Layoffs suck



  • So they laid me off today.  Anybody have a non-WTF job in the Houston, TX area?  Been thinking of moving down that way to be closer to family.  This obviously gives me more of an excuse to do so.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    So they laid me off today.  Anybody have a non-WTF job in the Houston, TX area?  Been thinking of moving down that way to be closer to family.  This obviously gives me more of an excuse to do so.

    Let me first say, my sympathies, because I've been there.

    Secondly, by disclosing this information to the group, you have opened yourself up to a myriad of insults. Prepare to hear the following.

    1) You're not a good programmer. (That's why you were laid off.) If you had been a better, more intelligent programmer, you never would have lost your position.

    2) You're a loser because you don't already have dozens upon dozens of jobs already lined up. If you were a better programmer, you could "pick and choose". No worries.

    3) It's obviously your fault that you were laid off. Obviously. This never would have happened to a better programmer.

    Etc. Etc. Ad nauseum.

    Hey, you opened yourself up to it. This forum has no mercy. I shared my experiences and they tore me apart like a pack of rabid wolves.
     



  • Hahaha, well who says I don't have a lot of local job offers lined up that I'm "too good for"?

    The thing that gets me is that they felt like it would be fair to fire people evenly from every team, rather than focusing on the ones that were actually being unproductive.  Sure, they got rid of part of the problem, but some other people kept their jobs.  If they just picked the 16 worst people in the company, I would have been in great shape.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    The thing that gets me is that they felt like it would be fair to fire people evenly from every team, rather than focusing on the ones that were actually being unproductive.  Sure, they got rid of part of the problem, but some other people kept their jobs.  If they just picked the 16 worst people in the company, I would have been in great shape.

    It's a legal idiocy. You can't fire somebody for incompetence unless you can prove in court that they're incompetent - if you can't prove it, you're presumed guilty and have to pay out a stupid amount of money.

    Large companies work around this by firing people according to some pattern that has been engineered to hit a large fraction of the employees that they want to ditch - it's legal because it hits other people too, more or less. They have regular rounds of this "downsizing" and over time it prunes out most of the dead wood.



  • Layoffs bite, and they've probably happened to most of us at one time or another.  Any luck finding something in TX?

    Great (bad) layoff story.   In 1997 or so I was working for a company that made home automation products.  One day, the boss asks me to start looking over the shoulder of another senior engineer, help him out, figure out how the code worked, etc.  It was a bit odd, and a bit uncomfortable (and we didn't have pair programming to blame it on... ) but we got through it.

    A couple days later, there's an impromptu company meeting; but the announcement wasn't sent via email.  Instead, the manager walked cube-to-cube and asked us to come to the meeting room.  Once there, the CEO got up in front of us and said (in roughly these words) "If you're in this room, you still have a job".  Lovely.

    I look around, and the engineer I've been shadowing is nowhere to be found.  He and about 20 others around the company were laid off.  From the glares I got when I returned to my desk, I know the guy blames me for it, even though I was just as much in the dark as he was.

    About 2 months later it was my turn, layoff city.  Luckily, for a small town of less than 30,000 they had a surprising number of small software companies and I ended up at a military contractor where, by chance, I ended up working with the same guy! 

    That was loads of fun.

    -cw

     



  • Layoffs suck big time especially if you're stupid about them like I was.  The one and only time I was laid off, was when the company I was working for was sold and the jobs "relocated".  As I was in IT, I was offered a stay-on bonus to stay three months until everything was transfered.  It was the most horrible 3 months of my life - everyday I'd come to work, login, beta test games for 8 hours (cause I had no real work), go home.  All I was there to do is make sure the infrastructure stayed running.  I was actually relieved when the day came where I could shut everything down, ship it to the owners and be officially out of work.

    If you're ever in the same boat, cut and run.  No amount of money is worth wasting three months of your life doing nothing of value.  

     



  • I've been through the old, "if you're in this room, you still have a job" business.  It sucked, but it had one silver lining: I was the least experienced person in the company by many years, and I kept my job.  Unfortunately, I was also the lowest-paid employee in the company.  Really, the worst part is feeling like you can't trust management, because everyone was kept in the dark for weeks and months: "You have two weeks to find a job before your income drops to zero; good luck!"



  • I've been through it probably 3 times now.  

    Once where the company was going under for massive fiscal incompetence (With $6million in funding, they built a snazzy new building and did an oak-lined office for the CEO...then found they didn't have enough money to actually pay people...), once where the company was bought for the IP and not the people who created it, and once where the company decided to move out-of-state.  Not so much a lay-off in that case as much as "if you want to move to rural montana with us, you're welcome to", and I didn't.

    Never gets any easier :)

    -cw



  • @lpope187 said:

    If you're ever in the same boat, cut and run.  No amount of money is worth wasting three months of your life doing nothing of value.  
    Is a degree worth it?



  • @Ice^^Heat said:

    @lpope187 said:
    If you're ever in the same boat, cut and run.  No amount of money is worth wasting three months of your life doing nothing of value.  
    Is a degree worth it?

    A college degree?  Yes.

    IMO, a successful career requires both technical knowledge and domain knowledge.  Typically, college gives you a solid foundation for the technical knowledge that you'll need, but only the first 20%.  The rest you'll get on the job, through graduate studies, through formal seminars/training or personal projects/exploration.  The domain knowledge comes on the job for the most part and is somewhat up to chance.  

    When you start out, you'll have some technical knowledge and almost zero domain knowledge.  You'll be hired for your capacity to learn more than anything.  In addition to allowing you to expand your technical knowledge faster, a college degree with good marks indicates the capacity to learn which any good manager will be looking for.  Once you get some domain knowledge, that will carry you more as will your networking. 

    I say this as a Mechanical Engineer who just happens to work in IT.  Not necessarily the best degree for IT, but it still has been invaluable as I'm the primary liaison between IT and the design / engineering departments.  Due to my formal education and previous employment, I tend to look for positions dealing with engineering or manufacturing.  In my case, my degree provided a solid base for the domain knowledge while I needed to work more on the technical side. 




  • It's strange how everyone is now coming clean with their layoff stories...but I thought all of you were super-geniuses, descended from the heavens, never unemployed, wonder-children?

    Anyways...if anyone has layoff stories, it's CPound. Let me share a couple.

    On one occasion, this entire company was folding. Strangely, I was one of the last to be laid off. But here's the point I wish to stress. There was this one upper-level management guy who thought he was all that and then some. To give you an idea, he was one of the first guys to ride one of those two-wheeled perpetual motion scooters with the handlebars...I'm not sure of the exact name, but you know what I'm talking about. He had one when they were in the prototype phase. Well, this guy was one of the first to be laid off. I physically saw when he was informed he was being cut. It was burned into my memory. The guy's jaw dropped and it was one of the saddest things I ever saw. The whole while I saw him boxing up his things, I got the impression that this guy had no idea this was coming. He was in a complete state of shock and awe. Almost as if to say, "How could this happen to me? ME!!!" I learned from that day that no one is immune to layoffs. No one.

    On another occasion, I was working with the baddest-ass programmer on the planet. Or so he thought. I knew it really didn't matter because of the whims of that company's management staff. Depending on their daily mood, you could get fired, or get a raise. It was all up in the air. And this was not performance-based by any means. Your welfare depended on the ever-changing moods of management. Well, one day one of the managers goes up to the bad-ass programmer and tells him to collect his things. I saw the manager escort the shocked programmer out of the building. Once again, he had no idea it was coming. The company eventually caved in on itself and I found employment elsewhere, but what I learned from that experience was that management can fire you on a whim. It really doesn't matter how "cool" you think you are, or if you are from Sweden (or some European country) and consider yourself an uber-programmer. Management can fire you, just like that.

    Speaking of European programmers, I feel like venting a bit. Please indulge me.

    What is it with these European programmers? I have known quite a few in my day, and I have to make the following observations about them. If you are easily offended, do not read any further.

    1) European programmers tend to be smarter than US programmers. They are quicker at problem resolution, and are very detail-oriented. I have not met a stupid programmer from Europe.

    2) That being said, European programmers tend to be pompous know-it-alls. And rightfully so! They know their material and can quote code language texts back to you verbatim. This personally irks me because I am somewhat envious of their skill level!

    3) European programmers (in my experience) tend to wear dark turtlenecks and the latest (expensive) jeans. This is very German, I know. But, from what I have seen, they spend quite a bit of their well-earned money on wardrobe. They are very fashionable. To a fault.

    4) Europeans tend to come in early and stay late. While the good old boy Americans waltz in around 9am, these guys have been coding for hours. Their work ethic puts Americans to shame.

    5) I could break this into several points, but Europeans tend to be quiet, fast, and flawless programmers. Let me explain the quiet bit. They are quiet when they are programming, but loud when they type, and they are boisterous when making their point in a development discussion (which they tend to win).

    It sounds like I am talking Europeans up, but not really. There's a lot of envy. However, what I don't envy about them is their high-horse mentalities, and the you're-so-beneath-me attitudes. Granted, they can back up their pompousness. But it would be nicer if they were a little more down to earth.

    There. European venting over. 



  • Clarification!

    When I say European programmers, I am referring to programmers from the following countries: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and some parts of east Russia.

    Please note, I am not referring to programmers from the UK!



  • @CPound said:

    Clarification!

    When I say European programmers, I am referring to programmers from the following countries: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and some parts of east Russia.

    Please note, I am not referring to programmers from the UK!

    I want to be the first one to say a big giant WTF!!!

    I don't know what circle of people you hang around with CPound, but you are sadly mistaken by implying that all Americans are slow, uneducated hillbillies compared to the peoples of Europe. And your definition of "European" is very small! Why are only those countries listed? What about programmers from France, Italy, Spain, and the UK? Or do they fall into the slow, unlearned hill-people category?



  • You forgot Poland



  • @CPound said:

    1) European programmers tend to be smarter than US programmers. They are quicker at problem resolution, and are very detail-oriented. I have not met a stupid programmer from Europe.

    I'd guess that a large fraction of those European programmers who make it to the US (so you can meet them) are above-average, even by European standards ;-)


    4) Europeans tend to come in early and stay late. While the good old boy Americans waltz in around 9am, these guys have been coding for hours. Their work ethic puts Americans to shame.

    I cannot confirm that. 9am is a very common time to start work here. That said, in my current company, a couple of top-notch programmers really start early, around 6:30am, but they leave work early, too.



  • Eastern Russia is not Europe.

     



  • @ammoQ said:


    4) Europeans tend to come in early and stay late. While the good old boy Americans waltz in around 9am, these guys have been coding for hours. Their work ethic puts Americans to shame.

    I cannot confirm that. 9am is a very common time to start work here. That said, in my current company, a couple of top-notch programmers really start early, around 6:30am, but they leave work early, too.

    There must be a mistake there. While us europeans may be known for working hard, we also like our time off. Lots of national holidays and lots of vacation time. Unlike Americans, who get 5 days off a year (ok, exagerating slightly), we want our 3-4 weeks of paid vacation and sick days. By law, German emplyees get at the minium 24 days of paid vacation a year, or 2 days per month.Assuming 5 workdays per week, that's a vacation of 4.8 weeks a year. I've never seen anything close to that in the US, other than for high school teachers.



  • In Europe, working is not as important as in most other parts of the world.

    Hence, we have many days off.



  • @Ice^^Heat said:

    Eastern Russia is not Europe.

    You are correct. That was my mistake. I meant Western Russia. 



  • @Nandurius said:

    Unlike Americans, who get 5 days off a year (ok, exagerating slightly), we want our 3-4 weeks of paid vacation and sick days. By law, German emplyees get at the minium 24 days of paid vacation a year, or 2 days per month.Assuming 5 workdays per week, that's a vacation of 4.8 weeks a year.

    Why on earth do you need so much time off? What do you do with all that time? Just hang out? Tour the rest of Europe? Surf the internet? I mean, c'mon. That just seems like a lot of idle time to me. It would be very difficult to get motivated back on the job if, say, you took 2-3 weeks off and then returned back to work. There would be so much catching up you would have to do! You would have missed so much. The emails alone...
     



  • @CPound said:

    @Nandurius said:

    Unlike Americans, who get 5 days off a year (ok, exagerating slightly), we want our 3-4 weeks of paid vacation and sick days. By law, German emplyees get at the minium 24 days of paid vacation a year, or 2 days per month.Assuming 5 workdays per week, that's a vacation of 4.8 weeks a year.

    Why on earth do you need so much time off? What do you do with all that time? Just hang out? Tour the rest of Europe? Surf the internet? I mean, c'mon. That just seems like a lot of idle time to me. It would be very difficult to get motivated back on the job if, say, you took 2-3 weeks off and then returned back to work. There would be so much catching up you would have to do! You would have missed so much. The emails alone...
     

    See nature, concerts, reading, travel, meet people, clubbing. I think I can think of a few things.


  • @CPound said:

    @Ice^^Heat said:

    Eastern Russia is not Europe.

    You are correct. That was my mistake. I meant Western Russia. 

    I don't consider Western Russia Europe either, in fact, the whole of Russia doesn't feel like Europe to me.


  • I believe there are some different categorisations of what europe is, depending if you look in political or geological seperation.
    However i do believe a small part of eastern russia is included in it, but perhaps those have separated since i last had to know that kind of stuff, i dunno.

    Also ermm, CPound. ummm i hate to break it to you, but i doubt your right.

    While i'm not from one of your fore mentioned countries, i'm pretty sure  programmers around the world can fit into a bunch of classifications of type of person, without the use of country lines.

    Perhaps local culture will influence some traits, but not to any mayor extend i think.
     



  • @Ice^^Heat said:

    See nature, concerts, reading, travel, meet people, clubbing. I think I can think of a few things.

    Nature? Who goes outside anymore?

    Concerts? There are no more good bands to listen to. It's all garbage.

    Reading? What's that?

    Travel? Once again, who gets out of the house these days?

    Meet people? You mean, be social? (Shudders)

    Clubbing? I think most of the people in this forum have never done such a thing. That's something "cool" people do. Not something Everquest/World of Warcraft junkies get into.

    Any more ideas? 



  • @CPound said:

    @Ice^^Heat said:

    See nature, concerts, reading, travel, meet people, clubbing. I think I can think of a few things.

    Nature? Who goes outside anymore?

    Concerts? There are no more good bands to listen to. It's all garbage.

    Reading? What's that?

    Travel? Once again, who gets out of the house these days?

    Meet people? You mean, be social? (Shudders)

    Clubbing? I think most of the people in this forum have never done such a thing. That's something "cool" people do. Not something Everquest/World of Warcraft junkies get into.

    Any more ideas? 

    How 'bout watch tv.  Specifically Don Knuth videos.

    Don Knuth 

     



  • Former Soviet countries are now in the EU, they are europe, not Russia!

    With computer science, everywhere, I think it is almost the same. If you read blogs. An Dutch blog is not that different from an USA blog. If it is written in english, you have to look at the author where he is from. You can't read a blog and think "Ohh boy, that is typical dutch software engineering!!!".

    There is no dutch way of programming, nor is there an USA way of programming.

    However, if you want to study dutch history, you are better off doing that in the Netherlands than in the USA.

    Kind of obvious, but it is nice to know you can take your skills to another country and don't have learn anything new (except cultural differences ofcourse).



  • @CPound said:

    @Ice^^Heat said:

    See nature, concerts, reading, travel, meet people, clubbing. I think I can think of a few things.

    Nature? Who goes outside anymore?

    Concerts? There are no more good bands to listen to. It's all garbage.

    Reading? What's that?

    Travel? Once again, who gets out of the house these days?

    Meet people? You mean, be social? (Shudders)

    Clubbing? I think most of the people in this forum have never done such a thing. That's something "cool" people do. Not something Everquest/World of Warcraft junkies get into.

    Any more ideas? 

    I have done all of it. And I wish to do some more. I have also played my fair share of MMORPGs.

    If your life involves nothing except work, then I pity you.



  • @CPound said:

    @Nandurius said:

    Unlike Americans, who get 5 days off a year (ok, exagerating slightly), we want our 3-4 weeks of paid vacation and sick days. By law, German emplyees get at the minium 24 days of paid vacation a year, or 2 days per month.Assuming 5 workdays per week, that's a vacation of 4.8 weeks a year.

    Why on earth do you need so much time off? What do you do with all that time? Just hang out? Tour the rest of Europe? Surf the internet? I mean, c'mon. That just seems like a lot of idle time to me. It would be very difficult to get motivated back on the job if, say, you took 2-3 weeks off and then returned back to work. There would be so much catching up you would have to do! You would have missed so much. The emails alone...
     

     Just be glad that he did the math and specified that 24 days per year is the same as 2 per month for us mouth breathers on this side of the pond.

     

     On a more serious note.  While I would love to go see nature and read and spend time with family and friends with all that time off, the real reason that that time off is mandated is to combat unemployment.  If you make it law that employees have to have 5 weeks  off per year, then that means that companies have to hire  more people to get the job done.

     



  • @CPound said:

    Clarification!

    When I say European programmers, I am referring to programmers from the following countries: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and some parts of east Russia.

    Please note, I am not referring to programmers from the UK!

     

    Clearly you never worked with the same guys from the Czech Republic that I worked with.  I feel sorry for my friends, as I was the guy usually tasked with cleaning up Prague's mess. 


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