How I got here

In two weeks time, I will no longer be employed by IBM — I have been laid off, part of a “large” RIF (“reduction in force” — also a verb, as in “I’ve been RIF’d.”)  Here’s what happened:

Some of this I’ve already written, but here is more detail.  I’m posting this now because I’ve made a decision.

The story really starts back when when I joined IBM.  Before I was hired, there was a friend who suggested it was not the best place to work — they had their own story of administrative nightmare.  Well, it took the company almost six weeks* to decide if they wanted to hire me or not.  Three “managers” at BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota suggested, strongly, that I apply, and they would put a good word in for me — for which I thank them greatly.  I interviewed, and was then told, by a different person in HR that I wasn’t accepted, but no details were given, although I asked.  So I contacted the HR rep. that I initially spoke to, who seemed mystified that there was no info, but also quite certain that I should’ve known the new person was now the point of contact; however, he agreed to look into it and give me some idea of what wasn’t right — and, to his credit, he did call me back and say, “wait a minute, we’re reconsidering….”  So although I continued to search, I did wait, and eventually, quite late, found out that I would be hired by IBM.

* I am not sure of the length of time.  I do know another person who was in a similar, but worse, situation.

It was quite interesting to leave BCBS MN, take two weeks off, go to training in Washington, D.C., and return to the very same desk, now working for a different company, doing the same thing I was…

Fast forward to February this year — that first week, I’d had a conversation with my manager to discuss my next assignment, and by Wednesday he’d e-mailed the previous project manager to find out when I’d be finished.  The response on Thursday was “Greg was done working on this project as of Tuesday.”  Consequently, I spent the next week both finishing up and sending documentation and notices to people, and also trying to secure a new assignment; contact for the next client, however, was initiated by an IBM manager there, and I reported to my new work site the next week.

Then, I was told at the end of the month, after only two weeks at the new assignment, that I was being laid off.  And I was given a month notice, the week before I was on PTO for a week.

This post is not intended as sour grapes!  I’m not overly complaining about my state, just reporting the interesting and sometimes humorous developments along the way.

What else happened at that client is another story… [this link doesn’t work, yet]

I returned from vacation on a Friday, and updated my status on LinkedIn, and sent a couple of e-mails.  By Tuesday the next week, I had three opportunities — one of which didn’t pan out because the process was too far along (another candidate was offered the position before the end of the week), one because the HR person did not want to deal with a (potential) “do not compete” clause (there was none to speak of, but that is his loss).  One of which eventually led to an offer, which I’ll accept and start presently.

That started at the end of February, and I was told my last day would be March 28th.  I asked if I could appeal, and was told, “yes, but it probably won’t work.”  Others told me similarly, that IBM was less and less approving appeals.  But in spite of many people saying so, I did get a two month extension.  Now, my last day is May 31st.
The point is, just like when I started, as well as at the end, communication within a huge company is rife with mistakes.  To the point that, for three months, administratively, one branch of IBM did not know where I was, while I was (successfully, appropriately) billing my time to my latest client — the resource/assignment e-mails kept suggesting I look for a new assignment, because I was, or would be finished with the current one very soon (!!).

In all this, there are some people I want to recognize, and thank.


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