News Former HR VP Says IBM Wanted to Look 'Cool' to Millennials, Fired 100,000 Workers

ugh... IBM, what a lug. they probably all deserved the firing too. I've worked with that fat, bloated terrible company.(and they screwed us big-time in business deals). I am not at all impressed with ANYTHING they do. it's meh at best.

this is hilarious! Godspeed them on the way to Hell. tell them not to let the doors hit them in the arse on the way out.

they are nasty predators with their vendors in all of my experience, we will never deal with them again. ever.

May they rot in Hell.
 

bloodroses

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Sue them into the ground. This ageism crap is absolute BS and I hope every tech company gets sued to death for it. Too bad it'll be too late for those of us already severely affected by it (divorced, relocated, etc).
 
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bigdragon

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Firing older employees is not the way you go about looking cool to Millennials. We're way more concerned about the gap between normal employee compensation and executive compensation, time off and work/life balance, benefits packages, and flexible schedules.
 

Giroro

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You know what Millenials find "cool"?
High salaries, competitive benefits packages, and opportunities for entry-level positions with paid on-the-job training.

I'm sure the same executives responsible for this decision are also complaining how "lazy" millenials are for not magically performing their job perfectly on day 1, when the only person who had the slightest idea what the actual role and responsibilities are was the 30-year senior engineer who was just fired and replaced with a minimum wage employee working remote on a H1B visa.

Then then the manager comes in and is like "What is the status on that"
"Who, me?" The newly hired millenial software engeeneer says, pulling off the extremely expensive noise cancelling headphones he was forced to buy in order to tune out 1 of the 4 guys he shares a desk with as a cost-cutting "open-concept" office. Never able to understand how this coworker somehow figured out a way to SLURP salad.. A dish that coworker eats out of a giant glass bowl, for what seems like 6 hours a day.
"Yes" the manager replies, condescendingly, "So tell me".
The millenial stammers, " Tell you what, you just barely got my attention. "
"What is the status on that" the manager repeats.
"The status on what? Why are you using pronouns right now? We haven't talked in 6 days, and that had nothing to do with any kind of status... You've literally never tasked me with anything in the 5 months since I've been hired, I've just been vaguely reading wikipedia articles about what our company's products are whenever I've overheard a hallway conversation that sounded important... which isn't hard by the way, this entire building is essentially one really wide hallway".
Then the Millenial engineer is fired because agism laws only protect the old, not the young, and never finds a new job .
The manager received 10% of the fired employee's annual salary as a bonus for cutting costs, and he used that $3,900 to put a down-payment on a brand new Mazda... for some reason.
3 months later, that entire software group is shut down because it was hopeless for their 3 remaining young employees to perform at the same level as the 30 senior engineers who had previously worked day and night to build their software into a healty profit generator, only to be "right-sized in an effort to remain competitive in a global marketplace" 3 weeks after the product launched.
Customer support was then contracted out to a 3rd-party call center in Utah. and the CEO sold the company to some tech giant, probably for several billion dollars.
And that is the story on how America has always been great, and is great again, and will be great forever.

Synergy.

-The End.
 
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umm no, old people get fired because they don't know jack ** about any of the new trends in programming. much easier to hire new people out of school than pay to have these old bags upgraded.
 
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USAFRet

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umm no, old people get fired because they don't know jack ** about any of the new trends in programming. much easier to hire new people out of school than pay to have these old bags upgraded.
hahaha...that's funny right there.
Spoken like a true recent grad, who will redo the same mistakes that figured out 20 years ago.
 

bit_user

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umm no, old people get fired because they don't know jack ** about any of the new trends in programming. much easier to hire new people out of school than pay to have these old bags upgraded.
It's easy to coast your way into a niche. Before you know it, the world has moved on and you're still working with some no-longer-trendy tech and have to retrain to be viable for most job opportunities out there.

Wouldn't it be nice if your employer provided time and resources for you to retrain? A lot of folks have a full workload and then some, and there's no way to take time away from family responsibilities to learn new tech that they might or might not have a need & opportunity to use.

I'm just sayin', be careful you don't turn into one of those "old bags", one day. It can happen a lot quicker than you probably think.

On the flip side, I've seen some old guys learn new tricks. It takes time & effort, but most smart and motivated folks are up to it.
 
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After firing over 100,000 employees, IBM is facing discrimination lawsuits accusing the company of targeting older workers to be "trendy."

Former HR VP Says IBM Wanted to Look 'Cool' to Millennials, Fired 100,000 Workers : Read more
I have worked in the most advanced IT shops in the world. I have seen what happens when you try to fit a new hire into an ultra-complex environment, and it is not pretty. Believe it or not, most of the leading architects that design complex system and networks have at least a decade of experience before they are ready for big-time IT environments like banks and brokerage houses. And for those commenters about older skilled workers, I could work all the kids into the ground but they were not ready to design huge networks, database solutions, and applications. And they often drifted off when I was trying to teach them something. I worked in highly complex mobile networks and application environments and I could see the young guys eyes gloss over. And if you think some 4-year wonder kid can manage a large IT move or major network changes over the weekend but still deliver the systems at 4 am Monday morning you are smoking something.

Many of my projects with world-class cellular companies typically took me a day and a half to explain to these young guys why they were clueless (with some tact). If they tried it without someone with deep experience I was assured of a call 4 months later looking for help on the day before the executive demonstration when their entire architecture was completely wrong.

IBM executives often did not have a clue unless they have had lots of real experience and the young "legends in their own mind" would spend hours trying to convince me that their architecture was perfectly fine. My advice to the sales rep was to walk away from these disasters. No one could fix months worth of wrong decisions over the weekend. Later if the customer wanted to try again with experts help then we should consider it. And the development architects were always ready to help because they knew I had done my homework. Give me one good experienced and typically older architect and they can save these companies from disasters attempted by green technical hires. I have taken naps in some of the best computer rooms in the world and can highly recommend a roll of bubble wrap for a quick 30 minute nap! I am now retired and I am very well adapted to this lifestyle so I can offer my opinions but am no longer in the business of managing, or avoiding disasters. I had the pleasure of working with some of the best IT architects and product developers on the planet during my time at IBM.
 

bloodroses

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umm no, old people get fired because they don't know jack ** about any of the new trends in programming. much easier to hire new people out of school than pay to have these old bags upgraded.
Bullcrap... that's strictly the mentality of the silicon valley morons out there. If you look at the other high tech industries (automation, etc), the average working age is normal compared to other fields.
 
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umm no, old people get fired because they don't know jack ** about any of the new trends in programming. much easier to hire new people out of school than pay to have these old bags upgraded.
Sounds like the excuse some useless middle-manager would make to cut costs by paying fresh grads a lot less, getting a quick bonus for himself for cutting costs, and then not caring when in the long term, it cost the company more to ramp up the new guys.

And, of course, the loss of people with the huge swaths of knowledge specific to how that particular company/department/etc runs/does things.

It's short-sighted crap. But I guess the types of managers doing this are also the ones who plan to take the short term bonuses, then run to another firm BEFORE the consequences of their actions come home to roost.
 
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Giroro

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umm no, old people get fired because they don't know jack ** about any of the new trends in programming. much easier to hire new people out of school than pay to have these old bags upgraded.
For some reason, this reminds me of my CS102 professor who taught me that buying more RAM is cheaper and easier than fixing memory leaks, and where every question about how a computer works got the exact same answer "don't know; don't care".
There are CS majors who are graduating right now who literally don't know what an instruction set is, how to optimize in assembly (or at all).. and that memory addresses physically exist.

It might not be too hard to make code that works, but it is -very- hard to write code that is maintainable (especially by people who didn't write it), is widely compatible with different systems, and scales well.. or in my case of working with Embedded Software: code that needs to work perfectly forever, can never be patched, and never exceeds a few hundred kB in size.

My point is, every design team benefits from a diversity of experience and skills. The kiddo who can kludge together a functional prototype from open source libraries in a day and the old guy who can rewrite it in ways that a lot of undergrads don't understand and is 1000x times more efficient are both important (and for more valuable than the company is willing to admit).
I'm not an old guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I can appreciate that on a nearly daily basis where I come across something that would take me months of research to figure out... or I can just ask a single yes or no question to the old guy who already knows it.
Experienced people make more money -for a reason- Their knowledge is exponentially more valuable to the company than the cost of a salary that ... honestly is so marginally higher than the new guy's pay that the difference isn't even noticeable on the company's bottom line.

I think we can call agree that the only person on the team who isn't important is the HR manager who is constantly wasting huge amounts of company money chasing coorporate micromanagement trends (which employees actively avoid using, so they end up having to basically buy a new HR website and performance management system basically every year). You know.. the person who uses so many coorporate wankwords that you're not entirely sure if they know english.
 
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bit_user

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For some reason, this reminds me of my CS102 professor who taught me that buying more RAM is cheaper and easier than fixing memory leaks,
Only for very slow, small ones, or if your program only runs for a short time and then exits. For anything embedded or even services that stay running continually, this is plain stupidity.

I'd write a complaint if any prof took this approach. Granted, for an intro course, memory management can be an unnecessary burden for students, but those are certainly using some (at least nominally) garbage-collected language, like Python.

and where every question about how a computer works got the exact same answer "don't know; don't care".
Well, yes and no. It can be daunting for new programmers to really get down into the details, and isn't central to learning programming. It's nice that you don't have to know, although certainly beneficial if you do. In the same way an Uber driver doesn't need to know how cars actually work, the typical web developer doesn't need to know about instruction sets and memory pages.

Top tech firms often expect people to know, because details like how CPU caches work actually have a way of mattering, if you really care about the performance or efficiency of your code.

There are CS majors who are graduating right now who literally don't know what an instruction set is, how to optimize in assembly (or at all).. and that memory addresses physically exist.
For any job involving embedded development, I always ask candidates to explain what an MMU is, what it does, and why it matters.

or in my case of working with Embedded Software: code that needs to work perfectly forever, can never be patched, and never exceeds a few hundred kB in size.
whoa, there's literally no way of patching it?

If it needs to run forever, I hope you're refreshing the NAND memory on which it's stored. I know a guy who discovered their products, which have a service life of a couple decades, were getting errors in their flash. The fix was to periodically refresh the content, since the charge eventually leaks out of the cells (NAND flash is a charge-storage device!).

I can appreciate that on a nearly daily basis where I come across something that would take me months of research to figure out... or I can just ask a single yes or no question to the old guy who already knows it.
And there are those questions you don't even think to ask.

Experienced people make more money -for a reason
Yeah, but it's weird how salaries don't correlate well with actual output. I know some folks are making a lot, based on when they joined and how much experience they have, but the drive isn't necessarily there, even if they're competent.

You can literally have a factor of two or more, in output quantity or equivalent quality, and yet this can be completely uncorrelated with compensation.

That's why I say you gotta love the work, and do it well for its own sake. People looking for constant rewards and recognition will quickly move into a management track or shift into marketing or something.
 
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bloodroses

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Yeah, I've heard rumors that like 35 is considered pretty old, there.
Euthanized would be a better term as that's what it felt like out there. That area seriously reminded me of Logan's Run.

I had quit an engineering job I had in Michigan for a job that I 'supposedly' already got out there for one of the major tech companies since my now ex-wife decided she wanted to move there. Once my plane landed and I contacted them I was suddenly told 'we gave you job away'. Come to find out they did a background check on me and found out what year I graduated high school. Spent 3 months looking for no work with no bites at all. Was eventually told at one of the contract houses that I'm a over 35, white, male, american and as a result completely un-hireable around the area. Needless to say I left shortly after and found work almost right away in the automotive engineering field back in Michigan. My ex-wife didn't want to leave and a divorce ensued.
 
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bit_user

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Euthanized would be a better term as that's what it felt like out there. That area seriously reminded me of Logan's Run.
Wow. Thanks for sharing.

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I guess it wasn't practical to sue your prospective employer? If it happened to you, then I'm sure you're not the only one. I wonder if there's any class action litigation around that.

BTW, the silver lining might be that between earthquakes and sea level rise, the Silicon Valley area is pretty screwed (seriously, it's below sea level!). Not to mention wild fires, traffic, and real estate prices.

If you'd kept the job, I'm sure the paychecks would look good, until you paid your rent. And they'd have probably worked you too hard for you to enjoy it much, out there.
 

bit_user

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Speaking of burn-out, I'm reminded of things I've heard many years back about certain Wall St. jobs. They pay really well, but they burn you out after about 10 years.

The tenure in management consulting is even shorter, with 100+ hour work weeks being the norm. At least in that case, you're staying in hotels with most of your basic needs catered for.
 

bloodroses

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Wow. Thanks for sharing.

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I guess it wasn't practical to sue your prospective employer? If it happened to you, then I'm sure you're not the only one. I wonder if there's any class action litigation around that.
There are a ton of people and there is a class action litigation going on against it, but it takes forever for anything to get done regarding our government.


If you'd kept the job, I'm sure the paychecks would look good, until you paid your rent. And they'd have probably worked you too hard for you to enjoy it much, out there.
The cost of living in comparison to the pay isn't balanced at all in SV. $120,000 a year is considered the poverty line; which equals around $60/hr for a typical 40 hr work week. As with working too hard, you are correct in that fact since they'll pay you 8hrs, but expect you to 'volunteer' another 2-8hrs on top of that each day. That seems to be about the norm anymore since 10+ hrs a day is pretty normal for me in the automotive engineering field that I currently work at.
 
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bit_user

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As with working too hard, you are correct in that fact since they'll pay you 8hrs, but expect you to 'volunteer' another 2-8hrs on top of that each day. That seems to be about the norm anymore since 10+ hrs a day is pretty normal for me in the automotive engineering field that I currently work at.
The 40 hour work week is quite a myth, by this point. There are still a handful of professions where they have such regular hours, but I'm not sure those folks realize how lucky they are.

People who truly do bill by the hour are the other camp. A lot of tradesmen seem to be doing quite well, these days. Even if they work long hours, at least they get paid for it.
 

USAFRet

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The 40 hour work week is quite a myth, by this point. There are still a handful of professions where they have such regular hours, but I'm not sure those folks realize how lucky they are.
As a software dev for the DoD, I absolutely work a 40 hour week.

Actually, 80 hrs in 2 weeks.
9-9-9-9-8
9-9-9-9-off

Yes, I could (and did) make more money elsewhere. But all those unofficially expected extra hours...:(
 

TJ Hooker

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I'm an engineer at a (Canadian) defense contractor, 37.5 hour weeks (with the option to work a compressed schedule that gets you every 2nd Friday off) :)
I don't work much OT, and if I do it'll typically be paid (although the odd bit here and there I don't necessarily charge, especially if I felt my output that week still wasn't great overall).

Maybe there's some truth to the stereotype that people who work for the government have cushy jobs haha.

Although to be honest, it seems to vary a lot even within my company based on position and what team/project your on. E.g. all the managers I've had seem to work late/on weekends on a semi-regular basis, at least based on some of the timestamps I see on emails they send out.
 
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