back to article IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

A laid-off IBM cloud sales ace is suing the IT giant for age discrimination, alleging he was forced out for being too old. Jonathan Langley joined Big Blue in 1993, and worked his way up the ranks over the next 24 years. Then, in 2017, as worldwide program director and sales lead of the Bluemix software-as-a-service, he was …

  1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    Perhaps they should get rid of the fuddy duddys in charge...

    1. macjules Silver badge

      No, they gave her a helicopter instead.

      1. Zippy's Sausage Factory
        Joke

        No, they gave her a helicopter instead.

        She wished for a helicopter, she got a helicopter.

        She'll be wishing for a robot hand next...

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          She should be careful what she wishes for:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTvGr8WUzYs

    2. karlkarl

      Agreed. IBM hasn't been the IBM it once was for many many years (since 1999?). The existing lot should all be replaced and the company reborn!

      IBM has some great tech to exploit. The old boys simply are no longer interested in taking risks. They are all just waiting for their retirement.

      As it currently stands, I would absolutely hate to work for IBM which is sad because I love AIX and XL C/C++ and love their developerWorks platform. Their focus on Java is a bit crappy, but we can work with that ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > The old boys simply are no longer interested in taking risks.

        Perhaps the ones at IBM are, but generally it's a case-by-case thing. I know many older IT people who are extremely competent and still at the leading edge of things they're interested in.

        It sounds like this guy wasn't the "old and set in his ways" type that IBM is trying to get rid of. Sadly, they've clearly been treating everyone over some specific age line as if they're all crap.

  2. earl grey Silver badge
    Flame

    lying scum are still lying

    Why am i not surprised.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lying scum are still lying

      Somebody with 23 years seniority is going to be, generally, earning a larger salary as a new hire, so is a bigger target, when trying to cut costs - although redundancy costs would also have to be taken into consideration, although I expect the US laws aren't any better for the employee in this area either, compared to Europe.

      Without seeing all the facts, it sounds like they were trying to push him out and got themselves caught up in their own lies.

      I got caught up in a case a few years back, where I was given a role where I couldn't be fired (legal termination protection for the duration of the role + 24 months), then fired. It cost the employer a decent wedge, because they got caught up in their own lies and stupidity.

      1. TVU Silver badge

        Re: lying scum are still lying

        "I got caught up in a case a few years back, where I was given a role where I couldn't be fired (legal termination protection for the duration of the role + 24 months), then fired. It cost the employer a decent wedge, because they got caught up in their own lies and stupidity"

        When any scumbag company treats any employee badly, as in your case and Jonathan Langley's case, I hope there's blowback for the bad employer from employment tribunal case rulings or court judgements.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: lying scum are still lying

        Redundancy costs are zero in these United States. Conventionally two weeks pay, but I don't believe that is a legal requirement and some shady companies use your earned holiday pay to fund that.

        But, workers over 40 are a "protected class" in terms of discrimination (thanks to our geriatric lawmakers) and IBM will pay dearly is there's any evidence at all there was age discrimination here. Which we all know there was.

      3. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: lying scum are still lying

        It certainly sounds possible that Langley's termination cause had a significant age component, although we haven't yet seen IBM's response to the lawsuit.

        Perhaps the next reorganization-with-redundancies at IBM should be directed at their HR department; if the claims reported here are even remotely sustainable, they have failed miserably in one of their most important functions, ensuring that personnel actions comply with applicable law and can be seen to do so.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lying scum are still lying

      Which. Management or Sales?

      1. EarthDog Bronze badge

        Re: lying scum are still lying

        There is no difference

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    He was the top salesman in the group

    Hasn't he understood IBM's new business model?

    How are they expected to achieve ever lower sales every quarter if you have outliers like this wrecking the curve?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: He was the top salesman in the group

      Compared to younger employees, IBM found that Boomers were the least likely to understand IBM’s business strategy,

      Just like IBM's customers then.

      ...and the least likely to understand IBM’s brand.

      Or, the least likely to say they understand what that sentence means.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He was the top salesman in the group

        IBM's brand? It's a cow iron with an 8 bar gate that's heated in the flames and then used to burn the soul out of Band C and above. Yee-Har!

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: He was the top salesman in the group

        BM found that Boomers were the least likely to understand IBM’s business strategy,

        We have a business strategy?

        Of course how else do you think the business is planned?

        The business is planned? - I thought the plan was to fire everyone competent, alienate customers and drive the company into the ground?

        He found out the grand strategy!

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: He was the top salesman in the group

      Fire the competent and replace them with ignorant incompetents is a great way to drive sales - down. The claim older workers can not learn new technologies is false. The real problem is I am similar age as he is we have seen many fads and fetishes come and go. And we have scars from being burned by a few of them. So we may be more wary of the list PHB fad and the experience to realize that it may be a repackaged failure from 15 years ago. And it will fail again for the same reasons it failed earlier.

      The bigger problem Itty Bitsy Morons has is the top PHBs have not been willing to adapt to market changes in a timely manner. Plus their execution often has been atrocious. Now trying to be hip; 'have the age balance', etc. can fix that short of the board of directors cleaning house; not going to happen.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: He was the top salesman in the group

        So we may be more wary of the list PHB fad and the experience to realize that it may be a repackaged failure from 15 years ago. And it will fail again for the same reasons it failed earlier.

        BINGO !

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: He was the top salesman in the group

          If you're customers perceive you as safe and boring, surely you should see that as a positive and employ people who are also perceived as safe and boring. If I'm looking for someone to provide a reliable service with the minimum of fuss, I'll go for safe and boring every time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He was the top salesman in the group

            But isn't it better to send in someone the age of the IT Directors son to explain why they need to switch their budget from refreshing their mainframe sysplex to Machine Learning and how that will make them more money than just processing customer transactions?

            1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              Well rhey might actually believe the bullshit making it easier to push with a straight face?

            2. Spanners Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              But isn't it better to send in someone the age of the IT Directors son to explain...

              It would probably be some the age of the directors Grandson. Directors offspring are likely to be 40+. That would disqualify them from being millenials.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              blockchain, cloud, machine learning, autonomous machines can i have £1 million now please

              oops I forgot virtual currency trading

          2. TechDrone

            Re: He was the top salesman in the group

            As seen on the wall of company earlier this year

            Customers see us as too safe and boring. What they want is partners who are exciting and innovative and not afraid to try and fail.

            And also guarantee service levels and no disruption to the business. And reduce costs.

            1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: "What they want is partners ... not afraid to try and fail.

              So IBM is now trying Crapita's game plan? Getting rid of the experienced employees is a great way of playing catch-up!

            2. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              Who - apart from our government /public sector - will engage a supplier who is "not afraid to try and fail..."

              Anyone providing business critical services who isnt "afraid to fail" is either criminally irresponsible or terminally stupid.

              Maybe thats the attraction of employing millennials.

          3. Joe Harrison Silver badge

            Re: He was the top salesman in the group

            When I'm on a plane I will take a safe and boring pilot over a dynamic agile guy with edgy haircut any day of the week.

            1. nematoad Silver badge

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              "When I'm on a plane I will take a safe and boring pilot over a dynamic agile guy with edgy haircut any day of the week."

              There is a saying in aviation circles: "There are old pilots and bold pilots, there are no old,bold pilots."

              Looks like IBM missed that.

          4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            Re: He was the top salesman in the group

            @AMBxx - Having worked directly with vendors in my career I have found those sales persons who were the most effective were knowledgeable, honest, 'boring', and 'safe'. The most knowledgeable also typically had grey hairs or bald spots and had bounced around for a number of years; that is they had some mileage aka age on them. Experience is an excellent trainer but to get experience takes time thus experienced = older.

            The problem for many companies is they fail to understand sales is as much about relationships as it is technical competence. Both are needed but a good relationship with the customer will get sales. Technical competence might get you in the door but a good relationship will keep the door open. Looking back at all the good sales persons I knew they were had solid technical/business competence and they worked at keeping the personal relationships good. Thus the door was always open for them when they called.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              A_yank_lurker

              Slightly disagree. it's not technical competence that seems to be what companies want, either. Not in selling. More often than not they seem to appoint people with a motivation in selling, rather than in the product. Sincerity is faked. Tomorrow they could be working for the opposition and dissing your product, Or working in a totally different area. Thing is some purchasers still fall for the glib tongue and false ( if vague) assurances. In effect some sales staff are just slimey. They're in sales because that's all they're good at.

              Now the joke.

              A man walks into a shop. The shelves are lined with packets of salt. That's all. Just salt.

              "Wow"", he says. "You must sell a lot of salt here".

              "Nah" says the shopkeeper. "No one wants the salt. I can't sell any of it. But they guy who sells me salt. Boy can he sell salt!".

            2. David Woodhead

              Re: He was the top salesman in the group

              * The problem for many companies is they fail to understand sales is as much about relationships as it is technical competence. Both are needed but a good relationship with the customer will get sales. Technical competence might get you in the door but a good relationship will keep the door open. *

              Completely the wrong way round, in my opinion. The bullshitting salesman may get you in there in the first place, but unless you can subsequently back it up with technical competence the relationship isn't going to last.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Round and Round

        when I started my career we turned off all the on-line systems overnight as we didn't have the capacity to run them alongside batch work. Internal re-charging for on-line was set at a level that would have funded the doubling of mainframe capacity we required. Then hardware costs reduced and we bought bigger systems to allow systems to run 24/7. We also had to tightly manage environment provision for each application. Each would get a production dev and test environment. Then we go nice big virtual environments on premises and environment cost was not an issue so we provisioned whatever projects wanted.

        Cloud services take the paradigm back to the 80's, minimize environments, turn them off when they are not in use. restrict access to applications to set hours if you can to minimize the per minute costs of each cpu core.

        I've also been through generational shifts in database technology, Indexed sequential files, Hierarchic databases, relational not to mention monolithic programming, object programming client server, tier architecture and now web based and micro servces. I have lost count of the number of young development teams I have managed over the years and they all have a number of things in common. They don't write performant code in general and don't appreciate how important sufficient data access routines are to high volume systems, don't appreciate the importance of well structured and commented code for future support and ironically only want to develop and not support the products they write. Whilst I love working with younger teams thee is always that barrier I have to break through with them before they start to listen to the voice of experience, normally after I've had to mentor them back from the brink of disaster after a particular 'minor change' has fubar'd the production system. Age doesn't make you a fuddy duddy, as someone who has managed projects in many different industries and organisations across a huge range of technologies what I and many others my age bring, in experience and enough knowledge of the knew technologies to be able to leverage that experience into useful support to this generation of tech wizards.

  4. mrjohn

    The plug and play millennials, such an asset.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      I was amused to see that millenials apparently only go up to those who came of age "around the year 2000", making me too young to count.

      Does that make me a post-millenial?

      1. Mike Ozanne

        "Does that make me a post-millenial?"

        Snowflake :P :)

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          There seems to be much debate about what a millennial is.

          I blame the name - millenium - its not like a decade ,where you have to pick a new name fairly quickly.

          ..hence no one has, so the term is a catch all encompassing anyone 18 in y2k to the selfie generation who are teenagers right now.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            "the Selfie Generation"

            Love. It.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Does that make me a post-millenial?

        Makes you look like a young whipper snapper to me. That never goes out of style.

      3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Generations...

        There aren't really agreed names for the generations post boomer and X.

        Boomers are 1945 - 64

        Gen X are 1964-79

        Gen Y, millenials, are 1980-1994 (by same measure)

        Gen Z are 1995-2010.

        So Gen Z maybe? It's kinda dumb since anyone close to a transition point gets classified weirdly.

        I'm 37, and apparently a millennial. Never heard the term until I was in my 30s, and only used pejoratively to describe people 18-25. Apparently using "damn young people with their hair and their music and funny slang" makes it obvious you're getting on a bit :)

        As always, the generational stuff is used as another tool to divide and rule. Encourage people to get upset with those of who have a different generation/gender/race/religion, then fan the flames. The boomers as a generation did a massive looting of the country, but I suspect that much of that ended up only benefiting a small number, with most just keeping up with inflation.

        Kids are lazy because it's in their nature. You can train them to do something properly, but it's only when something goes wrong does the lesson hit home.

        They also aren't stupid or easy to lie too. They see what's happening, what the social contract is, not what we would like to believe it to be.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Generations...

          "Boomers are 1945 - 64

          "Gen X are 1964-79

          "It's kinda dumb since anyone close to a transition point gets classified weirdly."

          Case in point, myself. I was born in '61, and I always thought I was between Boomer and Gen X, leaning more towards Gen X, not Boomer as you state.

          1. magickmark
            WTF?

            Re: Generations...

            I was born 31 Dec 1963 as the New Year bells were starting to ring (yes really!!) so I'm either the last of the Boomers or the first of the Gen X or maybe some weird Gen X Boomer?

            1. onefang Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Generations...

              Ah New Years bells, there may have been fireworks as well, I guess that makes you a Boomer?

              BOOM wheeeeee crackle pop crackle pop

              I'll get my coat, it's the one with so many layers of lint in the pockets, archeologists have started naming them.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Generations...

          Gen X are 1964-79

          And here I thought "Generation X" was Billy Idol's first band...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Departure Lounge 9

    As a ticket-holding member of the Boomer Departure Lounge set, I say; thank the FSM I will be retiring soon.

    The young are welcome to screw things up.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Departure Lounge 9

      "As a ticket-holding member of the Boomer Departure Lounge set, I say; thank the FSM I will be retiring soon.

      "The young are welcome to screw things up."

      Though as you got older, your body and mind will be slowly falling apart, you'll have to rely on the young more and more to look after you. You don't want them to be screwing THAT up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Departure Lounge 9

        @onefang

        ssshhh, noone likes to hear that much truth.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Departure Lounge 9

          "ssshhh, noone likes to hear that much truth."

          Ah, that explains the downvote, someone didn't want to hear it.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Departure Lounge 9

      I, too, am one of those old guys everyone seems to want to get rid of.

      When I started working, I learned a lot by listening to the more experienced guys and asking questions. When we worked together, I got to see how things were done, and why they were done that way.

      What an excellent idea it is, to get rid of those older, more expensive, employees, and hire more edgy, innovative young folks. It'll save money on salaries and insurance; plus, they'll work longer hours and come in on the weekends!

      ...but they'll be left to their own devices, and they're not afraid to fail.

  6. Richard Crossley
    Stop

    Take the money

    I'm not familiar with US or Texas employment law, but consider this.

    IBM have been having troubles (plural used intentionally) since the mid 1990s. They have been trying to be hip like someones older uncle since I was hip.

    Being made redundant is unfortunate, especially if you're an older person. Mr Langley has been working for IBM since 1993 so hopefully he has built up a retirement pot and potentially a redundancy package. No details are mentioned in the original article, nor were any conditions attached to such a package. Given he's already proceeded with legal action I imagine the package, whatever it was is off the table.

    Since he's engaged lawyers he's already spending whatever resources he has with the hope of reclaiming: lost pay, benefits, damages and legal fees. I have no appreciation of what the "damages" may be, but would the lost pay and benefits match the package he has already lost? The legal fees will be a win for the lawyers and zero for Mr Langley.

    I'd be surprised if he recovers any serious wedge as a result of this action; whilst trawling his name through the headlines.

    Personally I would have made taken the package and let my partners know of some newly found availability. After 25 successful years in sales he must have made some contacts.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Take the money

      Being made redundant is unfortunate, especially if you're an older person. Mr Langley has been working for IBM since 1993 so hopefully he has built up a retirement pot and potentially a redundancy package. No details are mentioned in the original article, nor were any conditions attached to such a package. Given he's already proceeded with legal action I imagine the package, whatever it was is off the table.

      WTF ? He either resigned or retired, according to IBM systems.

      From the article:

      Langley was unable to get a role elsewhere within IBM, and its HR system marked him as having "resigned," it is claimed. In early July, days after he left the business, Langley got a letter congratulating him on his "retirement."

      If IBM cannot make up its mind, I dunno what can. Actually, I think the official plan was "anything but a redundancy", because of the expensive package attached to such a move ... and middle manglement went "either retirement or resignation" and since they failed to communicate, different systems at IBM had different reasons for his departure ;-)

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Take the money

        "Being made redundant is unfortunate, especially if you're an older person. Mr Langley has been working for IBM since 1993 so hopefully he has built up a retirement pot and potentially a redundancy package. No details are mentioned in the original article, nor were any conditions attached to such a package. Given he's already proceeded with legal action I imagine the package, whatever it was is off the table.

        WTF ? He either resigned or retired, according to IBM systems.

        From the article:

        Langley was unable to get a role elsewhere within IBM, and its HR system marked him as having "resigned," it is claimed. In early July, days after he left the business, Langley got a letter congratulating him on his "retirement."

        If IBM cannot make up its mind, I dunno what can. Actually, I think the official plan was "anything but a redundancy", because of the expensive package attached to such a move ... and middle manglement went "either retirement or resignation" and since they failed to communicate, different systems at IBM had different reasons for his departure ;-).."

        And not only that, but they're dragging his otherwise seemingly good name and performance through the mud. Can you imagine him getting a reference under those circumstances?

        He was given the push, and yet retired. Or resigned. Let's assume for a moment that HR were told that he'd retired/resigned...what package would he get? One would presume nothing, as it wasn't redundancy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Take the money

          He's in sales, so he's rich enough and old enough not to care.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Take the money

            "Top Performer" - getting a $20,000 bonus?

            If that's what a top performer gets in that team, what do the others get? I'd sack them all.

            When I left Blue, little while ago, a top performer in a sales role would expect at least 5 times that for a big sale. I worked as lead sales on a UK bid where the bonus was £100K on top of salary. At sales conventions the software sales folks earning over $250K were asked to stand up and be applauded.

            There must be more to this story,

            1. Mike Ozanne

              Re: Take the money

              "There must be more to this story,"

              Depends, was he contracted on "Bonus" or "Bonus and Commission" He may well have earned the sort of commissions you mention with the "Bonus" being paid on top for exceeding his planned sales performance...

              I expect this will all come out in court....

            2. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: Take the money

              @AC fairly sure I recall an El Reg story a few years ago where IBM effectively ripped up all the sales droids' contracts and rewrote the bonus clauses. Exactly because of the level of bonuses that were being given. That resulted in them being sued by a former employee that time as well if I recall.

              [Edit - As someone else has pointed out, bonus and commission are 2 separate things, it may have been the commission clause that was rewritten]

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Take the money

              > "Top Performer" - getting a $20,000 bonus?

              That was for a month, which is fairly reasonable depending on his employment terms.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Take the money

        >WTF ? He either resigned or retired, according to IBM systems.

        OK, so the IBM systems has a bug. Had he really retired this would have been a non-issue. And he did not resign because that would have been an acceptance that most likely would have included a financial package. All indications are that they say he "resigned or retired", as if they cannot make up their mind. That does not mean it is the truth.

      3. gridleakbias

        Re: Take the money

        First let me say I have no love left for IBM, having been a customer for 25+ years and an employee for 14+. But on the resignation vs retirement point, it becomes a matter of age and years fo service. I was deemed "retired" from both my first position where I spent 28 years, and my previous one at IBM, both because I hit the magic age+service numbers. So I don't think there's any confusion between resigned and retired, it's just a benefit.

        On the other hand, IBM's practice of turning in a layoff/firing into a resignation, and of trumping up negative performance ratings on employees with long positive work histories is transparent and unforgivable. Shame on IBM upper management for doing what they have done to a company I once respected and was so honored to have joined at one time.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Take the money

      "Since he's engaged lawyers he's already spending whatever resources he has"

      They could be no-win, no-fee lawyers who scent a big win.

      "Personally I would have made taken the package and let my partners know of some newly found availability. After 25 successful years in sales he must have made some contacts."

      True but a good damages payment in addition wouldn't come amiss, it might even allow him to buy his way into such partners' business.

      1. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: Take the money

        The right-pondians here assume there is some compensation for being made redundant. Cute. This is the USA, and no there is nothing that anyone (except C-suite with golden parachutes) gets, beyond the contents of one's self-funded 401(k), the maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment dole (different in each state, Texas' would NOT be generous) and eventually the Social Security dole. So, one leaves with whatever one has saved into the 401(k), the last paycheck, and the mug off one's desk.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Take the money

        True but a good damages payment in addition wouldn't come amiss, it might even allow him to buy his way into such partners' business.

        And also a good case showing his top-performance as a salesperson for IBM, so that some competitor can snap him up, and set him loose to severely and repeatedly kicking IBM's ass in the marketplace.

    3. Mike Ozanne

      Re: Take the money

      "I'd be surprised if he recovers any serious wedge as a result of this action; whilst trawling his name through the headlines."

      A quick check with a Texas based ambulance chaser....:

      "In addition to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Texas Labor Code also applies to age discrimination cases in Texas. Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor code forbids discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age or older."

      and

      "When age discrimination occurs, employees are able to recover a variety of types of compensation. Some of the various types of compensation include: attorney fees, compensatory damages, lost wages, and punitive damages."

      Losses, that would be 5 years pay, gross not taxed, to include anticipated bonuses and commisions assessed from his current history. The difference in annual pension entitlement between now and 5 additional contributing years times the 20 years to actuarial death at 85. Any additional figure that might be added in (emotional distress, defamation etc ) that could be determined as dishonest or malicious conduct by the employer, lying to the court about his performance for example.... Serious wedge is involved here. This is not a damages capped UK employment tribunal...

      Punitive damages, usually the losses multiplied by a figure that the judge/assessor thinks will discourage the employer from pulling this shit in the future. And an indicator as to why Ms Riehle's comments were ill advised... Judges aren't amused by public policy statements from corporations that they are intending to ignore the law.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take the money

      It is well known that IBM pay only statutory minimum redundancy. In other words they would pay nothing if it wasn’t illegal.

    5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Take the money

      On a contingency fee basis, the legal beagle will get 1/3. So the beagle has an incentive to get a punishing award under the applicable laws, he gets more money. Also, in the US most civil cases do not have caps on the award, so one could pay a rather hefty chunk of change. As this in not a class action suit, the plaintiff will see most of the award.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    millennial

    I cringe every time I hear the word "millennial". I'm not a millennial, I was born way before that however the way it's used as an excuse to push blame onto the younger generation is starting to grind my gears. The world is now getting to the point where it is geared up to screw you over and it's got nothing to do with how old you are, your gender or your race. These days those that want money don't give a shit and will happily do what ever it takes to get it. Young people are cheaper to employ than older people and it's not their fault, so please think before you use the word "millennial" whether you are blaming them or the people using them.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: millennial

      I don't think anyone is actually blaming millenials for these decisions - really depends on the idiots that initiated this strategy at IBM and the ham-fisted implementation (resigned and retired? - not as dodgy or borderline criminal as faking performance evaluations for the excuse to drop him on the grounds he's crap when he's not (if true).

      If it's not Boomers as they are all being fired from IBM (yeah, right, not if they are senior management I bet) and it's not millenials (poor innocent little babes) then it must be the nefarious evil-volcano-lair-building Gen-X'ers.

      Joke icon : 'cause some people are too literal (and thick).

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: millennial

      I dislike the label too. But it's just one facet of the obsession with labelling "generations". The "boomer" label is even worse, since the charlatan Willetts abused it to co-opt a younger cohort as scapegoat generation for his own contemporaries' relatively-good fortune.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: millennial

        But it's just one facet of the obsession with labelling "generations".

        I don't especially recall generations being given labels until we started getting drowned in US TV when cable and satellite came to the UK. It seems to be more of a US trait to label everything with a "kewl" tag and the desperate need to be seen to be in with the "in crowd" means the take up of faddish labels or "kewl" shortened words like 'shrooms etc spreads like wildfire once the "role models" start using them.

        1. Claverhouse

          Re: millennial

          @John Brown (no body)

          But it's just one facet of the obsession with labelling "generations".

          I don't especially recall generations being given labels until we started getting drowned in US TV when cable and satellite came to the UK. It seems to be more of a US trait to label everything with a "kewl" tag and the desperate need to be seen to be in with the "in crowd" means the take up of faddish labels or "kewl" shortened words like 'shrooms etc spreads like wildfire once the "role models" start using them.

          Well, there was those American people of an age to live through the Second World War who gratuitously dubbed themselves as The Greatest Generation...

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: millennial

      If this comes to court it should at least require the provision of a legal definition of millennial - and possibly of boomer.

    4. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: millennial

      "The world is now getting to the point where it is geared up to screw you over and it's got nothing to do with how old you are, your gender or your race. "

      It always has been. There's nothing special about this generation's young in that regard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: millennial

        Of course but it's more prevalent now, we are at breaking point where people can't afford to live off just one job anymore.

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Re: where people can't afford to live off just one job anymore.

          So what's new. At one stage in the early 80s I had a day job, an evening job, a sunday job and was also making a few quid doing gigs on my nights off. I was also getting stopped and searched by the police at least twice a month. Its very hard not to talk about a snowflake generation...

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: where people can't afford to live off just one job anymore.

            Swings and roundabouts. The '80s were much worse than today if you had to rent a home in the open market (which basically didn't exist - the 1977 Rent Acts had scared off landlords, leaving only those who were at least borderline-gangsters in the market). But the student life was great!

            And "snowflake" is another inappropriate term. It's not the young folks who chose to grow up in bubble-wrap, or who created the environment that elevates a noisily-self-indulgent minority and portrays them as representative.

      2. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
        Windows

        Re: millennial

        "It always has been. There's nothing special about this generation's young in that regard."

        One of the aspects in which millennials are like every other generation is how they think they are something special.

        What may actually be special about them is the sheer volume of people trying to exploit them by telling them how special they are.

        ....

        This is enabled by the work of the preceding generations.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: millennial

      Speaking as the father of 6 millenials I can confidently tell my ex-employer, IBM, that they do not give a single flying fuck for you.

  8. Baudwalk
    Childcatcher

    "Our leaders wear jeans"...

    ...Seriously?!?

    >>>"IBM has devoted countless millions of dollars to its effort to rebrand as a hip, millennial-centric tech company,"<<<

    Those guys are so unhip, it's a wonder their bums don't fall off.

    (With apologies to President Beeblebrox.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Our leaders wear jeans"...

      I go commando, what does that say about me?

      1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "Our leaders wear jeans"..."I go commando, what does that say about me?"

        You own more than one pair of jeans?

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: "Our leaders wear jeans"..."I go commando, what does that say about me?"

          You own more than one pair of jeans?

          Now that is optimism....

          Might be just the one pair (with openpit quarry level skidmarks)

          oh, and a kilt or something for summer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Our leaders wear jeans"...

        I go commando, what does that say about me?

        That you have been circumcised and had a brazillian to avoid painful accidents.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I go commando, what does that say about me?

        You've yet to be mangled by a zipper?

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: "Our leaders wear jeans"...

      (With apologies to President Beeblebrox.)

      No need, a large Pan Galactic Gargleblaster, and he won't remember the insult (or anything)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I tried to retire last year

    but got pursuaded to stay on for a bit. Wasnt IBM though.

    Maybe he should move to a company that is forward looking rather than crawling up uts own arse

  10. arctic_haze Silver badge
    Holmes

    Simple solution

    I would claim I'm an early prototype of a millennial.

    1. Trilkhai

      Re: Simple solution

      Nah, they've already stuck the early Millennial prototypes with the idiotic label of "Xennials." (Dumbest name possible for a generation...makes us sound like houseplants with some kind of seasonal-sprouting identity disorder.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who's recently experienced a similar situation...

    Here's how it works:

    There is a spreadsheet ranking everyone in a team on total cost to the employer.

    Those at the top who, over the years, have worked up the best/biggest compensation packages are the ones who are chosen to get the boot.

    Management then concocts a narative to justify the dismissal(s).

    End of story. It's not you age that gets you, it's your pay package.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: As someone who's recently experienced a similar situation...

      End of story. It's not you age that gets you, it's your pay package.

      It's a wonder that they didn't rejig the payscales for everyone then (or would senior management getting an up while the rest of the company getting a reduction be too obvious, and ousting long-stays with excellent performance (allegedly) the only way?

      Seems riskier, especially the alleged performance write-up fraud.

    2. TechDrone
      FAIL

      Re: As someone who's recently experienced a similar situation...

      I used to work for a (formerly) large engineernig firm that twice when through the process of "correcting" their age profile as they decided they had far too many experienced engineers which was some sort of long-term risk to the company so they made the majority of older employees redundant, which cost a fortune but made the charts look right to HR.

      6 months later most were rehired as consultants, earning more money and working fewer hours because it was discovered that fresh grads did not have the 20+ years of experience required of a principal engineer, or the legally-mandated certifications to sign off on the work we were doing.

      After I left at least one other division of the company repeated the exercise with the same result. These days it's called offshoring instead so I guess firms will never learn.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In August, 2016, IBM Marketing Manager Erika Riehle stereotyped Boomer employees as contributing to five workplace “dysfunctions.” Boomers were allegedly less trusting of their coworkers, less collaborative, less committed, less accountable and less attentive to results. Compared to younger employees, IBM found that Boomers were the least likely to understand IBM’s business strategy, least likely to understand their manager’s expectations of them, least likely to understand what customers wanted, and the least likely to understand IBM’s brand."

    Imagine releasing this statement with the word "boomer" replaced by "women" or "blacks" or "gay people"?

    I mean, I hate to sound like an SJW type, but this is a pretty blatant and disgusting example of age discrimination, and not only that but IBM have slandered this guy by saying he was performing badly at work when they had just given him a performance bonus.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      women can offer a lot to business....complicit or naive

      "In August, 2016, IBM Marketing Manager Erika Riehle stereotyped Boomer employees as contributing to five workplace “dysfunctions.”

      Between her little gem and Kim Overbay, the person who (allegedly) wrote up a false performance review to justify letting this guy go.

      Who says women can't do every bit as men in the cut-throat, knife in the back no morals business world.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I mean, I hate to sound like an SJW type, but this is a pretty blatant and disgusting example of age discrimination"

      Age discrimination is not just the only discrimination that's PC, or SJW-approved or whatever this month's vocabulary has it, it's actually mandatory amongst these folks.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "Age discrimination is not just the only discrimination that's PC, or SJW-approved or whatever this month's vocabulary has it, it's actually mandatory amongst these folks."

        This is bound to happen with the world no longer being allowed to discriminate against the various large "minority" groups, the bigots of the world have to find other groups to discriminate against. Smaller, less vocal groups. Eventually a new equilibrium is reached, where the groups being discriminated against are too small and not vocal enough, that they are the current poor suckers that get all the shit. And everyone is fine with that, coz who cares about the few males with long fingernails and meter long dreadlocks, or red heads with long noses, not big enough groups for anyone to worry about.

    3. TVU Silver badge

      "I mean, I hate to sound like an SJW type, but this is a pretty blatant and disgusting example of age discrimination, and not only that but IBM have slandered this guy by saying he was performing badly at work when they had just given him a performance bonus"

      ...and in doing so, they have provided free, juicy evidence to Langley's legal team. I really hope that IBM gets hit with a punitive settlement, fines, etc. to deter hem from displaying such poor conduct again.

    4. LucreLout Silver badge

      I mean, I hate to sound like an SJW type, but this is a pretty blatant and disgusting example of age discrimination

      Indeed it is, and age discrimination is the stupidest of all discriminations. We will all get old - even the one legged black transgender lesbians - so far from being at the back of the pack in terms of legislative horsepower, this issue should be front and centre in terms of government policy and policing.

  13. ilovecookiez

    60 year old boomer

    > Compared to younger employees, IBM found that Boomers were the least likely to understand IBM’s business strategy,

    Does that mean every single IBM accountant is a boomer? They haven't managed to turn in a profit for several quarters.

    1. tony2heads

      Re: 60 year old boomer

      I defy any sane person to understand IBM’s business strategy.

    2. jfollows

      Re: 60 year old boomer

      Please don't confuse the issue with inaccuracy; IBM is immensely profitable with a gross profit margin of 45.8% on revenue of $79.1 billion in 2017. Maybe you mean that profits haven't risen for a number of years and parts of the business are static and other parts are in decline? That's a very different tale, however.

  14. Milton Silver badge

    Real benefit—or entrapment?

    a_yank_lurker said: "So we may be more wary of the list PHB fad and the experience to realize that it may be a repackaged failure from 15 years ago. And it will fail again for the same reasons it failed earlier."

    Cited again because it makes the point about a lot of "modern" ideas very well. While technology is bigger and faster, the changes we've seen are mostly of incremental performance. There has actually been very little true "innovation", despite the constant spouting of the word. Most of the noise about technical advances has been marketing crap. Look under the covers for truly revolutionary innovation since 1990 and you'll be surprised how little there has been. (For all the guff about "AI", we cannot even truly simulate the brain of a cockroach in real time. That's where "artificial intelligence" really is: nowhere meaningful. "Machine learning" is a quite different beast.)

    But of course it doesn't matter if your motive is to sell to gullible, credulous, lazy and above all short-sightedly greedy people—i.e. 94.73% of the western world's corporate boards and senior management. The big cloud suppliers, to take the prime example, could not care less whether their services are actually a cost-effective benefit to their customers. In many cases they are clearly nothing of the kind, and introduce major risks for privacy, security, and continuity. Marketurds' nonsense aside, the providers' interest is in convincing business to become dependent upon them. This has driven a plethora of vastly complex services, supposedly simplifying customers' ability to run their businesses, but which actually disguise the fact that they are not necessary and merely introduce unnecessary dependency. It's entrapment, plain and simple. Even pricing has been made as opaque and difficult to compare as possible, to provide ample space to obscure the all too common truth: you aren't saving money, in the long term you're wastting it.

    "Cloud" is perhaps the ugliest symptom of an industry peddling snake oil by the tanker—an industry in which vast gigabytes of code and libraries are thoughtlessly executed to do the same job performed more reliably and transparently 25 years ago by two megabytes of good tight programming.

    If the older generation present a handicap to companies like IBM, it might be that they do indeed recognise the mountain of bullshit, and are torn between the need to bring in the cash, no matter how dishonestly, and the old-fashioned idea that you should, in fact, actually help your customers.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Real benefit—or entrapment?

      "If the older generation present a handicap to companies like IBM, it might be that they do indeed recognise the mountain of bullshit, and are torn between the need to bring in the cash, no matter how dishonestly, and the old-fashioned idea that you should, in fact, actually help your customers."

      I was with you up to this point. However, the guy was a salesman and thus a front-line pusher of said bullshit. That wouldn't be a handicap to IBM.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Real benefit—or entrapment?

      "Cloud" is perhaps the ugliest symptom of an industry peddling snake oil by the tanker—an industry in which vast gigabytes of code and libraries are thoughtlessly executed to do the same job performed more reliably and transparently 25 years ago by two megabytes of good tight programming.

      Being a boomer, Cloud is also a bit of deja vu. Or a source of puzzlement wrt IBM. When I entered the trade, the IT buzz was all about the death of the mainframe and the unstoppable rise of peer-peer computing. Replace your expensive and outdated big iron with a hundreds of PCs!

      Some time later, peer-peer was bad because you need lots of expensive to buy and maintain peer PCs. And most of your business processes aren't peer-peer. So thin client is the new solution! Save money on tin, use a browser!

      Some time not so later, the Clouds appear. Run all your apps and hold all your data in the cloud! This is new, exciting, and the future of computing!

      So basically back to the mainframe style of operations. And pondering why IBM didn't make bank on that by pointing out they'd been doing VMs since before Bezos was born. And doing it well. But for some reason, using an AS/400 with it's virtualised Linux instances and tools to automagically manage resources across those was not seen as compelling. Trusting your business to a rack full of blade servers and some VM glue from a startup was new, exciting, bold, visionary etc!

      But being on the plumbing side of IT, I'm kind of grateful SNA got flushed down the LU6.2 in favor of the simpler, and feature light IP. But that also had it's share of deja vu, ie P2P networks bad! Hub & Spoke bad! Cloud and VPNs good! Best part of 'Cloud' is the abstraction of the technology underpinning it, which is fundamentally little different to an IBM shop from the '70s. Cloud is still hub & spoke feeding 'big iron'.

    3. David 18
      Pint

      Re: Real benefit—or entrapment?

      @Milton - It's a shame I can't upvote you more than once, so have a pint instead.

      You've hit it right on the head.

    4. kfpm

      Re: Real benefit—or entrapment?

      I'm 59 now, and went to mainframes after starting out with microcomputer (as opposed to PC) programming. I then worked for 20 years programming both mainframes and PC's, client/server, relational and non-relational databases, numerous different languages and technologies... in all that time, the useful advent of 'new technology' was rare. Lots of great PowerPoint presentations about rapid application development, reusable code, multi-tiered architectures etc, and little in the way of tangible benefits to 'the business' or 'the customer'.

      Nowadays I amuse myself by writing VBA stuff in Excel and Word, and happily let the 'new technology' pass me by. Every time I see an advert proclaiming how your life is enhanced by 'the cloud', I know I'm shaking my head and sighing. Much as I do when I see an advert about how blockchain is going to ensure 24/7 availability for my IOT connected fridge. I've managed so far without my fridge having problems with getting a connection or a DNS lookup failure.

      Being older does not mean you are incapable of assimilating new skills. If you spend any amount of time in 'the industry', you will see marketing led fads come and go. Being older means I can write a rant like this while dribbling my lunch all over my polo shirt and my slacks while wondering whether incontinence has been with me for years, or is just a recent addition to my inventory. And I have a that an IT person's competence is inversely proportional to how tight their trousers are, and how pointy their shoes are.

      IBM lost the plot, and everything else with it, years ago. Trying to jump on numerous technology bandwagons just makes it an inevitable car wreck of a company. This is only compounded by this embarrassing tale of their bean counters not getting their ducks in a row while conspiring to reduce their financial overheads. How the mighty fall....

  15. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "he was on a team of four rather than eight"

    Just looking ahead.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Millennials

    I know you don’t really believe this now but you will be old too one day, and you will bitterly regret not stamping out ageism when you had the chance

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Millennials

      They won't have time to regret it; they'll be too busy trying to pay the rent out of their pension.

      1. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: Dear Millennials

        They won't have time to regret it; they'll be too busy trying to pay the rent out of their pension.

        Pension? What the h is that? In the land of self-reliance and Ayn Rand, you get f-all except what you socked into the mattress.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Dear Millennials

      Aren't unpaid internships and being paid thruppence ha'penny a kind of ageism too?

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Dear Millennials

        Aren't unpaid internships and being paid thruppence ha'penny a kind of ageism too?

        No, not at all. Nobody is forced to do an internship, paid or otherwise. If you choose to do one while you're young, or choose to do one while you're older, you're still making a choice. Nobody chooses to be middle/old aged - it just happens.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Dear Millennials

          Yes, there are so many career paths on offer that it is merely choice that decides you do an unpaid internship instead of a paid one. Also your wages are purely choice too. Finally people don't chose to be middle/old age but do choose to be young, sort of like Benjamin Button, right?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear Millennials

        Aren't unpaid internships and being paid thruppence ha'penny a kind of ageism too?

        And like any form of unfairness, they are unnaceptable.

      3. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Dear Millennials

        "Aren't unpaid internships and being paid thruppence ha'penny a kind of ageism too?"

        Kind of. Unpaid work is just plain exploitation.

        But the younger tend to get paid less because they are worth less (not "worthless") due to their lesser experience, depending on the area, obviously.

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Dear Millennials

      I know you don’t really believe this now but you will be old too one day, and you will bitterly regret not stamping out ageism when you had the chance

      The funniest thing about this is that "one day" is coming a helluva lot quicker than they can possibly comprehend. You're in your 20s forever, your 30s not long at all, and your 40s will pass by in a blink.

  18. Vanir

    Perhaps he was fired because ...

    IBM knew that he would make the incoming 'millennials' look bad and deflate their own self worth, more so when they find out much he was paid. IBM wants to deflate salary expectations too..

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Blacklist

    As an independent contractor, there's only two companies that I will not work for under any circumstances:

    * BP

    * IBM

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be managers.

    Boomers were allegedly less trusting of their coworkers, less collaborative, less committed, less accountable and less attentive to results.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since when has understanding been a synonym for disagree?

    Now read again.

    "Compared to younger employees, IBM found that Boomers were the least likely to agree with IBM’s business strategy, least likely to agree with their manager’s expectations of them, least likely to agree with what customers wanted, and the least likely to agree with IBM’s brand."

    I disagree.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TLA alert

    In- betweeners, Boomers and Millenials.

  24. SVV Silver badge

    what's important to IBM

    "IBM found that Boomers were the least likely to understand IBM’s business strategy, least likely to understand their manager’s expectations of them, least likely to understand what customers wanted, and the least likely to understand IBM’s brand."

    I guess they would also have found that the boomers were by far the most likely to have an in-depth understanding of IBM hardware, software, techies working at their customers and industry best practices if they'd looked at those things. But that's just trivial stuff, compared to the "brand" isn't it?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speaking as someone in their mid-50s, IBM are talking rubbish. You don't suddenly stop being able to understand new technology the minute you enter your 5th or 6th decade. You do tend to be a little less likely to believe wild claims for said new technologies, but that's a good thing. We all know some people are averse to learning and trying new things, but you'll find tendencies like that spread across all ages.

    Personally, I would think that someone like Mr Langley who is topping the sales charts while in his 50s must know something by now, and that only and idiot employer would want to lose him.

  26. Joe Drunk

    Best of luck Jonathan Langley

    I hope you hired a good legal team and you win because suing your employer is career suicide.

    I'm a Gen X'er. Cynical. Jaded. Lowered Expectations. I started consulting at around the same time Langley started at IBM. I've also consulted for IBM 3 times. It was no worse than any other company I've contracted for, although my observation was there were far too many middle managers.

    As a consultant it always surprises me when I hear of someone who has worked for the same employer for more than 7 years post 2000. I can't tell you how many long-term employees I've replaced over the years but a conservative guess would be 40 (many roles were consolidated). Publicly traded companies are motivated solely by profit and Human Capital are the most expendable items on the balance sheet.

    I'm a career consultant. I want neither the false sense of job security nor the complacency a so-called permanent job produces. I've no patience for office politics and find performance reviews condescending. I don't do exit interviews.

    Repeatedly seeing long term employees cleaning out their desks in tears over the years cements this mantra. My current employer constantly praises my performance. It goes in one ear and out the other because in the end it is meaningless.

    Millenials: You better embrace transience. As corporations are bought, sold, merged, absorbed there's only one certainty in your career path: The company logo on your work ID will change every 5-7 years.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Best of luck Jonathan Langley

      "I'm a career consultant. I want neither the false sense of job security nor the complacency a so-called permanent job produces. I've no patience for office politics and find performance reviews condescending."

      Similar feelings here. My father really hated me getting a contracting job in the late 90s but that one turned out to give me the dual accomplishment of:

      a) longest time in any one job, so-called permanent jobs included

      b) longest time ever occupying the same desk in the same office

      and all without the office politics or "performance reviews"...

  27. src

    Japan

    Here in Japan the retirement age is 60. If you are lucky your company might allow you to work after reaching 60 at a much reduced salary. All at a time when the demographics and strict immigration policies mean finding new employees is difficult for companies.

  28. Alien8n Silver badge

    Not the first time

    Not the article I was looking for, but another El Reg article looking at IBM's attitude to older staff had a link to a story where an ex-IBM employee got $1.5M for age discrimination:

    Lexisnexis story here

  29. DrXym Silver badge

    Unsurprised

    IBM has been trying to get rid of people for years through increasingly petty measures. I wouldn't put it past them to try and get rid of one of their higher salary / bonus workers simply because it looks bad on the books even if he makes money for them.

  30. TheBorg

    I'm 53 and have forgotten more in my 35 year career than most millennials will ever know :)

  31. PeterM42
    Joke

    A new meaning for IBM

    It's a Bit Mean

  32. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Looking to the future throiugh the rear view mirror

    This has been going on for a long, long time now. Major companies that haven't innovated or adapted much suddenly see the future, too late. And then try to become part of that future instead of looking for new innovations of their own. I'd guess that businesses run by bean counters don't want to risk trying new stuff*, they just want to talk as if that's what they do. Like when some amongst us (older types) try talking our kids' slang - by which time it no longer is being used by them or means something different.

    *See also Hollywood, with its endless remakes and sequels. As in.... Conan the Barbarian was a good idea and made pots of cash. Lets make it again.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Down and out Down Under

    In Australia, employees are leaving IBM in their droves but the company has still seen fit to conduct a large layoff exercise, targeted almost exclusively at middle-aged employees. For evidence of this one has only to speak to anyone who has availed themselves of the outplacement classes offered to the dearly departed - nary a millenial in sight.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not very PC was it now

    Yeah she looks like a total sweetheart (Not)

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlyoverbay/

    I hope he makes them rethink their new corporate culture choices.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All animals are equal but some are more equal than others

    If the accusations against baby boomers are correct why is Ms Rometti not deemed to be too old and too set in her ways to hold the three top jobs at IBM? If the company was being run by a 40 year old I suspect that the emphasis would be on clearing out the dead wood irrespective of age rather than a blind assumption that I am the only 60-year old who really understands this business. The evidence over the last 5 years doesn’t appear to support any such claim.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So much for diversity then.

    Tut, tut, IBM.

  37. shawnfromnh

    Problem with their cloud strategy is that one good DDOS or DNS attack and companies that are using the cloud will abandon it quickly for local storage when they can't do anything because all the documents they need are hundreds of miles away and inaccessible and they lose a big payoff or something that costs more than buying their own server and then the big boys decide it was stupid to move into the cloud in the first place.

  38. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Resigned? Retired?

    In California, when your employer says you're going to be laid off at an unknown date in the near future, you have just been laid off. Claiming that the employee resigned would be fraud. Hopefully TX has something similar.

  39. Unhandle

    Seems like the Big Blue team didn't all get the memo and the right hand didn't know the left hand was giving this guy the finger. You don't let somebody take home the largest performance bonus ever if you're planning to cite poor performance in your conspiracy to take away that person's living. I hope he wins and takes them for many millions just to make a point to corporate America But I doubt it will happen with Trumpets at the helm in government. They'll find a way to get IBM off the hook.

  40. Steve C#

    No surprise here

    I do senior level IT helpdesk work and was hired into my present position sight unseen. On my resume I left off my non-IT work experience and MBA. When I showed up I could tell they were surprised, they probably had my age off by 20-25 years. But they needed an experienced person fast and the interviews had been by phone. I was replacing a much younger tech who could never get anything done on time and was from stories I was told rather immature and not customer service savvy. I know what I am doing, out of 16 people in the companywide IT department I completed the most work tickets the last quarter with high customer satisfaction.

    My point being is this. In IT there is extensive, unjustified age dicrimination. HR and their lawyers can always point to some bogus reasons why they will let an older employee go. One company I used to work for had HR people that were ALSO lawyers, they were NOT part of the legal department. At that same company my manager complained that I was making too much money as the Lead Helpdesk Tech a few months before I was let go. They axed 1/3 of the IT department one day to cut a million dollars out of the budget. Security had been one of my areas of expertise there and a few years later they were hit by a massive and expensive ransomware attack. What goes around comes around.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprise here

    In my experience I have seen older employees who were dismissed due primarily to their well earned compensation. Short sighted management often feels senior employees are over compensated when it's usually just the opposite. Often less experienced or talented younger employees are unable to deliver the same results as a senior employee. Many executive managers operate in a vacuum and never interact with the people they chose to unjustly terminate. They'll always find a bogus means to get rid of people they chose.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...after his supervisor [] ranked him, in [], as the worst performing person on his team, despite him bagging the biggest bonus that quarter, and earlier meeting or exceeding performance expectations

    That was my experience. (Not IBM) a company that says it's a meritocracy and all that hogwash. The problem for me was that I was in the way of my colleague's promotion prospects - easily fixed by manager chum.

    That prompted me to move team - a previous team leader was more than willing to get me back, I knew my days were numbered as all newcomers were millennials - and there were only a handful of developers of my age range. When I was let go, the cohort that left were the older ones. A couple of months after, the very experienced team lead left as well, as he could now see the writing on the wall

  43. Richard Pennington 1

    Not just IBM, and not just USA

    In my experience (UK), practically every large IT firm does much the same. They would rather employ a known criminal or a stoner than anyone over 50.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Not just IBM, and not just USA

      "They would rather employ a known criminal or a stoner than anyone over 50."

      So a stoner that is over 50 has a 50% chance? Even better if they have been convicted?

      Sherlock, coz he's way over 50, a stoner, and people likely will still give him a chance.

  44. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Best mentor ever!

    Regarding the ability of an older employee to differentiate between 15yr old bad ideas on a second bounce vs the real deal...

    Very early in my career I was taken under wing by a rather senior gentleman. 40 yrs of industrial experience after his already successful academic life, and I got the deal of a lifetime:

    I went to see him to ask for advice on what I thought was a great idea and he barks 'Bad idea! already been tried. 1970s. Failed because of... here is the file...' He had dozens of cabinets and safes. He says, 'Hey! Not all the crap we tried and failed at over the decades was necessarily doomed. Im going to give you a stack of decent ideas to try. If they work, they're yours. If they don't work - blame me and run like hell; they think I'm senile anyways.'

    And so my career was launched with a series of solid hits, mainly recycled good ideas that lacked proper execution or were beyond the contemporary technology. Tried to give Doc the credit, include Docs name on the papers and awards, etc, but he would always vehemently refuse saying "remember, keep the good ones for yourselves and blame me for the crap that fails. I'm too old to care and I'm out of here soon anyways..." Never did leave though, passed away quietly but not before being a work and life mentor to dozens of people.

    If I could just be a quarter of the man and mentor to the next generation of hires... my karma balance would be a lot healthier.

    When we discard our elders for some elusive "efficiency" what are we really doing?

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Best mentor ever!

      Not quite the same but when Marconi did the switch over from defence to telecoms they managed to retain most of the defence engineers and sales droids. As a result when the telecoms side was bought out by one of my previous employers they had a conversation something like this:

      Engineers: "You should look at the IP that came with the business"

      Management: "Why?"

      Engineers: "You now own these (MMIC)"

      Management: "What do they do?"

      Engineers: "They make profit"

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never thought I'd see the day

    ... when companies started firing software developers for not having a shitty beard.

  46. adam payne Silver badge

    The ex-IBMer has asked the court to force IBM to give him his job back along with lost pay and benefits, damages, his legal fees covered, and so on.

    After being treated in such a fashion I wouldn't want to go back to work for them.

    Compared to younger employees, IBM found that Boomers were the least likely to understand IBM’s business strategy

    I don't think IBM management understands the business strategy.

  47. J27

    Hey IBM, millennial here. Have any openings for software development team leads or similar?

    But seriously, this guy has a good case. Good on him for fighting it.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprise... I was cut by Big Blue in 2017. 2 out of a team of 12 cut...the remainder millennials, coincidence?

  49. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    A video tape recorder?

    The old boy was rumbled when he pitched the benefits of adding 8" floppy drives and a 300baud dial-up modem to the system spec. out of habit.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bluemix was/is terrible

    Bluemix was (and still is, regardless of the name) terrible. Has anyone ever being successful cancelling your bluemix account. IBM support forward you to Softlayer support. Softlayer support forward you to IBM Support. And so it goes on. After 6 months, still not cancelled. I think this is why they can claim so many people use IBM cloud. Once you sign up, you can't get off the bloody thing.

  51. RTFM T&C

    Experience not a Factor, Top Performance - Not Essential. The Mixed Message

    Sadly, this has been happening quietly for a long time, whereas, now it seems to be the in your face norm.

    Constantly hear of the shortage of Technology people, and..... now this!. Really, which version of the truth to believe today.

    In other professions, when one wants a doctor, a plumber, a car mechanic, a lawyer, a chef, a builder, etc.... experience, wisdom, knowledge is an important selector.

    Whereas only in technology the "unicorn age of magical thinking" promote the stupid notion, at some arbitrary age suddenly experience is meh!

    Obviously this is further reinforced in pop culture that the "kids now a days know so much about smart phones", using tech toys etc... since they seem to flick the colorful Fisher Price icons across the touch panel with the ease of a ballet dancer.

    In reality that is the User Interface, a surface behavior illusion. They are most likely no more aware of the underlying technology than the average person. But lets not have facts get in the way of a good media story. There are obviously statistical outliers.

    The 2nd, 3rd... order effects is that people making "magic unicorn" decisions, have clearly lost touch with reality and forgot - we all age, thus they will be subject to the same arbitrary age constraints they now promote.

    Hmm, these people are not the brightest bulb in the box, yet they are making the decision. Seems to run counter to the popular notion that tech companies employ the "best and brightest" "That dog don't hunt" is most appro. YMMV.

    One of the unstated factors is that the employee medical coverage, provided by 3rd party insurance in the US, impact the employer premiums part depend upon the age spread of the total workforce, older workers increase the premiums demanded by Insurance Corps.

    Since medical care costs are rising constantly, (IIRC, approaching 19% of GDP). There is a nudge effect by corp Bean counters to find cost savings, the fastest way to reduce costs (reduce medical premiums) is to shift the average workforce age to a lower group.

    Magic OpEx saving at the stroke of a pen, stock price gets a bump, and "Bingo" the hero Bean counter strikes again.

    Could it be time to separate medical coverage from employment. Unfortunately, that will probably never happen, risking special interests profitability, the electorate awareness...... too many dots to connect...... So back to social media on celebrity gossip....much more fun.

    The "goodness" everyone will get to experience this reality, too late.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is this at all surprising??

    IBM has been laying off competent people based on their age and salary for years now. It has cratered their business in many areas. As suggested, the people from the board down need to be fired. They are under performing the market with a great technology and patent portfolio. The constant cost cutting and loss of experience is only accelerating the downward spiral. The focus on cost cutting (what is really going on versus workforce re-balancing) only makes it clear that management has no idea how to grow sales, the area they should be focused on. You need to be a certain age to see the similarities to AT&T in their decline. My favorite move was to spin off the "low margin" areas of the company. It is easy to see that in some of these areas, a certain company with a fruity name has used a smaller portfolio of patents and innovation to grow to one of the largest companies in the world. IBM is a "has been" in the tech world. They have been beaten now on so many fronts that they will never have near the influence in the tech world that they used to.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Dear IBM.

    "angley also cited videos, such as the one below that states "we don't sell tabulating machines, typewriters, hard drives, PCs, or laptops anymore," "

    No, they sell air. Literally... air.

    Instead of removing lower or mid-staff remove those goddamn CEO's and they asslicking "millenials". For god's sake!

    They'd have more credibility if they'd sell PC's and laptops. Because this is pure BS! Trust me, that cloud will eventually rain out completely!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a recently RA'd person.....

    ...let me say that IBM is the Donald Trump of business. No sane person can explain why they do the things that they do, and anyone who remains a customer of theirs deserves the reaming that they most assuredly get.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: As a recently RA'd person.....

      Alas the Australian government just inked a five year deal with IBM, so my country is the one getting the reaming. Something most of us Aussies don't deserve. Wasn't my fault, I voted for someone else.

  55. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Which is it.

    Entrenched position, all the plum contracts and ten percent of effort with an order of magnitude more renumeration or a system that's weighted and ranked by ground-effect. #deltav #tooexpensiveyoullhavetowait

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