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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 11:13 AM   #81
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

We are moving from an industrial to service economy, unionizing has more hurdles in this climate. Much the same way the guy making 20k a year votes republican because he hopes to be in the position to benefit from their policies "real soon", the office environment does not lend itself to solidarity. Everybody in cubeland is trying to win the pyramid scheme lotto, get that manager/lead position, and get into the 10% of employees making the big $$$.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 12:12 PM   #82
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
We are moving from an industrial to service economy, unionizing has more hurdles in this climate. Much the same way the guy making 20k a year votes republican because he hopes to be in the position to benefit from their policies "real soon", the office environment does not lend itself to solidarity. Everybody in cubeland is trying to win the pyramid scheme lotto, get that manager/lead position, and get into the 10% of employees making the big $$$.
And this is just one of the problems. Another is that there are plenty of smart people in other countries ready to take over many of these jobs and work just as hard for less pay. It's hard to get any negotiation leverage when the company postition is, "If you don't like it, we'll move your job to India."
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 12:19 PM   #83
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
We are moving from an industrial to service economy, unionizing has more hurdles in this climate. Much the same way the guy making 20k a year votes republican because he hopes to be in the position to benefit from their policies "real soon", the office environment does not lend itself to solidarity. Everybody in cubeland is trying to win the pyramid scheme lotto, get that manager/lead position, and get into the 10% of employees making the big $$$.
nice explanation....working=MLM scheme indeed.....Add in the folks looking to have their emotional needs filled through work (workaholics and folks that need to grasp onto the corporate slogans as a way of life fulfillment)......well, good luck to them
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 01:09 PM   #84
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Hydroman, as the memo went to managers that are to pass the word down, isn't it possible to go to Joe and ask him what is the goal? Is it increased productivity? If so, we should talk more about what will make employees more productive as the effect on morale will be counter productive. Is it a problem of people not using their PTO and then losing it?
I think the issue "Joe" was "trying" to address with his poorly done memo was that of employees taking comp time to offset hours worked over 40 in a week.

Hydro emphasized that long hours were already a part of this tech start up company's culture and not something "Joe" is bringing to the game. The company uses the PTO day methodology for dealing with vacation, sick and personal days. It sounds like "Joe" feels that some people are taking personal days as comp time while others use a PTO day and "Joe" feels that unless your hours have been extreme and prolonged, he wants those personal days to be PTO days.

I always found managing exempt overtime compensation, comp time and personal/sick time to be one of the most challenging roles in management. Trying to address special, individual needs of some employees by granting special considerations while maintaining consistency in treatment of all employees frequently seemed like an oxymoron.

Hydro's company desperately needs a clear company-wide policy. This policy needs to be communicated openly and formally, not just "pass the word down."

"Joe" needs help on his communication skills.

On the union subject......... White collar unions have always been difficult to organize and hard to sustain. I doubt that's the answer. What's needed is nationalization of health care and true portability of pensions so that seniority with an employer (including the government) is meaningless in regard to those benefits. Then people will have significantly increased freedom to change jobs and force employers to be competitive in non-salary issues such as working conditions, time off, etc.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 01:14 PM   #85
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B

I'm glad your "timer" has only a few months until you retire. As a recovering ex-manager, saying how productive you are when working weekends is a real sign that you have lost touch with reality and your priorities are totally skewed.
2B, I have not lost touch reality and I do have my priorities straight. However, the reality of fulfilling the requirements of my job and for my Department is it needs more time than my staff and I can produce in a standard 40 hour week. I have identified that we need to take on additional staff and we are in the process of doing so, but as a team we all feel it is important to get the right person for the job rather than just get a bum on the seat. As I said I never make anyone do overtime, nor do they get any pressure. Of lot of them ask for the extra hours, as being in Southern Ca. even though they are well paid they all want a few extra $'s.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 01:46 PM   #86
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:

What's needed is nationalization of health care and true portability of pensions so that seniority with an employer (including the government) is meaningless in regard to those benefits. Then people will have significantly increased freedom to change jobs and force employers to be competitive in non-salary issues such as working conditions, time off, etc.
These are good ideas. Will the government or employers ever accept them since they will be losing control over workers? There will be no "golden" handcuffs to hold people chained to an institution.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 01:59 PM   #87
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
The caveit (sic) being US companies must remain competitive on the international sceen (sic).
Yes, that's the problem, isn't it. Won't work, unless your goal is to drive your employer away or into bankruptcy. The solution isn't unions ... it is better leaders of American companies, and keeping your skills up to benefit from the free labor market. Make bad companies and bad bosses fail by taking your great skills away from them, and moving to better companies and bosses ... bad companies and bosses deserve to fail, and you deserve to succeed if you're a great employee who creates value for the team.


Here are some other thoughts, recognizing the risk.


I'm a CFO myself, for 30 years, and this is a fascinating thread on many levels. I suspect Joe would be amazed at the sh*t storm his words create, here virtually, and soon in his company.

To be fair to Joe, for a moment, he took a job with a mission ... from what you say, Hydroman, his mission is to prep the company for sale or IPO. That means everything now becomes a short-term decision. Damn the torpedoes, cut costs, and drive that bottom line higher ... because that bottom line multiplied by a market multiple is what values your company. He may have poor bedside manner, but if he has been hired for such a purpose, you can expect little to no long-term, company building behavior. This isn't "brownnosing" ... this is working to complete the mission assigned by the owners of the company, and accepted by that CFO.


Frankly, I've dealt with this kind of "short-term" crap for some time, and it is a major problem in American business ... short-term thinking, not dedicated to building solid companies who treat their employees fairly and decently. I hate it, and it will be one of the reasons my next job is either CEO, or owning my own company. The recent rise of PEG's (private equity groups), and their usual seven to ten year perspective, is a major source of this brain damage. Folks like Warren Buffett are the opposite, and a much better example of American business, IMHO.


I have ten folks reporting to me at corporate, plus another dozen or so in the field. We are relatively small ... about $250M in sales ... and don't have a formal "comp time" policy. I'd like to keep it that way as long as possible. My philosophy is simple ... we're pulling together as a team ... that means, sometimes, we'll work long hours. I work longer hours than anyone on my team, because I am the leader. And my staff know that if they need comp time off, I'm cool ... just don't abuse me and the team. Family and children are job 1, and I will always give as much leeway as possible, as long as they are doing their jobs. But I don't need to send an email or write a policy at this time ... because those who would abuse comp time are also folks who don't perform in general.

[BTW, I'm not proud of working long hours, and I don't wear it on my sleeve ... and I do pay a price for this behavior. But it is, and has been, what has been required to do a tough job here. And I took that job, and the pay that came along with it. It is a free labor market, and I could move when I wish. But if I take a job, I'm going to do my utmost to do that job well.]


Hydroman, there are some real pearls of wisdom above, in the posts of others:
  • Recognize the management perspective is no longer about building long-term value ... it is a short-term effort to "perfume the pig" (excuse the expression). Also recognize this is the job Joe signed up for ... we may not like it, but this is what the owners of the company have requested ... and it is their company.
  • If you own stock or options, try to see this change as an opportunity. If you're willing to take the brain damage and stay ... help Joe build company value (with as little employee abuse as possible), and you may get to ER faster.
  • If you don't have options / stock, try to get them. If you can't, keep your skills up, and look for another job, at least as a hedge. You're in for more of this, and it won't be fun. Depending on the market, the company will either sell, or go IPO ... either will create even more pressure to build value.
  • If you're willing to take the risk, Joe may appreciate, and needs some honest feedback. You can help him greatly by diplomatically suggesting alternative ways to get where he needs to go, without pi$$ing everyone off. You may also find out there are some issues he is trying to resolve, and you may become a trusted confidant. This could help your peers, as well as your company. Even if you could help get rid of Joe, they'll hire another "Joe" ... some of this behavior is driven by the owners / Board.


Best of luck.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 03:24 PM   #88
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles
...
Here are some other thoughts, recognizing the risk.

....

Hydroman, there are some real pearls of wisdom above, in the posts of others:
Charles, that was an excellent appraisal of the situation, and a great list of some of the options available to Hydroman.

It may make people feel better to call Joe names and to say that American business is going down the toilet, but bottom line, there is the situation - best to grasp it by the horns and do something about it. It is what it is, the IPO/merger idea is driving them to think short term. There may be some hay to be made, or it may be best to cut your loses and leave.

Either way, there *will* be something to learn from it - take that knowledge forward with you in your career. Sometimes, the only way to learn some stuff is to experience it. It's painful at the time, but it does all serve to build up an experience base that can be used for good.

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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 04:12 PM   #89
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

I find it amazing that the management style is to 'work hard', when al they mean is 'work long hours'.... and why?? I don't understand this thinking...

Is it to be more competative No... look at the profits coming out of the global firms... Exxon $40 billion, Citi, Chase, BofA all in the $20 billion range.. GE way up there also... they could hire a few more people and still make these profits... in fact, I would argue they would make MORE...

I worked at one firm where the managers had the belief that a 40 hour workweek was 'normal'... yes, at month end we worked longer, but got a hour or two off a few days in the middle... and guess what, we worked hard the 40 hours...

I then went to a place that thought 80 hours were 'normal'... I didn't... always were clashing with the managers.. well, I worked 45 to 50 hours and was a lot more productive than anybody else that worked 80... they were doing 'face time' and slacked off... and when I say I was more productive, it was twice as much as the next guy... but since I would not 'stay late', I was held back and got less bonus... I was not a 'team player' even though the job was not a 'team job'...

And yes, most managers have a short term mentality... we just took ALL projects out of our budget to 'hit a target'... we had to 'sharpen our pencils' to get there... but we now are not going to do projects that would pay some good money back in a few years.... even when they were in, if there was not a two year payback they were rejected...

Sorry to say, I don't belive the productivity numbers that keep coming out.... I think it is people working longer hours....

Well, I have rambled enough....
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-04-2007, 11:02 PM   #90
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Fortunately, there are still places that do not demand long hours, e.g., most government jobs, public school teachers, etc. Are there more?
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 07:04 AM   #91
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Everybody in cubeland is trying to win the pyramid scheme lotto, get that manager/lead position, and get into the 10% of employees making the big $$$.
Jeez, such cynicism here! Maybe my field (computer engineering) is different, but almost none of the engineers I work with have this mindset. Most simply enjoy solving challenging technical problems and getting the work done; not too many have an eye on working their way up the ladder. I don't imagine that most believe that management is where the big $$$ is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
It's hard to get any negotiation leverage when the company postition is, "If you don't like it, we'll move your job to India."
I'm still not convinced that this is as widespread as people make it out to be. I've seen quite a few articles discussing the problems companies are running into with outsourcing, and some are choosing not to puruse that route. There's no question that it's occuring; I just haven't seen evidence that it's a standard practice now.

BTW, I'm not trying to be a corporate shill or anything, but I think it's detrimental to let ourselves get carried away with too much doom and gloom. Perhaps my attitude will change after I've been working for 25+ years.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 07:33 AM   #92
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

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Originally Posted by CompoundInterestFan

I'm still not convinced that this is as widespread as people make it out to be. I've seen quite a few articles discussing the problems companies are running into with outsourcing, and some are choosing not to puruse that route. There's no question that it's occuring; I just haven't seen evidence that it's a standard practice now.
Then you are not looking that hard... it is very common for the Fortune 500 to outsource a number of thier functions... call centers, accounting (AP, GL etc... all aspects), programming, tech support... I know my company has at least 10,000 people in India... and they continue to ask for what else can be moved there...

Since I can do my job in Texas instead of NY, why not someone over in India

You are right that there are hurdles to overcome... and if you don't get a good base there, you will have more problems than you would think... but there is a 'tipping point' where you have such a big base the savings are there.... you build your own facility with its own generators so you don't lose electricity... you can have buses etc to pick up your employees so they show up bypassing the public transportation.... it does start to pay for itself...
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 08:59 AM   #93
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Texas Proud ... perhaps the Chinese military will help us all out by wiping out everyone's communications satellites someday, and we'll be back to using land lines in the U.S., and keeping the jobs here.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 09:20 AM   #94
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Maybe they're dated and no longer the case, but the studies I last saw regarding outsourcing didnt look that great. Except for a couple of specific job types, productivity was substantially lower in the outsourced employee than in the US employee...in fact you barely got what you were paying for.

All I can say is that 95% of the time I call someones customer service center and get some agent thats 'offshore', I dont get my problem solved or question answered...2-5 more people end up having to get involved and at the end of it all I get a credit on my account or the products returned/service is canceled. So I dont think the cost savings really add up.

And I might suggest that if you feel your job could be adequately handed off to "Bob" in a foreign land when "Bob" has received perhaps a couple of weeks or months of training...that you find yourself something a little less easily replaced?

"Joe" is a typical overpromoted manager with inappropriate people skills. He could easily have used this opportunity to thank all the employees for their dedication and thank them in advance for their future contributions. Instead he decided to make the stick bigger, and reserve the carrot. He became the "time adversary" to be beaten and disincented everyone who read that memo.

I used to have a little speech I'd give any new group I took over managing. In it I told them that I wasnt their mommy or responsible for making sure they were tethered to their desks for the proper amount of time. I didnt care where they were, what they were doing or how they were doing it as long as the work got done on time, everybody was happy with the work, and they could be reached in a timely manner in the event that there was an emergency. They were to manage their own time, take time off they felt they deserved, deal with personal issues when they arose so that the time they spent at work was focused on work, and if they just didnt feel like coming to work that day, stay home and keep the feigned illnesses and bad excuses to themselves.

Once we got past the notion that I was some sort of gatekeeper on how much time they did and didnt spend at work and that there was no 'fun' in trying to weasel around me and my rules, gosh...they took personal responsibility for their time, did their jobs, worked overtime when they had to, took their time off, and everybody was happy.

I cant recall a single person out of the hundreds I managed that took advantage of this 'non policy policy'.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 10:03 AM   #95
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Last year I took a stab at reading "Das Kapital" the treatise on capitalism written by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels back in the mid 19th century. They defined capitalism as the "exploitation of the labor of the masses by the owners of enterprise". The verbage may vary depending on who translated it from German to English. It was enlightening!

This tug of war between workers and owners (or managers paid by owners) is not new and has evolved with the industrial economy. It is just as strong today as it was back in the days of Mellon and Carnegie.

We who hope to secure our futures by investing in the stock market are really playing both sides of the fence. When I was a "worker bee" it was often the cynical chatter at the coffee pot that revealed the exploitations of management. At the same time the charts of the trader accounts keep going up because they are doing it! Now we expect auto makers to become more profitable when they close plants and lay off "worker bees". We even laugh at TV commercials where the cubicle dweller sets a "circuit breaker" on his trader account to signal the time when it is OK to go tell his boss off and move on! Then the unthinkable happens: a market correction! He has to scurry upstairs and beg for his job back. Pop culture can illustrate this argument in 30 seconds!

Still, as "exploitative" as it can be, millions still march, swim, or crawl across our borders every year to take part in it. They will continue to come as long as the American way provides a better opportunity.

IMHO, two men have influenced labor unions in the US more than any:
Jimmy Hoffa - his remains have never been located. This created a fear of labor unions that made people reluctant to participate. Ronald Reagan - he brought down PATCO almost single handedly. Reagan was the leader of the Screen Actors' Guild at one time.
So, when he was a "worker bee" and had to make his living as an actor, he favored labor unions. As president he delivered a serious blow to labor movements. Is that hypocrisy or just capitalism at its best?



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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 10:22 AM   #96
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

After Marx you should for follow up read Road to Serfdom http://www.amazon.com/Road-Serfdom-F.../dp/0226320596
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 10:24 AM   #97
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Jimmy Hoffa?

"I heard you paint houses"

The "killer" claims Hoffa was "cremated in Detroit". ...if you believe the story.

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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 10:37 AM   #98
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Maybe they're dated and no longer the case, but the studies I last saw regarding outsourcing didnt look that great. Except for a couple of specific job types, productivity was substantially lower in the outsourced employee than in the US employee...in fact you barely got what you were paying for.

All I can say is that 95% of the time I call someones customer service center and get some agent thats 'offshore', I dont get my problem solved or question answered...2-5 more people end up having to get involved and at the end of it all I get a credit on my account or the products returned/service is canceled. So I dont think the cost savings really add up.

And I might suggest that if you feel your job could be adequately handed off to "Bob" in a foreign land when "Bob" has received perhaps a couple of weeks or months of training...that you find yourself something a little less easily replaced?
CFB... you are right.. the old studies showed it was a negative to the firms when you considered lost revenue etc... that is why when I did the cost analysis a few years ago I did not recommend going over there.. but it was the 'in' thing.... so we went...

And it does not matter if they can or can not do my job... as long as someone high up thinks they can, it can get shipped over there...

BTW... in India, there are some highly trained engineers that rival the ones here... and some programmers that are better..
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 10:39 AM   #99
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

Indeed, many take their work quite seriously, work odd hours (their night is our day or something like that), train like hell and one of the areas that I recall they did as well or better than a US worker was writing code.
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?
Old 02-05-2007, 10:40 AM   #100
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Re: Could there be any better reason to ER?

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Ronald Reagan - he brought down PATCO almost single handedly. Reagan was the leader of the Screen Actors' Guild at one time.
So, when he was a "worker bee" and had to make his living as an actor, he favored labor unions. As president he delivered a serious blow to labor movements. Is that hypocrisy or just capitalism at its best?
PATCO worked under a rule (law?) where they could not strike... but struck anyhow.... he just said the ones who struck were fired... PATCO killed themselves..
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