This is not the first time IBM face the challenge. In 90s, they made the biggest loss in history, but they went through it.
It's a pity that so many employees are to be laid off, including many in India, but IBM will bounce back.
For India, I guess their home grown IT industry is very limited. Without a strong social security system, the laid-off employees will face much bigger uncertainty than that we do in the West. Nevertheless, they'll get used to this kind of lay-off in the globalistion process.
By the way, is there any indication that this could be a sign of things to come in the United States. If IBM is cutting jobs worldwide and if it is looking to place parts of its business on the chopping block--it has already sold its server business to Lenovo--then you never know, this could be the beginning of a trend that catches up with the American workforce as well.
It is interesting to note the cultural difference here. Obviously, people in this part of the world expect to maintain the same job or type of job in the same company for a long period of time. The problem is the world as a whole is changing and job security isn't what it once was. Those cultures will have to evolve as they have in the past to a chanigng landscape. So I don't see it as a major problem that future generations in places like India will come to accept the changing nature of job security and stability, especially since this will mean that hiring cycles will speed up and companies are likely to hire as quickly as they lay off.
People slog everywhere. Come here to siliccon valley, folks work 12-15 hours a day and many a time weekends too. But when it comes to layoffs, it's just across the board. Indians by now should get accustomed to working in multinationals and adjust to thier culture and get rid of that " I am in and will be here for long attittude". You want outsourcing, but don't want to take wahat comes along with it.
@daleste: Thanks for your comments. Sure people will learn to find ways and get jobs here but according to another young IT professional who had yet to learn the ropes of corporate management, he was hoping to stay in IBM for many years - like the way his father stayed at the postal department for 40 years! Indian culture is very different and I am sure all those who have visited India in managerial capacity will vouch for it. SMaybe such naivete would be unheard-of in the western countries but in India, people slog and believe that hard work pays
@_hm & Frank Tu: You are right - this is reality. But you got to keep in mind that this is India and layoffs are not a run-of-the-mill kind of thing. People are more emotional here and basically polite and courteous to everyone and I guess they expect it from others – western culture or whatever.
No doubt multinational companies are cold-blooded and callous when it comes to the pink slip affair. And it just not the IT industry. I am talking in terms of publishing industry too –where one of the managing editors of Fortune (yes, the Fortune, US, magazine) as well as star reporters were just asked to leave but were given at least a week's time. Although I was so shocked, they took it in their stride, morale was low but hope was there and they found other jobs and there were some savings were there too to bank on. The US and EU countries are used to it I suppose but not India and Indian employees definitely did not expect it from a bellwether like IBM.
All those who joined IBM and have been laid off are the younger ones (minimal savings would be there, I suppose but not much). The blue-blooded ( read, OLD) IBMers who have been with IBM for generations they haven't been laid off.
I am not against lay-offs but I just feel and I am sure some others too would agree this could be done in a better way. Indian values are deeply rooted in each Indian whether he makes a show of it or not – they are inherent. And Indians are emotional too.
Moreover, India is a developing country – there is no social security, no medical insurance ( unless privately take) as GSMD has so eloquently put it.
And, believe it or not, at least 75% of the people here look after their families – in-laws and parents and extended families. Not everyone comes from affluent families – most of them fall in the upper middle-class and they take care of their families and not shunt them off to old age homes like they do in the so-called western culture. And taking care of older parents does not come cheap.I know of several IT guys who send money back home to Bhubaneswar or Nagpur (smaller cities) for the welfare of their parents and other family members. So, please do not compare lay-offs in the US to lay-offs in the Indian sub-continent unless you live here and imbibe the Indian culture and values.
Back to the laid-off IT guys.... many of them had been poached from Indian companies like Wipro where they excelled in their work. So, when such a thing happens, it comes as a shocker not only to them but to their families too.
I guess it would take time to get used to it but get used to it they will.
But it would be nice to have some modicum of courtesy for the people who had worked for you.
I have been let go three times in the last four years. My CV looks terrible and I am like a jack-of-all-trades. But the lesson I have learnt is that at every job, you need to prepare yourself for the next one. Nothing is forever.
When the writing is on the wall, dont wait to explore new horizons. Mainframes have been on their way out for a long time. When the work load is low, use the opportunity to learn new things and make your CV more attractive.
The problem is that many employees get in a comfort zone and never put themselves in a tough situation. Their day to day work becomes a routine and thats one nail in the coffin. You have to always think about the next job you want and work accordingly.
Good luck to all the IBMers. You will find new things to do.
Culturally In India (and Asia in general), the safety net is provided by the family. With joint families and connected families slowly disappearing, the safety net is vanishing. The government has not stepped in and in fact no broad legislation is planned to ameliorate the situation. Most legislation is aimed at the lowest economical rung. This is good, do not get me wrong and given limited budgets, this is where ethically the social security support should go.
But the reality is that at a typical middle class level, there is nothing in the nature of social security and no progressive movement is even visible to address these issues. So if you are a middle level office manager or an accountant who has not saved up for retirement and your family is not interested in you, your future is pretty bleak. In a sense India has adopted the worst aspects of socialism and capitalism ! I do not care what system a country follows but it seems to me that the basic definition of a civilized country ought to be one that provides a modicum of support to the truly disadvantaged.
As you pointed out companies lobbying against labour protection is a big problem. Fortunately courts in India are very liberal (see today's annulment of the death sentence of an ex Prime Miniter's killers), so one can only hope.
The good news in the IBM case is that, the govt. does provide low cost retraining. So HW engineers can get VLSI training for about 5K USD. Not a cheap option but an ex-IBMer can afford it. SW engineers will have no trouble finding a job. The folks who will have trouble are middle managers who have forgotten their technical skills. Moral of the story, keep learning every day.
There is a cultural difference between people in Asia and American. People come and go in American companies. Layoff is another new start. These days, working for a company for life is rare, if not never. However, in Chinese and Japanese culture, people are expecting (hoping) life long employment. They dedicate their lives to the company, building their future and retirement. Time has changed. A lot of japanese companies can't do that. Neither can Chinese companies. Nonetheless, receiving the news isn't an easy thing. I don't believe anyone can get used to it. Good luck to those people.