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IT Job Market Is Tanking, But Not For Everyone

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the jobs-available-but-not-for-you dept.

Businesses 371

CWmike writes "Shortly after the COO of Automated HealthCare Solutions learned that Microsoft planned to cut 5,000 workers over the next 18 months, he and another employee of the medical services provider flew out to Redmond. AHCS now has more than 100 resumes, some of them from Microsoft employees, for about a dozen open positions. That's how the tech job market is these days: there's no doubt the market is tanking, but not for everyone. While numerous IT vendors are laying off workers, and corporate IT jobs are being lost as well, plenty of companies are still hiring. Microsoft's careers site lists more than 700 open jobs in the US, both technical and administrative positions. And IBM has about 3,200 jobs and internships listed worldwide, more than 550 of them in the US — even as it cuts thousands of workers in a move that it is describing not as a layoff, but an effort to 'match skills and resources with our client needs."

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371 comments

first post... (4, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720143)

...but not for everyone.

Yeah, I know... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720157)

I just fired half my staff, but I'm still employed! Booyah.

Re:Yeah, I know... (5, Interesting)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720761)

I feel this is a good time to discuss my signature.

Years ago, when MS-DOS was just entering version 5, I worked for Micro(-)soft, and I was on the shell team. One little optimization could be made to the PAUSE function, I thought, so I added it in, and even when I told my manager of the patch, he said surely a promotion would soon ensue, and Dave Cutler might even consider me for this project called "Windows NT"!

So everyone approved, and the patch was added. It was written in assembly language, by the way. So the patch was added, and soon the final build of MS-DOS 6 shipped. However, soon we started getting calls from users saying their batch files crashed DOS, and a thorough code inspection went under way. While inspecting the last couple of patches, many bugs were found, some even I fixed, and we were sure MS-DOS 6.21 was the final solution.

How wrong were we! The test batch files still crashed the OS, and upon further inspection, it was found that the PAUSE() function would crash just after printing the characters to the screen. They inspected my patch, found an erroneous jz mnemonic (despite our getch setting the eax [return] register to a non-zero ASCII character).

The log showed it was my patch, and I was soon speedily fired before the compilation of MS-DOS 6.22, which corrected the PAUSE function I messed up so bad. I have since regretted that function every day of my life, and I put it in my .sig as just a reminder of that horrible incident. So, think not of my signature as a juvenile C joke intended to frustrate an experienced DOS user, but instead the C port of the subroutine patch that costed me a Microsoft job at the time when, as a company, they were just about to reach their peak. Layoffs are not funny, even if caused by such a humorous-at-first-glance patch.

Never forget, slashdot, never forget.

Re:Yeah, I know... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720819)

Funny, I seem to recall something different [slashdot.org] said about your .sig. Still funny, though, I enjoyed the story, despite the obvious made-up MS-DOS versioning used.

Re:Yeah, I know... (4, Insightful)

rivetgeek (977479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26721003)

BUSTED

Re:Yeah, I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720907)

Funny story, but how, may I ask, would several managers approve of such an obvious mistake, and even Dave Cutler wanting to hire after seeing such horrid assembly?

Re:Yeah, I know... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720777)

Hopefully you're not like most other managers, who'd soon be unemployed, with no staff to make them productive ;)

Re:Yeah, I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720791)

Actually, with his attitude, I suspect (and quietly hope), that he is one of them.

No surprise (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720175)

If you're good, you can always find a new job. Smart companies always have exception programs to let in talented individuals. Layoffs tend to be a way to get rid of a lot of the sub-average to average performers. If anything, finding good quality people is even more important after layoffs are announced- the good ones have the ability to get hired easily, so they'll hedge their bets by looking as soon as layoffs are announced. Its not uncommon to see an exodus of them before the layoffs actually occur. Plus you can typically hire one of them to do the work of 3 or 4 of the people you just fired.

Re:No surprise (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720271)

I used to believe that. I've got a damn good resume, and I'm damn good at what I do. I'm working the network of friends and ex-coworkers, all of who say, "damn we'd love to hire you, but we don't have any openings."

I'm 38 years old, and I've NEVER experienced anything this shitty.

damn.

Re:No surprise (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720645)

Nah, its still not yet as bad as it was in 2001/02. Yet.

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

module0000 (882745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720749)

Your answer, it's called "welding school".

I can't be the only person hanging from a crane welding in new support beams on a bridge...also reminding myself to submit my kernel patches when I get home.

The pay by the way, is about the same. (30-50 for nubs, 50-100 for traveling pros)

Re:No surprise (3, Insightful)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720297)

If you're good, you can always find a new job.

There is more to it than being "good". Certain types of jobs are affected more during recessions than others. Departments seen as cost centers will be the last to regain reqs.

Re:No surprise (2, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720343)

3 or 4? We hope for ratios more in the 10-50 range. One really good hire can completely replace a 20 person dev team that is not delivering.

Of course, many of the new hires turn out less good that hoped, but that is solvable. Also, you have to keep the bad team around until it's clear its product is inferior. But hey, that's business.

Re:No surprise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720395)

And the best part is that the one really good hire won't quit due to your unreasonable demands until the economy is back into full swing at which point you'll be able to hire 10-50 people to replace him.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720461)

You don't get great work out of great people by issuing demands. You explain the situation (priorities, politics, history) as best you can, and let them find a way to contribute. Make yourself accessible for immediate feedback, support, and discussion, and you're off and running.

Oh, and pay oodles of money to the people who excel.

Re:No surprise (4, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720505)

A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates. - Sun Tzu

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720383)

If you're good, you can always find a new job.

It feels like you are invoking the fallacy that most of us think we are above average. Most people aren't significantly above average.

Layoffs tend to be a way to get rid of a lot of the sub-average to average performers.

You are telling this to the people who just got laid off!! So if they were laid off and looking for work, you are essentially telling them that they are probably on the lower side of average. And yet "if they are well above average they will have no trouble finding work". This doesn't bode well.

Plus you can typically hire one of them to do the work of 3 or 4 of the people you just fired.

So these people are both head and shoulders above average, and are willing to do the work of a small team to boot? Oh and they'll accept the same wages of the semi-morons he replaced too?

Yes these mythological creatures will always have jobs.

Technically, yes, you are right, Microsoft lays of 5000 people, and the top few percent will land new jobs right away.

Do you have any advice for the other 80-90%? Those are the ones that need it. The top 5-10% probably won't be unemployed long enough to have to start dipping into their savings anyway.

Re:No surprise (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720471)

Not the OP, but my advice is that you should get into a profession where you can be in that top 10%, or re-educate yourself in your current profession until you are top 10%. If you are just mediocre at your job, you will always have risk of losing your job, and it will be hard to find to find a new one. That's just the way things work. If you can't perform well, and are expendable to the company, what do you expect they do?

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720595)

Not the OP, but my advice is that you should get into a profession where you can be in that top 10%, or re-educate yourself in your current profession until you are top 10%.

You realize of course that it is mathematically impossible for more than 10% of the people in a given profession to be in the top 10% of their profession. And further, that if everyone tried to follow this advice it is a mathematical certainty that 90% of them would fail.

Re:No surprise (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720669)

Well, we can just build a society where only 10% or so have any real hope of success or stability, what could possibly go wrong?

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720737)

Well, we can just build a society where only 10% or so have any real hope of success or stability, what could possibly go wrong?

Terrorists would fly planes into our buildings?

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720885)

You may want to re-read the parent post. It says "get into a profession where you can be in that top 10%". If everyone attempts to be in the top 10% for a given profession, 90% will fail. Thus, either be in that top 10% -or- choose a different profession (where you will be in that top 10%).

Re:No surprise (4, Funny)

sleigher (961421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720973)

I think I am in the top 1% of people who can sit lazily on the couch and read /. In fact I challenge anyone to be better at doing absolutely nothing than me. Just ask my wife!

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720987)

If everyone tried to do this, than yes, 90% would fail to get hired. However, they might have earned enough ability to do something profitable on their own.

Re:No surprise (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720843)

If you're good, you can always find a new job.

It feels like you are invoking the fallacy that most of us think we are above average. Most people aren't significantly above average.

The top 5-10% probably won't be unemployed long enough to have to start dipping into their savings anyway.

So, what you are saying is; "If you're good, you can always find a new job?"

Re:No surprise (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720881)

It feels like you are invoking the fallacy that most of us think we are above average. Most people aren't significantly above average.

You must be new here. Most people on /. think they're super-duper programmers and the only thing keeping them from a high-paying job and a super hot girlfriend is the greedy CEOs who outsource their jobs and the brown people on H1Bs..

Booms make jobs for sub-average (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720891)

We're just coming out of a boom. Like previous booms, this last boom created jobs for people that could spell computa. Come the end of the boom and these are the first jobs to go.

Advice for the sub average? Well if you are sub average then you're always going to be at high risk. The same applies to any industry - it is not just a computer thing. Find something you're better at.

If you're sub average and insist on being in the industry then face it that you're only going to be employed 50% of the time.

Re:No surprise (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720397)

If you're good, you can always find a new job.

Rule No. 1: You may be good. But there is always someone better.

Rule No. 2: The geek too young too have seen rock bottom: a time when there are no openings anywhere, for anyone. But it happens.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720431)

If you're good, you can always find a new job. F*** Y**. Who is the judge of being good? Especially when there may be problems in maintaining good references. Here is where office politics raise their ugly heads. (See the Movie Office Space?)

Office Politics (4, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720457)

Being good includes the ability to handle office politics successfully. Jobs that don't require office politics are incredibly rare.

If you can't find anybody in your old company that likes you, you probably need to work on your social skills. It's one of the things employers need to make sure the job gets done.

Re:Office Politics (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720755)

Being good includes the ability to handle office politics successfully. Jobs that don't require office politics are incredibly rare.

+5... And being able to shield your teams from politics in highly politicized environments will make you indispensable... You will be the one who gets the transfer when the rest of the division is laid off.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720507)

The PHP / Ruby and UI Dev / UX / Javascript areas of expertise are hopping in NYC.

Re:No surprise (1)

Bandit0013 (738137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720721)

Lots of people think they're good, but they're not. You'd be shocked (or not) at how many people fail the fizzbuzz coding exercise.

My general interview process is a brief verbal over their resume and some light tech questions, then you get a laptop with a dev environment and help files. You write a few coding exercises, stuff that would take a "good" coder probably 5-10 minutes.

My most recent hire was fresh out of college, he nailed it. I've had dozens of people claiming 5+ years experience that can't even finish it.

In any career you're going to be a lot like high school: You have your top 10%, your 10-25% that can bumble along, and then the other 75% who you wouldn't trust anything of value to.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720813)

It's not about being 'good enough', its also that you have the right skills and experience.

VMware and SAN techs are in high demand right about now. PS VMware has been hiring lately (not sure if they're hiring right now) and they posted 48% profit last month. Virtualization saves money and thats pretty-much recession-proof.

I could have RPG or VAX assembly programming experience, be good at it, and it would still not do me any good in this economy.

Re:No surprise (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720877)

I would tend to agree with your statement. However there are other factors as well. I myself was lied off this summer however the CEO himself recommend me to the CEO of the place I currently work.
For my case (and about 1/2 of the company who lot lied off) most of the people where hired within that year were laid off (they grew 100% the previous year, then shrunk 50% in fall). During their mistake period of growth they actually hired a lot of good people, but to get these people they were willing to pay higher rates to attract the people to the company. I joined with a 10k on top of my old salary. So when the budget crashed all the new guys who are still learning the ropes and being paid top competitive wages were first to let go.
Thinking back there is nothing more I could do, I was a good employee doing the best I could. Played by all the rules, broke the ones that made me look even better. However when money came to crutch it went down to saving the people that have been there for years and at a lower rate or the new guys who are being paid more.

Re:No surprise (2, Informative)

srNeu (559432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720883)

I started job searching in January so I could move out of a bad situation start-up and within 3 weeks had 2 offers and 3 more companies wanting 2nd interviews.

Look at the medical industry, its the only sector not being pummeled right now, although I'm sure it will get hit. The Nashville TN area has about 40-50 developer jobs in that area right now. Although the job I accepted was through a recruiter, 3 of the other 4 were direct postings from careerbuilder, dice and linkedin, all permanent. There are a ton of contract and contract to hire jobs out there too, if you get in bed with the right recruiters.

So there are jobs out there, in the right sectors and the right regions.

Re:No surprise (1)

hawkeye (4170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720899)

In general, that might be true, but being really good is still no guarantee that you _can't_ be laid off. Step on the wrong toes, say the wrong thing, work for the wrong group, and you'll be on your way out...regardless of performance. This is becoming more and more true in company cultures that mistakenly view managers as being more important than individual contributors.

They're not layoffs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720183)

"Match skills and resources with our client needs" doesn't mean layoffs...its a feature!

IBM layoffs (5, Informative)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720203)

"Match skills and resources with our client needs" doesn't mean layoffs...its a feature!

Actually, IBM claims that it's not an extraordinary event - in the course of normal business, every quarter they lay off some people with useless skills and hire others with useful ones.

They didn't file an extraordinary activity report with the SEC because a certain level of layoffs is ordinary in an organization that size.

Re:IBM layoffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720301)

"match skills and resources with our client needs"
That stuck with me as well. Next they can lay off HR - not needed any longer, IBM might as well shuffle independent contractors around.

Re:IBM layoffs (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720327)

IBM might as well shuffle independent contractors around.

Businesses would love to do that - if they thought they'd have the people they need, with the skills they need, regardless.

Re:IBM layoffs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720323)

In IBM lingo, useless skill == American. Useful skill == Indian or Chinese. They've cut about 5,000 here in the U.S. (IBM said worldwide, but the cuts were almost exclusively in the US). Meanwhile, IBM now has 70,000 people in India.

IBM needs to stop arguing that we need more students studying engineering in the US until it starts hiring or redeploying US citizens. Until then, it's just propaganda.

Re:IBM layoffs (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720831)

They've cut about 5,000 here in the U.S. (IBM said worldwide, but the cuts were almost exclusively in the US). Meanwhile, IBM now has 70,000 people in India.

Hm, I wonder why? Is it perhaps that the people in India make good tech support and code monkeys, oh and will happily work for half the pay of employees in the USA?

IBM doesn't need more code monkeys and tech support, it needs managers, leaders, innovators, those are the people that usually come from the developed countries, the problem is, all the US schools seem to turn out is more code monkeys.

Education (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720879)

the problem is, all the US schools seem to turn out is more code monkeys.

Schools will always turn out code monkeys. You can't learn innovation and leadership in the classroom - you have to learn them by applying them.

Re:Education (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720931)

Schools will always turn out code monkeys. You can't learn innovation and leadership in the classroom - you have to learn them by applying them.

Yes, but especially today there is very little innovation being used/taught in the classroom. Whereas in the 1980s or 1990s you would get high marks for finding a different, better way of coding a program, today the "know-it-all" IT professor is more apt to fail you because you didn't do it his way that might have actually been a disaster. There also seems to be less innovation in the workplace. It used to be that faster ways were praised and lead to promotion, today they are frowned upon because innovation makes it a pain to teach the secretary how to use it.

Re:IBM layoffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720979)

> In IBM lingo, useless skill == American. Useful skill == Indian or Chinese.

Not skill, price.

Americans are sometimes skilled, and sometimes not, but are very rarely worth the price they demand. That means the jobs will go to people willing to work for less. That's reality. Better get used to it.

Re:IBM layoffs (1)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720331)

IBM is in the process of eliminating all but a handful of US based employees.

They have been doing this since 2003.

Re:IBM layoffs (2, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720543)

Growing up as a kid in the 80s, I remember Reagan being on TV talking about "layoffs."

It was a new term, at least to me. It seemed to mean that the folks who were let go weren't really fired from their job, that there was some hope that they'd return if business improved.

Now, it seems that "laying someone off" is exactly the same thing as "firing that lazy bastard." If we remove the political incorrectness of the latter, then, can ANYONE bloody tell me the difference between how these less-useful people were oh-so-gently laid off, and just fucking firing them?

In other words: If I underperform at work, I expect to be fired[1]. If my job is shifted to someone else new to the company (no matter what country that they're in), I'd consider it that I was fired. Only in a business downturn, without a replacement, would I think that I was laid off. Am I wrong? (Why?)

[1]: Alas, I've got a quasi-IT job in small business that isn't going anywhere. I'm a bit of a generalist, with skills ranging from technical support to systems administration to tower climbing to cable-pulling monkey to systems integrator and troubleshooter supreme, working in public safety wireless communications and internal support. For the past year or so, I've done everything from just show up when I feel like to being totally AWOL, due to a number of personal, psychological, and financial issues that my employer isn't exactly aware of. I yell at my coworkers when they do stupid things. I'm a bad employee. I've cost the company a lot of money in the past 12 months, but they keep telling me that I'm an asset that the company needs. OTOH, we're having our best year ever. My Christmas bonus hasn't gone down a bit. I guess I'm lucky -- somehow, I think that if I were anyone else at any other company, I'd have been let go years ago.

Re:IBM layoffs (2, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720811)

[1]: Alas, I've got a quasi-IT job in small business that isn't going anywhere. I'm a bit of a generalist, with skills ranging from technical support to systems administration to tower climbing to cable-pulling monkey to systems integrator and troubleshooter supreme, working in public safety wireless communications and internal support. For the past year or so, I've done everything from just show up when I feel like to being totally AWOL, due to a number of personal, psychological, and financial issues that my employer isn't exactly aware of. I yell at my coworkers when they do stupid things. I'm a bad employee. I've cost the company a lot of money in the past 12 months, but they keep telling me that I'm an asset that the company needs. OTOH, we're having our best year ever. My Christmas bonus hasn't gone down a bit. I guess I'm lucky -- somehow, I think that if I were anyone else at any other company, I'd have been let go years ago.

Shhhh....don't go telling people, who are better qualified than us, that working for a small business is the holy grail of the IT world. People like us won't be able to compete.

Re:IBM layoffs (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720823)

I'm a bit of a generalist, with skills ranging from technical support to systems administration to tower climbing to cable-pulling monkey to systems integrator and troubleshooter supreme,

Being a generalist, the kind you can just hand a problem off to and it gets solved, is incredibly valuable. Hopefully your personal and psychological issues will get better, so you'll be a nicer person to be around.

Looks like you are being very valuable - that's the reason they tell it to you. Smart employers don't care about showing up on time nearly as much as they do about the job getting done.

Re:IBM layoffs (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720839)

Companies that use lay-offs instead of firing usually have employee incentive issues to begin with, and definitely have issues afterwards.

From an employee point of view a firing is something that can be prevented, a lay-off is more like an act of god.

There are few things worse than a department full of fatalistic pessimists who are just biding the time until their turn to get laid-off comes around.

Re:IBM layoffs (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720845)

then, can ANYONE bloody tell me the difference between how these less-useful people were oh-so-gently laid off, and just fucking firing them?

Usually when someone gets laid off, about 30 or so other people go with them. Entire departments are cut out, projects abandoned. On the other hand usually firing someone is simply firing one or perhaps two people.

In good times (3, Interesting)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720201)

You don't see people walking around asking the hard questions like 'do we need to get rid of anybody', because there is profit, and everything is going well, something can trigger that talk, like the global "finance" crisis at the moment, and you'll see things like this happening, when you start looking, the bigger the company you are, the more you'll find. It's the way of business.
A couple of business owners have had to lay off some of their skilled labour, it was a last resort, because they know it's going to cost a fortune to replace them when things pick up again.

Lots of companies use downturns to advantage (5, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720207)

Something that everyone forgets is that many companies use downturns as a time to clean house, to get rid of people that they feel are more dead weight than not.

Now anyone with experience in a large company knows that also can include some good people that ended up on the wrong side of an internal political battle, and doesn't usually include much middle management that may well be overburdened. Even so, layoffs are not always about a company needing to get rid of jobs so much as a natural resetting mechanism (at least at first).

Re:Lots of companies use downturns to advantage (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720723)

I've been through many layoffs in companies large and small. In smaller companies, the layoffs tend to be draconian - often 20 pct of the staff or more - and they often come with little warning. In larger companies, the percentages are usually less, and usually there's not too much surprise about the timing, but when you look at the cut list and try to figure out the rationale, here's what stands out:

"Which people do we want to work with?"

In other words, managers making the cut decisions in larger companies don't think like owners or shareholders, vexing over what Jack Welch would have done in their shoes. They think like people living in a community, making decisions on which neighbors are worth keeping and which they'd rather do without. And I'm not saying it's all a popularity contest, but personality and chemistry are substantial factors.

I'm not saying that's bad or good, it's just an observation.

Re:Lots of companies use downturns to advantage (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26721013)

Something that everyone forgets is that many companies use downturns as a time to clean house, to get rid of people that they feel are more dead weight than not.

And some companies are trying to aggressively go after the cream of the crop that are being laid off - or even the ones still employed but that are worried about their job security. Some companies are looking to use the economic crisis to pick up some really top quality people.

There are plenty of developers out there who's projects have been canceled or downsized despite the fact that they were building some really far out next gen stuff, plenty of systems admins who are being cut to save on the budget because the IT department is expendable - quality people, hard workers, who need jobs.

(Hi, we're right here. [mailtrustjobs.com] )

I'm looking for work and it is TOUGH. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720225)

I have been looking at the East Bay for work and YET to get even a call back.

Any leads would be helpful.

I'm an out-sourced IT director/consultant/Windows Network Admin. I have 10 years.

niceguywithagreatgirl@gmail.com

I'm quite serious. I've got a girl (the real kind) who is waiting for me to marry her but I need a job first.

Re:I'm looking for work and it is TOUGH. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720579)

I've got a girl (the real kind) who is waiting for me to marry her but I need a job first.

I seriously don't know where to start.

Why would you need a job? If you don't get a job, would you not want to marry her?

Are you trying to be nice to her by not letting her marry her while you're an unemployed schlub? If so, why are you still dating her?

Ok, that's a start.

Do you really want to get married? This type of lame excuse sounds like you don't. You think your marriage will be perfect, but there will be rough times. If this type of thing stops you, don't start - you are doomed to fail. Grow a spine, a heart, and a brain.

As long as I'm off-topic, I'm pushing cloud-computing in my company to hopefully put more IT director/consultant/Windows Network Admins out of work.

Re:I'm looking for work and it is TOUGH. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720855)

Being a linux admin:

(a) pays more
(b) cost less to learn
(c) ?????
(d) PROFIT

Re:I'm looking for work and it is TOUGH. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720909)

See, that's your problem, you're a windows admin. Do you know how useless you are? windows admins are a dime a dozen. Anyone who can add an account on a windows computer calls themselves an admin, its really annoying.

Machiavellian strategy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720231)

There's a theory I heard that if you hear of large companies laying off staff, you should instantly decide to cull about 5% of your staff -- not in order to downsize, but to give yourself room to poach any particularly talented staff that were let go by the companies that really had to downsize.

Re:Machiavellian strategy (2, Interesting)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720375)

Actually, the theory is to fire the lowest 10% in relation to performance every quarter.

Ugly, yet effective.

Re:Machiavellian strategy (5, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720425)

Not that smart. If I see too many people around me fired, I'll look for a new job before you get around to firing me.

If I'm good, and you want to keep me - I'll find another job.

Re:Machiavellian strategy (4, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720625)

The theory is to fire the lowest 10% in relation to performance every quarter. Ugly, yet effective.

Ugly yes, but only effective in the very short term. 10% per quarter equals 40% turnover per year. No highly-qualified candidate you interview is going to want to hear this number and the best ones are certain to find it out either from you or other sources.

Further, you'll be spending huge amounts of time trying to find new personnel to replace the ones you let go or cross/retrain the existing ones to do the work that the laid off ones did. Productivity will grind to a halt and your company will be in really deep shit compared to your competitors who didn't dig themselves in the hole you dug yourself.

Re:Machiavellian strategy (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720683)

No highly-qualified candidate you interview is going to want to hear this number and the best ones are certain to find it out either from you or other sources.

40% isn't even that guy... in lower skill industries, turnover bordering the 80-100% aren't unheard of. And while 10% per quarter may be pushing it, a company willing to trim the fat and keep only the best tend to end up having a lot less interpersonal issues. When companies stop firing people, its when the internal wars start.

Re:Machiavellian strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720647)

I've heard that Microsoft had a policy like this - that they ranked people within groups, and the rankings had to fit into a certain distribution. If you finished low enough often enough, you were encouraged to find the door.

The effect was to make already arrogant and self-important people more cut-throat and less cooperative, so there was little collaboration, if not outright sabotage of other's work.

Re:Machiavellian strategy (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720729)

The "fire 10%" strategy has the interesting side effect of ruthlessly exposing the quality of your performance metrics. If they are quite good, it might actually work. If they are indifferent or worse, you'll cut your own throat in short order. Nothing like an office full of people gaming the metrics and covering their asses to get things done.

Yes, but... (2, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720241)

When discussing layoffs or hiring vies-a-vi Microsoft, it can help to remember that the majority of statistics involve expatriates, part-time and temporary employees or short-term contract hires. When MS announces layoffs, it rarely involves the small core of full time, salaried workers the company maintains at HQ.

MS quotes one number that includes the above when it wants to sound like a large corporation, and another, that only includes core staffers, when it wants to sound thrifty. MS's numbers raise and fall in a similar pattern regardless of the overall market.

Point is, MS is not a barometer for the IT industry when it comes to (un)employment.

How many... (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720243)

of those layoffs are in the 'semi-skilled' class? For every middle-manager that gets the boot, how many secretaries, administrative assistants, and the like, get dumped, also? Unless a company is willing to cut important, bottom-line-contributing, projects to save money -which MS and others probably aren't doing- most of the cuts are coming in the 'it feels good, let's give it a try' type of thing. In tough times, essentials count, fluff doesn't.

Not so fast (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720255)

My fortune 30 company has tons of job postings which aren't actually being filled. We're on hiring freeze despite a sizable number of openings posted.

Pretend job openings (5, Interesting)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720353)

We're on hiring freeze despite a sizable number of openings posted.

Good point. Since people use job openings to judge the health of a company, it's possible to use it to send a misleading signal to the stock market.

Avoid unemployment by avoiding unemployment! (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720273)

From TFA:

"If somebody is good in their job, they're going to want to stay in the job that they're in," Johnson said. "They aren't the ones papering the town with resumes right now." As a result, Johnson is using the LinkedIn social networking site to augment his hiring efforts. He said he is searching the site for a "passive candidate" â" someone who may be advertising his IT credentials on LinkedIn and looks like a strong match for CME, but isn't actively looking to leave the security of his current job.

Somehow this points to a guy who isn't really interested in doing his own job.

Just because IBM has some 3,500 jobs open (2, Insightful)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720341)

That does not mean they will fill the reqs. These could be aged openings, and they could be there to give false indicators of growth or expected growth for a presumed 2-year position life expectancy.

Even more, they could silently have in effect a hiring freeze. So, recruiting agencies will *see* postings of openings, and some will scrounge around and competing really hard for those spots for their recruits/temps or consultants, but not get much food out of it.

Further, many of those positions could be advertised as one thing, but become something else as needs change. It's happened to me, where i interviewed (as a temp, over a 5-6 year period) for a position, but because of things in my resume i either became a non-fit (too much experience in some areas), and other times my resume forwarded by an agency didn't convey the whole picture, so my in-person handed resume cinched the opportunity. So, I learned to *always* bring in my own copies the agencies didn't edit. On top of that, I gave a long (5-6 pages) and a chopped-up (bulleted, 1-2 pages) resume. Sometimes that helped because the had... "options": speed read, and dig deeper.

It's going to be ROUGH as hell for all those people competing (qualified and hopeful, but unqualified) for positions which are (being) published but effectively frozen.

If the EU and others chafe over the "buy American" clauses, the Obama administration will have few choices: give in, in the respect for globalism over protectionism, or shift that stimulus money from tech and goods to direct labor costs of people eligible FOR and having the right TO work available only to citizens or those visitors with the appropriate visas and proof of experience.

Talented, Skilled, and Experienced (4, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720349)

The behavior of "cutting the fat" is persistent in any business worth it's salt. It just so happens that this behavior is synchronized, and expanded, in weaker economies.

A person desiring to keep their employment intact, or finding new opportunities, needs to understand three elements of their "business related worth".

  • Talent - I intuitively know what needs to be done as it relates to my function inside an organization. I rarely need input when it comes to improvising the use of my skillset.
  • Skill - I have an expansive set of techniques at my disposal. I understand how these techniques can be used in pre-defined situations.
  • Experience - I have executed multiple plans regarding my function and have the "war stories" to prove it. I am able to accurately predict the pitfalls, possible errant results, and optimal win scenarios for business plans within my function.

Every company on the planet needs people who have different mixes of the above qualities. The big problem is that these three aspects run in a Rock/Paper/Scissors manner. The bigger problem is that the relationships change from company to company. Sometimes experience trumps talent. Other times talent is better than experience.

If you approach these elements of your work history without ego, focus your job search on opportunities that match your mix, and clearly communicate them to prospective employers - you will actually find a better job that makes you happy.

It can be done, don't go into it with a negative attitude.

Re:Talented, Skilled, and Experienced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720435)

My gawd I was belching rainbows and farting daisies by the time I finished reading that

Let's not forget one segment: (2, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720361)

Repair services are essentially recession-proof. People are going to be even more willing to get the computer fixed rather than buy a brand new one if the former is less expensive. The cheaper avenue will often win out for the short term. Secondhand PCs are likely going to be a big market in the coming years as well.

Re:Let's not forget one segment: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720675)

Unless, of course, replacement is cheaper than repair. Or at least no more expensive.

Re:Let's not forget one segment: (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720727)

True, but replacing a blown hard is a lot cheaper than buying a whole new laptop. Most repairs are either in warranty (shop gets paid) or cheap enough to be justified.

Re:Let's not forget one segment: (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720903)

It honestly depends on the system. For example, I recently was faced with a decision to either replace an old $700 desktop (1 gig RAM, AMD Athlon 3500+, integrated ATI card) or replace it's SATA HD. I found that a cheap SATA HD was around $40, on the other hand, I could just about double the computer for only $350 plus a (free) two year warranty. I ended up buying the $350 desktop and scraping the old desktop for parts.

Similarly, a laptop HD might only cost $40, but unlike desktops, most people aren't going to be opening up their laptops for anything more than a change of RAM (and even then, most people would rather not), so that $40 repair can be $150 with the install and then all the headaches of restoring your two year old backups that you swore you just made last week.

H1-Bs? (0, Troll)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720363)

H1-Bs seem to be doing ok. At least the financial institutions are still hiring them.

I saw a magazine with an article about this.. (3, Funny)

turd_sandwich (1364529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720399)

..on the cover of Hot Naked Chicks and World Report, March 3, 2505 edition. It read:

"SHIT SUCKS!" (story on page 42)

coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720409)

Amazing stories like this come out just as I'm (probably) going to be offered a full time position at my current contract job. I don't know how much it'll pay but at least I'll have vacation time and won't be under 3 to 12 month contract. And this in California of all places.

By the way if there's on place where IT still seems to live, it's the SF Bay area [craigslist.org] .

Good People Hard to Find ... (5, Interesting)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720511)

Here in Mass, I just went through a fairly time consuming round of interviews for an open Sr. Linux Admin position I had open. I must have had more than 300 resumes come my way, reviewing about 200 of them, phone interviewed about 25 people, personally interviews another 15, all over the course of the past 5 months. My bosses were having a very difficult time comprehending why I was having such a hard time finding someone in such a market, but frankly, quality people have been tremendously hard to come by. My bosses were getting frustrated that I wasn't getting the position filled fast enough. I stuck to my guns and recently (finally!) found a solid candidate.

It has already been mentioned, but in speaking with a few recruiters, the general opinion was that the company's that are laying off are cleaning house of dead wood for the most part. Those who are good at their jobs are staying put right now until the market seems to show some sense of light at the end of the tunnel. Of course their are casualties at all levels in various orgs, but I'm not yet left with the overwhelming sense that quality IT people are flooding the market looking for work.

Re:Good People Hard to Find ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720565)

That's what you get for asking someone with 20 years of Linux experience.

Re:Good People Hard to Find ... (3, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720607)

Yup. I just recently got a new job for a very senior position for a very cool company, one of the best to work for in the region anyway. There was multiple openings for the team. Not a single one, ZERO, nadah, none, of the candidates they interviewed had what they needed (and what they needed wasn't obscure by a long shot, and the required skillset wasn't 16 page long...they just wanted someone good). They couldn't find any.

In the end, I got the job even though I didn't have one of the major requirements, because they thought I was good enough to be worth training. Even with that concession, I was the only person they could find on the continent (no one in the region at all, big metropolitan area, and no one on the -continent- who was willing to move). Finally, they found ONE other person for the job, who had worked for them in the past across the globe in asia (no, not in a third world country...I'm being vague since, well, can't post all the details on the net), and they're relocating him.

Qualified people are almost inexistent if your requirement goes beyond raw computer science or script kiddies, the two extremes. And for the AC that posted, no, they weren't looking for someone with 20 years of experience, I have something like 7.

As I always say (4, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720541)

Are the jobs being laid off REALLY Information Technology? I hardly consider sales, data people, or most management positions IT. They might be IT related in that they work with IT people, but they do nothing actually technical and I would not be calling any of them to repair a network or fix a computer. In the same way I dont consider engineers to be IT either, they are engineers, not technicians, related but still different fields.

When it comes to actual IT work, I have no want for job opportunities atm, getting at least one valid offer a month, though I am specifically staying with my not as well paying public position BECAUSE of a questionable private sector market. Be seriously most of these jobs being shed are just not true IT job, and people need to learn what the actual definition of IT is and isnt.

Re:As I always say (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720671)

Are the jobs being laid off REALLY Information Technology?

Yes, some are. I personally know three true IT workers who have been laid off. Admittedly this is only three out of hundreds I know personally or in passing, but they exist. And they're getting no bites at all in their job searches. Those of you saying there are jobs to be found must know something we don't (we're in Delaware, by the way.)

Re:As I always say (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720821)

NY/NJ tri state area.

Re:As I always say (2, Interesting)

Ashcrow (469400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720687)

Your right about sales ... for sure it is not IT. Data folks can be ... it depends on how an organization is structured and at what level (IE: are they schema and reporting administrators or guy who looks at data in an application). Same thing goes with engineers. A lot of companies consider things like web applications the domain of IT so web engineers are in the IT departments.

Re:As I always say (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720797)

At least in the Atlanta area the IT job market seems as strong as ever.

I think the IT slashes from the early 2000s was actually a good thing for us still in the industry today. Companies who severely downsized their IT Depts have realized over the last few years what a mistake that was. I think finding an IT job now is probably easier than it has ever been in nearly a decade. Granted my skillset and network has increased significantly over the last 5 years, but I have friends that have recently gotten new jobs and each had a minimum of 3 offers to choose from. Maybe they were lucky, but I think that is pretty amazing to see during a recession.

Some key words missing in summary (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720591)

In this sentence:

"While numerous IT vendors are laying off workers, and corporate IT jobs are being lost as well, plenty of companies are still hiring."

should read:

"While numerous *LARGE* IT vendors are laying off workers, and corporate IT jobs are being lost as well, plenty of *SMALLER* companies are still hiring."

If anything I've seen the job market for small IT suddenly go UP. I'm willing to bet these smaller companies are willing to hire these former big-wig employees and those big-wigs are willing to take the lower pay in exchange for financial security in this horrendous economy.

The big guys are tanking and having to cut because they squandered and litigated themselves into this mess, while the smaller companies don't have this bullshit to worry about and can thus keep turning a profit because they're not wasting money on laws and lawsuits and patent trolling - they just provide actual services, pay their employees, pay their taxes, and go home.

Re:Some key words missing in summary (1)

Ashcrow (469400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720789)

Good point. Though I bet a lot of the large companies are very close to the same compensation as small companies at this point as they are trying to cope with their inefficiencies. On top of that a lot of large companies have huge business divisions with all sorts of shiny ideas that don't work that they try over, and over, and over ... and big companies tend to allow it because they can absorb it ... or at least they use to be able to!

A coworker explained that in business school they were taught there is no such thing as a wrong business decision .... when you fail, do the same thing again with different people. Hopefully that kind of thinking will be revisited.

Reason why this is happening (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26720653)

As the economy goes downhill, companies that are not doing as well will strat to become critical of their structure, where before they didnt care how much was spent because they were making fantastic sums of money, so much that even the run of the mill A+ cert people who only know as much about computers as their college classes told them with no experience actually using a computer beyond playing WoW can get away with slacking off and putting the burden on the other IT people. So when the company starts hurting, they begin to review their staff. I know, my company did it as well, except no lay offs because we have a positive income still, just other factors not related to the downturn are affecting us. What I see here is a house cleaning, they're finding the flakes, and even the decent people, but naturally, any company out there wants the best, so they set a number, and try to categorize their best people in that number, anyone who isnt in it, gets cut out. Given the flop that Vista was (and what a piece of shit it was, I can run windows 7 on "legacy" hardware just fine where vista takes ages to boot) microsoft's layoffs are more than likely justified.

Now, if they replace them with foriegn workers immediately at a lower wage, then I believe someone needs to be audited hardcore by SEC and whoever else maintains fair business and workers' rights.

Don't Discount The Flood (4, Interesting)

Ashcrow (469400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720715)

There has been a steady but rising flood of semi-skilled people getting into IT increasing the size of IT shops ... and generally their cost. I don't like to see people lose jobs, but in some cases shrinking IT is really, really good. I don't want to work with 50 so-so or worse developers or sysadmins ... but I'd be more than happy to work with 10 stellar engineers/admins. Same goes with management. Speaking with some friends this past year it almost seems there has been a popular trend in adding layers of management for the sake of reporting structures (group A reports to manager who reports to manager who reports to director who reports to ....). In a lot of cases that is just cruft that is not needed that increases cost for little to no gain.

Then again, I've seen the definition of IT being stretched to include positions that have nothing to do with Information Technology.

Employed but looking? (5, Interesting)

Crashspeeder (1468723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720781)

Please don't think me greedy for what I'm about to say but I'm currently still employed after over 3 rounds of layoffs and I've recently kicked my job search into high gear. While I have to agree that what's currently left at the small company I work for is nothing but the best (at least in the IT department) the workload that was done by 30 is now done by 10 -- with as few as 3 people in one section of IT.

That being said, these *quality* people who probably have nothing to worry about are jumping ship (even management!), some without even having jobs to switch to yet. But I guess that's what happens when reason goes out the window and marketing calls the shots in an attempt to turn a profit for a change. That coupled with pay cuts leaves a bad taste in people's mouths.

I disagree with the thought that the good workers will sit idly by and take what the companies are doing and accomplishing what 3-5 of their peers used to. Sometimes what seems like a good job for a while can turn ugly and treat you poorly when things get tough and that's not necessarily a place you want to work. At least that's my reasoning.

yes and no (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720809)

I work for an IT contractor which does projects for companies that temporarily need more staff to finish special projects. It's usually special large software that they need written or large computer replacements or inventories. But with limited budgets, those don't get approved because they're not 100% necessary so I've been without work for several months. It sucks but I also make websites and do computer repairs and that's been the same as usual. Actually it's been crazy busy. The last two people are selling things on their websites and wanted a nice checkout system and all that and they keep adding new items. Basically it's to haul in some extra money to make up for any they're short on. I think overall, the big companies are cutting back on projects and staff and the little guys are thinking they can edge in on some of their territory while they do it. So basically there's the same amount of work total, it's just shifting.

=profit (1)

mikey177 (1426171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720827)

replace 100k employee with 50k employee= profit

The downturn gave me an excuse to upgrade my job (2, Interesting)

A Dafa Disciple (876967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26720873)

I work for a software consultancy as a software developer -- well, at least I do for the next couple of days. Various events have taken place over the last few months that have reduced my happiness in my role in this company.

Coincidentally, this company has clients in the public sector whose budgets have been frozen due to the economic downturn. This brought some of this company's projects to a stand-still and, unfortunately, this company's reaction was to fire the entire development team for one of the projects (this happened two months ago).

My project was suspended indefinitely by our private sector client whose budget was curtailed, and my development team was merged into another ongoing project. Naturally, I perceived my job security as limited. To make matters worse, rumours were circulating that our very old directors were considering trying to dissolve the company and ship their assets overseas. The idea was that some money already paid by clients might be attempted to be recovered and the directors wanted to retire. Combine all this with my growing discontent in my role in this organisation and I had great motivation to find another job before I was made redundant, but how was I supposed to accomplish this in this doom-n-gloom economy?

My wife and I decided that we liked our chances more with the sagging economy than with my dodgy company. So, I looked for a job, and I was confident as I was fortunate enough to have recently acquired some very valuable skills in our current technological landscape and I knew how they were in high demand and how to sell them. It worked out favorably for me, as I was able to secure a seemingly better job in a more experienced role with a higher pay at a different, much more reputable organisation.

I'd say that I am very lucky but I also believe all of my extra hard work paid off. I feel that, at least for the foreseeable future, a lot of people in IT who keep their skills current and relevant will always be able to find a decent job, the key being very much keeping your technical chops polished.

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