IBM to Lay Off 150,000 Workers

08 May

Well you knew when this fish landed I was not going to let it go by without some kind of comment right?

Okay let’s just get straight to it…

Q:  Is it true? 
A: Depends on who you ask – and what question you’re asking.

Q: Huh?
A: Wha?

Q:  Is IBM going to really lay off that many people?
A:  Nope.

Q:  How many will they lay off?
A:  None.  IBM doesn’t lay people off (Does no one read the PR material?).  They give them 30 days to find employment – and then if they don’t they give them a severance package… which usually amounts to a pat on the head… and a promise that if they’re really good they’ll hire you back later for 75% to 50% of what you were making.

Q: Yeah but how many?
A: How many what?  People?  

Q: Yes.  How many people are they really letting go. 
A:  They’re not.  IBM doesn’t let people go.  They let "resources" go – that’s why it’s called a "Resource Action" instead of a "People Action".  IBM doesn’t have people – they have resources.  A resource is an asset – like property, but it devalues differently. 

Q: Okay … so how many "Resources" is IBM letting go.
A:  When?

Q: Now.  How many "Resources" is IBM letting go now?
A:  They’re not.  Resources become reallocated or deployed based on market fluctuations – so although they may be adjusting some resources or reallocating them in one location they’ll supplement the reduction by applying them from another area.  In essence, there’s never a loss of resources – as a resource becomes devalued for it’s cost productivity, it’s replaced with a more efficient resource model.  This  provides a more cost effective way of resource management that allows for a flow of resources and materials globally where they’re needed, when they’re needed, provides a stable stock basis and greater profits for the share holders.

Q: Huh?
A: Wha?

Q: I’m not going to get a straight answer from you on this am I?
A: I’m sorry could you rephrase the question? 

That’s the experience of the best rumor mill story that isn’t.  Will IBM actually drop that many people?  Yeah, actually  I think they will.  They won’t do it all at once.  But they are doing it.  They’ll do it over a 3 year period so no one notices – and in the end, the will effectively move all non-essential and non-primary need management tasks overseas.  Yes – they really will. And trust me – no one will actually see it – people will just wake up one morning – and discover there aren’t all those IBM IT Jobs.  Let’s face it – a rumor like this about GM, or any major company, coming from a fairly respected source??  It should have been page one news.

It’s 3 days out now… and guess what?  Do a news search for "IBM" – this story won’t even appear in the top 15 on Google or MSN Live News.

How do you do that?  Simple… your PR department floods the services with announcements, and since the most current news about the subject rises to the top… that becomes old news in hours, not days or weeks.  This is IBM we’re talking about … what you don’t think they know how to kill a bad news story?  Which is precisely why to be honest… I do buy this story.

If there was no truth to it – they’d have refuted it and said it was a threat to their stock price and demanded a retraction  They didn’t.  In fact, they’ve called it a rumor – and a bad one – and let everyone else say it’s not true.  Which means – if it does happen, they never misled anyone.  It remains a rumor .. until someone proves it one way or the other.  IBM, is ruthless when it comes to being able to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth they want told.  They do not lie.  And so far… they haven’t.  They also … haven’t said it’s not true.

And… there’s the fact that Sam Palmisano himself earlier this year – in essence confirmed that yes, IBM would in fact be reallocating North American "resources" by around 130,000 in a speech in Japan earlier this year.   And theres’ the fact that yes, LEAN has been re-modeled into a vision that executives feel is more in keeping with the needs and directions… blah, blah, blah…

Will it happen?  Yup.   But not all in one year.  It’ll happen like a lobster in a pot with 1,300 people here – and 3,000 there, and another 2,200 there… and so on.  It’ll become regular, an expected thing – something that doesn’t even make the news.   And in time… yes… they will replace everyone who they can – with people who are the most cost effective.  That’s how they play. 

Is it right?  Depends on who you ask.  Is it fair?  Nope.  Is it legal?  Yup.  Is it ethical?  Well … that you’ll have to decide.

Just my humble 2 cents worth of opinion as a ex-IBMer. 

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Posted by on May 8, 2007 in Computers and Internet


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