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Old 06-09-2008, 11:40 AM   #41
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What are your experiences in large corporations?
Barring a contract that says otherwise, you're only valuable to a company to the extent that you make a bottom line contribution, whether by making or doing something, preventing losses, improving efficiency, or otherwise.

Whether you are making money for your company is not something you have a lot of control over, or even insight into at a big company. Someone else's mistakes, improvements, or calculations at a far off part of the company could mean that it's more profitable to dismiss you than retain you. Large companies typically have large bank accounts and access to lines of credit that allow them to absorb small and medium size fluctuations, and they're not infrequently run poorly on the inside, together meaning it can take a while for reaching the criteria for dismissal to result in losing your job.

At a smaller company you tend to have a closer relationship to the people making those choices, and you often have a better sense of the business as a whole so that you can make a better guestimate of your contribution to the bottom line. But on the other hand small companies tend to have smaller accounts, typically don't have much access to credit. Small companies also don't have many of the regulatory and reporting requirements of larger companies. Many of them don't have effective leadership or any internal controls.

All in all it's a relative comparison. You can read the writing on the wall in a small company clearer, but at a larger company if you're keen on reading 10-Q reports and reading between the lines of internal communications you can often see changes further in advance. Neither provides any guarantees -- that's what contracts are for.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:37 PM   #42
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It's interesting to see the vultures that prey on the permanently laid-off. Such former w*rkers frequently appear like poll-axed steers, terribly embarrassed and frightened they have terminally fallen from grace. (Most have.)

All sorts of financial scams, such as franchises, have been created to separate them from their savings and restore their former glory. Sadly, these schemes usually drag them into the pit.
I can't believe the advertisement "cr*p" on TV today -from "make millions from the internet" to stupid vacuum cleaners and magical vitamins.

Either
1. I'm getting older and more cynical, or
2. There's a lot more cr*p out there than before.

I think it is #2 above - either because:
A. There's a lot more gullible idiots out there to buy these scams, and/or
B. Media time is a lot cheaper when there's 200 channels

I think both A and B are true.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:12 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Delawaredave5 View Post
I can't believe the advertisement "cr*p" on TV today -from "make millions from the internet" to stupid vacuum cleaners and magical vitamins.

Either
1. I'm getting older and more cynical, or
2. There's a lot more cr*p out there than before.

I think it is #2 above - either because:
A. There's a lot more gullible idiots out there to buy these scams, and/or
B. Media time is a lot cheaper when there's 200 channels

I think both A and B are true.
Crap franchises are a dime a dozen, and they aren't anything new. In the early '80s and late '80s, California had a run of franchise scams.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:22 PM   #44
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I don't remember all those "professional (sic) life coaches" being around 10 years ago. Probably because, as Delewaredave5 suggests, "There's (now) a lot more gullible idiots out there to buy these scams".
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:22 AM   #45
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There is very little security anywhere these days.
I respectfully disagree. I think the security today comes from ME. It's based on my work ethic, my ability to add value to the company, my desire to learn (in the past 15 years I've obtained an engineering degree, an MBA, a CMA (certified management accountant), and become Six Sigma certified.), and so on. Given the relatively low unemployment rate today of around 4.5%, companies really want to keep their good workers, so they are relatively secure.

There are always exceptions, such as when the general economy goes into recession or downturn and you are in a "volume-dependent" position...then sometimes companies must let people go.

I work for a large company with 35,000 employees. We have "forced ranking". Each employee is evaluated on a scale and "ranked" against his/her peers. The goal is to put 10% of the employees into a "top tier", those are the ones who get the large raises and promotions. Then they put 80% into a "middle tier", and those folks get raises about equal to cost of living, and still get promotions, but on a more "spread out" time table based on their abilities/desires. Then they put 10% in a "bottom tier". Those 10% are put on "work improvement" plans, and they must meet with their managers quarterly to discuss. If you are rated in this bottom tier two years in a row, then the company MIGHT let you go if they need to reduce staff headcounts.

Although there are things I hate about this system (It causes rivalry between peers), the one good thing is that being fired for performance (as opposed to being fired for doing something illegal) is never a surprise...you know at least a year in advance that you are "at risk", and you have the opportunity to improve.

I've worked for my company for 20 years, and I've never once said "Gee, that guy was a great employee and they fired him". More likely I've said things like "I'm glad they got rid of him, he was lazy and always trying to push work onto others, never fixed any problems, and didn't have any initiative."

Dave
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:14 AM   #46
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I respectfully disagree. I think the security today comes from ME. It's based on my work ethic, my ability to add value to the company, my desire to learn (in the past 15 years I've obtained an engineering degree, an MBA, a CMA (certified management accountant), and become Six Sigma certified.), and so on.
For yourself this is definitely a good attitude in order to keep competitive in the marketplace. You will probably be among the last to be layed off if times get very rough.
Quote:
I've worked for my company for 20 years, and I've never once said "Gee, that guy was a great employee and they fired him". More likely I've said things like "I'm glad they got rid of him, he was lazy and always trying to push work onto others, never fixed any problems, and didn't have any initiative."
Typical hard ass attitude and makes me angry . I don't usually see red when reading a post. Well there might be a few sloths in the workplace but all in all people want to perform given a chance. You've just worked in your company for the right 20 years. I worked for a large company for 30 years and during the dot-com bust they layed off around 50% of the people. We had a ranking system too. That didn't stop them from laying off very high ranking people who were in the wrong units at the wrong time. I hope you're not the type of guy who sees their layed off collegues outside of work and looks the other way. You need to develop some compassion.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:26 AM   #47
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I hope you're not the type of guy who sees their layed off collegues outside of work and looks the other way. You need to develop some compassion.
I did my share of corporate 'cleansing' and I would say that very few of the people let go were incapable of good work. Most were just caught in the wrong job. Most also used the transition to get into the right job. So everybody won.

(There were, however 2 suicides... but not from my list.)
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:35 AM   #48
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I guess everybody can win -- but let's not kid ourselves. Personally a layoff can be extremely traumatic and your mention of suicides just shows that. I did OK with my layoff as I just decided to ER and got the severance package too. But there were some older guys who did not have that luxury. They were clearly crushed. Hopefully they found equivalent or superior positions but nobody I know would want such a "win-win" experience.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:05 AM   #49
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I respectfully disagree. I think the security today comes from ME. It's based on my work ethic, my ability to add value to the company, my desire to learn (in the past 15 years I've obtained an engineering degree, an MBA, a CMA (certified management accountant), and become Six Sigma certified.), and so on. Given the relatively low unemployment rate today of around 4.5%, companies really want to keep their good workers, so they are relatively secure.

There are always exceptions, such as when the general economy goes into recession or downturn and you are in a "volume-dependent" position...then sometimes companies must let people go.

I work for a large company with 35,000 employees. We have "forced ranking". Each employee is evaluated on a scale and "ranked" against his/her peers. The goal is to put 10% of the employees into a "top tier", those are the ones who get the large raises and promotions. Then they put 80% into a "middle tier", and those folks get raises about equal to cost of living, and still get promotions, but on a more "spread out" time table based on their abilities/desires. Then they put 10% in a "bottom tier". Those 10% are put on "work improvement" plans, and they must meet with their managers quarterly to discuss. If you are rated in this bottom tier two years in a row, then the company MIGHT let you go if they need to reduce staff headcounts.

Although there are things I hate about this system (It causes rivalry between peers), the one good thing is that being fired for performance (as opposed to being fired for doing something illegal) is never a surprise...you know at least a year in advance that you are "at risk", and you have the opportunity to improve.

I've worked for my company for 20 years, and I've never once said "Gee, that guy was a great employee and they fired him". More likely I've said things like "I'm glad they got rid of him, he was lazy and always trying to push work onto others, never fixed any problems, and didn't have any initiative."

Dave
Dave, I think you'll find that this board is filled with people with graduate degrees and professional certifications of the highest difficulty. Even so, most of us have seen enough to know that competency is necessary but not sufficient to ensure continued employment.

You may be right in that there is some rhyme and reason to who gets fired. That may actually be a good thing because it shows that the universe does have some rules. However, I have seen plenty of FOBs (friends of the boss) do little, strut around, create unnecessary and counterproductive chaos, and still remain employed. Trust me, no matter how good you are or how many black belts you have (in Six Sigma or in one of the martial arts), you cross one of the FOBs even if unintentionally, you're done.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:59 PM   #50
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Dave, I think you'll find that this board is filled with people with graduate degrees and professional certifications of the highest difficulty. Even so, most of us have seen enough to know that competency is necessary but not sufficient to ensure continued employment.

You may be right in that there is some rhyme and reason to who gets fired. That may actually be a good thing because it shows that the universe does have some rules. However, I have seen plenty of FOBs (friends of the boss) do little, strut around, create unnecessary and counterproductive chaos, and still remain employed. Trust me, no matter how good you are or how many black belts you have (in Six Sigma or in one of the martial arts), you cross one of the FOBs even if unintentionally, you're done.
I fully agree. I've been with the same large company 29 years, been a senior managerfor the last 18 years and seen many good, very competant, folks get laid off or fired because on incompetent managers who happen to be FOBs. I always took jobs at manufacturing sites where jobs tended to be more secure for competent folks. 4 years ago I was asked to move to Corporate in Houston during yet another company restructing by a Director in England that I had know for years and repected highly. I was very successful in everything they gave me to do - establishing 3 global teams of managers, and working on mergers and aquisitions. However, in the new organization, my Director's face and management style did not fit so only lasted 14 months. Another local Director who I worked closely with and quickly got to respect and rely on for advice lasted only 8 months. They brought in a new Director and I worked for him for 14 months - he was really excellent and extremely effective. However his face didn't fit either and he got laid off last summer. That's when I decided I wanted out of that environment.

As I say I have tons of all the experience the company wants plus I don't have a political bone in my body so there were plenty of offers. I chose a job back at the company's largest site where I'd spent 15 years. The great reception I've received has been almost over whelming. (still can't wait to RE of course )
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:33 PM   #51
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Employee ranking (or performance appraisal), in general, is based on subjective criteria. As others have mentioned, those who are FOB will always receive high ranking regardless of their competency. Those who do not spend time in developing good relationship with their bosses will always be let go first.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:22 PM   #52
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TickTock summary:

* Forced ranking within a group is bad because it incentivizes you to hurt your peers instead of contributing to the group, and also incentivizes you to surround yourself with bad performers.

* Competence is helpful, but not necessarily sufficient, to get and keep a job. Although it does help you find another job if the first one goes south.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:32 AM   #53
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What are your experiences in large corporations?
1. Huge red tape problem. To get anything done usually requires 5 managers to sign it. And most managers want to remain as "invisible" as possible.

2. Pay is usually better, as are benefits.

3. From what I have seen so far, most large corporations are scared to death to fire someone individually. Too much risk of lawsuit etc. Much more often, they will let an entire department go at a time to prevent this. So if you are suddenly transferred to a new dept without a really good reason.... time to beware.

4. Things like personal hygiene, codes of dress, and inappropriate behavior, are "ususally" kept in check a bit better. Smaller companies tend to slack on professionalism in favor of "getting the job done".
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:36 AM   #54
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The real source of "security" is your "savings and skills"

I was talking to a guy that owns a car dealership - he said the courts have really "swung full tilt" to the employer in firing lawsuits.

Years ago he used to need to be very careful, methodical and fully document the process of firing someone - in fear of some successful wrongful discharge lawsuit.

Now a days, he says it is "simply screaming you're outta here".......

As the unemployment rises, there's only going to be more power in the employer.

Repeat out loud: LBYM LBYM LBYM
Car dealerships have been like that for many years, don't let him fool you............
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:39 AM   #55
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* Forced ranking within a group is bad because it incentivizes you to hurt your peers instead of contributing to the group, and also incentivizes you to surround yourself with bad performers
Not only that, but it means that if someone is performing satisfactorily, once the company prunes the dead wood, that same person with the same level of productivity is now performing unacceptably in the next round of evaluations.

Repeat enough times, and someone who used to be one of the better performers could keep their current level of production and be at risk of being axed before too long.

And you're right -- this "someone has to be on the bottom" approach to management and personnel issues isn't exactly conducive to helping your colleagues succeed. In that case, helping their 'teammates' is just what conscientious professionals do.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:52 AM   #56
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They briefly tried to go to a forced-ranking system here. My boss's response was "Well, everyone in my group is a 5, the rest of you a**-clowns better line up your f***ing monkeys behind us."
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:24 AM   #57
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Dave, I think you'll find that this board is filled with people with graduate degrees and professional certifications of the highest difficulty. Even so, most of us have seen enough to know that competency is necessary but not sufficient to ensure continued employment.

You may be right in that there is some rhyme and reason to who gets fired. That may actually be a good thing because it shows that the universe does have some rules. However, I have seen plenty of FOBs (friends of the boss) do little, strut around, create unnecessary and counterproductive chaos, and still remain employed. Trust me, no matter how good you are or how many black belts you have (in Six Sigma or in one of the martial arts), you cross one of the FOBs even if unintentionally, you're done.
Yep, very true.

Believing in yourself, and working hard to maintain/improve your qualifications and abilities, are certainly worthwhile; but they are not guarantees of job security.

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I think the security today comes from ME. It's based on my work ethic, my ability to add value to the company, my desire to learn, and so on.
The downside to buying into the 'I alone am responsible for my job security' crap trap is that if (or more likely, when) you are eventually let go you will - obviously - blame yourself. And people who blame themselves for being laid off are usually the ones who never work again ("no one wants me. I'm damaged goods, I'm a screw up").
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:20 PM   #58
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I work for a large company with 35,000 employees. We have "forced ranking". Each employee is evaluated on a scale and "ranked" against his/her peers. The goal is to put 10% of the employees into a "top tier", those are the ones who get the large raises and promotions. Then they put 80% into a "middle tier", and those folks get raises about equal to cost of living, and still get promotions, but on a more "spread out" time table based on their abilities/desires. Then they put 10% in a "bottom tier". Those 10% are put on "work improvement" plans, and they must meet with their managers quarterly to discuss. If you are rated in this bottom tier two years in a row, then the company MIGHT let you go if they need to reduce staff headcounts.
My mega corp did something similar ... but we used a single ranking list which was submitted to HR.

Problem with these rating systems is that department heads have little insight into individual performance. Sooo they delegate to middle managers who then might delgate even further. So now a group of 5 or 6 employees is being ranked by a single manager. Obviously his/her PET will head the top of the list and be brought up the chain (for no other reason than than being a brown-nose). Then to add insult to injury, the pet gets a better raise that year .... wash, rinse, repeat.

Thanx for reminding me why I got out at 43!
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:19 PM   #59
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Obviously his/her PET will head the top of the list and be brought up the chain (for no other reason than than being a brown-nose).
Naaah, that never happens!
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:34 PM   #60
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I've worked for my company for 20 years, and I've never once said "Gee, that guy was a great employee and they fired him". More likely I've said things like "I'm glad they got rid of him, he was lazy and always trying to push work onto others, never fixed any problems, and didn't have any initiative."

Dave

I have not worked for many companies, but the last one (which laid me off) was much different than what your describe... There were many times that we were wondering why someone good was laid off and the slacker was not... I saw it when the company was only 30,000 employees and even more so when it was 170,000...

As an example... we had a very competent crew where we were located... but then another merger and a lot of people scrambling for jobs... and the winners in our area were the acquired company.... well, even after things settle down, my boss was demoted a couple of times... this was after they had asked him to go head up the Europe and Asia region (he was doing the west US...)... so, he was good enough to cover most of the world, but not to keep the West...

They got rid of me and two others because we were not sitting in 'corporate'... and the new boss did not like the people who had a lot of experience that would challenge her decisions... she wanted robots just out of college who thought she was brilliant...

Now, if they had said I was paid to high for the position it would have been another story... but my skill level was such that I could have been doing the job three levels up (and most of my peers kept asking why he was doing the job and not me... again, not sitting in corp hurts)...

But I am fine... work for a small company now and don't have to put up with the people who don't want to make decisions and just exist... and get the huge paycheck...
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