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Old 06-04-2010, 01:18 PM   #21
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I've mentioned this before, but at MegaMotors they got the great idea that a mandatory 10% must get unsatisfactory ratings and no more than 10% could get top ratings. I don't have to tell you that the sacrificial lambs in the unsatisfactory pile were overwhelmingly over 55 years old. Two unsatisfactory ratings in a row meant termination or demotion and one unsatisfactory rating meant no raises or profit sharing and w*rking to an "improvement" plan.

It was abandoned after one year, but not before it launched a bunch of lawsuits. For a manager that w*rked diligently to maintain a staff of top performers, it forced one to really screw over a couple of people that clearly were not unsatisfactory and also inadequately reward others that would have normally have gotten a top rating, totally killing any loyalty or sense of opportunity. On top of all this it demoralized the whole company and spread an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Other than that it was a great idea.
I remember when that was imposed on us about 10 years ago and it was still in place when I left. The rating system was 1 - 5 and a bell curve was imposed and each department head had to fit the appraisals to it - including 5% at a 1 and 5% at a 5. At least where I worked we had pay scales so that if you were rated the same as someone else on the same grade and were lower down the pay scale than they were you got a little extra % to move you up the scale.

I worked for 4 years in the Corporate HQ and they had grades but no pay scales, with the performance rating determining the pay raise. I discussed it at length with HR but those were the rules. So, when I had 2 people doing the same job, and both are performing really well but one is much older and paid a lot more, the only way I could give the younger guy a bigger percentage raise was to rate him more highly. Very bad for moral.
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No more PC's
Old 06-04-2010, 01:29 PM   #22
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No more PC's

About 8 years ago our company decided to go back to the old way of providing computer resources and took away everyone's PC's and laptops, replacing them with "diskless workstations". You logged into a "main frame" in one of 2 world wide data centers where it looked like Windows with all the good features removed. If you traveled you were expected to log on through the web from a hotel business center, or equivalent. From home you were expected to log on from your own PC.

It was pretty horrible, and was still in place when I left. Just like the old main frame days when it went down thousands of users could not do anything - Word, Excel, E-mail, Order processing, Plant maintenance systems etc. It went down 4 weekends a year for maintenance plus several other times when it crashed unexpectedly (hey, this is Microsoft ).
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Write only Back-ups
Old 06-04-2010, 01:42 PM   #23
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Write only Back-ups

Another great scheme that was in place for many years, including when I left, was the policy set by the Corporate Legal Department that computer back-up tapes could only be used for true catastrophes. (There was a good financial reason for this.)

The problem is that the IT departments never made this quite clear to the sites and what their alternatives were to protect sensitive data. Over the years we had multiple occasions where really important data was lost forever because if a server crashed and all the disks wiped out, or the database of an important application became corrupted, then recovery from back-up tapes was not allowed since a catastrophe is defined as a fire, or hurricane or flood etc.

Just before I left, a colleague contacted me from our manufacturing plant in China. Their lab system server, with its RAID level 5 multiple redundant disk system had crashed horribly and all 3 years of important process data and critical EHS data had been lost. IT refused to restore the system from the previous night's back-up. They had to re-build the system from scratch, re-install the application and do without all that historical data
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:54 PM   #24
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Their lab system server, with its RAID level 5 multiple redundant disk system had crashed horribly and all 3 years of important process data and critical EHS data had been lost.
That's an impressive disaster. I'm in the first category of "there are people who do backups, and people who've never lost a disc", so I have a 3-HD Raid 5 with a fourth internal HD doing backups, plus a drive image, and an external HD doing automated backups. And every year or so I copy everything to an external HD and drop it off in one of two safe deposit boxes. Drives are so cheap, why not? But when it comes to important stuff I've always been a belt and suspenders kind of guy.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:03 PM   #25
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I worked for a small company of 18 people in northern Virginia where times were good. We got bought out by a company from Boston, Mass, where times were bad. The buyout was supposed to be a secret but there are no secrets in an 18 person company. The buying company decided to hold a meeting and give us an ultimatum. Either we move to Mass. or get laid off immediately. Well, 17 out of 18 of us already had replacement jobs lined up. Some of us started our new jobs the very next day. We did not tell our new evil overlords any of this, we just sat there with sad faces and took our severance pkgs. As soon as the new company HR rep left the building - out popped the champagne! The one guy who moved to Mass was unable to keep and hold any job so essentially, they got none of us. They folded a year later.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #26
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Had a short stint at a Radio Paging company. They required everyone to use personal credit cards for running expenses, then submit them for approval. They only cut checks once a month.

About three months along my em*loyment the company's owner sent around a news letter showing his new Porsche at his mansion. Wise guy that I am, sent an email to corporate explaining that I too could be filthy rich if all my emloyees carried the company debts for 45 days on average.

They did not like my comment.

Then a "team building" trip was organized to Florida. Complete with a visit to the Motorola pager factory, some coerced Motorola employees to keep us entertained at dinner. etc. The time was scheduled from 0600 to 2200. For three days.

Upon returning to home base a survey was posted regarding the team trip. I wrote that since all waking hours were scheduled with required presence, could have held it in Siberia. They did not like that either.

Shortly thereafter I found more satisfying ways to make a buck.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #27
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True story............one of my first jobs after college was to be the planning assistant in the planning department, reporting to the VP of Planning. I was the 2nd person hired after the VP of Planning..........

What did we plan? Corporate events like golf outings, vendor fairs, trade association meetings, etc. We also had a travel department, but they were in a different city and state, and we were not linked at all computer wise..........
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:17 PM   #28
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I never understood the A-B-C rating system which included quotas, particularly for the C-rated people.

What happened at my former company was that the Cees would get crummy or no raises and usually leave the company. Okay, I can understand that. What I felt was unfair was that people who were otherwise satisfactory workers but in the lower part of the Bee range would become the new Cees even though their job performance did not worsen. Their only "crime" to get the dreaded Cee was to have someone worse than them resign and create a new opening for a Cee.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:28 PM   #29
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I never understood the A-B-C rating system which included quotas, particularly for the C-rated people.

What happened at my former company was that the Cees would get crummy or no raises and usually leave the company. Okay, I can understand that. What I felt was unfair was that people who were otherwise satisfactory workers but in the lower part of the Bee range would become the new Cees even though their job performance did not worsen. Their only "crime" to get the dreaded Cee was to have someone worse than them resign and create a new opening for a Cee.
Exactly. We had wave after wave of cutbacks and lay-offs so that we were running with minimal staff but by corporate law we still had to apply the bell curve on appraisals and p-off some really hard working folks.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:45 PM   #30
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Another great scheme that was in place for many years, including when I left, was the policy set by the Corporate Legal Department that computer back-up tapes could only be used for true catastrophes. (There was a good financial reason for this.)

Over the years we had multiple occasions where really important data was lost forever because if a server crashed and all the disks wiped out, or the database of an important application became corrupted, then recovery from back-up tapes was not allowed since a catastrophe is defined as a fire, or hurricane or flood etc.
That is one of the craziest things I have ever heard. Once burned, twice learned. After that heads should have rolled. Good financial reasons my butt. Is the company out of business yet?
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That's a stupid policy, who set that?
Old 06-04-2010, 02:50 PM   #31
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That's a stupid policy, who set that?

In 1998 I drew the short straw was selected to attend a week long business training seminar in Brussels, along with 29 other managers from around the world. I was the only one from our site but there were 3 other Americans from our US HQ in New Jersey, 2 of whom that I knew.

I was dreading it - we had some homework to do ahead of time including a drawing we each had to do, no words allowed, that depicted what our jobs were. These drawings were to stuck on the walls on Day 1 and we had to guess what job functions everyone did (I hate drawing - I'm useless at it).

During the week, interspersed with the usually stuff on courses like this, the CEO and several senior VP's gave presentations and we got to meet to all of them over dinner on the Thursday night. We had assigned seating that night and the VP that sat next to me introduced himself and when I told him who I was he said he'd heard all sorts of good things about me, blah blah blah. He was in the USA HQ but was obviously English so I asked him where he was from and he said "Hartlepool", so, without engaging my brain, I immediately responded, "oh, a monkey hanger ". He went ballistic - I forgot how touchy those folks from Hartlepool are

Next day (the last) I happened to sit opposite the CEO at lunch and at one point asked him for his business card. Looking at it I said "oh, your card doesn't conform to company policy as it has your e-mail address on it". He responded, "That's a stupid policy, who set that?". "Well, policies are only set by the Board and I can give you the reference number of the policy so you can see that it is authorized by you".

A few weeks later a revised policy was issued that had the stupid rule removed about business cards not having e-mail addresses on them.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:10 PM   #32
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That is one of the craziest things I have ever heard. Once burned, twice learned. After that heads should have rolled. Good financial reasons my butt. Is the company out of business yet?
No heads rolled and this was not the first time this had happened. The business reason is that when a company gets sued (and we did get sued regularly) all computer records pertaining to the suit are discoverable so it is very expensive to extract the relevant records including e-mail and have our lawyers go over everything before passing them over to the plaintiff's lawyers.

Incremental back-ups are taken every single night and 3 months of backups are held before the tapes are rotated. - 90 copies. Most of the data is held in large files that change every day so that means 90 copies of all files. Since back-up tapes are never used except for true catastrophes they are not discoverable - and this has been held up in a court of law several times. So, for example, if the suit is to do with price fixing then every employee who has anything to do with pricing will have their mail files examined but instead of 90 copies of the mail files, only the current version is submitted. (It also means that if you delete a message then it is truly gone - exception being criminal investigations).

The big failing is that IT don't make the consequences clear or provide alternatives. For example, critical databases can have a routine disk to disk copy made onto another server to preserve the data - then there are only 2 copies that are discoverable in a lawsuit.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:19 PM   #33
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How about the famous "Who moved my cheese " days ? All the employees had to watch a video presentation on it including the cleaning people who did not speak english .
I had to watch that. At one point I asked: Why don't they just follow the mice who know where the cheese is?"
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:35 PM   #34
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I'm not sure if this qualifies: Putting non-IT people in charge of IT people. This includes former jet-jockeys.
No, IT people are not completely interchangeable. Was transferred from main frame maintenance to website manager in early '90s. Yes, I am capable of learning, but would a few days of instruction be too much to ask?
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:43 PM   #35
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I worked for a small company of 18 people in northern Virginia where times were good. We got bought out by a company from Boston, Mass, where times were bad. The buyout was supposed to be a secret but there are no secrets in an 18 person company. The buying company decided to hold a meeting and give us an ultimatum. Either we move to Mass. or get laid off immediately. Well, 17 out of 18 of us already had replacement jobs lined up. Some of us started our new jobs the very next day. We did not tell our new evil overlords any of this, we just sat there with sad faces and took our severance pkgs. As soon as the new company HR rep left the building - out popped the champagne! The one guy who moved to Mass was unable to keep and hold any job so essentially, they got none of us. They folded a year later.
Great story - this would make a neat movie.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:46 PM   #36
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Great story - this would make a neat movie.
+1
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:01 PM   #37
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Arggghhhh...appraisals and A&Ds (acheivement and development).

I had one boss that would make me write my own appraisal and he'd sign off on it. Of course I couldn't get away with all positive remarks about myself, so I had to come up with areas where I needed improvement.

I had to whack my own fanny.

I learned well by putting myself down.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:14 PM   #38
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Arggghhhh...appraisals and A&Ds (acheivement and development).

I had one boss that would make me write my own appraisal and he'd sign off on it. Of course I couldn't get away with all positive remarks about myself, so I had to come up with areas where I needed improvement.

I had to whack my own fanny.

I learned well by putting myself down.
Ah, the self-review process. My manager quickly learned that he had to read my self-revews (and weekly status reports) before cutting and pasting them into his reports.

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He is almost always willing to spend time reviewing proposed work and changes, except during Sunday 49'ers games.
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Key Areas for Development:*

... Some other teams and individuals respond best to face-to-face contact, rather than through E-mail or phone, so more aggressively seeking out others to drive work forward when Mike is on-site might be beneficial. In the interest of safety his clue-bat should be replaced with a lightweight foam bat beforehand.
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I'm not quite retired yet, but I'm working on it...
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:19 PM   #39
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Oh man....why didn't I think of doing stuff like that?
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:40 PM   #40
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How about the famous "Who moved my cheese " days ? All the employees had to watch a video presentation on it including the cleaning people who did not speak english .
Our director bought into this lock, stock and barrel. We all got a copy and were instucted to soak in the inspiration in it. Yuk. Someone in the office got a copy of "Who Cut the Cheese" a parody of the book and it got passed round the office like wildfire. Management was none too pleased but we loved it. Our little revolution.

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