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Comment Re:I gave them a fair hearing... (Score 1) 397

Your example is fair enough.

Addressing the point made above, severance packages are not mandatory, and acceptance of them isn't mandatory either.

In the US. There, severance isn't just generosity (though it may be); its also an arrangement for the company to 'reach beyond the grave' and prevent you being a true free agent (i.e getting a job with the competition, contacting your company's customers, writing about problems with the company and its products)

See AC's post here http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4595209&cid=45781805 for another perspective.

I'm thankful to work in another nation where my severance (close to half my annual salary at this point) is mandatory by law. And I don't have to sign away my rights to get that money.

Comment Re:I gave them a fair hearing... (Score 1) 397

Yea, folks. Remember it for whatever reason - just remember it.

Some may think I'm an optimist. I just think you're jaded.

This may sound funny to you, but I actually consider myself both fortunate and an optimist. I've worked a decade and a half in my current job, in a country with a good economy, am well paid, am personally at low risk of layoff, and will get about 1/2 year's severance - by law - if laid off.

But being fortunate does not mean I lose my eyes and ears - I can hear and see what happening. Companies _are_ getting harsher; jobs harder to find and to keep.

If you think you think you can just work with no backup plan for wealth creation, you're not optimistic, you're naive.

Good for your friend with the 3/4 salary severance - he was fortunate. And I have a similar anecdote about my friend with similar severance too. But you see, a $30K severance on a $45K pay-packet doesn't last that long. There are some fundamental costs to living (rent, petrol, utilities.) If you can't get a job again soon, that happiness (and money) evaporates. Hence this advice:

Everyone working for someone - and I mean everyone - needs a backup plan to create wealth. Not an MLM - something where you get paid to create actual value. This could be selling cupcakes off your Facebook page, freelancing on guru.com, selling artwork on odesk.com, tutoring math classes, mowing lawns... Even if you make only $10/month, its a skill kept sharp for when you really need to depend on that next arrow in your quiver.

Comment Re:Incentives. (Score 1) 397

> Or rather, both sides are correct even though they are in direct disagreement.

Ah, the usual AC handwringing recipe -- "it all hopeless... no one's right" -- along with a dash of zesty "job creator" myth thrown in.

> People with an employee mindset naturally want job security, and consider the provision of such to be a moral obligation of employers. The reasons are obvious.

No, its not, Capn. obvious! Most employees actually want to work hard AND realise that there are limits to their employment.

> Employers, [...] morally obligatory that they hire the best and get rid of people who are becoming dead weight.

There. Now you've defined your own morality. Perhaps you think of yourself as an employer with such a 'moral obligation'. All the best not disgusting your 'good' employees who know how you treat 'deadwood' and wonder when their time will come.

Comment I gave them a fair hearing... (Score 4, Insightful) 397

From the article:

The second conversation took place in 2002, a few months after our IPO. Laura, our bookkeeper, was bright, hardworking, and creative. She’d been very important to our early growth, having devised a system for accurately tracking movie rentals so that we could pay the correct royalties. But now, as a public company, we needed CPAs and other fully credentialed, deeply experienced accounting professionals—and Laura had only an associate’s degree from a community college. Despite her work ethic, her track record, and the fact that we all really liked her, her skills were no longer adequate. Some of us talked about jury-rigging a new role for her, but we decided that wouldn’t be right.

So I sat down with Laura and explained the situation—and said that in light of her spectacular service, we would give her a spectacular severance package. I’d braced myself for tears or histrionics, but Laura reacted well
[...]

[Talking about another employee that no longer 'fit']

Give her a great severance package—which, when she signs the documents, will dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the chance of a lawsuit.”

Folks - remember the snippets above in your dealings with any company. This is the nature of the employer-employee contract these days.

A spectacular severance supposedly balances out any disquiet at 'pump-and-dump' treatment of employees. Of course, "spectacular" may mean they pay $4,000 instead of $2,330.02 legally due - i.e. 200% of something which probably won't get you very far in the first place. And 'extra' documents they have you sign as a quid pro quo, also sign away review rights regarding unfair dismissal, etc.

Everyone working for someone - and I mean everyone - needs a backup plan to create wealth. Not an MLM - something where you get paid to create actual value. This could be selling cupcakes off your Facebook page, freelancing on guru.com, selling artwork on odesk.com, tutoring math classes, mowing lawns... Even if you make only $10/month, its a skill kept sharp for when you really need to depend on that next arrow in your quiver.

Before doing this, check your work contract - and speak with your attorney. Many jobs - specially IT roles - have a catchall 'all your efforts/patents/ideas/code belong to us' clause. Even for what you do on your own time and dime. Such clauses may or may not be lawful.

Comment Re:decent engineering, redux science (Score 1) 79

I don't knock their work ... :)

All that needs doing is adding a helium ballon with additional battery payload. As long as the entire system is neutrally bouyant, this could hover for hours, streaming video. Even follow its owner around... Kinda like the "kino" orb in the Stargate Universe TV series, but with wings :)

Comment Re:When you have a bad driver ... (Score 1) 961

> I'd rather have a competent driver in a bare-bones sports car on the road with me than a clueless housewife ...

"Roger Rodas was a highly skilled driver who would not have taken a risk with his friend and client Paul Walker’s life, an engineer for Rodas’ race team said Tuesday."

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/12/03/paul-walker-roger-rodas-porsche/

Comment How about.... (Score 1) 238

...offering employment contracts which don't bind employees in intellectual slavery. Some employers - especially tech employers - lay claim to every thought, word and deed of value that the employee creates during his term of employment - even if done in his own time and on his own dime.

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