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View Full Version : My wife's company tried to screw its employees, so they torpedoed the company right back.


Ogre
07-06-2010, 03:11 PM
My wife's company used to be a small mom-n-pop outfit with a great corporate culture, and employees that considered each other to be family. Great bunch of people, and the managers and VPs were no different. Over 30 or so years, it became the largest company of its kind in the world, and still had a close-knit, wonderful culture about it. The turnover rate was low, you had the seasoned veterans sticking around because they were being treated well, etc.

About 5 years ago, the company was bought out by an investment company in California, who then bought another, related company in Utah, and merged the two. Since then, life has been hell. Constant layoffs. Constant "streamlining" consisting of draconian cutbacks to keep the company in ready-to-sell condition. This past Spring, the company, in order to keep it from looking like a debt on the bottom line, confiscated all accumulated vacation time for all employees.

You can imagine the discontent. Employees started dropping out like flies. All those coding experts and seasoned veterans began deserting the ship. The brain drain was incredible.

Then the other shoe dropped. This company, which was started and thrived in Huntsville, Alabama, and had expanded to St. Louis and several other cities, including a number of international offices, was being gutted. All offices except the one in Provo, Utah, were being closed. All employees, including all the developers, coders, sys admins, client care specialists, dedicated project managers who were solely responsible for the large clients such as New York City, Los Angeles County, and others, had 60 days to move to Utah, or lose their jobs.

Internal scuttlebutt, which I heard directly from a VP, said that the corporate masters were counting on at least 50% of the employees to knuckle under and make the move.

After all, why would anyone want to live in a hellhole like Huntsville or St. Louis when beautiful Provo, with its tolerant, accepting LDS culture, beckoned?

Besides, times are tough, right? The serfs will move anywhere we tell 'em, and like it, right?

Almost to a person, the employees, without unionization of any kind, other than a certain esprit de corps, told the company to fuck the fuck off. Out of several hundred employees, there are less than 10 that are making the move.

Take that, you motherfuckers. You want to know about brain drain? Try to support your proprietary language now, since not a single developer is moving, and have all, in fact, found new jobs. Know why you got the shaft, you idiots? Because NOBODY TRUSTS YOU. You've fucked your employees over so much by now that nobody believes for a second that they'll have a job in 6 months, even if they move.

So suck it, chumps. I hope the entire company flatlines and costs you billions.

B. Serum
07-06-2010, 03:37 PM
If you want some folks to boycott the @$$holes, you should drop some (more) clues.

Voyager
07-06-2010, 03:49 PM
Good for them, and I hope those who didn't go form a competitor and kick the asses of these clowns.

However, I thought unused vacation time belonged to employees, and was carried on the books. I can see forcing employees to take it, or paying it off, but I'd strongly suspect just confiscating it is against some law or other.

billfish678
07-06-2010, 03:55 PM
Good for them, and I hope those who didn't go form a competitor and kick the asses of these clowns.

However, I thought unused vacation time belonged to employees, and was carried on the books. I can see forcing employees to take it, or paying it off, but I'd strongly suspect just confiscating it is against some law or other.


You would THINK that wouldnt you. But I know a person who worked for a company that was recently bought out (and I am sure its not the company in the OP). One thing the employees were told was that accrued vacation time would NOT be honored.

Floored my simpled minded legal mind, but thats the story I got.

And yeah, don't just burn that bridge, nuke that fracker from orbit :)

Skald the Rhymer
07-06-2010, 04:01 PM
Good for them, and I hope those who didn't go form a competitor and kick the asses of these clowns.

However, I thought unused vacation time belonged to employees, and was carried on the books. I can see forcing employees to take it, or paying it off, but I'd strongly suspect just confiscating it is against some law or other.

Ogre's from Alabama, which is, I expect, a right to work & at-will employment state. I doubt there's a legal requirement there that the company provide any vacation; it's more likely that businesses do it for competitive reasons. A weak employment market gives the unethical license to screw their employees.

Jeff Lichtman
07-06-2010, 04:04 PM
This reminds me of what happened years ago when Computer Associates took over Ingres Corporation. They gave employees a take-it-or-leave contract with a one-sided non-competition clause. Almost every single engineer quit on the day when the contract was supposed to be signed. In that case, though, the economy was in good shape, so the ex-employees were able to find other jobs easily. It really takes guts to do this when unemployment is around 10% nationally.

Eva Luna
07-06-2010, 04:10 PM
Ogre's from Alabama, which is, I expect, a right to work & at-will employment state. I doubt there's a legal requirement there that the company provide any vacation; it's more likely that businesses do it for competitive reasons. A weak employment market gives the unethical license to screw their employees.

You might be surprised. I had the IL Dept. of Labor tell me that although there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave time in IL, if they do provide it, they either have to let employees use it, or pay it out. (I asked because my practice group left my old firm when I was 2 weeks short of the one year I supposedly needed to work before I could use accrued vacation time.)

Luckily my old employer paid me for the full 2 weeks without a fight, but the IL DOL told me they were legally required to do so anyway.

Lamar Mundane
07-06-2010, 04:32 PM
I totally know what company you are talking about.

Ogre
07-06-2010, 04:35 PM
I totally know what company you are talking about.Yeah, I expect that a few Dopers do.

GargoyleWB
07-06-2010, 04:37 PM
Yep, I used to work for one of these very same firms. "Mom and pop" investment firm, choice skyscraper downtown in a beautiful city, Xmas bonuses (regardless of stock price), catered meetings. The bosses even turned a blind eye to cracking open beers while working late on a Friday. They were also very progressive hiring-- very gay/alternative friendly.

A megacorp bought them, started replacing execs with their own people, and cracked down on anything that wasn't suit 'n tie corporate. They then announced that the whole outfit was moving to Lynchburg VA.

To quote one of the gay black men I worked with: "A brother of my persuasion moving to someplace called Lynchburg? Fuck that!"

Most rapidly quit, fewer than 10% of the folks moved. I agree, it is a very dismal and soul-sucking atmosphere to work in. Especially awful are the hand-over-heart assurances during the buyout of how much Megacorp respects and loves your tradition and experience, how nothing will change, how they'll build a better future, blahdeeblah...

Gatopescado
07-06-2010, 04:46 PM
I totally know what company you are talking about.

So clue the rest of us in.

Ogre
07-06-2010, 04:52 PM
If you guys don't mind, I'd like to keep the specifics out of the thread. The fallout is not complete yet. I should have known Dopers would be quick on the scent. :)

phouka
07-06-2010, 04:57 PM
You would THINK that wouldnt you. But I know a person who worked for a company that was recently bought out (and I am sure its not the company in the OP). One thing the employees were told was that accrued vacation time would NOT be honored.

Floored my simpled minded legal mind, but thats the story I got.

And yeah, don't just burn that bridge, nuke that fracker from orbit :)

They can say anything they want, tell the most outrageous lies, because they figure their employees are too battered to protest. Call it a refuge in audacity.

Someone needs to check with the state's employment department and an independent lawyer before giving up.

Lamar Mundane
07-06-2010, 05:01 PM
So clue the rest of us in.

Wrote out a long reply then saw Ogre's request so I deleted it. Suffice to say, this is the kind of company that a community hates to lose. Lots of good, high-paying jobs. I used to be in this industry until three years ago, when I left before something like this happened to me. A rapidly consolidating industry.

Punoqllads
07-06-2010, 05:09 PM
I have a guess at which company this is, but I assume that Ogre had a reason why he didn't name the company unless he says otherwise.

Amara_
07-06-2010, 05:31 PM
You might be surprised. I had the IL Dept. of Labor tell me that although there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave time in IL, if they do provide it, they either have to let employees use it, or pay it out. (I asked because my practice group left my old firm when I was 2 weeks short of the one year I supposedly needed to work before I could use accrued vacation time.)

Luckily my old employer paid me for the full 2 weeks without a fight, but the IL DOL told me they were legally required to do so anyway.

This is my understanding as well. Our company tried to cap accrued vacation time last year; multiple employees (in several different states) told them that they thought it was against the law and they had to back down after checking with the DL in several states. They had to pay it out or leave it on the books since it counted as compensation for time already worked but they were allowed to change the policy going forward. I don't think that they can be forced to provide vacation time benefits but they can't take away the benefits for time already worked.

Manduck
07-06-2010, 05:37 PM
SirsiDynix, right?

billfish678
07-06-2010, 05:44 PM
A question.

Can a specialty software company even SURVIVE a 95 percent attrition rate? I can imagine some businesses surviving (but not thriving) this kind of loss, but not a company like this.

And what are the 5 percent staying thinking? Now you've moved, virtually nobody knows what the hell they are doing, and you still have your asshole overlords breathing down your neck screaming "make IT WORK". Gahhhhhh to the nth power.

Sure sounds to me like the investors investment just blew away with the wind...

Ogre
07-06-2010, 05:51 PM
SirsiDynix, right?Yep. Ah well. I shouldn't have started the thread if I didn't want it in the open. No real harm done, though.

tomndebb
07-06-2010, 05:57 PM
There have been a number of companies that discovered, too late, that the workers are not nearly as cowed as they "should" be.

I know of two companies that did similar things, only to suffer for it.

In one, the move was (somewhat) logical and the employees might have simply suffered through it, but the brass decided that it would "look better" if they got one of the more arrogant IT consulting firms to handle it. When the clueless MBAs arrived and began announcing decisions, they were met with a solid wall of simple, direct answers. "Does this report show X?" "Yep." (No reference to the fact that X is only 15% of the information needed to keep this line in operation.) At last report, the moved division was in serious failure with only the top brass, (the only ones who actually made the move), in trouble.

In the other, the same sort of nonsense about "They'll have to move" was assumed by the company. The division was being moved from Cleveland to the Carolinas and "everyone knew" that all the employees would be happy. Of course, they never looked at their demographics to realize that the Southern town was a single industry location, so there was no place for all the spouses who were working to find employment and that the majority of middle managers and line foremen had kids in high school who were not going to be happy having to move or kids in Ohio colleges that would either have to trandfer and lose credits or stay and pay out-of-state fees. And, frankly, Cleveland's cost of living was at about the same place as the southern town, so people were going to have moving expenses without actually getting a better paycheck. The only people who actually moved were a few young kids and a couple of almost-retired folks who had already been looking at the Carolinas. The company has never quite recovered from their brilliant move over ten years ago.

scr4
07-06-2010, 06:13 PM
So clue the rest of us in.

Or you could have tried google... There aren't that many companies who are closing their Huntsville office and moving employees to Provo (or trying to).

Ogre
07-06-2010, 06:15 PM
Or you could have tried google... There aren't that many companies who are closing their Huntsville office and moving employees to Provo (or trying to).
Heh. After posting the OP, I searched Google for "huntsville provo st. louis", and an article about Sirsi was the first hit. :smack:

Squink
07-06-2010, 06:40 PM
I hear that there are some pretty good open source solutions in that area.
It'd be great for the local library to finally have a properly searchable catalog.


A CD is NOT a DVD is NOT an LP is NOT a BOOK!!!

Mr Smashy
07-06-2010, 06:55 PM
It's still hard for me to believe that they can eliminate vested vacation leave already earned. Going forward is a completely different story, of course.

In Bill Gole's book, "Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Strategies for Accountants" he says that

Vacation pay and other compensated absences must be recorded as balance sheet liabilities if employees have earned vested rights to such payments

FASB Statement 43 provides some food for thought.

Short of some weird acquisition clause in the employee handbook, something smells pretty fishy here.

Voyager
07-06-2010, 07:06 PM
This is my understanding as well. Our company tried to cap accrued vacation time last year; multiple employees (in several different states) told them that they thought it was against the law and they had to back down after checking with the DL in several states. They had to pay it out or leave it on the books since it counted as compensation for time already worked but they were allowed to change the policy going forward. I don't think that they can be forced to provide vacation time benefits but they can't take away the benefits for time already worked.

My company just got acquired, and I got paid a hunk of money for my accrued vacation time. I would have rather kept it, but in our world of today that is pretty small potatoes.

Both the old company and the new company did cap accrual, which seems perfectly reasonable given that it is a liability. Retroactively capping it, something else.

Skald the Rhymer
07-06-2010, 07:40 PM
It's still hard for me to believe that they can eliminate vested vacation leave already earned. Going forward is a completely different story, of course.

Yes. The more I read the thread and think about it, the more I think my earlier glib response was full of crap.

But it doesn't surprise me at all that they'd lie about being able to do so.

Obsidian
07-06-2010, 08:03 PM
My former company was bought by a larger company, and our new overlords tried to confiscate our vacation time, in what I'm sure they felt was a clever way. They announced, around Thanksgiving, that there would be no vacation rollover-- anything not used by the end of the year would be forfeit. Considering December was our busiest time, there was no way for people to use their vacation-- and for some of us, like myself with 6 weeks, there was no mathematically possible way to use it, even if we'd walked out right then and not come back until Jan 1.

Some of us looked up the state laws and explained to them that in California, that was illegal. You could cap accrual, and you could pay out in lieu, but you couldn't just erase it. They replied that, "unfortunately", that was company policy and could not be changed. We went around several times, with them insisting policy could not be changed, and us replying "what do you not understand about the words "labor law?" Eventually, my boss threatened to get a lawyer involved, and suddenly they were able to make the change. But they made this huge deal out of their generosity, like they were doing some great and very special favor for the California office, when all they were doing was complying with existing law.

elbows
07-06-2010, 08:28 PM
I say consult local labour specializing attorney.

Fuck the bastards. Split the cost between everyone hoping to get vacation pay, sounds like they are all tight with each other, shouldn't be too hard.

They deserve to have to pay out hard. And, if there was a God in heaven, the law would include a penalty for trying to shine on employees and misrepresent the law to them.

E-Sabbath
07-06-2010, 08:31 PM
An integral part of SD’s new customer support model will be the customers themselves: The company also plans to leverage its users’ knowledge base into a new online Customer Support Center, to be launched in June (see image below). The groundwork for the new center is a “robust, indexed, searchable knowledge base,” which will “encourage library staff to discuss their challenges and successes with thousands of their peers around the world,” the firm said.


Yeaaah, they know they're in trouble.

Chimera
07-06-2010, 08:40 PM
Back in the plesticine epoch, I worked for a software company run by a former VP of a large consulting firm. At one point we had 35 consultants, watched over by a Manager, making 95% of the company's income; and 6 developers, watched over by a Vice President and having an Administrative Assistant, spending most of the company's money.

One year, we were promised profit sharing and were told the company was extremely profitable and we'd all get nice Christmas bonuses if we only worked hard(er). Well, December company meeting comes around and Bozo the Boss announces that there will be no profit sharing because he'd spent all the lovely profits on office furniture.

People started leaving.

So his next Big Thing was to announce that he was giving out stock in the company to keep his valued employees. A couple of months later, with much fanfare, we get our stock at another company meeting. Bozo is very public and very clear that his very few "big players" got 10,000 shares each, while the rest of us (80% of the company) got a mere 500 shares each. Nothing says "I value your contributions" like being told that you're getting 1/20th of the amount that his handful of "big players" are getting, and stupidly telling the greater part of your company this in a public meeting where they can compare paperwork.

People fled in droves, and the company closed it's doors about a year later.

About 10 years ago, I worked for a company that I will not name except to say that they are a big name in the credit score business. They decided to hire a new CEO and hired a major consulting firm to lead the search. No big shock when said companies taps one of it's own VPs for the position. Bad news from day one when the stupid fucker shows up for a big presentation on his very first day...wearing a shirt with his old company's name on it.

In very short order, said company went into Strip Down Mode. Monthly layoffs, forcing everyone to work 70+ hours a week with the stated expectation that this would prove your value and protect you from being laid off, followed by you being laid off the next month. Drove the stock price through the roof, and it split several times, as Wall Street fell in love with all the "cost cutting" (clearly unsustainable in the long run) and big and grandiose plans.

CEO broke his promise to move out to where the corporate HQ was located and moved the headquarters here. Company bought an interest in a corporate jet because it was too inconvenient for him to fly first class. When the drive to our local buildings proved too long, he rented luxury space downtown for his private offices. Industry respected people in high places were replaced with his cronies or simpy cut out completely. The sales department was completely gutted and replaced with his cronies and lackies from previous jobs and companies.

When they finally got rid of the fucker, the place had been gutted. A company whose entire worth was based on R&D and People skills had neither. The new CEO actually took the step of making a public apology to their customers for the company's lack of people skills and gutting of it's research and development.

Me, I was long gone. I left after I'd had a back injury and was told, after working 35 hours in one week because I had a Doctor's appointment, a Chiropractor appointment and an MRI...that I would not be allowed to go to the Doctor anymore. Well, a few other things too.

Moral of the Story, like the OP, is that it only takes one IDIOT in charge in order to completely destroy a company by driving off or replacing it's people.

billfish678
07-06-2010, 08:41 PM
"An integral part of SD’s new customer support model will be the customers themselves: The company also plans to leverage its users’ knowledge base into a new online Customer Support Center, to be launched in June (see image below). The groundwork for the new center is a “robust, indexed, searchable knowledge base,” which will “encourage library staff to discuss their challenges and successes with thousands of their peers around the world,” the firm said."

So basically, the customers are going to help themselves. And it will use a database to do it. And this database will require significant knowledge of how the system works for it to make any sense. And requires programmers to write the damn thing.

Geez, sounds great, if only THEY STILL HAD THE EMPLOYEES to do that...

Anybody want to invest in my new lawn service company where the homeowner mows their own lawn? We make just our money charging a fortune for allowing them to use our very special lawnmowers. But we dont fix em or tell em how to use em....

Derleth
07-06-2010, 09:00 PM
Yeah, sounds like Sirsi is a real fucking winner (http://www.librarytechnology.org/ltg-displaytext.pl?RC=14288):1. This case involves a fraudulent bait and switch scheme by Defendants against not only the Queens Borough Public Library, the highest circulating library in the nation, but other libraries as well.

2. Essentially, the Library wanted to update its "integrated library system" ("ILS") to manage all aspects of the Library's core services, Website and customer transactions.

3. As a result, the Library issued a Request for Proposal ("RFP") to multiple vendors, including Sirsi Corp., then a completely separate entity from Dynix (and a competitor), which submitted a response to the Library's RFP. The Library, however, rejected Sirsi's proposal, on valid substantive grounds.

4. Instead, after an exhaustive process, the Library decided to award the contract to Dynix.

5. During the negotiations, Sirsi Corp. purchased Dynix (although it was misleadingly described in the press as a "merger") and, upon information and belief, proceeded to strip Dynix of the assets needed to perform under the license agreement. Thus, Dynix, in cooperation with and at the direction of Sirsi Holdings and Sirsi Corporation, negotiated and entered into a license agreement with the Library to provide the Library with a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art ILS.

6. Upon information and belief, Dynix (and Sirsi Holdings, which guaranteed Dynix's performance) fraudulently misrepresented that it would perform its obligations to provide the contracted for software system when it had no intention or ability to do so, and Sirsi Corp. tortiously interfered with the license agreement and guaranty by inducing breach of these agreements by Dynix and Sirsi Holdings, or by otherwise preventing and hindering any actual performance.

7. After two years and spent millions of the Library's dollars, Defendants announced that Dynix would not provide the promised software (in fact, no software was ever provided) and attempted to foist Sirsi Corp.'s previously rejected and technologically inferior software on the Library.None of this was ever proven in court. The Queens Borough Public Library settled on those super-secret 'terms' where you pretty much know what happened anyway. (http://www.librarian.net/stax/3217/queens-borough-and-sirsidynix-settle/) It's good all of those employees got out now, as opposed to after the corporation really shoots itself in the foot. Besides, what kind of company equates 'customer service' to 'no successful lawsuits against us'?

Robot Arm
07-06-2010, 09:29 PM
I have worked at not one, but two companies that were bought out by companies in the Provo area.

I was working at a small company north of Boston. We had a legacy product that still had some some support revenue coming in. There was one last release, Y2K compliant, but it was skipping toward obsolesence even then. So we were trying to get a new Linux product/service going. We got bought by a company in Orem. They gave us a while to get things off the ground, then closed our office and let everyone go. Shortly after, they changed their business model and became one of the most loathed companies in software.

So I got hired by another company that had some very well respected open-source projects. It got bought out by a company in Provo. They utterly trashed it; at least the project I was working on. They tried to integrate it with a similar program that they already had for Windows. The deal breaker was almost funny. They cut a deal with a hardware company to install our product on Linux boxes that they sold. We came up with a very tight schedule to get the release out in six months. Then during a conference call, someone from the hardware company said "now, when we release this in April..." Everybody looked around. Nobody knew where they got that date from. That gave us about three-and-a-half months. We worked our asses off. We couldn't get any cooperation from the other company. We were on the hook for everything, and there didn't seem to be any performance requirements for the other company. Then someone did some research and discovered that the box they wanted to bundle this with was something they sold eight of per year. Whoever negotiated our side of that deal was an idiot. Everybody on the project started sending out résumés. When enough people left, they cut loose the rest of us; said it was the only way they could get control of the project back. I'm not bitter about most companies I've worked for, but a bunch of people there got seriously screwed.

I did travel to Provo a couple times during all that. Kinda nice, but awfully quiet. There was a good Mexican restaurant that I'd go back to, though.

GIGObuster
07-06-2010, 09:51 PM
Looking at the responses it is very likely that an incident that happened to a close relative I have was different, but how different? :dubious:

Many years ago an electronics testing company did move from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, again the company offered continued employment but only if you moved to LA also.

Most decided not to and quit just there. But my relative decided to get the help of other relatives in LA for temporary housing to continue working, commuting once a week back and forth from the bay area to LA. You see, his wife had a preexisting condition and there was no way that he would willfully lose unemployment benefits or the health ones with COBRA.

The buzz was that this was a jerk move by the company that knew all along that they were going to close shop anyhow, the move was precisely made to make most people quit and... Yep, no need to pay unemployment or health benefits as almost all employees lost them when they quit on their own. And so it was, the company folded a few months after the move and the very few that decided to follow it to the bitter end got unemployment and some severance pay.

I mention this not to be a party pooper here, but I wonder if the bastard company from the OP was also counting on many employees quitting.

kaylasdad99
07-06-2010, 10:10 PM
nm

Labrador Deceiver
07-06-2010, 10:25 PM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the company probably didn't want any of the employees to make the move. I've seen similar situations a number of times, and it's usually set up in such a way so that the company is able to clean house without showing any layoffs on the books. They pay a bunch of severance pay, but get the employees off the books. The "moving package" they offer is typically a joke.

Isamu
07-06-2010, 11:16 PM
The "moving package" they offer is typically a joke.

It must be a really funny joke, I mean fricken hilarious.

http://www.sirsidynix.com/meet-the-team

Captain Midnight
07-07-2010, 12:19 AM
Well, for one thing, human beings are inherently greedy. The CEO's on top do not care one whit about the workers. They do not have any compunction to take a perfectly good company/good situation and flush it down the toilet if it means just one more penny in their pocket than they made before.

The bad economy is no accident. The economy was set up to make workers into servants and keep them silent. Say one word different, and you are out on the street. "Corporate culture"? More like North Korea! The employees who do have a job will work nights, weekends, overtime, whatever, to stay away from home, stay away from their families and children, just to make some greaseball motherfucker in New York City just 1% more than last year.

Concerning "hellholes", what's wrong with Huntsville, Alabama?

ENugent
07-07-2010, 12:21 AM
My father worked for a chemical company for the first twenty years of his career. It was bought by a bigger company, then his portion was spun off and sold to someone else, and that company decided to move them from northern California to Mobile, Alabama. My father actually found in the fax machine a memo saying that they expected that most of the older employees would choose to take their severance instead, so the company would be able to unload the deadwood and just keep the young, cheap employees.

He consulted a lawyer, who pretty much told him that while he had some really good evidence, litigating was still going to be too expensive and risky to be worth it. So he took his meager severance package, as did all the other older employees. The bastards got just what they wanted.

Ogre
07-07-2010, 12:36 AM
Well, for one thing, human beings are inherently greedy. The CEO's on top do not care one whit about the workers. They do not have any compunction to take a perfectly good company/good situation and flush it down the toilet if it means just one more penny in their pocket than they made before.

The bad economy is no accident. The economy was set up to make workers into servants and keep them silent. Say one word different, and you are out on the street. "Corporate culture"? More like North Korea! The employees who do have a job will work nights, weekends, overtime, whatever, to stay away from home, stay away from their families and children, just to make some greaseball motherfucker in New York City just 1% more than last year.

Concerning "hellholes", what's wrong with Huntsville, Alabama?Nothing. It's a very nice place. Beautiful setting, and it's a happening little town. I was narrating as if I were the corporate types.

Annie
07-07-2010, 12:37 AM
Well, for one thing, human beings are inherently greedy. The CEO's on top do not care one whit about the workers. They do not have any compunction to take a perfectly good company/good situation and flush it down the toilet if it means just one more penny in their pocket than they made before.

The bad economy is no accident. The economy was set up to make workers into servants and keep them silent. Say one word different, and you are out on the street. "Corporate culture"? More like North Korea! The employees who do have a job will work nights, weekends, overtime, whatever, to stay away from home, stay away from their families and children, just to make some greaseball motherfucker in New York City just 1% more than last year.



On that theme, I'd like to quote GMRyujin, who made it to my tagline file with this nugget: You're probably going to spend your life working for a company that'd kill you and sell your organs if it got the CEO a third gold-plated bathtub for himself and his hookers. You can be talented, well-trained, highly experienced, and a loyal employee and they'll still ship your job overseas if it'll let the CEO get more hookers on bath night

Ogre
07-07-2010, 12:37 AM
My father worked for a chemical company for the first twenty years of his career. It was bought by a bigger company, then his portion was spun off and sold to someone else, and that company decided to move them from northern California to Mobile, Alabama. My father actually found in the fax machine a memo saying that they expected that most of the older employees would choose to take their severance instead, so the company would be able to unload the deadwood and just keep the young, cheap employees.

He consulted a lawyer, who pretty much told him that while he had some really good evidence, litigating was still going to be too expensive and risky to be worth it. So he took his meager severance package, as did all the other older employees. The bastards got just what they wanted.See, that's where it falls apart. They had already let most of the old, old staff go outright.

Nava
07-07-2010, 04:42 AM
Yeaaah, they know they're in trouble.

Gotta love companies that charge you for their product and then expect you to be your own customer support.

bdgr
07-07-2010, 05:19 AM
There was a good Mexican restaurant that I'd go back to, though.

Oh man...I have nightmares about what passed for Mexican food in Provo.

E-Sabbath
07-07-2010, 05:33 AM
Note that searching my quote will get you the entire press release, which I was slightly hesitant about linking directly. It's full of... fun.

In other news, I have a friend or two who might be affected by this. Well, who will be. It wouldn't be appropriate to say anything now, but in X days, this thread should probably be revived.

Enderw24
07-07-2010, 08:43 AM
So is Provo where software companies go to die?

descamisado
07-07-2010, 09:38 AM
I moved a company to Provo just to watch it die.

Munch
07-07-2010, 09:41 AM
It must be a really funny joke, I mean fricken hilarious.

http://www.sirsidynix.com/meet-the-team

Damn. Look at those "worked at Sirsi since ____" dates! That sucks Ogre.

Happy_Booker
07-07-2010, 10:03 AM
If you want some folks to boycott the @$$holes, you should drop some (more) clues.

For folks in the library business, the clues are very pointed.

MsWhatsit
07-07-2010, 10:26 AM
Note that searching my quote will get you the entire press release, which I was slightly hesitant about linking directly. It's full of... fun.


FYI, someone has linked to this thread in the comments of the press release. I just thought maybe the OP should know.

Duke
07-07-2010, 11:15 AM
Gotta love companies that charge you for their product and then expect you to be your own customer support.

Yeah, that's pretty much par for the course any more. I've worked with two fundraising database systems. I ended up writing the international address module for #1 because their original effort was so bad it never worked (and AFAIK they still use it; of course neither I nor my employer ever saw 1p from that).

Database #2 is real fun. They have set up a "user group" which sounds remarkably like the one that the company under question here has set up. The User Group works like this:

User Group: We've identified a number of bugs and other problems which could be cleaned up in the database program. They are (this, this, and this).

Database Company: These are known issues. We're working on repairing them.

User Group: These are the same bugs and other problems which we identified over two years ago.

Database Company: These are known issues. We're working on repairing them.

Basically, the "user group" is where ideas go to die. Four years ago I came up with a very simple add-on for the database program, which created a canned report that a lot of fundraising offices use on a regular basis. The add-on was so simple that I figured in the interests of nonprofit camaraderie I'd offer it free of charge to anyone who wanted it. Hell, I even gave Database Company #2 a free shot at it. The agent I talked to looked at it, agreed that it was a wonderful product that they'd love to implement, and took it back to the home office. I still get people asking me about that add-on. At least a few other places are using it on their own.

Last year, in desperation, Database Company #2 went open-source. Within weeks, add-ons the company had stalled on for years started being developed. There's a clever add-on put together by two part-timers in North Carolina that solves problems which a whole fleet of "developers" at their office couldn't do. Hopefully we'll have more soon. Let the part-timers show them up.

This database company has been screaming at the top of their lungs that a new version of their database will be launching soon. The last major version was released in 2000, so it's sort of time it happened. Well....the beta was in 2008 and there is still not even a hint of a release date. "Maybe 2012" mumbled the last guy I talked to. However, one of the company's plans is going ahead full steam...they're purchasing every company in the field that has even a hint of a good idea, and shutting them down. I can think off the top of my head of five different software companies that have been folded into Database Company #2. All of them were doing impressive, creative work. None of them are any more....

So, yeah, I can sympathize with the users of this product who essentially are being asked to be their own customer support. That's what we've been doing for years.

Cat Whisperer
07-07-2010, 11:24 AM
And that's why my membership here is such a bargain. :)

elucidator
07-07-2010, 11:35 AM
How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Hardware issue. Contact your vendor.

tdn
07-07-2010, 11:47 AM
How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Let's try rebooting your light switch.

vd
07-07-2010, 12:10 PM
Let's try rebooting your light switch.

Nah, that's customer service. Close all your windows, go outside, come back in, and see if it's changed.

tdn
07-07-2010, 12:23 PM
Nah, that's customer service. Close all your windows, go outside, come back in, and see if it's changed.

If that doesn't work we can try putting a patch on the lightbulb.

Daithi Lacha
07-07-2010, 12:25 PM
Let's try rebooting your light switch.

Try unplugging and plugging the lamp back in.

SteveG1
07-07-2010, 12:39 PM
For the past several decades, there have been countless stories of how long term loyal employees and management at many companies got totally fucked once the MBAs, suits and raiders take over. It's about damn time the people turned the tables on the fuckers.

I hope the damn suits lose every thing they fucking have in the world.

aruvqan
07-07-2010, 01:05 PM
For the past several decades, there have been countless stories of how long term loyal employees and management at many companies got totally fucked once the MBAs, suits and raiders take over. It's about damn time the people turned the tables on the fuckers.

I hope the damn suits lose every thing they fucking have in the world.

I know that I have had a long standing dream of winning a lottery and getting enough money to start a company and actually run it *well*, with the actual employees considered. Small things, like a more european approach to vacations, actual reasonable benefits, comfortable work environment. Human resources that is actually meant to work with the employees instead of against them. Really, it seems that most people just want a decent employer, with decent wages, benefits, vacation package, comfortable environment.

I think companies are too caught up in making a profit NOW that they forget that the employees deserve respect also.

smiling bandit
07-07-2010, 01:14 PM
Small things, like a more european approach to vacations, actual reasonable benefits, comfortable work environment. Human resources that is actually meant to work with the employees instead of against them. Really, it seems that most people just want a decent employer, with decent wages, benefits, vacation package, comfortable environment.

I would suggest you are wrong. What peoplpe want more than anything is not perks and pay, but actual influence on the job. People want to make decisions, and that's what tends to make for happier workers. Everything else is just your ultimate compensation package, which ends up being personal and negotiable if you really want. But companies who focus on that worse and pay more than companies which focus on giving people a voice.

I think companies are too caught up in making a profit NOW that they forget that the employees deserve respect also.

Well, not for very long. :D

Lynn Bodoni
07-07-2010, 01:33 PM
How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Hardware issue. Contact your vendor.

Let's try rebooting your light switch.

Nah, that's customer service. Close all your windows, go outside, come back in, and see if it's changed.

If that doesn't work we can try putting a patch on the lightbulb. Y'all forgot that you're supposed to cut off the power to the whole damn house, wait 10 to 15 minutes, and then turn the power back on. It comes right after rebooting the light switch, and is between going outside and coming back in.

Duke
07-07-2010, 01:34 PM
What peoplpe want more than anything is not perks and pay, but actual influence on the job.

Even if that's true, the fastest way to lose the respect of your employees is to take away those perks or pay. You can eat away at "employee influence" for years without anybody noticing, but take away accrued vacation time or even something simple like free coffee and watch employee morale go to the toilet. Mainly because rumors like "if we can't afford coffee, is this company going bankrupt?" start flying.

Duke
07-07-2010, 01:40 PM
Y'all forgot that you're supposed to cut off the power to the whole damn house, wait 10 to 15 minutes, and then turn the power back on. It comes right after rebooting the light switch, and is between going outside and coming back in.

This reminds me of a cruel but brilliant plan worked up by another database company. There was a "known issue" which caused the database to lock in a certain situation. When a client called in with said issue, the customer service rep would ask for their superuser password, then tell the client to have everybody log out while the company "fixed things from their end." Of course, the company had to do nothing...getting everybody to log out sorted the problem.

God only knows how many "client service call fees" that company bagged from that.

Khaki Campbell
07-07-2010, 01:43 PM
My wife's company used to be a small mom-n-pop outfit with a great corporate culture,

Two words combined that can't make sense.

Lynn Bodoni
07-07-2010, 01:46 PM
This reminds me of a cruel but brilliant plan worked up by another database company. There was a "known issue" which caused the database to lock in a certain situation. When a client called in with said issue, the customer service rep would ask for their superuser password, then tell the client to have everybody log out while the company "fixed things from their end." Of course, the company had to do nothing...getting everybody to log out sorted the problem.

God only knows how many "client service call fees" that company bagged from that. If Catbert didn't dream up that plan, then he's absolutely green with jealousy that he didn't.

Punoqllads
07-07-2010, 01:57 PM
There was a "known issue" which caused the database to lock in a certain situation. When a client called in with said issue, the customer service rep would ask for their superuser password, then tell the client to have everybody log out while the company "fixed things from their end." Of course, the company had to do nothing...getting everybody to log out sorted the problem.

If Catbert didn't dream up that plan, then he's absolutely green with jealousy that he didn't.
Yeah, if EvilGenius, Inc. tells a sysadmin that the problem can be fixed by everyone logging out, then said sysadmin probably goes around bad-mouthing EGI's programmers. But telling him that they'll fix things from "their end" makes the syadmin feel like he's not technically adept enough so he'll cover his ass by blaming something else entirely ("UPS bit-bucket maintenance today, should take about fifteen minutes.")

Lamar Mundane
07-07-2010, 02:22 PM
Just to put a little perspective on thislets look at things from the other side. Yes, SIRSI was a nice small company that was a great place to work - they paid well and gave people a lot of good jobs with good benefits. They had a good culture and wrote good software. The problem with writing good software is that customers are happy with it. They don't want to buy your new product because they are happy with the one they have. Those multi-million dollar sales start to dry up and suddenly the company is in big trouble.

So what do they do? They tell the libraries that they aren't going to support the older systems any longer. You can keep using the old one, but if something goes wrong, you better have someone on your staff that can fix it, don't bother calling us. They'd also add some new "essential" upgrade that the libraries had to take and pay for, even if they didn't want it. Yes, maybe it was a useful tool for Stanford or Duke or Princeton, but some podunk community college was forced to pay for it as well. This industry absolutely raped the library community for years. The great jobs that the company provided came at a great price to the library community.

The libraries didn't do themselves any favors by not providing any organized opposition to these tactics. It happened with journal subscriptions as well. The journal publishers just kept raising prices 10-20% a year for no legitimate reason, and the libraries kept paying, while their only response was to bitch up a storm on the listserves. When the economy finally made it impossible for schools and public libraries to expect increased funding year to year, it forced some tough decisions, and they finally started to tell vendors "no". This caused tremendous grief in the vendor community. While there were dozens of library automation companies in 2000, there are only a half-dozen or so that really matter anymore. It's much worse in the journal industry. There's a reason the owners, the "mom and pop" sold their company five years ago - they saw the writing on the wall and realized it was a good time to get out.

The bottom line is, even while the California owners may well be heartless bastards, the glory days in that industry are over, and even if the original owners were still in charge, bad things would be happening. Every company that deals with libraries as their primary customer is going through the same sorts of things.

smiling bandit
07-07-2010, 02:44 PM
Yes, SIRSI was a nice small company that was a great place to work - they paid well and gave people a lot of good jobs with good benefits. They had a good culture and wrote good software. The problem with writing good software is that customers are happy with it.

This is a problem with a lot of software companies, though. There are solutions which do not involve being a titanic jerk.

ralph124c
07-07-2010, 04:32 PM
A firm I worked for (in RI) did this-they moved to Florida. The people who moved with them really got the shaft-within 12 months of making the move, the Florida location was shut down.
These people found themselves in anew area and no jobs-really a bad deal.

BwanaBob
07-07-2010, 04:35 PM
My wife's company used to be a small mom-n-pop outfit with a great corporate culture, and employees that considered each other to be family. Great bunch of people, and the managers and VPs were no different. Over 30 or so years, it became the largest company of its kind in the world, and still had a close-knit, wonderful culture about it. The turnover rate was low, you had the seasoned veterans sticking around because they were being treated well, etc.

About 5 years ago, the company was bought out by an investment company in California, who then bought another, related company in Utah, and merged the two. Since then, life has been hell. Constant layoffs. Constant "streamlining" consisting of draconian cutbacks to keep the company in ready-to-sell condition. This past Spring, the company, in order to keep it from looking like a debt on the bottom line, confiscated all accumulated vacation time for all employees.

....

You have the lay the blame on the shoulders of "mom and pop". They're the ones that sold their souls (and their neat company) to the investment company and started this train wreck. Fuck them.

silenus
07-07-2010, 05:01 PM
You have the lay the blame on the shoulders of "mom and pop". They're the ones that sold their souls (and their neat company) to the investment company and started this train wreck. Fuck them.

Bullshit. That's like blaming someone for an accident because they were driving on the road when someone hit them. Where does it say anywhere that the owners of a business can't sell it? As noted by Lamar, they saw the writing on the wall and got out when the getting was good. The employees aren't pets. You don't owe them lifelong care and protection.

Skywatcher
07-07-2010, 06:30 PM
A firm I worked for (in RI) did this-they moved to Florida. The people who moved with them really got the shaft-within 12 months of making the move, the Florida location was shut down.
These people found themselves in anew area and no jobs-really a bad deal.Dad worked for the same pharmaceutical company for just over 30 years, during which time it went through a few different parents. Ford Motors. Greyhound. Revlon. Revlon transferred him and a bunch of his colleagues from Illinois to another, fast-growing, subsidiary in New York. Three years later, Revlon reduced the Tarrytown subsidiary to a skeleton as a cost-cutting measure because the cosmetics division was doing so poorly. Dad, 52 at the time, was one of the first to be terminated.

tomndebb
07-07-2010, 06:49 PM
You have the lay the blame on the shoulders of "mom and pop". They're the ones that sold their souls (and their neat company) to the investment company and started this train wreck. Fuck them.Not always true. I worked for a guy for years who always tried to do well for his employees. (At one point, he fired his accountant because when he went to set up a 401k for the staff, the beanie kept dragging his feet and trying to steer him into a different plan that would have netted the owneer more money and the employees less.) Eventually he sold to a big outfit that was expanding because the big guys' cash flow was going to be a serious improvement on his ability to hand out bonuses and provide for retirement. Unfortunately, the CEO and the board of the big company got into a pissing contest, the CEO (who had a particular vision of the company that would have really taken off in a couple of years), quit in a huff, and the board disestablished all the divisions that were part of the ex-CEO's plan. My boss took a huge hit on that one and wound up restarting his original company--minus the capital the big company had looted from the merger.

Without knowing the details of the sale, I am not inclined to condemn "mom and pop" out of hand.

Fear Itself
07-07-2010, 07:36 PM
The employees aren't pets. You don't owe them lifelong care and protection.And employers should not expect any measure of loyalty or sacrifice from employees. It's just business.

Chimera
07-07-2010, 08:03 PM
None of those solutions are a PROGRAMMING solutions.

Obviously we need to assemble a team to gather requirements for what it will take to come up with a Lightbulb Management System. I'd like an initial funding base of $1.5 million and six months, at which point we should be able to give you a full estimate of the total time and cost for this project.

running coach
07-07-2010, 08:06 PM
None of those solutions are a PROGRAMMING solutions.

Obviously we need to assemble a team to gather requirements for what it will take to come up with a Lightbulb Management System. I'd like an initial funding base of $1.5 million and six months, at which point we should be able to give you a full estimate of the total time and cost for this project.

I'll just stick with my open source candle.

It's easy to troubleshoot and I can always make my own if I need to.:D

Zakalwe
07-07-2010, 08:22 PM
None of those solutions are a PROGRAMMING solutions.

Obviously we need to assemble a team to gather requirements for what it will take to come up with a Lightbulb Management System. I'd like an initial funding base of $1.5 million and six months, at which point we should be able to give you a full estimate of the total time and cost for this project.Sorry, first I'll need to see full functional and non-functional requirements, a preliminary database design, a fully leveled project plan and WBS, your communications plan, risk mitigation strategy, project charter, process flow diagrams for all major processes, deliverables acceptance criteria, quality management plan, and driver's license.

At which point, I'll use all that to bid the project out to somebody else who'll do the whole thing for $990,000 using off-shored resources.

But thanks for playing! :p

EvilTOJ
07-08-2010, 05:46 AM
After all, why would anyone want to live in a hellhole like Huntsville or St. Louis when beautiful Provo, with its tolerant, accepting LDS culture, beckoned?

You're being sarcastic, right? Provo is a Pleasantville, Stepford-wife filled hellhole, and if you're not Mormon you're less than nothing. The only culture there is the LDS culture, much like yogurt has culture. There's no night life, there's no great places to eat, everyone is pasty white with dishwater blond hair, (so if you're swarthy you're an outsider) and the lake stinks. Sure, if you're young you can go hang out at BYU and try to get handjobs from the Mormon co-eds there, but they think the Gentiles (that's us) aren't marriageable, and they certainly wouldn't let you meet their family.

t-bonham@scc.net
07-09-2010, 03:13 AM
About employees & loyalty:

Some years ago, I worked for a large banking company that for several years had been emphasizing employee stock ownership. They would actually match up to 15% of your salary put into a 401K in company stock.

One of the underlying assumptions the management had in doing this was that they thought these employee-owned shares would always be voted in favor of management.

Ha! We worked there; we KNEW how screwed up the management was.

They were unpleasantly surprised* to find employee stockholders voting AGAINST the management position more than other stockholders. Including those really big chunks of stocks that they had set aside for future ESOP purchases -- Federal regs required that block to be voted in proportion with the votes of the shares already purchased by employees, so these shares mostly went against management. Which then got noticed by some Wall-street analysts.

* which was nothing new -- this management seemed to frequently get unpleasantly surprised when their plans didn't go as planned in the real world.

bdgr
07-09-2010, 03:33 AM
Y'all forgot that you're supposed to cut off the power to the whole damn house, wait 10 to 15 minutes, and then turn the power back on. It comes right after rebooting the light switch, and is between going outside and coming back in.

Just define "dark" as the new standard.

DragonAsh
07-09-2010, 07:13 AM
Man, I sympathize with the OP - I've seen good companies run into the ground by one or two bad apples at the top. It never ceases to amaze me at how easy it is for a few guys in senior management to completely change the direction of a company...and how fast it can happen.

That said, I've seen the other side as well. At one of my jobs, I heard from 'staff on the ground' about how horrible the new bosses were. Laying people off, forcing everybody to cut costs, work harder, etc. Well, as luck would have it, I got hired by that very company about a month later, but in an overseas branch. I spent about two months initially in the head office. And boy, if there was ever a bunch of people that needed to be laid off ...it was this bunch.

Apparently the company used to have a decent product several years ago, then rested on their laurels for the next 10 years and took the easy gravy train route. I've never seen a bunch of people with such a misguided sense of entitlement.

It sure seems like the OP's case isn't such a case, of course - sounds like that before the buy-out they had a rare combination of skilled and dedicated employees. That's a rare combination, and it sucks that the Powers That Be didn't realize what they were messing with.

But please let me defend my fellow senior management brethren - not all of us are complete idiots....

Chimera
07-09-2010, 07:28 AM
Just define "dark" as the new standard.

Well, it is the default condition.

MsWhatsit
07-09-2010, 09:36 AM
You're being sarcastic, right?

I would say "yes" but you wouldn't be able to hear me due to the giant whooshing sound over your head right now. ;)

t-bonham@scc.net
07-09-2010, 01:30 PM
They had a good culture and wrote good software. The problem with writing good software is that customers are happy with it. They don't want to buy your new product because they are happy with the one they have.But really, once good software is written, additional sales are almost pure profit -- printing a manual and making another CD of the software is a minuscule expense. There are costs for maintenance & bug fixes, but not much if the software really is 'good'. Anyway, commercial software such as this usually is sold with annual maintenance contracts, so there is a continuing income stream to cover this.

So the software company ought to be able to do fine with happy customers using their product & paying annual maintenance fees, plus new sales to other customers referred by their current happy customers.

They could produce additional, optional modules to sell to their customers. Selling should be easy to existing, happy customers -- if the additional module meets their needs.

The same applies to new versions -- if you can't persuade your existing happy customers to move to the new version, your programmers have probably been adding meaningless bells & whistles instead of useful new features. (And if there aren't enough useful new features to be added to make it worthwhile for existing customers to upgrade, why are you producing a new version -- just to suck more money from your customers?)

Motorgirl
07-10-2010, 11:54 AM
It sure seems like the OP's case isn't such a case, of course - sounds like that before the buy-out they had a rare combination of skilled and dedicated employees. That's a rare combination, and it sucks that the Powers That Be didn't realize what they were messing with.


However skilled and dedicated the employees may have been, Sirsi has been in the process of collapsing under its own weight for the last 10 years. It expanded its customer base rapidly - too rapidly - in the late 90s/early 00s, acquired DRA in 2001, and from a customer's perspective everything seemed to be suffering. Delays in patch and upgrade releases, increased problems with new versions, and worst of all for the customer - decreased responsiveness from support on top of the increasing software problems.

The "merger" with Dynix just increased the unwieldiness of the organization.

SteveG1
07-12-2010, 07:15 AM
And employers should not expect any measure of loyalty or sacrifice from employees. It's just business.

And yet, they do expect all sorts of loyalty and m extra time at work, extra work to fix fuck ups by management, "donated free work time" and plenty of other nonsense from employees. I've seen it happen.

Loyalty has no place anymore. A company can move you, terminate you, or move and then terminate you (seen that happen too). It's just business. So, then you can and should give them the same level of loyalty - none. It's just business.

Really Not All That Bright
07-12-2010, 01:24 PM
My wife's employer (an HR outsourcing firm) has just been bought out. This thread is not helping my state of mind. :mad:

aesop
07-13-2010, 01:12 PM
But please let me defend my fellow senior management brethren - not all of us are complete idiots....

Amen, brother. I'd like to ask the people in this thread doing the knee-jerk bashing of MBAs and VPs and "suits" if they think some sort of magical, malevolent change comes over people when they rise in an organization.

Down on the line, where you're busting you hump and your sampling rate is once every fifteen minutes, you don't get the opportunity to see what's going on across the firm. You are looking at the world through a drinking straw. Your boss, one level up, has a length of garden hose through which to view the world. Her boss has 2-inch pipe, and his boss has a drain pipe and so on up the ladder. It's only at the top where people have visibility into the whole organization.

Yes, we closed your location and laid off 100 people. And whether you believe it or not, we agonized over the decision. But we also knew if we didn't cut 100 today, we would have to cut 1,000 next quarter.

Don't fantasize about making it into management then running the company the way "it ought to be run" -- do it! And when you get there, don't be surprised if it's a lot harder than you thought it would be.

Fear Itself
07-13-2010, 03:14 PM
I'd like to ask the people in this thread doing the knee-jerk bashing of MBAs and VPs and "suits" if they think some sort of magical, malevolent change comes over people when they rise in an organization.Oh, not at all, I am sure they were assholes from the day they received their freshly minted diplomas. Rising through the corporate ladder weeds out the people of conscience, and promotes those who are focussed on maximizing their bonuses at the expense of everyone else.

Cream and bastards rise to the top.

dmatsch
07-13-2010, 03:37 PM
A question.

Can a specialty software company even SURVIVE a 95 percent attrition rate? I can imagine some businesses surviving (but not thriving) this kind of loss, but not a company like this.

And what are the 5 percent staying thinking? Now you've moved, virtually nobody knows what the hell they are doing, and you still have your asshole overlords breathing down your neck screaming "make IT WORK". Gahhhhhh to the nth power.

Sure sounds to me like the investors investment just blew away with the wind...

Sure they'll survive, if they're large enough. They'll just outsource to CantSpeakEnglish, India. The 5 will be kept on as "Computer Analysts" until India is up to speed on the application, then the 5 will be looking for jobs as well. Only now in Provo.

Wesley Clark
07-13-2010, 05:31 PM
That is awesome. Powerful interests only treat you as well as they are forced to treat you, and that is a great story.

To make it better, I hope all the ex-employees form a new company and take on the old one.

asterion
07-13-2010, 06:04 PM
Amen, brother. I'd like to ask the people in this thread doing the knee-jerk bashing of MBAs and VPs and "suits" if they think some sort of magical, malevolent change comes over people when they rise in an organization.

Down on the line, where you're busting you hump and your sampling rate is once every fifteen minutes, you don't get the opportunity to see what's going on across the firm. You are looking at the world through a drinking straw. Your boss, one level up, has a length of garden hose through which to view the world. Her boss has 2-inch pipe, and his boss has a drain pipe and so on up the ladder. It's only at the top where people have visibility into the whole organization.

Yes, we closed your location and laid off 100 people. And whether you believe it or not, we agonized over the decision. But we also knew if we didn't cut 100 today, we would have to cut 1,000 next quarter.

Don't fantasize about making it into management then running the company the way "it ought to be run" -- do it! And when you get there, don't be surprised if it's a lot harder than you thought it would be.
Look, I'm sure that many upper management and executives really don't want to have to make such decisions and don't want to close sites and fire people. But both the Peter Principle and the Dilbert Principle were formulated for a reason, because they describe common experiences in corporate life. And hey, maybe they're as unhappy with the short-term thinking that plagues American business as us lowly peons are. But it doesn't take much before the well is poisoned.

bump
07-13-2010, 06:27 PM
Oh, not at all, I am sure they were assholes from the day they received their freshly minted diplomas. Rising through the corporate ladder weeds out the people of conscience, and promotes those who are focussed on maximizing their bonuses at the expense of everyone else.

I don't think I'd go quite that far, although it's a decent sort of shorthand for what seems to actually go on.

In my experience, what actually happens is that the metrics by which workers are judged typically measure proficiency in performing the job at hand. The rewards for being good at it are promotions and pay.

What this does in some cases is elevate a group of people who are good at something into jobs they're not necessarily good at. Some proportion of them are actually good at the new job, while the rest are not. This happens at each level of the business. Most businesses would do a decent job of weeding out the incompetents from being promoted any further, if that was the only variable in play.

What fucks it up for everyone is the politics and human factors issues involved- how many people do you see getting promoted because they look the part, go to church with the VP, talk a good story, are the son of someone with power or influence, or some other factor that has little to do with how well they can do their current job or the next job up the line. They're not necessarily bastards, but seemingly not playing by the same rules as everyone else.

It seems to be that the real route to corporate success is to first look the part, act the part and figure out what the bosses value. Then, be moderately competent at what you do, because if the bosses have to make a decision between you, the golf resort shirt wearing, slicked back hair having, thin, tall guy, and the fat, nerdy supremely competent guy, they'll probably choose you for that promotion, even if the fat nerdy guy is a better all around choice for the company.

Manda JO
07-13-2010, 06:50 PM
Bullshit. That's like blaming someone for an accident because they were driving on the road when someone hit them. Where does it say anywhere that the owners of a business can't sell it? As noted by Lamar, they saw the writing on the wall and got out when the getting was good. The employees aren't pets. You don't owe them lifelong care and protection.

Furthermore, most people HAVE to sell a company at some point: in most industries, you are either growing or dying, and the skill set to start and build a company is very different than the skill set needed to shepherd a medium-size company into a dominant position in a competitive field. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your employees is let someone who knows what they are doing take over (and you can go start something new, since that's what you are good at).

Robot Arm
07-13-2010, 06:59 PM
Amen, brother. I'd like to ask the people in this thread doing the knee-jerk bashing of MBAs and VPs and "suits" if they think some sort of magical, malevolent change comes over people when they rise in an organization.

Down on the line, where you're busting you hump and your sampling rate is once every fifteen minutes, you don't get the opportunity to see what's going on across the firm. You are looking at the world through a drinking straw. Your boss, one level up, has a length of garden hose through which to view the world. Her boss has 2-inch pipe, and his boss has a drain pipe and so on up the ladder. It's only at the top where people have visibility into the whole organization.

Yes, we closed your location and laid off 100 people. And whether you believe it or not, we agonized over the decision. But we also knew if we didn't cut 100 today, we would have to cut 1,000 next quarter.Okay, but why do you even have to lay off 100 people? I suppose the new version of Product is not selling as well as you had projected. Who designed Product, who is marketing it, selling it, who green-lighted it in the first place? You may agonize over it, but if that location has to be closed, it's because someone in management couldn't find useful, profitable work to be done there.

When times are good, the people at the top justify their salaries by saying that they provide the guidance and decisions that are responsible for the state of a company. When times are bad, why do 100 people at the bottom lose their jobs?

aesop
07-14-2010, 12:48 AM
Oh, not at all, I am sure they were assholes from the day they received their freshly minted diplomas. Rising through the corporate ladder weeds out the people of conscience, and promotes those who are focussed on maximizing their bonuses at the expense of everyone else.

Cream and bastards rise to the top.


Not just maximizing our bonuses. We're always on the lookout for people who can come up with creative new ways to screw the workers. It makes our company stronger, more productive and more profitable if we utterly crush their spirits. Who wants a bunch of daring and innovative initiative-takers when instead we can have legions of unmotivated sheep? :rolleyes:


Look, I'm sure that many upper management and executives really don't want to have to make such decisions and don't want to close sites and fire people. But both the Peter Principle and the Dilbert Principle were formulated for a reason, because they describe common experiences in corporate life. And hey, maybe they're as unhappy with the short-term thinking that plagues American business as us lowly peons are. But it doesn't take much before the well is poisoned.

It's not about whether you want to make the decision. You have to. Companies are not democracies. Neither are they pure autocracies. At least, not the successful ones.



(Snipped)

It seems to be that the real route to corporate success is to first look the part, act the part and figure out what the bosses value. Then, be moderately competent at what you do, because if the bosses have to make a decision between you, the golf resort shirt wearing, slicked back hair having, thin, tall guy, and the fat, nerdy supremely competent guy, they'll probably choose you for that promotion, even if the fat nerdy guy is a better all around choice for the company.

Oh sure, the golf shirt will get you in the door. But you're going to need treachery and blackmail (always carry a digital camera -- always!) to keep your trajectory upward! :rolleyes:

Okay, but why do you even have to lay off 100 people? I suppose the new version of Product is not selling as well as you had projected. Who designed Product, who is marketing it, selling it, who green-lighted it in the first place? You may agonize over it, but if that location has to be closed, it's because someone in management couldn't find useful, profitable work to be done there.

When times are good, the people at the top justify their salaries by saying that they provide the guidance and decisions that are responsible for the state of a company. When times are bad, why do 100 people at the bottom lose their jobs?

The definition of "times are bad" = bad things are going to happen. You don't think sales people and managers get laid off, too? What I am saying is that the people running the ship at the top are not so different from the ones turning the wrenches down below. And in many (most?) cases the latter have earned themselves a place at the top via hard work, dedication, perseverance....You don't turn in your humanity card at the gates of management.

Tired of working for the Man and being held down by the Man? Then become the Man (or WoMan) and do something about it.

elucidator
07-14-2010, 01:10 AM
Do unto others. Then split!

- Jackie Vernon

SecondJudith
07-14-2010, 08:20 AM
I doubt there's a legal requirement there that the company provide any vacation; it's more likely that businesses do it for competitive reasons.

I left after I'd had a back injury and was told, after working 35 hours in one week because I had a Doctor's appointment, a Chiropractor appointment and an MRI...that I would not be allowed to go to the Doctor anymore.

Holy shit, are these legal in the US :confused:

Really Not All That Bright
07-14-2010, 09:20 AM
No. Well, employers don't have to offer paid vacation, but if they do offer it they typically have to honor it.

Voyager
07-14-2010, 03:01 PM
The definition of "times are bad" = bad things are going to happen. You don't think sales people and managers get laid off, too? What I am saying is that the people running the ship at the top are not so different from the ones turning the wrenches down below. And in many (most?) cases the latter have earned themselves a place at the top via hard work, dedication, perseverance....You don't turn in your humanity card at the gates of management.

Tired of working for the Man and being held down by the Man? Then become the Man (or WoMan) and do something about it.

In the companies where I've worked, managers get laid off at a higher rate than employees - but they also screw up worse.

But there are humane layoffs and inhumane ones. In one case, when a project was canceled, there were layoffs, but there was also an internal job fair to make sure every opening we had was filled by someone from inside. At the opposite end, when AT&T split into 3 pieces, the Lucent piece got severely downsized, both through incentives and layoffs, to make the IPO for it easier. There was no thought about the disruption. And then there are execs who cut staff to save money, but then give themselves big bonuses for saving all that money.

Kolga
07-14-2010, 04:01 PM
In my experience, what actually happens is that the metrics by which workers are judged typically measure proficiency in performing the job at hand. The rewards for being good at it are promotions and pay.

What this does in some cases is elevate a group of people who are good at something into jobs they're not necessarily good at. Some proportion of them are actually good at the new job, while the rest are not. This happens at each level of the business. Most businesses would do a decent job of weeding out the incompetents from being promoted any further, if that was the only variable in play.



This. When you're good at doing something (making widgets, answering customer service calls, whatever), you eventually might get promoted to supervising people who make widgets or answer CS calls.'

Problem is that those are different skill sets, and too often the promoted person isn't evil, and isn't incompetent completely - just doesn't have the right skill set for their new position of managing/supervising rather than making or answering.

Self-aware people tend to recognize the difference and seek out information regarding the new skill set. Sometimes, that involves fleeting obsessions with the latest management buzzwords (moving cheese, throwing fish, filling buckets) which of course leads to hilarious games of buzzword bingo.

Good managers will move beyond this phase. So-so managers will continue to incorporate some of the buzzwords but also begin to develop real skills. Crappy managers will toe a management paradigm line out of a need for security and not to fuck up.

Great managers will also buy their supervisees beer and pizza :)

not_alice
07-14-2010, 06:41 PM
y. It really takes guts to do this when unemployment is around 10% nationally.

Not really. If these folks are so senior and skilled and dominant in their field, a few phone calls would have financed a new company, non-competes notwithstanding.

not_alice
07-14-2010, 06:58 PM
Damn. Look at those "worked at Sirsi since ____" dates! That sucks Ogre.

You are kidding right? Many of them pre-date dot-com. Few tech companies last that long, and those that do better be re-inventing themselves very often. Think of Moore's law. Have they kept up? Are they going to keep up moving forward? Or are there ideas in their field out there that are as new and revolutionary as these companies' products were way back when?

not_alice
07-14-2010, 07:03 PM
You have the lay the blame on the shoulders of "mom and pop". They're the ones that sold their souls (and their neat company) to the investment company and started this train wreck. Fuck them.

Not getting this. If the employees were so great, why didn't they see it coming too? didn't the sales folks start noticing the quota going unmet, the longer sales cycles? Didn't marketing notice tougher lead generation cycles? Didn't accounting notice lower prices and longer payments outstanding? That's a good chunk of the company and no one noticed?

Really?

not_alice
07-14-2010, 07:22 PM
Furthermore, most people HAVE to sell a company at some point: in most industries, you are either growing or dying, and the skill set to start and build a company is very different than the skill set needed to shepherd a medium-size company into a dominant position in a competitive field. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your employees is let someone who knows what they are doing take over (and you can go start something new, since that's what you are good at).

I am sure when these two companies started, they put existing methods and suppliers out of businesses, and killed off plenty of competitors along the way.

Exceedingly few companies ever last a generation or more, including the most successful ones.

not_alice
07-14-2010, 07:26 PM
When times are good, the people at the top justify their salaries by saying that they provide the guidance and decisions that are responsible for the state of a company. When times are bad, why do 100 people at the bottom lose their jobs?

Well, they can get furloughed like California has - my gf has been working for free for 15% of her hours the last year. Her reward? We don't know if she gets paid at all this month, and eventually her union is likely to make concessions on her salary and benefits.

Perhaps the workers can work for free because when business sucks, they ssimply won't get paid.

I guess I don't get why people think this market is still beating down the doors for the product and the next generation product. Are libraries really that free spending?

SeaCanary
07-16-2010, 08:16 AM
The Dilbert (http://www.dilbert.com/) cartoon for 16 July is entertaining.

Munch
07-16-2010, 08:31 AM
You are kidding right?

Why would I be kidding?

santanadvx
09-27-2010, 05:39 PM
any update on this? Been 2 months, did the fallout occur as predicted?

Elendil's Heir
09-28-2010, 03:27 PM
Yeah, I was wondering, too....

Gukumatz
09-29-2010, 03:31 AM
My wife's company used to be a small mom-n-pop outfit with a great corporate culture,

Two words combined that can't make sense.

It's culture in the same way "cannibalism" is a diet.

Gukumatz
09-29-2010, 05:52 AM
My wife's company used to be a small mom-n-pop outfit with a great corporate culture,

Two words combined that can't make sense.

It's culture in the same way "cannibalism" is a diet.

Fir na tine
09-29-2010, 10:25 AM
It's culture in the same way "cannibalism" is a diet.


We heard you the first time.

Rhythmdvl
09-29-2010, 10:28 AM
It's culture in the same way "cannibalism" is a diet.


We heard you the first time.

That was cranky. What's eating you?

:D

santanadvx
10-02-2010, 11:42 PM
bump again. anyone know what is up at SD?

stix zadinia
10-10-2010, 01:01 PM
Word came across the customer discussion lists last week that 50 people were let go. Its not clear who or where though.

SteveG1
10-10-2010, 04:44 PM
It's culture in the same way "cannibalism" is a diet.


We heard you the first time.

Sometimes when you eat something disagreeable, it repeats on you :D