Today IBM fired over 3,062 people in the US.
I used to work at IBM.
The biggest group fired was 222 people in Software Group Marketing.
I used to work in Software Group Marketing.
They like to call it “workforce rebalancing” and internally “resource action”, and the market likes to call it “Laid off”. In the end, its “Firing” without a cause.
Its not the first time they do it and it certainly won’t be the last. It happens pretty regularly at IBM, though usually its smaller numbers.
20 Days ago I talked to a friend at IBM. She used to work on projects with me -elbow to elbow- She has two Masters degrees: An MBA from a west-coast university, an MIS degree from the University of Texas, and a bachelors from a foreign university. She speaks fluent English and Chinese. She is 10 years younger than me. She puts 110% into her work. She never-ever-ever drops the ball. She wins awards all the time – she is good and holds my admiration. Every time she was in a project, I knew it would get done. She was going places – and now she was being fired.
30 Days ago, they told these 3000+ people they were being fired effective today July 12 2013 – They used to give people more notice than 30 days – What didn’t change is that they told them they could stay at IBM if they found an open position.
That was a lie.
Every time, they lie.
The internal job database has thousands (yes, thousands) of openings at any given time. When a round of mass firings like this happens, the positions remain open – and people can still get hired on. Just not if you’re one of those selected for the firing. If you’re on the “hit list” managers with open positions cannot hire you. Sounds cynical? It is.
90 Days ago the profits and earnings report didn’t produce the right numbers. So they allocated enough money to get rid of 5,000 to 8,000 people worldwide.
180 Days ago I told IBM I wasn’t going to work there anymore for the foreseeable future, signed my resignation, returned my laptops and sent a warm thank you e-mail to all my friends of 18 years there.
If I worked with you at IBM regularly at any point in the past 18 years, and you didn’t get a thank-you e-mail from me via Lotus Notes (don’t laugh) back in February, its because I really think you’re an asshole.
I went thru all my emails – There were a lot of great people I wanted to thank.
275 Days ago I got my last paycheck from IBM and went into an unpaid leave of absence.
365 days ago I told IBM I didn’t want to do what they wanted me to do. I literally said “I feel like I don’t want to do this anymore” in a conversation that would be right at home in the movie Office Space. I just didn’t want to do yet one more PowerPoint presentation, attend yet another soul-sucking conference call where nobody was listening and pretend like I gave a damn. I didn’t give a damn anymore. My boss there is a god guy – and he concluded I was going nuts, so he gave me a time-out… A paid leave of absence for 90 days or so. He called me often to check on me – And every time I must have sounded more and more “gone.”
Before that, I was a prisoner. Working hard to keep my cell.
A prisoner with a vision.
2920 Days ago I saw today – like Mr. Nobody peering into an alternate reality, I saw myself fired from IBM.
I did a lot of things to try and prevent the train-wreck I saw coming. I did an MBA. I changed positions. I worked hard.
In the end the only way to avoid the train-wreck was to get off the train.