk through the halls and feel the history and the contributions this company has had on major events throughout history. Cons: It is becoming more and more of a sweatshop. Advice to Management: Go back to putting employees and customers as your number one priority, that will then naturally satisfy your stock holders.
    • “Good company”

      Current Employee — Category Manager in Chicago, IL. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Opportunities to grow career from new hire to seasoned subject matter expert. I have not been disappointed in the almost fire years I have been with them. Cons: Sometimes difficult to keep up with the numerous times they have reinvented the approach and structure. Best to stay focused on yourself and performance and understand the evaluation process. Advice to Management: Clients are paying for and expecting seasoned, highly trained assets and not to be stocked with new, fresh out of school trainees. There are reasons they have come to IBM and have a low tolerance of rookie staffing.
    • “Consultant”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in Boulder, CO. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than a year). Pros: Ability to travel and work remotely, competitive pay, good team members. Cons: Consistent quality employees, long hours, hard to take vacation.
    • “It's been an OK ride”

      Current Employee — Advisory Software Engineer. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      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.

    • “Feedback on IBM”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK).

      Pros:

      • Great place to work for a new graduate, junior or in lower middle management staff
      • Great access to vast intellectual capital and talent
      • Rapid growth possible with the right sponsors and not mentors behind an individual which they have to identify for themselves.

      Cons:

      • It's not such a good place for upper middle management and seasoned professionals: Bullying is a massive issue. Intimidation of staff is another massive issue {NB. HR does not focus on protecting the staff. Its focus is on protecting the company. Note also that IBM is not a unionized company so there is no place to go when a member of staff needs support} 2
      • No value or loyalty towards hard working staff
      • Glass ceiling for women and minority races {NB. The token gestures of doing the right things by women and minority races are all North American centered. European women or minority races professionals, rarely progress through the ranks however talented}
    • “Overall, good place to work”

      Former Employee — Software Designer in Austin, TX. Pros: Pros of working at IBM Design: Great pay, surrounded by intelligent people, great city, great work environment, lenient dress code. Cons: Cons of working at IBM Design: Too many presentations, work/life not well balanced. The pros override the cons; the only way to see if you really want to work at IBM is by working at IBM. Advice to Management: Use your front end developers more wisely. They are the folk who develop the software! Also, upper upper management: You guys need to listen to the guys running the design studio.
    • “Director”

      Current Employee — Director in Armonk, NY. I have been working at IBM (more than 8 years). Pros: Innovative culture, work/life balance, collaborative environment, best in class benefits package. Cons: Compensation, velocity of career trajectory.
    • “IBM basics”

      Former Employee — Senior I/T Specialist in Armonk, NY. I worked at IBM (less than a year) Pros: Benefits, 401k, name recognition, lets you do your job without micro managing. Training on new products. Cons: A lot of travel, uncertainty of services business direction from upper management. Advice to Management: Decide on what service businesses you want to be in and stick to it. Decide on which direction to supply resources for the services businesses, subcontractors or skilled IBM resources. Stop having resource actions to fix the bottom line because you lose valuable skilled IBM resources.
    • “Software Sales”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Great company with great reputation. Some of the products and services sold are amazing. IBM Watson healthcare products will revolutionize healthcare within next 5 years. Lots of great people work here as well. Cons: Very large company with too many managers and some operational challenges. Working for a company this large can require an adjustment if you're now working for a small company.
    • “IBM Malaysia”

      Former Employee — Human Resources Global Learning in Cyberjaya (Malaysia). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years). Pros: Smart people, beautiful office, interesting projects, great place to grow skills, fast-paced company. Cons: Low wages, no work-life balance, lack of people managers, extreme office politics, difficult to grow within the company without networks. Micromanaging managers, communication breakdown and racial imbalance. Advice to Management: IBM should look into this matter seriously and take necessary action.
    • “Good Company For Freshers”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Gurgaon, Haryana (India). I worked at IBM (less than a year). Pros: I was part of the Customer Care team for United Airlines. Although the package was nominal, they give you facility for training, transportation and a good environment to work. Good place for freshers to learn from trainings and development program. Cons: In winters the job becomes difficult for caller as they don't have spare time for even 2 minutes. Advice to Management: Do not put so much pressure on employees; hire more people to get the job done.
    • “Promise Globally, Fail to Deliver Locally”

      Former Employee — Anonymous Employee in Perth, Western Australia. I worked at IBM full-time (less than a year). Pros: Was a big name once; no real product anymore. Used to be good for the CV. Cons: Sells well at global level; can't deliver locally especially in Australia! No different than an Indian outsourcer in reality, but higher prices. Reputation going down the drain. "I've Been Mugged" is how they are known in many areas. Advice to Management: Rip it up and start again.
    • No longer a company to be proud off...”

      Current Employee — Staff Software Engineer in Markham, ON (Canada). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years).

      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.

    • “Better start truly innovating soon”

      Former Employee — Program Director in San Francisco, CA. I worked at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      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.

    • “Lack of basic knowledge of customers business”

      Former Employee — Senior Consultant in Milano (Italy). I worked at IBM full-time (more than 8 years). Pros: Decent salary compared to country average if employed in customer-facing roles; wide opportunities to work from home with extremely limited manager control. Cons: Key word for everybody is surviving amidst marketing fads of all kinds and continuous job cutting. Advice to Management: None. Hopeless. People trying to milk as many salaries as they can from IBM until they get the sack too.
    • “tradeoffs"

      Current Employee — Support Engineer in Costa Mesa, CA. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years). Pros: Good benefits, Yearly reviews. Flexible in time off / working from home. Cons: Big company — have to deal with a corporate mentality. There is no culture whatsoever. You are reviewed based on "relative contribution" in which you have to show that you are doing more than your colleagues (so people can lie — makes your colleagues your enemies). Advice to Management: Find a better system than PBCs and Relative Contribution. Make the office more fun, need culture to keep employees happy.
    • “Not the company it used to be”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee. I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years). Pros: Flexible work schedule. Reasonable compensation. Occasional education opportunities. Cons: No future. Every time my manager wants to call me, I am expecting him to tell me I have been laid off. I have a complicated situation, so I have not quit yet, but working with an axe over your head is not a way to live. It erodes any loyalty when the business is always looking to cut workforce. Quality people get fired; it is not about performance or even your project. I really do not get why they pick the people they fire. Advice to Management: Treat your employees like people, not numbers on a spreadsheet,
    • “Lost their way”

      Current Employee — Global Client Director in London, England (UK). Pros: People at lower levels are still great. Cons: Senior management has no morality or integrity; the public persona does not match the reality of the day-to-day business. Advice to Management: Resign.
    • “The bigger you are, the harder you fall”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK). I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 5 years).

      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.

    • “Review for IBM Global Business Services”

      Current Employee — Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL Doesn't Recommend Positive Outlook I have been working at IBM full-time (More than a year).

      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.

    • “IBM disappoints”

      Current Employee — Database Administrator. Pros: Work remotely from home. No commute costs or time. This is a saving grace for employees with young children and two working parents. Cons: No raises, no recognition, constant job cuts. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. IBM stands for I'm by myself! Advice to Management: Work to keep key employees and stop sending work to India. You just lose contracts in the end. Recognize the talent you have. Stop treating employees like a number.
    • “Bottom Line More Important Than Customer Satisfaction”

      Current Employee — Anonymous Employee in Asheville, NC. Pros: Good benefits and human resources support. Cons: No training; online training available to employees (like many companies, on your time, not theirs) very weak. Will need to spread yourself thin in order to support many large accounts, including 24x7 incident management. Advice to Management: Give customers the level of support that they signed up for; sometimes need to go above and beyond minimal requirements.
  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Walker, Rubio Talk about Plans to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
    • Alliance Members Celebrate Social Security’s 80th Anniversary throughout August
    • New Hampshire Alliance VP Jane Lang Holds Gov. Kasich’s Feet to the Fire
    • Nevada Alliance Holds its Biennial Convention
    • Medicare Turns 50: HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell Praises Medicare’s Success

    Download a PDF version.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site

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-

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 08/18/15:

    I am very curious as to why Amazon is getting so much attention at the national level for their working conditions and you rarely hear anything about IBM? Any ideas? -Anonymous-

    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.

  • Comment 08/18/15:

    Location: Canada; Product Line: System S. Major cuts at Lenovo; I know of seven employees from the System X team got let go in Markham. Also a small number of IBMers got the axe in Canada last month. -Last_Man_Standing-
  • Comment 08/19/15:

    I am not an IBMer but when I heard about this website and am now reading it I am confused why current employees just accept this thing called a resource action? It appears all employees have 0% job security. It's like they work from day-to-day like temporary term employees. How can an IBM employee work effectively realizing this? It also seems that IBM employees are just waiting for the next round of resource actions. They are permanent separations, correct? I can't understand the acceptance of this. This Alliance group seems to have a clear goal based on the present conditions in IBM and employees are not even following, even a minority number of employees. That also is confusing. -observer-
  • Comment 08/21/15:

    @paleblues and @justsayin, To be fair, that report about IBM Japan is revealing the culture of Japan, more than of IBM. I no longer work for IBM and a colleague of mine just got back from a 3 month assignment on a project in Japan. He said that this was what he saw there at our client, or company, and the population at large. The culture there puts company above family and their whole world is built around that model so they spend most of their time at work. The person highlighted in this particular article and a breakdown, but I think was more from societal pressure than IBM specifically.

    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-

  • Comment 08/21/15:

    About the Japan 100-hour work week: "This loyalty stems, in part, from the well-established practice of lifetime employment, a mutual agreement in which employers will not to lay off workers even in the face of economic hardship, and workers agree not to quit before reaching retirement age." But, does IBM Japan honor lifetime employment, and is it spelled out in a contract for Japanese IBMers? When there was lifetime employment in IBM, sure, some folks worked 100-hour weeks when needed. But, then again, IBM had something called Respect For The Individual which made the sacrifice of working excessive overtime generally worth it. IBM now has no global respect for the individual. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 08/22/15:

    Job Title: Unemployed 8.24.15; Location: Richmond, Virginia. Customer Account: The one that will be gone soon; Business Unit: GTS. Message: I've all but given up hope that anything will ever change at IBM. My group had to train our Indian replacements. If we didn't do it, we would not get our $$ package. Monday is the last day and we are glad it is finally over. We have all been with IBM over 50 years in combined service. How does this happen? Do you think a well established Indian company would fire Indians and give the jobs to Americans? This is the only country in the world where this insanity could happen. America is looked upon as weak, stupid, faltering. Something needs to change! Everyone I speak to is fed up with the way the middle class is being abused and kicked down at every turn. I wish IBM the worst of the future. We need a new leader in both the White House, and at IBM. Stop giving our jobs away! We want to work. We need to work. -Agile Duck Shot Down-
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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