Workers Voices

gears

Many IBM employees were notified on March 2nd that they were fired in a mass “resource action” at IBM. Here is what those who lost their jobs and those still working have to say.

 

I’ve been with IBM for 20 years and I’ve never seen it this bad. The work environment has become so toxic that it’s causing me to have nightly panic attacks. Morale and work ethic are literally zero across the board. We work in fear every day. With layoffs every three months or so it’s nerve wracking to think about how I’m going to take care of my family if and when I lose my job. At least before the severance package was two weeks for every year which gave us a bit of a cushion. But now only one month???  How could this company that cared so much for its employees fall so low?  It’s heartless…there’s no humanity here. It’s causing so much anxiety that I’m wondering why no one has sued for mental anguish or a hostile work environment.  It’s like waiting to be executed.  #FireGinny

 

I was affected by the latest RA.
I have talked to several managers within IBM and as of last week, there seems to be a hiring freeze. I talked to managers within Cloud and Watson and I am hearing that the reqs have been put on hold.

 

Entire group of hardware planners in Boulder 15+ gone, architects moving to India, 120 RA’d in CMS Cloud which is losing accounts, Coke Honda ..lost in SO,CMS heavy at the top mismanaged, AMM another service RA’d 5 very experienced people gone, entire TSM Backup team gone in SO…moving data integrity backup to India…now that is secure! TSM Backup Team had 10 highly qualified people, 3 SO Managers in Boulder gone, bogus internal positions are being posted with bogus qualifications that have been around for years like AbInitio ETL…data warehouse like IBM just woke up! None that has the expertise would want to work for them…customer data at risk because the people that are offshored are not qualified! HR is playing with employees records and managers are not allowed to talk and help the RA’d employees get jobs. Noone is responding and one manager that is moving stated that internally HR told their managers that they are not allowed to give good references and they are not allowed to help anyone!

 

I am an IBM employee who transferred into IBM from WPP in the UK on March 1st 2015.
As you are aware, IBM gave notice to employees that work would be offshored to India and “near-shored” on this account to deliver savings.
On Thursday we were notified that IBM would be looking to make 116 involuntary redundancies from the UK WPP staff. I don’t know the exact number of people in scope, but I think this represents about 65% of the UK WPP account. It will be interesting to see how this pans out because some staff will work on transformation of the WPP estate.

 

I attended a career session with Right Management yesterday.  They were at the RTP site for 3 meetings.  I’d estimate there were @ 40 of us in the session I was in.  Most were in their 50’s with 30+ years of experience.  1 has only been with IBM for 7 months.  2 have been with IBM for a year.  There were others in the 15 year range (give or take).  The group was varied … Cloud … support … HR … mainframe … technical writers … and more.  Right Management estimates that @ 10% of the employees typically stay with IBM.

 

14 yr employee with IBM in the U.S., 4 yrs with Development with what is now Cloud Managed Services (CMS) Cloud.  I was sent an email earlier today by my manager, followed by a phone call.  She said effective today I was RA’d due to continued poor performance of the entire Cloud organization, specifically the CMS unit.  I was to be allowed 90 days as a remediation period, followed by a 30 day severance.  She also said vacation and personal holidays would be added, but I’m not confident on any of this.  In fact I’d be surprised if it works out anything close to that.  Sex: F Age: 63.  We’ll see how it really pans out.
Obviously this was passed to manager from HR, and **age** has everything to do with it.  HR computes the RAs from criteria such as age, salary, PBC, and feedback from customer or team members.  This in turn is given to people management, who have certain room to contribute to the process as they see fit such as identifying specific names.

 

10+ years at IBM, well paid and a history of good reviews. Last year I got a 3 (first in my career). I got the call yesterday from my manager that my position has been eliminated, and it had nothing to do with performance. Strange. I’m in the Analytics group, which is one of the favored parts of IBM. But I’m well paid and over 50. This isn’t a surprise. I saw the writing on the wall as more and more of my colleagues were located in India. It’s a favor, really, as I haven’t enjoyed working at IBM in at least 8 years and my career has stalled. I stayed for the work-at-home aspects of IBM, but that no longer is of value to me. Ex colleagues who have left IBM – voluntarily or otherwise – have all ended up being much happier in their new positions and companies. I’m looking forward to joining them.

 

I’ve been at IBM for 16 years, part of the GTS Middleware team.   I got the standard 90-day notice with 1 month severance pay. I’m 57 years old.   I’ve received “1” PBC ratings every year beginning with 2009, except for the “2+” rating I received last year.

 

I was fired from SVL from SWG in IMS.  I heard up to 40 out of 100 fired with 1 month severance and last day 5/31/2016.  Mainly senior employees.

 

My team lost at least 3 members last week. Also, we were told that wherever possible, the work was going to India. We do/did requirements and architecture for GSMRT. My co-workers are mentoring (1 on 1 ) their replacements!

 

Hertz announced a couple of weeks ago that they were outsourcing its IT department to IBM. We were told in a meeting in mid February that IBM offered a great opportunity for some Hertz employees to come to work for them. They stated that they offered 26 weeks of severance and great opportunities to work on other projects outside of Hertz. I think they were looking to Hire 60 plus Hertz people from the over 200 that were being eliminated. I understand that out of those 200 plus people, only about 83 profiles we filled out. Some of those pulled out when they received the interview invite last weekend. I interviewed this week and was told how good the opportunities were. The same day of my interview, these IBM cuts took place. During our meeting in mid February it looks like we were straight up lied to about the severance being 26 weeks max. Needless to say I will not be going to work for IBM even if offered a position. We have to go through the knowledge transfer to get our Hertz severance. I almost want to walk out and take my knowledge with me and let them figure it out on their own.   Why would companies invest millions into IBM to run their IT with this going one. IBM will simply use is for our knowledge then send the work to India. Shame on Hertz and shame on IBM.

 

The skills remixing etc claim is BS.  I had more skill skills than most of my colleagues in the BigData/Analytics/growth area, and still got axed (May31st+ 30days) from Cloud. It is simply offshoring. US guys get whacked, slots open up in Ireland/India/etc.

 

I am an SO casualty, after 17 years of service, & a 2+ review, my mgr told me that my job function will no longer be performed by a US resource.   And I am to stay professional, continue working my projects and smoothly transition them to the next GR PM… I also happen to be retirement eligible but not actually ready… I am sure that though we get our minimalist 1 month severance, Ginny will still get her big bonus!

 

Got my “package” this week.
90 day “transition” 30 days “severance”
Intel / Steady state support and Projects and whatever else they threw at me.
Band 7 – Over 10 years in, 2 rating last year. 51 years old.
I’m done with this nightmare of a company. Good luck to those that remain.

 

I too was RA’d on Wednesday. I didnt realize until last night it was a widespread action. I had a good indication my position would be going away at some point this year and it was not a good role so I had been interviewing for other internal jobs (with my manager’s approval). I’ve had 3 different interviews for one position, all completed prior to Wed, that I am very qualified for and have received positive feedback. Yesterday that manager told me he is trying to figure out how to get me on his team but there is a company-wide hiring freeze. So even with the “plentiful” positions, managers can’t fill them with the freeze. Very frustrating!

 

I was RAed along with the others this week. Analytics Sales. 36 years with IBM. Same package as everyone else. The people in the same role as I that were not affected were significantly younger, but I don’t believe anyone will be able to make a case that can be substantiated for any kind of age discrimination. My manager said nothing about being chosen due to being close to retirement age. Only that it was due a workforce rebalancing, the “reinvention” of IBM, and duplication of skills.

 

I work on a Public Sector project. One would think the Public Sector would be safe, due to the citizenship requirements of most projects, but now IBM has “domestic offshoring,” where the work is sent to places like Rocket Center WV, where developers cost only about a third of what developers in the DC do. Since PMO work is considered “unskilled,” it is being sent to Rocket Center as quickly as possible, and those of us left behind are left without work. my manager told me that she has been ordered by her management to bring on “younger people” for the work that will remain at our primary location. I was able to find work elsewhere on the project with a team that values my skills, but it just a matter of time before all the work is sent to “domestic offshore” location based solely on cost. There is no safe place in IBM.

 

I got word that after 34 years, I am gone. One thing that concerned me was my manager saying “we tried to target people who are retirement-eligible”. Looks like the package has an agreement we have to sign “Arbitration Procedure and Collective Action Waiver”. I have never gotten a 3 and last year was just below a 2+ in the rankings. Obviously my selection did not have to do with my performance but rather my age. Thankfully I am mostly prepared.

 

 

I was hit yesterday in the RA. Was told at 4pm and at 4:05pm it was over. 90 days and one month severance, like others. I was in Compliance and Regulatory Group, working on data privacy matters. Was told my job was going overseas. Not sure how that makes sense.

 

I got my notification yesterday. Ninety days to find something else. One month severance. I was in IBM Cloud in the IBM Design Studio where nearly 1000 jobs were added in the last two years. Now we see the truth, the reality, of that failing effort. Let me confirm that although I had high hopes when I joined last year that place is one poorly-managed, directionless pit of total chaos.

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An open letter to the IBM Board of Directors from a current employee.

I’m a long-time IBMer. I originally applied just out of college, was interviewed, and not selected. I was crushed, and vowed to build my resume and apply again later. I did just that. When I came into IBM, it was a flourishing company. Java was in is beginnings, and IBM was building great products. I was a top achiever, received worldclass training and I was blown away by how smart, motivated, and dedicated the people around me were. As a group, we despised the competition and took our jobs and beating the competition very personally. We passionately worked, both during business hours and on our own time, to make our products better than everyone else’s. IBM invested heavily in our training, and we in turn invested our time and passion heavily into IBM. IBM treated us well, and we loved our company. I was part of a group that was considered the Green Berets of IBM. If customers got into trouble using our products, IBM deployed us free of charge to make it right, at any cost. Many, many times customers told me that this was the main reason they remained loyal to IBM. I was often given job offers by them, but I loved my company too much. This was the return on investment for IBM’s extensive investment in us and our training. Customers realized our high degree of skill and paid top dollar for our services and we guided them through many successful projects. The beauty of it was that we were not only given, but encouraged to spend half of our time writing whitepapers, books, articles (and paid bonuses) to help our customers; and also given time to work with the development teams to continue to improve our products and stay ahead of the technology curve, using that knowledge we had from being in the trenches with our customers. When there was a new product release coming, we were given deep training in advance so we’d be ready to help customers on day one of the release. Then things began to change. The bean counters clearly began to control the company. It was no longer about making great products and investing in employees. Someone realized that our elite group was commanding high rates. The time we were given to write those great papers and books for customers was taken away. Our training was taken away. We were told to bill out fifty hours per week, on top of travel and administrative tasks like timesheets and expense reports. Everyone became demoralized and burned out from continuous travel. Many left, and the ones that remained lost their passion. Our skills quickly depleted, and our customers noticed and began to wonder where the Green Berets went and why they were paying top dollar for consultants that were no better than the bargain basement, ineffective ones in other IBM divisions and partners. In the years since, we’ve all watched as the company removed all focus on building competitive products. The focus turned completely to financial and accounting. Our products became vastly inferior, we fell behind the technology curve, we lost our vision, we failed to see emerging trends, and we watched as the top executive tier began focusing entirely on their own pay and bonus structure rather than its products and employees. Many times a new “company vision” was announced and it was always about the shareholders, not the employees and more importantly, not about the customers or products. This was all in contrast to the great men who built this company by putting those very things first. Now we watch as our peers with families, hopes and dreams, after investing so much into IBM over the years, are fired by the thousands here in the US, abusing the intent of the visa laws, to make way for on-shore and offshore replacements that are even more poorly skilled and probably do not even know what “IBM” stands for. We watch and can only shrug as our customers become frustrated and angry. We feel bad, because we know how it used to be, back when we were proud, and were anxious to get in front of our happy customers. Now we dread having to face them. We watch as our friends and coworkers, after so much loyalty, are shoved out the door, and those of us who remain go year after year without pay raises, while our executive tier shamelessly enjoy huge pay increases and disgustingly large bonuses for their “efforts” while the company continues to fail, and its failure is being hidden from the public with financial shell games. As a board, how can you justify rewarding years of failure. Do you have any idea what this is doing to the morale of the other 99.9% of the company? I am someone who counts in IBM. I am a crucial part of IBM’s technical team. I have been responsible and had a very large part in some of IBM’s most successful products, even recently when there are few of those. I am about as high in stature as you can get within IBM, and I don’t want to say more without providing too much to identify myself. I have had a career full of PBC 1 ratings. The reason for that is that like so many others around me, in that top technical tier, I no longer care and in fact I now cheer for the company’s failures, rather than reveling in its successes (of which there are no longer any). Because of the disgusting actions of our executive leadership, and the gross mistreatment of those who do the actual work, the vast majority of those who count actually now despise our company and its leadership. You may be enjoying the demise of the valiant union effort by the IBM Alliance and Lee Conrad, thanks to you blocking their attempts to communicate and organize the employees. You may consider that a victory. You have your cheerleaders in Warren Buffet and the folks at Motley Fool, but let it be known to yourselves and the public that almost to a man and woman, you have lost, because you don’t have what it takes to succeed – dedicated, motivated, smart employees. To leave a CEO in place that is so obviously incompetent and anti-employee is a big mistake. Today there is yet another “major announcement,” another shell game of moving people and divisions around, but it doesn’t matter. We know our products are behind the curve, extremely buggy, and unreliable, because the people that work on them are either incompetent or just don’t care. In that sense, you have lost, and you are doomed. As a top technical professional, it’s always been a big part of my job to help design and improve our products. That is what I have been justifiably measured by, along with my peers. In today’s Dilbertesque IBM, even as technical professionals we are not measured on anything but sell, sell, sell. I’m not a seller. I have poor social and negotiation skills. But I can code my way around just about anything, and I understand today’s technical landscape and what tomorrow’s will look like. I get to spend no time on those things these days. It’s all about selling our inferior, bandaged-up-for-cloud products to unwitting customers, and it’s downright dishonest and something I’m not proud of. Like so many others, I’m just biding my time each day, polishing my resume, and hoping that I’ll be offered one of those nice packages to get out. You must understand, that’s what the majority of the people I work with are doing. It’s an open joke in the workplace. Your only hope is to make changes at the top immediately, apologize to your customers and employees, and begin today to put the focus back on building great products, with great people. The company may be too far gone for even that, but at least you can give it the old college try, and maybe we can all go out with some restored dignity.

 

 

 

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8 Responses to Workers Voices

  1. Jill Holmes says:

    I have been working for IBM over 35 years and began in the mainframe sales group. I worked on the zOS systems and migrated over to mainframe applications which I soon developed a great affection for. When IBM started developing a PC operating system and applications for mid-range and Intel servers, the company never could figure out how to compete in the end-user technology environment. When OS/2 came out for Intel systems, IBM tried to compete against Windows NT. But the company couldn’t figure out how to get software development companies to write applications for OS/2. Why buy an operating system you couldn’t run anything on?

    Around the same time, IBM attempted to take their OfficeVision mainframe email offering to the PC and called it OfficeVision for the LAN. OfficeVision for the LAN was developed for OS/2. But IBM couldn’t develop a stable and well performing application and gave up. Soon, IBM struck up an alliance agreement with Lotus Corporation to jointly sell Lotus Notes and ditched the OfficeVision project. When Lotus’ stock declined, IBM acquired Lotus for $3.5B in 1994 to own the rapidly growing install base of Lotus Notes. IBM wanted to own one of the only companies who had an end user application for OS/2. It was called Lotus Notes for OS/2. Sadly, a few years later, IBM abandoned OS/2 due to declining sales and let Microsoft’s operating system dominate the PC.

    Before the Lotus acquisition, I fell in love with Lotus Notes while at IBM and decided to leave IBM to go to Lotus in 1993 before IBM acquired the company. Thankfully, IBM left Lotus alone for almost 5 years after the acquisition in order to keep the sales and development momentum going. We were winning against Microsoft mail and Novelle Groupware. We won the email battle of the 90s. But once IBM called an end to Lotus’ autonomy in 1999, that success stalled and we began losing our largest customers to Microsoft. It was like watching dominos fall one after another and the momentum of this picked up steam after 2000. Fast Forward to today, Microsoft is the clear winner of the email space and the enterprise social space with their Exchange, Sharepoint and Office 365 offerings. In my sales territory, none of my customers are using Notes and Domino and IBM Connections. They aren’t interested in talking to us about them either. I also watched our largest IBM Forms customers migrate to Adobe. We lost this market. The WebSphere Portal offerings were doing well but the opportunity has since dried up. WebSphere Portal is losing to open-source portals. The IBM Kenexa Talent offerings are doing well but that acquisition happened a few years ago. We have given up on the web conferencing and chat space and have frozen the feature set of IBM Sametime. Instead, we are moving forward with the Citrix alliance and we now sell WebEx.

    If you see a pattern here, there is. These software offerings are general purpose applications for end-users. The offerings are everything a user sees at the glass (the screen in front of them) vs. backend operating systems, transactional systems, data bases, and other limited user population applications. In my 35 years at IBM, IBM has never been able to “get-it” when it comes to end-user applications. Lotus got it. Microsoft gets it. Adobe, Facebook, Google, etc. get it. The IBMers who run IBM became successful selling IBM’s legacy offerings: hardware, databases, transactional systems, and services. They are modeling the future of their success on the history of their success. They can’t psychologically or just can’t learn how to succeed in today’s market. Their only hope is to bring in executives who have succeeded in today’s technology world. If we don’t, what will happen to our flag ship Watson offering???

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  2. Anonymous says:

    More IBM layoffs today – 8/31/2016. My manager ST’ed to say I was not impacted. These are so damaging….morale killers.

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  3. Silva918 says:

    Well, I’ve just noticed that all the HW services provided by my team to GTS in Brazil, will be sent to Guadalajara GDC and the dead line is September/16, I’m concerned that how will be the future after this date… they said to me that as I’m top performer and someone with a huge knowledge, I will keep my job in another piece of my organization… but my hope is turned to zero after read all the stories about lay offs…. anyway…. IBM is falling and it’s hard have a piece of hope in all this…

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  4. John says:

    I am a manager in Australia and have had to advise more than 20 in the past 4 years. Every time it is about the company NOT the employee. Zero motivation zero care and sub zero morale. IBM will sell GTS very soon

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  5. Disheartened Employee says:

    My experience working with IBM

    Like many other GTS employees I became an employee when my company decided to outsource IT to IBM. At the time it was sold to us a great chance to work for IBM, a prestigious American company with a long history of innovation.

    One year later the reality is that any job that can be shipped to India, will be. Also, those layoffs would continue until remaining employees are pushed to their absolute limit. A dammed if you do (get fired) or don’t (get fired) situation.

    Promised to us by IBM before and during the transition was our time with the former company would be carrying over and this applied to severance packages if we were laid off. IBM is now giving employees 1 month severance regardless of their many years of service.

    The layoffs: my line manager sits down with the very many people being laid off but one stands out to me. One of the employees being laid off sits there anxiously while the line manager reads from his HR approved or written script. The moment feels so very surreal as she has worked hard like many others. The line manager reads the script as coldly as he can he can muster since in the past they have been co-workers and friendly. He gets to the part about the severance, which she is expecting several months of severance pay and the line manager explains to her that despite promises made to her she would only get a 1-month severance. Running through her head is probably family, bills, her health, and many more personal thoughts as she starts to weep. Her years of service meant nothing to IBM and the company that sold her off/out.

    In other cases employees were sent to India to help train a new helpdesk or network engineers. I am sure many of the employees that went to India to help train the staff in India thought they would be spared from layoffs for their service and willingness to go above and beyond. So much for above and beyond, they were all fired as well. I find this to be so very cold blooded. If IBM knows they would fire these employees anyway then why inconvenience them by making them go half way around the world separating them from their families for weeks? IBM is calculated and cold-blooded.

    Is your company selling IT to IBM? I have advice for you – RUN. They will fire you when they get what they need from you and if they don’t fire you, your workload will be tripled in most cases. You will not receive fair raises and the occasional couple of hundred-dollar bonus will just be to somehow justify Ginni and other executive’s ridiculous multi-million dollar bonus while company continues on its downward spiral.

    Are you considering outsourcing your IT to IBM? I urge you reconsider. The service provided is poor at best. The helpdesk is very difficult to understand and most cases just not knowledgeable on your company. The support provided is minimal, slow and many levels below the support previously provided locally. Buckle down, sit with IT management and let them will need to increase productivity from them and reduce waste where you can. Automate some services where possible and streamline what you can because IBM support is in most cases a serious downgrade.

    IBM will entrench themselves in your company making it very painful for you to leave them so even at the end of the contract you will feel pain when you leave. You will most likely be using their servers, VPN, mobile phone management (maas360), helpdesk, employees, and cloud storage. Leaving will be almost as painful as the 5-10years spent with IBM.

    Our users are the ones who are suffering. Longer wait times, a helpdesk they can’t understand and that doesn’t understand them, much fewer local technicians to help them, massive downtimes and slow turnarounds. The users complain non-stop about the support but they and you will be powerless to improve it once it is outsourced.

    (please post this wherever you necessary or appropriate)

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    • Grace Hopper says:

      IBM is a dead Company. Even though their separation policies are cruel and economically challenging to the “fired” employees, they are best leaving now. All indications of business, customer support, reputation, etc. are down. Watson will never be profitable, because other quicker, more alert tech companies will offer more for less. This is a tradition for slow mowing bureaucratic IBM.

      The sad truth is that IBM can no longer compete in the modern IT world. Ten more year and the company will be a Harvard Business School Case Study on failure.

      I

      Like

  6. TommyL says:

    Very well written. I’m not sure it will get read by any board members and if it does it will fall on deaf ears. I am also a long time IBMer and remember those glory days before the 90’s. Thanks

    Like

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