IBM is currently in the midst of a workforce reduction. Journalist Robert X. Cringely reports that more than 100,000 current employees will be dropped from the payroll by March; IBM counters that it’s planned a layoff that will be less than a tenth of that amount. The IBM union website, Alliance@IBM, says 5000 already have layoff notices in hand. TechCrunch says some 43,000 will be gone by the end of the year, at a pace of roughly 10,000 a quarter until “the company righted the ship.”
Besides all sorts of numbers being tossed around, we’re hearing about all sorts of internal IBM acrononyms, all of which mean bad news for employees. There’s RA’d, or Resource Action’ed: that’s IBM-speak for laid off. There’s put on PIP, or Performance Improvement Plan—that’s when an employee gets a poor performance rating, and a deadline to improve it or leave.
For IBM—indeed, for the computer industry in general—layoffs are nothing new. However, every person laid off or threatened with dismissal has a unique story. And I’d love to hear them. Please share your experience with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @teklaperry, or in the comments below. Keep yourself anonymous if you’d like, identify your job function and location if you’re willing, but tell us your story, we want to hear it.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.