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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 11:51 AM   #41
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Heck, around here I think you need to sink to an E-minus or an F before they do anything about you! And then sometimes it involves moving you to another project, even if it means a promotion...all your current project worries about is getting you out of their hair!
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 12:02 PM   #42
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Laurence, by no means do I sense you will be "rightsized." Our firm went through two major cuts. Believe me, it was harder on the people who remained at the firm. More work, less people, smaller raises, etc., same old team spirit pep talks, more meetings, etc.
Set your goal and get your Masters first. I have two children your age and wish they would think ahead for their retirement planning. They seem to have a 'glazed over look' when you tell them to invest their money. Hang in there...
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 01:43 PM   #43
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny

You play these fear games, and you lose your "A" players.* Those people can get jobs anywhere, anytime.* Or at a minimum you have them questioning their committment and hard work.* Once they slow down or drop out, the work dumps down on your "B" players.* The better of those will follow the "A" players out the door or to unproductive gripeland.

Now you've got your headcount reduction...from the wrong end.

Funny thing is, in every organization i've been in...we all knew who the "C" players were, but they never got the axe.
Jack Welch states in his book "Winning" that he required his managers to cul the herd 15% a year from the bottom up. These would be the low performers. The thing that struck me was at some point you run out of low performers and you cut intot he "B" and "A" group. That is, unless you are hiring "C" performers to replace the "C"s you just got rid of. Now that would be productive!

From my side of the desk, I have had to lay off folks from time to time and it is never fun. HR usually makes the choice about who goes so most of it is out of your hands. With the RIF goes both good and not so good performers. The rules for RIFs were not designed to keep your good people but rather to be "fair" to everyone that got RIFed. Seems like an Oxymoron to me.

Laurence,

Hang in there as long as you want to or as long as they will let you. In your situation it would seem the best gamble right now. You could come out a winner, even if for a short while, until you can leave on your own terms for the job you want in the location you want. Make them push you out or buy you out.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 01:51 PM   #44
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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Jack Welch states in his book "Winning" that he required his managers to cul the herd 15% a year from the bottom up.
So have any of the 15% written the book "Losing"?

I can understand saying that "We have too many people doing this job and we're going to do it with fewer people" or even "We're not going to do this job anymore and we don't need those people anymore either".* But I would think that implying that the people you've fired that year are "poor performers" would only induce raving paranoia & back-stabbing in the other 85%.* It reminds me of the shenanigans at the Enron bonus-ranking meetings.

I wonder how the first Mrs. Welch feels about her ex-spouse's philosophy.* I bet she didn't lose...

On a separate rant topic, if one more of these alleged "experts" starts writing a Business Week column then they'll have to do it without my subscription dollars.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 01:55 PM   #45
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Management by "rule of thumb"...
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 02:32 PM   #46
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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Management by "rule of thumb"...*
Remember that the rule of thumb was....
one could legally beat their wife with a stick with a diameter no larger than that of ones thumb.

Same thing.......you still "stick" it to the emplyee, just without the physical stick...... :
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 02:34 PM   #47
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Yeah, we had the "cull the herd" percentage requirements too. They just didnt work. The "C" players kept skipping along because they were nice guys, had been around for 20 years, were good buddies or neighbors with bob the vice president and the two of them were hired at the same time years before, they told lots of funny jokes and everyone liked them, or some other reason.

Several performance vectors, from the actual skills and contributions, who you know, how afraid the company is of any legal implications of shooting the guy, how much trouble you cause, how low a profile you can put on, how good your manager is at protecting you, or managers who refuse to act on the problems...either because they're too chickenshit to fire someone or because they think it'll reflect on them personally or professionally.

Fact is, the bottom 5% the first year I was at my last company were still around when I left. Quite a few had been promoted. Somewhere in the middle 50% we culled the people we were supposed to drop.

And the sacred cows were pretty sacred. In one review session the focus for "underperforming" fell on a couple of guys that I thought did pretty decent work. Up there on the board were a couple of guys that I'm sure hadnt done a productive thing in years. I finally pulled the sr manager and hr person out of the room and said "I think we should start looking lower on the totem pole...those guys are pretty good workers...or I'm going to have to go in there and start talking about bob and jack and how they havent done a damn thing since 1985." The two of them got a little pale and went back in the room, hemmed and hawed and decided there were NO low performers in that group.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 02:44 PM   #48
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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And the sacred cows were pretty sacred.* In one review session the focus for "underperforming" fell on a couple of guys that I thought did pretty decent work.* Up there on the board were a couple of guys that I'm sure hadnt done a productive thing in years.* I finally pulled the sr manager and hr person out of the room and said "I think we should start looking lower on the totem pole...those guys are pretty good workers...or I'm going to have to go in there and start talking about bob and jack and how they havent done a damn thing since 1985."* The two of them got a little pale and went back in the room, hemmed and hawed and decided there were NO low performers in that group.
Yeah I remember a few of those meetings too. We had a "little accounting error" that created the need to drop 15% of our management staff. Each morning for two months at 6:30 am until 8:30 am, the site staff went down the list of exempt employees one by one in every department and each one had to be defended from the rest of the group. It was not a pretty sight and I still have scars from the encounters. It was brutal and was all BS since none of us had a hand in the "issue" that created the whole problem to start with. A lot of credibility was lost and never recovered by that management directed stunt.

There is nothing like telling a good employee with 20+ years of above average performance reviews that he is being RIFed because the site accountant screwed up some numbers and the site staff thought he was a "little weak" in one area. :

I walked away from that job a few months later. I could not work with those creeps any more. Bad career choice but a satisfying personal one. Sometimes you gotta take the high road.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 03:10 PM   #49
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Hah. ALL of our annual reviews were done that way. People cut into 30-40 people chunks, all their managers in the room, everyones name on a post-it note and stuck on a white board. Each manager gets to tell a little story about them, then everyone else tells you what sucky thing they did 9 months ago that apparently wasnt important to bring up until now.

Keep moving people left and right on the whiteboard. Eventually someone tries to draw a few vertical lines between them to break them up into 3-4 'groups'. Then the real **** hits the fan. That would go on for 12-14 hours straight. No leaving until we're done and in agreement.

Is it any wonder I wanted to get the hell out of there? :
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 06:20 PM   #50
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Steve and CFB, what wicked annual review and layoff procedures you had to go through!

Your scenarios are the very opposite of where I am.* I have asked the boss for an evaluation after three years on the job.* I had asked him before, about a year ago, but he was too busy and I didn't remind him until lately.* No merit increases are done here anyway but I still would like to improve and move up if possible.

Maybe I should count the no-review system as a blessing instead, although I am used to 360's, goal-setting reviews, etc. at various places I've worked.* One small IT shop at a manufacturing firm even tried to have mathematical weightings to different factors, and I remember being happy not to be penalized with a deduction for programs put into production that abended.

At the company that I left before this job, layoffs were just beginning by the time I left, and I was familiar with the A-B-C ranking that management was required to do.* (Some of my friends were managers and told me they were required to do the ranking just in case their area would be subject to layoffs.)
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One day, the supposedly secure file of employee ranking was revealed to all staff for a few days, and I was peeved to find out that I was not ranked as A.* I can't remember if I was a B or C, but since there were only eight of us reporting to our manager, I understood that we couldn't all be A's.

Laurence, best of luck with whatever you decide to do--whether to stay or to go.* But just in case you'll have to go sooner than later, if it were me in your shoes, I'd spiff up the resume today.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 08:02 PM   #51
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Went out with my Dad today to his farmstead, enjoyed working a bit on the land, but mostly we philosophized under a tree.

I admit I'm feeling pretty nervous, this lag between the announcement and the pink slips is kind of crazymaking. Again, Im 99% sure Im o.k. due to some insider information, but that little wormy voice still whispers in my head.

You know, you guys really hit it with that C group thought. Whats sad is how accepted it is. In fact, I had several people say to me after the big powwow, Im sure youre fine, I saw you shooting the breeze with the President and Director such and such!. Id like to think Im safe due to my good work, but if the spotlight ever did get pointed at my department, that probably would be the deciding factor.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 08:11 PM   #52
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

This is a good time to cut back on your spending, get a little bigger pad of cash. Once I had enough money to last 6 to 8 months, I worried less while waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Funny how we let that 1% worry us sick... Hope the 99% is right and you stay employed.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 09:20 PM   #53
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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Hah.* ALL of our annual reviews were done that way.* People cut into 30-40 people chunks, all their managers in the room, everyones name on a post-it note and stuck on a white board.* Each manager gets to tell a little story about them, then everyone else tells you what sucky thing they did 9 months ago that apparently wasnt important to bring up until now.
Keep moving people left and right on the whiteboard.* Eventually someone tries to draw a few vertical lines between them to break them up into 3-4 'groups'.* Then the real **** hits the fan.* That would go on for 12-14 hours straight.* No leaving until we're done and in agreement.
Is it any wonder I wanted to get the hell out of there? :
Hey, that's how the Navy does ranking & promotion boards!
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-02-2006, 09:32 PM   #54
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

Sorry for the news, Lawrence. *This kind of thing can be very hard at best, and absolutely brutal at worst. *

I've worked in the software industry for 16 years (gawd!) and seen layoffs at every place I ever worked. *I was hit twice myself. *No rhyme or reason to any of it. *I've seen the best of the best chucked because their subordinates would do the job less well for less money, and I've seen really lousy workers kept because... I dunno, maybe they had pictures of the boss in compromising positions...

No matter what happens, it's going to suck. *Either you get laid off (which sucks), or you get to stay and work your behind off in an increasingly toxic environment which (in my experience) sucks even worse. *

I've never seen a company that benefited, short-term, from a layoff. *Maybe things will be better in 20 years, but management caused this mess in the first place and they're unlikely to be able to dig out anytime soon.

I agree wholeheartedly with those who recommend a resume brush-up. *Yes, I know that your commute is good, you like the job, etc. etc. *But I've seen grown men cry under the pressure of working twice as hard to keep their income, mortgages, etc. etc.

What is more, testing one's worth in the job market can be very educational. *Each time I was laid off (and this is true for many of my friends), I was hired elsewhere at a SIGNIFICANTLY higher rate of pay. *Fact of the matter is I wish, in retrospect, that I'd been let go more often! *;-D What was MORE important, I learned early on not to kill myself working countless hours for a company that was going to do what companies do when they're in trouble -- cut people loose without mercy.

I'm not giving you this grim view because I'm bitter or anything * * but more because

a) you cannot control this in any way, so

b) try to relax, don't worry about it, let whatever happens happen, and realize that while it will suck in the sort term, someone with your skills and talent will come out better off in the long run. I guarantee it.


Caroline *



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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-03-2006, 06:57 AM   #55
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

My job as a nurse is very secure, although I am in my last few weeks. My other half has been through RIF's several times and another is happening this year.

We are seeing many really good performers with lots of experience jump ship - the word is out they are ripe for the taking and many of the younger guys are taking the offers. He is three years from 55 yo retirement so hopefully he will get out with his pension intact or nearly so. The pension is currently funded properly and the company is making megamoola so we should be OK.

What helped us get through this is having our expenses under control. I would take a good look at my spending habits and make sure there is no waste. We went on a debt elimination frenzy once the RIF's started and have no debt. that is very difficult in some housing markets but the less debt and expenses you have the easier it is to deal with all this stuff. I also kept working as the second income longer than I had to just in case.

Good luck. It is never easy. The people left will undoubtedly see some good performers and friends leave.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-03-2006, 10:20 AM   #56
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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I've never seen a company that benefited, short-term, from a layoff
I've never seen a long term benefit.

I think the morale issues outweigh any financial savings, and those ill feelings stick around. Look at Laurence, a key player in the organization thats well regarded, capable, intelligent...and he's worried. Is that the effect you're looking for?

In some people ("B" players) it may make them work a little harder or hide their failures a little better, but it makes no change in your "C" players and your "A" players often decide to work elsewhere.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-03-2006, 10:28 AM   #57
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

I could very well be a B-minus player, but my coworker is definitely an A, and she and I have already started joking about beating each other out the door. And that's the problem, those who can find a job somewhere else making the same or more are those with sparkle, the ones your business depends upon. I remember another company I worked for went through some rough patches, didn't lay off a whole lot, but froze pay etc. and made life hell. Talked to the one friend who didn't leave and the conversation went something like this: "Joe is in charge of tech support? He's an idiot!" "Wait, Jane is the webmaster? She couldn't spell xml!!".

The ugliest rumor is this is managements tool to purge those who have fallen from favor. I would be all for that if you could count on it being a meritocracy. There are people who are professional coffee mug holders, just wandering the hall...
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-03-2006, 10:33 AM   #58
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

I haven't read the whole thread but I am an unfortunate expert of RIFs. *Call them what you will. *I've been on the giving and receiving end of job cuts and the pattern I've seen is pretty standard. *The key is that no reason is needed to let someone go. *I was a "layoff." *Your only hope in fighting it is if almost everyone let go is in a "minority" classification -- old white guys excepted.

The first wave is usually "payback time." *This is where the people that have pissed off a manager in another department or even their own gets taken out. *This is where the person who just didn't rub the VP the right way on his last visit leaves. *Rank has very little to do with who is picked. *Job performance has even less. *I've fought mightily to save great performers but the "word" had come down that they were one of the chosen.

The second wave is where the doomed projects are cut and the majority of the casualties are on those projects. *Being "liked" by the right people can do wonders. *There's still a little residual vengence left in who goes but the real targets were in round one.

After that, anything that appears rational disappears. *It's everyman or woman for themselves. *There is mighty positioning for both internal and external jobs. *In the midst of any widespread layoff, everyone has their resume out. *You can run into coworkers interviewing with the same company you are.* Even worse, that bozo manager that got zapped in round one is now a hiring manager with another company.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-03-2006, 01:09 PM   #59
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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....* Even worse, that bozo manager that go zapped in round one is now a hiring manager with another company.
Once a rif is expected the first round to leave (not get rif'd) are the folks the business wants to keep.* I have seen businesses offer retention bonuses to retain key players, particularly when a business is being sold (nice to have a business to sell).*

IMHO, be open to other opportunities Laurence.* This might even be the perfect opportunity for a move if you are inclined.
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"
Old 06-03-2006, 05:52 PM   #60
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Re: Grim news, work is "Rightsizing"

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I haven't read the whole thread but I am an unfortunate expert of RIFs. Call them what you will. I've been on the giving and receiving end of job cuts and the pattern I've seen is pretty standard. The key is that no reason is needed to let someone go. I was a "layoff." Your only hope in fighting it is if almost everyone let go is in a "minority" classification -- old white guys excepted.

The first wave is usually "payback time." This is where the people that have pissed off a manager in another department or even their own gets taken out. This is where the person who just didn't rub the VP the right way on his last visit leaves. Rank has very little to do with who is picked. Job performance has even less. I've fought mightily to save great performers but the "word" had come down that they were one of the chosen.

The second wave is where the doomed projects are cut and the majority of the casualties are on those projects. Being "liked" by the right people can do wonders. There's still a little residual vengence left in who goes but the real targets were in round one.

After that, anything that appears rational disappears. It's everyman or woman for themselves. There is mighty positioning for both internal and external jobs. In the midst of any widespread layoff, everyone has their resume out. You can run into coworkers interviewing with the same company you are. Even worse, that bozo manager that got zapped in round one is now a hiring manager with another company.
Gawd, I think you and I work for the same company

Laurence - It's time to polish up your resume and put your feelers out there. You'll have absolutely no problem landing on your feet.
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