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Intel

Intel Offers "Unsigning Bonuses" 109

Posted by timothy
from the just-unsign-on-the-dotted-line dept.
Ratteau writes: "Forbes is running a story about an innovative method Intel is using to deal with the economic slowdown. Everybody has heard about cutting jobs, but what about the people that had been hired, given signing bonuses, and were to start in the future? Intel is giving them money to forget the whole thing (although there is nothing that says if they refuse, they wont be laid off the day they get there...) If I were a current employee, it would certainly make me feel good to know that they weren't going to cut me just to get cheaper labor in the door."
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Intel Offers "Unsigning Bonuses"

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  • Since getting fired means immediate deportation, and doing the paperwork to transfer their H1B visa to a new job takes weeks to months (not in time before deportation), employers can treat them like crap and they must take it. Oterwise it's back to India or wherever.

    At this time of the year, though, the annual allottlemt of H1B visas has dried up so "it's time for layoffs" since we can't get cheaper labor to cut costs for a while. Or Intel will cry to the media, boo hoo, about the supposed "IT labor shortage", when they really mean to say "slave labor shortage". There is no IT shortage. Only a shortage of IT workers willing to work for crap pay, long hours, and no benefits.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I haven't been working here much longer than that, but I'm still stuck here. How'd you get them to give you that deal? I'd leave in a heartbeat if I was offered that package.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    yes well it may be good for the experienced staff at the conpany, but what about us that are going throught this exact thing? i have experienced this with another company, i signed with them before the end of the year and they called me and said my job wasn't there. yes i got some money, but now i'm forced with finding a job in an economy where companies do not want to hire any new college grads. and the best part is, graduation is in 2 weeks......and i don't have a job.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work at Intel and read FACEIntel weekly, if not more frequently. It hasn't been updated much recently, despite the impending layoffs.

    You know what? There's probably some truth there. But not much.

    You think in a 100K person company (counting contractors, rough estimate) there aren't some bad, vindictive, or criminal managers? I sure hope you're not that naive.

    They cut my raise in half this year. They cut everyone's raise in half this year. They've cut back discretionary spending like on-call pay, training, travel, and the like. You know what? I might do the same sorts of things if MY discretionary income dropped 80%. I'm not particularly happy about getting a great review and looking forward to a much smaller W-2 next year... but I still have a job. And you never know, the stock price might just go back up someday.

    FACE Intel is bankrolled by organized labor; they want to get into the tech industry--they want mandatory union dues in their greedy little hands. They take the disgruntled employees, showcase their complaints, without another side to the story. Putting a UNION in between us and management is the way they'd like to fix the problem. Yeah. Sorry, Hamidi & Co. I'm not just an employee, I'm a stockholder. I own my fair share of this outfit.

    I've known people who got lousy reviews and accepted a buy-out package. Maybe they complained to FACE Intel, I dunno. What I DO know is that while I've heard stories of people's managers doing that to competent people, every single person I've known to get a poor review deserved it; every single person I know who got offered a buy-out package was a "net negative producer" and the company is now better off without 'em.

    You might say I like this Darwinian place.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Judging from most of the CS grads I've interviewed from Stanford and MIT, I'd say being banned would be great, it'd save you a lot of time dealing with people who aren't nearly as smart as they think they are.

    I have no problems hiring people and teaching them the skills to do what we need them too, but not if they don't believe that they need to learn anything.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    someone may have already mentioned this, but Yahoo News was reporting that John Chambers and another top Cisco dog were cutting their salaries to $1. They did that in order to save several jobs (both exec's who took the cut made a $1.2 million base salary).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "although there is nothing that says if they refuse, they wont be laid off the day they get there..." I am a recent Intel hire in a fairly senior manufacturing postion. I am also a long-time mac owner and run Linux on all my machines regardless of architecture. I have certainly not sold out to anyone. I groan everytime I see press reports of "Intel Layoffs" that never occur. One thing Intel does and does well is to take care of their people. While other companies are retracting job offers, Intel is honoring them. Intel is doing everything they can to avoid laying off anyone. I am still on "probation" and I am not the slightest bit afraid of a layoff. In the past Intel has asked for people to take volintary unpaid vacations, leave the company with severance pay (only to be hired back in a few months.) I am confidant that they would do it again to avoid layoffs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Must be MS Visual C++ that gives the unsigned bonuses then.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We offer full medical, dental, and unsinging bonuses. [mikegallay.com] That's right. You get full protection from terrible office sing-alongs and the like.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sun has a real problem getting people to take vacation, or at least report it. The move for mandatory vacation is a way to reduce the huge liability Sun has on its books because of it. Rumor is that forcing a week of vacation is the financial equivalent of laying off 2,000 people.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They're not all zealots, many are karma whores. It's easy to get a few +1's when you badmouth Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and Jon Katz.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:13AM (#263276)
    Actually, what is probably happening is that these people would show up at Intel and the job for which they had originally been hired no longer exists. They would immediately have to begin an internal job search, trying to find a different position within the company. If they are unsuccessful in such a search, they will be let go.

    Intel does not ask for a mutual 1 year contract, in fact I've never heard of a company that actually does. Most new employees are hired on a probationary basis; if you are unable to perform during your probationary period, you will be let go. Most companies do have contracts regarding signing bonuses and relocation, for instance, if you join a company and leave within a year you have to pay back your signing bonus and relocation fees (or at least a prorated portion thereof).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:04PM (#263277)
    During an economic slowdown, people become locked in their jobs pretty much by default. If you have a job, and there are no jobs available, you're probably not going to move.

    As far as the job being gone, sure, it would suck. But what would happen if you'd accepted a job at, say, Intel's Internet Media Services, and that group was shut down (as it was in January or February). You show up for work in June/July, and frankly, the job just isn't there any more. The company could try to place you in another job internally, but you're actually competing against a fairly large pool of experienced engineers who also came from the same group. If I'm a hiring manager and my choice is a fresh-out-of-school grad with no real experience, or an engineer with several years of experience, I can tell you who I'm going to be interested in hiring.

    All in all, this is a fairly generous offer. It gives new hires who would have had to immediately start looking for a job within the company an opportunity to look elsewhere.

    Will this lock us into the "salaryman" situation? No, I don't think so. The salaryman is created by a culture where extreme loyalty to a company is expected, and similarly that corporate loyalty to the employee for his entire life is expected. That situation doesn't exist in the US. When the economy improves, jobs will be available, and people will be moving all over the place, opportunities will be available, and things will improve. Right now we need to get through the .com hangover, and get back to reasonable levels of growth (and business plans that actually make sense).

    On a similar bent, a year or so ago there were lots of conversations on Slashdot about "what should a young nerd do". Basically, should he go to college, or just try to get a high-paying job as a sysadmin at a high-flying .com. How do people feel about that decision/dicussion now?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:34AM (#263278)
    Here's what's happening at the company where I work (and I've heard of it happening at Intel too):
    There's a quarterly review process and an associated ranking process (many companies have adopted this in recent years). I know that where I work they're looking at the bottom 5% of the rankings and they have given the folks in that catagory notice that if they don't shape up by the end of the quarter that they're shipping out.
    This is effectively a form of layoff in a company which has a 'no-layoff' policy. It's cost effective; you don't need to pay any kind of severance package. What tends to happen is that if you end up in the bottom 5% bin it's kind of expected that you will quit since even if you do improve your performance substantially you'll always be under a cloud of suspicion.
    Now, sure some folks will say "serves 'em right! If they're slackers they should be out of there!". Maybe so, but everybody's had a bad quarter or two sometime or other, haven't they? A quarter where things you tried just didn't work out, a quarter when you were depressed for some reason or other and it effected your productivity, a quarter where you had a disagreement with your manager. In recent years you didn't have to worry too much about that sort of thing, but now that the economy is slow companies are taking this opportunity to use this 'unlayoff' tactic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:38AM (#263279)
    I interned for Intel a couple of years ago (and also had a fulltime offer last winter until I decided to go to grad school), and I heard an interesting take on Intel's whole hiring scheme from a couple of employees. They said that if Intel needs 3 engineers, they'll hire 7 knowing that 4 will probably burn out in a couple of years. But the other 3 will advance quickly up the chain of command. Perhaps if they would simply change this policy (hire less people initially), they wouldn't have this problem. As for me, I don't know what decision I would have made had I decided to accept Intel's offer. I guess it would depend on the size of the buyout and whether I could find something else. Damn, I picked a good time to go to grad school ;-).
  • by On Lawn (1073) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @01:13PM (#263280) Journal
    Ha,

    One comapny I worked for (named like a sequal to a missle system) tried this on me and it almost backfired.

    Fed by rumors from one slacker worker who was scared for his own job, they sent me 'the letter'.

    "We have been noticing you being unproductive in the following ways...

    1) Reading online trade journals
    2) Playing Strike Force" etc...

    Well it was common knowledge that I had the only linux machine in the office, so I responded..."

    "There is no such game on linux, and I am aware of my rights. I am saving this email for future consideration for manufacturing reasons for termination should such an event happen."

    Essentialy any attempt to fire me would surface up this letter which could be used as evidence that they were just getting rid of me, and my record had nothing to do with it. I could have used that as blackmail and stayed there, but I left anyways. A company that poorly managed was not the place I wanted to be.


    ~^~~^~^^~~^
  • by sphealey (2855) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:10AM (#263281)
    I have seen a number of articles about this in the tech press recently. Clearly most of the people writing (and reading) these articles are too young to remember the 1980's, much less the 1970's. This kind of thing was quite common at all kinds of large companies in the 80's when the economy was swooping up and down.

    10 years of continuous growth was pretty neat, but I hope no one was deluded into thinking the businss cycle had gone away?

    sPh
  • by sphealey (2855) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:29AM (#263282)
    This practice is directed more at keeping the placement offices at large colleges happy than it is at keeping employees (or un-employees!) themselves happy.

    During the 80's the several large employers were threatened with being banned from recruiting at leading engineering schools due to their practice of retracting accepted offers. Since being banned from, say, an MIT would be a bad thing when the economy starts back up, the practice arose of paying off the un-recruits to keep them from screaming back to the placement office.

    sPh
  • never laughed so hard in my life.
    and it's true, too.
    ------------
    a funny comment: 1 karma
    an insightful comment: 1 karma
    a good old-fashioned flame: priceless
  • by MoNsTeR (4403) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @03:07PM (#263284)
    "If I were a current employee, it would certainly make me feel good to know that they weren't going to cut me just to get cheaper labor in the door."

    This is silly. If you're going to be cut, it means that, at least in management's eyes, what you're producing for the company has become worth /less/ than what you're being paid. If your boss takes you in his office to explain "the hard choice", offer to take a pay cut, a massive one even. This is what any labor supplier with half a brain will do in a "recession" (which we're not having, BTW), because having a job with less pay is better than having no job at all, tenfold so when jobs are scarce.

    The "downward stickiness" of wages is responsible for much of the unemployment that comes with periods of economic malaise. If more workers took this approach, recessions would be less severe, and recoveries more rapid. And it doesn't take an economist to figure it out ;)

    MoNsTeR
  • by sacherjj (7595) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:13AM (#263286) Homepage
    I thought that MS Visual C++ would use Clippit:

    "I see that you are converting from signed to unsigned. Would you like for me to show you what that will affect and how you will have to change your code? Do ya? Huh? Do ya, do ya? Come on! Let me help."
  • Obviously you got more than your fair share.

    I think there must be an organized attempt to make some kind of statement or something about the moderation system. As if anyone really gives a rat's ass. Oh well, if the trolls weren't doing this, they'd be free to fuck up important things. We should be thankful I guess.
  • but in the end anyone buying an Intel based machine will pay for Intel's goodwill.

    You mean as opposed to if Intel had taken them in as salaried employees?

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:03AM (#263289) Homepage Journal
    It's a nice gesture to keep the employees happy, but in the end anyone buying an Intel based machine will pay for Intel's goodwill.

    Will this push Intel prices up, or at least keep them floating high?

  • Hmm...



    - 10001 - baddog - dewitt - ~ - 04/26/01 - 16:24 -
    % cat > oh_really.c

    #include <stdio.h>

    int main( int argc, char* argv[] )
    {
    signed int s_int = -1000;
    unsigned int u_int = s_int;
    printf( "s_int: %d, u_int: %u\n", s_int, u_int );
    return 0;
    }

    - 10002 - baddog - dewitt - ~ - 04/26/01 - 16:24 -
    % gcc -Wall oh_really.c

    - 10003 - baddog - dewitt - ~ - 04/26/01 - 16:24 -
    % ./a.out
    s_int: -1000, u_int: 4294966296

    - 10004 - baddog - dewitt - ~ - 04/26/01 - 16:24 -
    % gcc -v
    Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i386-redhat-linux/2.96/specs
    gcc version 2.96 20000702 (experimental)



    I guess on my machine gcc should give a warning. But it doesn't. Damn that RedHat 2.96 gcc! :)
  • It's good to see a major company finally trying to get away from laying off it's most experienced staff... :-)

    --
    Poliglut [poliglut.com]

  • Why am I never surprised to hear an AMERICAN say something this stupid?

    How nice of you to chastise someone for making ignorant, baiting comments by making ignorant, baiting comments.
  • I always thought Clippit in MSVC++ would be funny....

    It looks like you are trying to write a virus!

    Would you like to:
    • Turn yourself in?
    • Make the virus run on the Macintosh?
    • Send the virus to AOL subscribers?
    • Spare the world by erasing your drive?
    (* Go Away) (* Changed Mind) (* Just an Accident)
  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:30AM (#263294) Homepage
    "I hope no one was deluded into thinking the businss cycle had gone away"

    The only people that stupid were day traders and the staff of Wired magazine.

    -B
  • I'm not expressing my opinion of the H1B program, it has its good points and bad points. But, do you seriously expect the world to believe that the H1B program is what saved the US from rampant inflation during Clinton's presidency?
  • by west (39918) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:37PM (#263296)
    > It's a nice gesture to keep the employees happy, but in the end anyone buying an Intel based machine will pay for Intel's goodwill.

    Oh come on. It is true, but same can be said for any company that chooses not to use child sweat shop labour. We're also paying for any company that hasn't moved to [insert name of country with lax ecological standards] so it can avoid paying to properly dispose of toxic waste!

    No company should take flak for treating its workers decently or behaving responsibly.

    Even Intel.
  • If, as we keep hearing--especially from managers who are justifying their own time off--a week away from work energizes people and makes them more productive when they get back, it might be worth Sun's while to make everyone take that break.

    I'd also assume there are Sun employees--especially in support positions--who do take their vacation time. Some of them have already used this year's time, and will be forced into unpaid leave, so that's some salary saved.

    This is also a week where Sun won't have to pay temps to cover for anyone: temps fill in for people on vacation, out sick, on maternity leave. If everyone is taking vacation the same week, there's no need to cover for the sick receptionist or the secretary who's visiting her family.

    Or maybe they're just trying to impress the stock market.
  • Huge upgrade in the standard life of someone with an h1b visa.
    we won't kick you out immediatly because the tech economy sucks... we'll give you ten days (anyone who's looking for a new job these days, please respond on the actual probability of this) to find a new job before we kick you out.
    i'm an american citizen with an ivy league degree and +3 years (i'm only 21) of systems design experience and haven't found a decent offer in 2 months.
    just looks like yet another opportunity to exploit these poor guys.
  • is that not everyone will get laid off. If an employer needs to cut payroll by 25%, he'd probably rather cut everyones salary by 25% than lose 25% of the staff. The "downward stikyness" keeps the cutbacks from hurting most people (at the expense of a few).

    It basically boils down to the union argument and, in a talent based field, unions don't usually make sense.

    Cheers
  • by jovlinger (55075) on Friday April 27, 2001 @08:29AM (#263300) Homepage
    The problem is that the people who are willing to take this unsigning bonus are the ones who know they'll have an easy time getting work somewhere else -- exactly those people you WANT to hire. Those who'll refuse the money are those who lucked into getting a job and know it... the ones you'd rather avoid.

    IBM found this out during the last recession, when all their best minds accepted the voluntary quit bonus and got a new job the next day.

  • by glitch! (57276) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:17AM (#263301)
    ...and has ZERO affect on anything 99.999999999% of the people use...

    So you are saying that the error affected fewer than 1 person per 10 billion (10^11)? I think you are way off here...

    Obviously, it affected at least one person - the fellow that was doing some pretty intensive graphing and noticed some spikes where he did not expect any. True, his usage was unusual, but I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect that the error affected dozens of people (at least). What would be a high number for the P5 chips in use at that time? Probably less than 100 million, I'm sure.

    Using ten people affected, and 100 million users, that gives us 1000 people per 10 billion.

    I think, sir, that you are surely off by a factor of 1000 in your assertion.
  • by Zorgoth (68241) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:04AM (#263302)
    So, I guess this is good for current employee's but do we risk falling into the salaryman syndrom that Japan is suffering from right now. Current employees are locked in their jobs, but fresh blood is kept out. Will this limit innovation in the long term?

    Plus as someone just about to graduate, I would be pissed if I lost the job that I have been promised and have been counting on for the last months.
  • by lizrd (69275) <adam.bump@us> on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:36PM (#263303) Homepage
    You're right about he blue collar sorts not being offered this kind of package, but I suspect that you're wrong about the reasons. In general, these sort of openings don't involve an offer letter being extended several months before the expected start date. These kind of arrangements really only happen with professional jobs when it is difficult to fill a position immediately. If I need a custodian, or secretary, or groundskeeper I can put an ad in the paper and hire one who will start next week. If that doesn't work out I'll call a temp agency and they will find someone for me. In a booming economy however, you can't do that with people like accountants and engineers. The best way to hire them in is to get them signed up in the winter and have them start when they graudate from college in the spring.
  • Is there a risk of the "salaryman" syndrome? Sure, if the slowdown/recession (at the moment most of the non-computing/comms economy is still growing in the US) lasts for five-ten years. Might happen. Wouldn't bet anything I couldn't afford to lose on it, though. Most likely Intel will be back in hiring mode in 1-2 years (maybe less), so there won't be any chance for such a mentality to really set in.

    Would such a situation limit innovation? It didn't in Japan. More to the point, in most large US corporations, innovation is limited by management, not available talent. Why? Innovation is by definition risky (in the sense that costs are not quantifiable in advance, not in the "it might kill us" sense). MBAs are systematically taught to reduce risk in their companys. Most other managers are either taught the same or pick it up as they go. Budgets are about the most innovation-lethal process immaginable (if you know how much a process costs, it is almost by definition not innovative). By the way, this isn't a knock against management, it's just an observation of the ways of the world.

  • by joe52 (74496) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:05AM (#263305) Homepage
    Most companies hire new graduates and insist on a mutual 1 year contract.

    Are most of them mutual? I worked for my last employer for two months before getting canned in a big round of layoffs. I would have had to repay them for my relocation expenses if I had left on my own before a year was up, but there was nothing going the other way. They didn't owe me anything relating to that bonus, but they also didn't get it back. My new employer has a similar deal. I got a moderate signing bonus that I have to pay back if I quit, but they aren't obligated to keep me around for that year.
  • And you're extremely, extremely defensive.

    -----------------------

  • by jesser (77961) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:59AM (#263307) Homepage Journal
    But gcc prints out a warning when I try to convert from signed to unsigned!
  • Not to mention the fact that no one is being productive during these paid vacations, so they won't be generating any revenue, directly or indirectly. Maybe those of the 38,000 who aren't being forced to vacate (so to speak) will get something done, but it seems like this is going to lower their burn rate a little and lower their productivity a lot.

    I wondered what the real point of this was when my friend's (unnamed) company did this, and I wonder now.

    -Puk
  • by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:33AM (#263309) Homepage
    With a family member that works as a head hunter I find it odd that a company is passing up the chance at hiring cheap, young blood and canning the expensive old-farts. That is very common in the engineering field.

    I guess its nice to see a change for the positive every once and a while. :-)

    ÕÕ

  • by holzp (87423)
    well of course Andy Grove would not be biased in any way. you know, when writing about Intel and all...
  • After reading this Forbes article it reminded me that, in the U.S., the vast majority of states ARE "at will" in regard to employment issues.

    Now what I wonder is if the motivation for offering of money in return for withdrawing the employment offer is based on a contractual obligation to the employee or simply a "common sense" aproach at not burning bridges with resources Intel may require in the future. Or maybe a combination of both.

    For example in my home state of Indiana, an at will state, an employer can terminate employment at any time for any reason. But the fine print of the law states "or without reason" (yes I am paraphrasing).

    What this means is that Intel jobs in Indiana and similar states can be eliminated WITHOUT reason.I find it highly suspect that big business would dish out cash when states like this do not require it.

    So I wonder if Intel is concerned that these instances of hired grads were actually signed an employment contract rather than be considered traditional employees.

    While my rant does not offer answers I hope it poses more questions to Intel and businesses like them about the motivations for what I see as "buying out" a contractwhen they probably did not have to.

    Has anyone asked Intel why they took this approach?

  • So how do companies like IBM end up inventing so much stuff? Do they just mark $1 billion per year for the research department and tell the research guys to do something cool with it? How does that work?

    ----
  • I don't know about others, but I'm going to college in the fall (U-Wisc for CE)... but then, I've been programmed to go to college since I was about 7. It's a family thing I guess, and I'm lucky for it.

    ----
  • Damn, I picked a good time to go to grad school ;-)

    I guess I 'picked' a good time to graduate high school and go to college. :)

    ----
  • Because the profits from those sales generally go to American stockholders. Into your IRA.

    ----
  • According to Andy Grove's Only the Paranoid Survive, the average user using an Excel spreadsheet would encounter the bug once every 30,000 years. So, generally it was not very serious but I wouldn't balance my checkbook on it (I wouldn't balance my checkbook on an overclocked machine either).
  • no warnings with gcc 2.95.3 or 3.0-presomething

    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$ gcc-3.0 -Wall oh_really.c
    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$ ./a.out
    s_int: -1000, u_int: 4294966296
    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$ gcc-2.95 -Wall oh_really.c
    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$ ./a.out
    s_int: -1000, u_int: 4294966296
    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$ gcc-3.0 -v
    Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i386-linux/3.0/specs
    Configured with: ../src/configure -v --enable-languages=c,c++,java,f77,proto,objc --prefix=/usr --infodir=/share/info --mandir=/share/man --enable-shared --with-gnu-as --with-gnu-ld --with-system-zlib --enable-threads=posix --enable-long-long --enable-nls --without-x --without-included-gettext --disable-checking --enable-java-gc=boehm --with-cpp-install-dir=bin --enable-objc-gc i386-linux
    gcc version 3.0 20010402 (Debian prerelease)
    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$ gcc-2.95 -v
    Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i386-linux/2.95.4/specs
    gcc version 2.95.4 20010319 (Debian prerelease)
    casey@brainysmurf:~/code$
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:40AM (#263318)
    There was an article on the affect of losing company loyalty on the bottom line. Layoffs have a tremendous affect on loyalty, especially at a company like Intel. If you lay people off to avoid a short-term profit shortfall (and therefore are just propping up the stock price), you show people that they don't matter.

    In this case, Intel isn't being a slime and rescinding offers (which can kill you at college recruiting, schools may ban you for a few years), and is offering to give them their signing bonus for NOT joining the firm. The recruit is happy (free money), the employees are happy (they aren't cutting staff to make way for the new people b/c of the intricacies of recruiting), and hopefully the company avoids burning money).

    The short-term layoff strategy helps you in the short term, but alienates employees whose friends were let go. If you get fired for incompetance, etc., nobody feels for you. If you get let go because the company wants to keep its stock price up, that doesn't make the other employees feel valuable.

    Regardless of Intel's other issues with employees, this move is a nice one.

    Go Intel, you're being less slimy than a lot of companies I know.

    Alex
  • by JesseL (107722) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:16AM (#263319) Homepage Journal

    Did you read the article? The people being given "unsigning bonuses" never worked at Intel. They are people who were recruited, signed an employment contract, were given signing bonuses, and haven't yet started working. The unsigning bonus is for them to forget about the employment contract because Intel overestimated their growth and recruited more people than they needed. It doesn't say anything about current employees leaving.

  • It's all about capitalism, and unless you live in a backwards country like Canada, which is mainly socialist, then you'll know the appeal of money.
    Why am I never surprised to hear an AMERICAN say something this stupid? Canada is not "mainly socialist" by any means. Our economy is primarily based on capitalism as it is in the United States. Yes, we have government run social programs, but last time I checked, the States have problems with career welfare people, too.
  • in 'Employment at will' states, the one year employment contract(most commonly seen in cases of recently hired college grads) is uninforcable.

    Nonsense. "Employment at will" means that, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, either party may terminate the employment at any time, for any (or no) reason. I believe that employment is presumed to be at will in every state, but I may be wrong.

    In an "at will" state, such as California, employment contracts for any length of time are perfectly enforcable. If I sign a one-year contract with my employer, and I'm laid off six months later, they owe me the remaining six months' salary. If I quit, I owe them the expenses of hiring and training somebody else for the position, and they may be able to prevent me from working anywhere else (this is fairly uncommon, but it can happen).

  • That is plain crap, my dear AC.

    If you find a new job right after you get fired at the old one, a simple new H1B-application (not the approval) will keep you in-status [murthy.com].

    And apart from that, it seems the INS has some new policies about treating H1B-layoffed that still hang around in the country [wired.com].

  • Since mod points are given out based on the number of comments posted, I think probably a lot of people were given mod points late yesterday (since hardly any comments seemed to be modded yesterday), and are just now using them.

    Hence, not nearly enough moderation yesterday, and way too much today.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

  • by Kagato (116051) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:16AM (#263324)
    As someone who has done a lot of college recruiting and interviewing I will say that the statement of a one year contract is not typical of most large companies. "At Will" contracts are the standard for companies that recruit out of colleges, and in general really.
  • An HP spokeswoman insisted that such measures "have an impact on the bottom line" but wouldn't specify.

    Untaken paid vacation time is a liability on the corporate balance sheet. Mandatory vacation time reduces the overall amount of it, hence improves the bottom line.

    Secondarily, taking vacation time (years) later implies that the company will have to pay more, because of intervening raises.

    This is part of why companies limit the total amount of vacation time an employee can accrue.

  • Jedi hand wave "These are not the tech jobs you are looking for...."
  • In NC, Nortel is giving some students that they were planning to hire right out school $1000.00. NPR had a report on this today. I'm just gald it wasn't me...my mortage is more than that.;-)

  • Yeah, one wonders how productive the company actually is. If forcing everyone not to work for one week makes the company healthier, how healthy would it be if they forced people not to work for 52 weeks? If it's cheaper to shut down than operate, why stay in business at all?
  • by Wintermancer (134128) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:09AM (#263329)
    Wow! An Un-Signing Bonus!

    What a great idea! I should go back to all of those places that have interviewed me in the past!

    "I'm here to collect my unsigning bonus."
    "What are you talking about? We only give signing bonuses to people we hire."
    "Exactly. I looked at your business model and long-range profit expectations, and I want my unsigning bonus for thankfully not having to work here."

    Thank you Intel. This is an idea that fits the New-New Economy perfectly.
  • Using a strategy not unlike that of the new Pentium [slashdot.org], Intel is able to advertise for N positions, but only increase headcount by N/2!

    Wouldn't want the budget to overheat...

    (email addr is at acm, not mca)
    We are Number One. All others are Number Two, or lower.

  • In some cases, people work really well and make a lot of product. But the product they made last week is setting around in a warehouse. If they had layoffs, they would probably have to pay the vacation time anyways. Next time this happens they discover they have no more vacation time and have to be forced into taking days off with no pay. BTW: Fab11, Intels largest fab is looking into just such as scheme.
  • by none2222 (161746) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:16AM (#263332)
    it would certainly make me feel good to know that they weren't going to cut me just to get cheaper labor in the door.

    This is INTEL we're talking about. Intel wrote the book on exploiting technical labor.

    Take a look at FACE [faceintel.com], Former and Current Employees of Intel. There are horror stories on the FACE site that I won't even go into. Suffice it to say, though, that Intel hires the cheapest pakistanis available, and treats their employees like crap.

  • by Marty200 (170963) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:03AM (#263333)
    You could certianly pay me not to work for Intel...

    MG

  • Fisrt thing I thought was the movie The Great Rock And Roll Swindle [imdb.com] with the Sex Pistols. [furious.com]

    They get money up front for a concert, insult the queen so the promoter doesn't want them anymore, and get bought out to not perform. So basically they get paid twice and the only "work" they do is insult the queen on a parade. Hmm, better than my day job.

  • Why do you all hate Intel so much.

    What about this story carries any anti-Intel opinions? I believe the submitter actually even made a pro-Intel comment.

  • by jerkface (177812) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @05:49PM (#263336) Journal
  • by Ratteau (183242) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:06AM (#263337) Homepage

    I can see where you would get that idea. However, if you read the article, as I did before submitting it, you will see that that very issue is addressed.


    From the article: Although the company says employees offered the buyout are still welcome to show up on the agreed-upon start date, they could still be fired the very same day.

  • by satch89450 (186046) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:42PM (#263338) Homepage

    There are a number of us who listen to Harris Miller, President, Information Technology Assocation of America tell the Congress that "425,000 job will remain unfilled during 2001." I (and many others on /.) wrote Mr. Miller asking him to convey our desire to take a shot at some of those 425,000 jobs.

    I sent that letter on 2 April. I have yet to hear from Mr. Miller, the ITAA, any of the 2,500 member companies, or any headhunter about any of those 425,000 job positions.

    How about you, Mr. Anonymous Coward? Do you really want to find qualified people? If so, drop a line -- I don't hide behind an AC name. In fact, to make it easy, here is my e-mail address [mailto] in easily-clickable form.

    When was the last time Intel hired a technical person in the over-40 age group? When was the last time you did?

  • I wonder just how, those college students will pay off their student loans?

    Flashback to just six months ago!!

    Intel's President/CEO relayed the following comments, during the house floor debate of SB 2045. That bill expanded the H1-B yearly quota to 195,000 a year, plus added an additional 55,000+ a year in non quota limited categories.

    --From the Congressional record, House of representatives, Oct. 3, 2000, page H8704 --
    [Time: 19:00]
    Mr. CANNON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, I just had a phone call from the president and CEO of Intel ,
    Mr. Craig Barrett, whose view of this is that we can either import workers, or
    export jobs. I think that is really what this comes down to.

    Part of the criticism of this bill has come from people who believe that
    bringing in new workers would keep wages low. As a practical matter, these
    people that are coming in with high skills and high education are making the pie
    bigger. They are making us all wealthier. That is just the fundamental
    distinction between the sides here.

    Intel's CEO got his demands! SB 2045 became law a few weeks later..
    But, This gets even better, talk about about a bunch of two timing CEO's.

    All of them kept on contracting/hiring H1-B's right up until they announced MAJOR jobs cuts,
    Plus, they continued with their plans to export jobs anyway!!

    Intel looks to software to lift Itanium [zdnet.com]
    HP to add 3,500 jobs, open labs in India [zdnet.com] [zdnet.com]

    It is disgusting, that American citizen's that must loose/forgo their high tech careers, so these two timing CEO's can keep 600,000+ H1-B's employed as their replacements!

    The time is NOW, to END the H1-B program!

    You can start by Boycotting all INTEL products, purchase AMD based systems instead!

  • Better than getting a call from a company who had hired you as a summer intern and then had to call you back a few months later to say "Sorry, but we're closing." There isn't much you can get from a company that no longer exists.

    This happened to an intern that will be coming to my office this summer. He had everything set up and ready and then had to scramble in April when things fell through.

  • Where in "Intel offers 'Unsigning Bonuses'" do you feel that the headline is being misleading?

    Yes, the brief paragraph summary does mention that those who decline the unsigning bonus risk being laid off quickly. The truth is, it's a distinct possibility. There is nothing, legally, stopping Intel from following through with the hiring and then firing them soon after (at least none that I'm aware of). However, this would really hurt Intel's reputation and thus, they are offering this bonus as an alternative.

    Intel is doing the smart thing here. When they found out how bad the economy was hurting them, they went to their new-hires, told them the truth, and gave them an option. At some point, when the economy turns, they can go back to these people and say we still like you and can afford you now. The article also mentioned that current employees would get first dibs at open positions...yet another reason for these new-hires to not risk taking the job and quickly getting the boot.

    My company doesn't have a 1 year contract, but they do have a 6 month orientation period. During this period, you are only entitled to some of you benefits. After 6 months, you get a review with your boss and your status (fired, extended orientation, or full benefits) is decided. However, even within that period there is At Will firing/quitting.

  • ...they want to pay people not to work there? Now, that's a sweet deal! Where do I sign (or un-sign)? ;-)


    --

  • by Sodakar (205398) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:12AM (#263343)
    If I was going to uproot myself and move across time zones, country borders, or even just 50-100 miles, I would REALLY appreciate it if the employer was upfront and honest me about my future with the company. I would MUCH rather be given the un/non-signing option instead of packing up and moving, only to find myself with a pink slip few months later. I think this saves their HR/Legal department some headache -- and to the employee as well... Dunno why ya'll are so angry about this... ...seems like a good move... it doesn't make me think of them as a wonderful company -- just a company with some rational sense.

    Particularly affected are the foreign VISA employees... They have to re-apply for their worker's VISA every time they get laid off...

    ...but hey, that's just me.
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:18AM (#263344)
    I had only been working there 8 months. They paid me 6 months of salary, AND didn't make me pay back my relocation costs for moving across the country.

    It was a pretty sweet deal. I left the meeting extremely happy.

    Intel has done things like this before. The money is just a way to stop lawsuits. Remember, a lot of these people might have quit their old jobs in preparation to work at Intel.

    They're unemployed, and need to find a new job now because of Intel's decision. If I wasn't compensated, i'd most likely sue for my lost wages during that time.

  • It's all about headcount. Your boss has been ordered to get rid of X number of employees. Begging for a lesser-paying job will only make you both feel like jerks and will not keep you on the payroll. GET OUT OF THERE. After I got downsized, I got a better-paying job in a different sector. I was getting two paychecks for a while till my severance pay ran out.

    The single most dangerous thing you can do in politics is shut off information from people who don't agree with you. -- Molly Ivins
  • Probably not. This is Intel weaseling out of contracts, not being generous. Ideally, Intel is saving money by not higher people the promised too.
  • The signee-ed will-haven-be receiving-ed a bonus of $5,000 to-have the appointment-ed position.

    --

  • by 6ULDV8 (226100) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:49AM (#263348)
    Since I'm still mulling a career of not raising cattle, cotton or corn, I guess I could agree to not work at Intel for pocket money.
  • > and the staff of Wired magazine.

    Which are still a bunch of inexperienced, ignorant 20-somethings that don't know a damned thing about the real world.

  • Also, exactly where does it say Intel does not reserve the right to cut Timothy in order to get cheaper labor in the door ? This is just one way of Intel reducing their labor costs; trust me, if they have to (and they probably will), they will lay off people as well if they can get cheaper people (and I mean cheaper with all associated costs in) to replace them. And if they can do this (and again I emphasize with associated costs in), why shouldn't they ???
  • by Kletus Cassidy (230405) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:14AM (#263352)
    There are articles in the Associated Press [yahoo.com] and the Industry Stanadard [yahoo.com] that Sun Microsystems (yeah, the guys that brought us Java and Solaris) will be forcing most of its 38,000 employees to take mandatory paid vacation in July. Here's a comment from the article which seems too make the move seem more desperate than cost effective:
    Now, if Sun employees take paid vacation, how does the shutdown save any money? "The company will save on payroll expense and facilities maintenance costs," said the Wall Street Journal, though analysts aren't sure whether that's enough to save Sun from layoffs. An HP spokeswoman insisted that such measures "have an impact on the bottom line" but wouldn't specify. Does the average employee really drink that much free coffee?
  • by stonewolf (234392) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:24AM (#263353) Homepage
    Yeah, right around 73-74 I changed my major from history to computer science. My advisor explained to me very slooooowly in small words that with a history degree I could get a job teaching or maybe go to law school. But that the only thing I could do with a CS degree was wipe my a$$.

    At the time people with degrees, even graduate degrees in engineering, computer science, and the hard science couldn't find jobs. No college recruiting, nothing.

    I've seen this cycle repeat itself, 3 or 4 times.

    StoneWolf

    P.S.

    I was looking at the Intel job site a couple of days ago. They only seem to have about 20 job openings in the entire USA.

  • The time is NOW, to END the H1-B program!

    I am on an H1B visa. Last year I paid $500,000 in tax.

    Oddly enough the H1B visa is issued by the government of the paleface imigrants and not the native americans that might have a point about imigration.

    My company maintains an office for me 2,500 miles from our HQ because I don't want to live in Palo Alto. If the US govt is not going to give me an H1B visa then I'll simply take the job and the office back to Europe and pay taxes there.

    The Clinton boom was fulled by the Internet boom which in turn was possible only because it was possible to hire the best people and bring them to the US. Without the ability to bring in high paid technologists and low paid domestic staff the US economy would have seen massive inflation instead of four percent growth for eight years straight.

    My company is still hiring and is likely to continue to do so. If were were prevented from hiring workers in the US we would probably begin moving parts of our engineering dept to India.

    If you can't hack it against the best in the world, you simply don't deserve the job. Our market is global and so is our workforce. If you have to depend on discrimination because your parents got off the boat a few slightly earlier against a better qualified candidate you have no place in my organization.

  • But, do you seriously expect the world to believe that the H1B program is what saved the US from rampant inflation during Clinton's presidency?

    No, I believe that were it not for imigrants comming in that wage inflation would have started at which point Alan Greenspan would have raised interest rates and killed the boom.

    The H1B program had a small part to play here, illegal immigration from Mexico probably had the greatest effect keeping wages down.

  • by deran9ed (300694) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:32AM (#263359) Homepage
    Its a nice approach for Intel to go this route. The market is hurting, and many companies paid top dollar to get some top people from the field into their company, which hurts them in the long run to let them go, have business return to normal, then have to go back out and look for top talent.

    By Intel doing this, they save face in the eyes of employees, and who's to say that when the market rebounds, Intel may need some of those people back. So ask yourself, if a company just chooped you, but wanted to rehire you, you'd likely be reluctant to return, but if a company that let you go, with an option like this stating "Look the market is bad, we appreciate you, but cannot afford you at this point, here is X amount of dollars." you'd definitely think about it.

    This was one of the big problems with dot.dom's I saw when I went to sillycone valley last year, too many top people having to jump around from site to site, for whatever reason, I'd bank on Intel rehiring some in the future should the market get better for them, and I bank on some people returning as well.

  • by deran9ed (300694) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:00PM (#263360) Homepage

    The Immigration and Naturalization Service appears to be giving a break to foreign tech employees with H-1B visas who have been laid off.

    This is coming as a pleasant surprise to just about everybody it affects.

    Acknowledging the "turbulent time in the tech industry," an INS official said her agency will not force H-1B visa holders to leave the country if they haven't found new employment within 10 days of being terminated.

    "We are going to let things slide," agency spokeswoman Eyleen Schmidt said.

    In fact, that 10-day deadline may not even exist at all. Nowhere in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 -- and its amendments, which contain H-1B provisions -- is there any language that stipulates a timeframe in which a terminated employee must leave the country before the visa expires.

    read on [wired.com]

    pimped BlackBox themes [antioffline.com]

  • by gentlewizard (300741) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:19AM (#263361)
    I think it's probably only the professionals being given breaks like this. The average support worker -- secretaries, maintenance, accountants, etc -- will probably never see them. Reason? Intel is trying to protect its "talent pool" for the future, and the market considers these kinds of workers a commodity, not "talent".
  • by banuaba (308937) <drbork@nosPAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:10AM (#263362)
    Is located here, at Slate.com [msn.com]. It discusses how this is a way to artificially increase apparent attrition without screwing over as many current employees as it would if it had to fire 5000 people.


    Brant
  • All kidding aside, that was exactly how I felt when my offer at Sapient was rescinded in March during their layoffs. As part of my signing an I-won't-sue-you agreement, I got a fat check in the mail for having done absolutely no work.

    After the initial ecstasy comes the hard fall- you realize that there aren't alot of really interesting cool jobs out there right now for people coming right out of college, and that real job searches involve sending out 10 resumes for every one reply- quite a long way from the free food and playstations during the fall info sessions and cushy recruiting weekends.

    And the worst part is when you realize that you have become emotionally involved with the company. The idea of working there starts to seep into how you view yourself, and you really care what happens to it. The unsigning is like breaking up with a girlfriend and having her give you an import Beta Band CD- great gift, but you'd really rather have your girlfriend back. The money was only about 1/8th of the reason you wanted to work there.

  • by Sean Clifford (322444) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:30AM (#263364) Journal
    But wouldn't you be *more* pissed if you moved there, signed an apartment lease, settled in, and THEN had the position was cut? I think it's a good idea - gives the almost-employee time to eat while they look for a good gig, not just the first offer they get.

    Dunno if it would limit innovation - depends on the scale they do this at. Certainly there needs to be fresh blood or you get the FYIV (Fuck You, I'm Vested) mentality. I don't think we'll run into the salaryman problem in the US - different culture, melting pot, different corporate cultures, and so on.
  • they're not necessarily kept out. the offer is only being extended to certain persons, and they're free to decline it and show up for work on their scheduled first day.
  • by dhamsaic (410174) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:10AM (#263367)
    Employment contracts with Intel are "at will" - meaning that the employer *or* the employee is able to terminate the employment at any time, for any reason, with or without notice. This is noted in the article as well.
  • by Magumbo (414471) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:14AM (#263369)
    ...it would certainly make me feel good to know that they weren't going to cut me just to get cheaper labor in the door.

    Oh yeah? I work at Intel and overheard the following:

    Intel manager #1: Let's send this kid from CMU $10k to stay away.
    Intel manager #2: But he's damn good.
    Intel manager #1: So is this guy. He's from Caltech.
    Intel manager #2: Really? Caltech huh?
    Intel manager #1: Yeah. Calcutta Tech.

    --

  • by dwinter3 (447069) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:03PM (#263372)
    I am graduating from Virginia Tech in two weeks and i was hired by Cisco to start thier Associate Systems Engineer program in October. They called me up last week and said, "Due to current economic....", but they are giving me 12 weeks salary. At $55,000 that is a nice settlement. Hopefully they will call me back later this year.

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