• Subject: Re: What's going on here?
  • From: DAsmussen@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 18:22:54 -0400 (EDT)

Hank,

Ooooooh, GOTTA <<Begin Soapbox Mode>>!

In a message dated 97-10-18 00:39:22 EDT, you write:

> In the past few years, I've been able to make a chunk of money in one
aspect
>  of our consulting practice - cleaning up the mess left by employees at a
site
>  where they made problems, and moved on. You know the type. They take all
the
>  training. They write stuff on the fly. No documentation. No change
control.
>  They are the only ones who can fix the stuff, and all hell breaks out when
>  they move on to a place that pays them more to do even more damage. 

I do, indeed, know the type.  Many of them are now making large $ in
consulting.  Mercenaries that would have problems finding a job in the same
_STATE_ under normal cirmcumstances, but are making a _KILLING_ due to their
"years of experience" in the current Y2K/400 talent shortage environment.  

>  This isn't bad enough. I just discovered that two of these individuals -
the
>  worst offenders in my opinion - just found new employment. At IBM. 

Amazing, given that IBM just announced another round of employee buyouts.
 Why didn't IBM learn their lesson the first time?  In the last round, with
the exception of the highly regarded people in core development areas
(Rochester, et al), IBM lost almost every decent person they had that dealt
with customers!  Anyone with experience in dealing with customers and a
little self-esteem either took their buyout money and started their own
consulting business, or went to work for another major vendor in the IBM
arena.

I know of a couple of local ex-IBMers that formed their own businesses after
the last buyout, and were being BEGGED by IBM to come back a year (or less)
later.  Unfortunately, their salary demands no longer fit within the rigid
MIN/MEAN/MAX scale that IBM (and most other large corporations) uses.
 Consulting suited them well, especially when IBM had nobody to offer in
competition.

IBM says that they're concentrating on manufacturing areas this time.  We'll
see...

>  At first I was horrified. Does IBM not check work histories any more? Are
>  they scraping the bottom of the barrel just to get back bodies to replace
all
>  that talent they lost during the downsizing? What's to become of the
>  customers that these guys service? I foresaw multiple catastrophes at
>  multiple locations.

Hank, _NOBODY_ in the United States can check work histories any more.
 Former employers are too afraid of defamation lawsuits to provide references
other than "yeah, he/she worked here at one point".  On the up side, people
discharged due to office politics can now get a decent job in a reasonable
period of time.  On the down side, idiots can go to work for IBM (checked out
sales and marketing lately ;-)?).

Again, IBM is 2nd round downsizing, so they're not looking to "get back
bodies".  Geeze, I just realized that it's been 5 or more years since round
1!  What's to become of the customers that these guys service, will multiple
catastrophes occur?  IBM _DOESN'T CARE_!  I take the latter back.  There are
people _within_ IBM that will care, but the perception of the customers will
be that IBM doesn't care (happened the last time).  IBM doesn't seem to
realize that the competence of their sales rep's and technical personnel in
any given area, especially those that deal directly with customers, is
directly proportional to the number of installed systems (with the exception
of Mainframes, whose support personnel are already more than adequate at the
customer site).  I would almost bet a year's salary that, were IBM were to
perform some market research, they would find that the areas with the most
installed AS/400's also had the highest satisfaction rating with their IBM
sales rep and technical personnel.  These areas wouldn't have a sales rep
that said "Oh yeah, had I told you about that when you ordered, it would have
been free.  Since I didn't, you now owe $15K for it."

Lou and the Board of Directors are out of touch.  Maximizing shareholder
value is their goal, but isn't the blind pursuit of _THAT_ what put the US
deficit where it is now, nearly toasted the US automobile industry, and what
led to corporate downsizing and the placement of manufacturing facilities
overseas in the first place?  Placing profits above product (whether machined
or intellectual) will _ALWAYS_ produce a negative outcome.  Offering a buyout
to one person and not another would open IBM up to a myriad of lawsuits, but
I guess we can't expect them to just discharge the people that they don't
need anymore either -- corporate responsibility is a vanishing trait, and we
can only be glad that IBM stayed out of the fray for as long as they did.
<<snip>>
<<End Soapbox Mode>>

Now if IBM would just practice a little more discretion in their hiring
practices...

Dean Asmussen
Enterprise Systems Consulting, Inc.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  USA
E-Mail:  DAsmussen@AOL.COM

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." --
Sir Winston Churchill
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