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Comment Re:probably fired everyone (Score 1) 84

Like I said in the comment: if management is so poor that they cannot do their job to motivate people and then cannot do their job to fire those people they fail to motivate then how can we blame those who are (mis)managed as "dead wood"? Clearly the layoffs are not coming from the middle managers who didn't do their job in the first place but from some "executive level" efficiency expert.

At Juniper (following Microsoft) they opted for a "bottom 20%" policy of requiring that 20% of every group be identified as a low performer. A group could have the best (or the worst) team but one in five had to be given a warning-you-must-improve-or-be-terminated rating. Guess who got these ratings? People management didn't like. The best managers assigned the failing ratings to themselves as an act of protest and quit. The demoralizing effects of such a system were clear. People started to churn to keep their jobs but churn isn't adding value, it's appearing valuable.

Have you never worked at a job with morale destroying management? Have you never read Dilbert?

In my experience unproductive people are poorly managed, poorly motivated, poorly trained - and are rarely simply unproductive but demoralized and badly lead.

It is blaming the victim to call people who are laid off "dead wood". Bad management is all too common in IT.

Layoffs are the product of bad management, not poor work forces.

Comment Re:probably fired everyone (Score 1) 84

I think it's been noted that Godwin's law cannot be disproven.

Also: "Godwin's law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one's opponent) with Nazis – often referred to as "playing the Hitler card"." (wikisomething or other) To make facile analogies to Nazi's isn't then really the point, unless I call you a Nazi. There is no one advocating lay offs so there is no opponent to implicate.

Management uses brute force techniques to terrorize their employees - to motivate them with fear. Mass firings clearly take out many people who were seen as good hires at some time and before this sudden need to "reduce head count" were seen as part of the employee base - not worth removing.

That a lay off is a good time to expand ones power base - layoff anyone who has ever opposed you or simply didn't kiss your ass good enough. If management decides that anyone with a spine and an opinion they don't like (i.e. isn't simply sheepishly following theirs) is "dead wood". And even if you are working hard it's "not important". A loyal base of sheepish yes-men who may be the less qualified, less hard working but seen as desirable workers. I've seen this at multiple companies: kissing ass saves your job, working hard rarely does. If they don't like you they'll find a reason to get rid of you. If they like you, whatever you are doing is seen as worthwhile (or you'll be steered toward "worthwhile" projects).

If that's not a Nazi way of doing things, I don't know what is. Godwin was a Nazi.

Comment Re:probably fired everyone (Score 1) 84

If management is so brilliant it can identify dead wood when it is forced to, why couldn't it identify dead wood before hiring them or remove them before intense negative financial pressure requires them to do so?

Might not the /appearance/ of "removing dead wood" be the actual intent with management essentially guessing who can be replaced or not and those who hang around being forced to do more work for the same pay but "morale improves" because they are happy they have a job? And since people temporarily work harder out of fear or relief the appearance of having gotten rid of the dead wood is made more real as the new dead wood gradually and slowly relaxes.

Because if the management demotivated the employees enough to turn them into dead wood before they'll do it again with the new crop.

When management has no idea how to motivate people they lay people off. I suspect it's similar to the Nazi motivational technique of random executions: it keeps people on their toes.

Comment Google's H1B visa lobbying (Score 2) 291

Wouldn't it be clever for the pro-H1B visa lobbyists at Google to plant news stories about how gifted foreign workers are?

If the argument is "US ed bad, Foreign ed good" and therefore "US workers bad, Foreign workers good" necessitates liberalizing H1B visas, well it just writes itself.

Not saying that /. is just a plant for Google PR hacks or nothing. Ok, maybe I am.

Comment I think we should relax restrictions on CxOs (Score 2) 221

Clearly the US has a problem with overpaying it's executive staff and numerous studies have shown that US based executives are radically overpaid.

We need immigration reform to allow immigration for reasonably paid executives from abroad who don't run amok and seek to undercut immigration for their staff so they can pay themselves 200x the global average for executives.

Belgium, France and Norway appear to be good countries to relax restrictions for:

Comment the purpose of unions (Score 1) 510

the purpose of unions is similar to that of lawyers: to advance the interests of their clients.

If automation is resolving the problems of employer-employee relations then automation is making unions irrelevant, much in the same way that if robot counseling were to make marriages more successful they would be making divorce lawyers irrelevant.

The purpose of unions is not to "protect jobs" but to advance the interests of their clients: one such interest is the preservation of the jobs, but also the handling of grievances (I was a party to a unionization effort that revolved almost exclusively to providing some system of handling grievances as part of a contract).

Automation is making unions irrelevant indirectly by eliminating both the injured and under-represented workers but also by eliminating incompetent and arbitrary managers.

It is bad management that makes unions useful, in the same way that bad faith parties to contracts make lawyers useful. If management was reasonable, fair and respectful then unions would find themselves without clients.

Aggressive anti-union efforts mostly revolving around fear, intimidation, illegal firing for unionizing, forced company meetings in which employers "hint" about what will happen if they opt to unionize are the some of the barriers to unionizing. Laws favor anti-union efforts and there is only weak enforcement of the existing laws in any event.

IT suffers from bad management just like all industries. The value of IT employees and the relative ease of workers to change companies perhaps makes it hard to unionize from a strict wages perspective, but from a grievances perspective it is just as useful.

Comment even if we accept the correlation prices = riots (Score 1) 926

can we accept the brink argument - it's a year away?

If these people can predict prices a year in advance - for anything - they'd be fairly rich investors, no?

I'd say "1 year away" is just long enough to make people listen to the argument but not so soon as to be easily disproven. Much like the "oh, about 15 minutes" estimate you get when asking how long the next table will be open at your favorite restaurant.

How about looking back 1 year for all the "one year hence" forecasters? Where are they now?

Comment instead of guessing (Score 1) 1154

how about "market research" - find people who:

1)Have switched to Linux but switched back - and find out why and fix those reasons
2)Have not considered Linux and what keeps them from doing so
3)Have switched to Linux but also use Windows (games and applications come to mind)

I think the move to live filesystem distros off of USB/optical media helped removed a major roadblock for transitioning.

Assuming the "economic man" model of human behavior that we are guided by rational cost benefit analysis (something which I doubt, but let's pretend) a driving force in these mixed economic times would certainly be cost. However many people savvy enough to use Linux simply pirate their version of Windows. Many people struggle to use their Win/Mac machines and perhaps the support experience seems daunting.

Assuming, at a minimum, people could be migrated to switch based solely on economic reasons how can they be made to switch and not switch back?

Gamers are a curious market and if they're willing to spend $400 on a graphics card and $40+ on a game (or $120/year on monthly subscriptions) it seems likely they're going to spend money on the OS. So maybe gamers are out.

Pre-installation is the mechanism by which many things are maneuvered into the hands of the buyer and getting Linux pre-installed is fairly hard (I've never seen it in person retail and on-line retailers are few and oddly expensive). Maybe it's as simple as getting people to get it preinstalled and assuming they have some windows background, or catching them at the time they're about to upgrade and spend money on commercial products when free ones would do as well or better.

Comment Re:Beginning of the end for driving jobs. (Score 1) 301

If politicians can be sold to the highest bidder and, as you claim, it's a union "master" then the problem is corruption, not unions.

If cities go bankrupt because they mis-manage their funds and cannot pay for services they contracted for - via a union or in any method - then the problem is fiscal mismanagement not unions.

I've worked for several companies that had leases they could not afford or could not use - one in an acquisition (the acquired company was essentially liquidated, developers absorbed or laid off but the leased space was an empty floor) and the other in a company downsize where a floor that could fit 100 housed barely half that. Neither was done with unions and was done freely by the companies themselves. Does that mean we should reject corporate management (or political leadership) because they cannot forsee an economic downturn or allow their tax base to erode or things like prop 13 pass which change the way property taxes are evaluated? But certainly it's not the fault of those who contract goods and services with them, or is it?

As for firing bad teachers you might want to look at the conditions under which they are managed. Firing people is expensive, incentive systems around good performance raise quality. If management demoraizes and mis-manages their workforce allowing them to fire people to cover for their incompetence simply leaves bad management in place. Teachers do a blistering hard job and having the whip of termination let loose in the hands of management is no substitution for good management.

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