I come from a family of IBMers. Both of my parents worked there and my brother and I also both worked there. I have fond memories of going to the IBM family picnics every year, which were kind of like a big county fair where everything was free.
There was plenty of work for everyone, including me. I worked a regular shift and then worked tons of overtime in quality control. For an 18 year old with no college degree, that was a sweet paycheck and a great place to work.
But that was then. IBM has been cutting jobs for quite a while now. In fact, both of my parents were forced to take an early retirement. And the job cuts keep coming. It looks like there will be less than 100,000 jobs left at IBM in the U.S.
This makes me sad, but as a business owner myself, it’s far more complicated than that. Until the recession/depression I had 3 employees, but have had to let them all go, unfortunately. The biggest expense a company has is employee salaries and benefits. That will only get worse if Obamacare goes through and taxes go up. As a manufacturer, I also have to deal with the cost of regulations, just like any other manufacturer. That will mean fewer jobs.
This blog is aimed at job seekers, but I think a very important part of looking for a job is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your employer. It’s important to be able to clearly see the bigger picture.
Though I can’t speak for IBM’s decision to cut jobs, I can only comment about my own decision to cut the employees I had. I simply couldn’t afford to keep them. Part of that is when sales are down it doesn’t justify the extra expense, which is huge. When business is booming you have to have the extra help to keep up.
It makes me sad that I had to left people go. My employees were awesome! I couldn’t ask for a better group of people. And deciding who has to be cut is one of the toughest decisions a business owner has to make, especially a small business owner who knows them personally.
This is why I decided years ago that I would never be at the mercy of a job. I would never depend on one job or one company or one business or one product ever again. I started creating my own jobs. And I’ve never looked back.
I still look back fondly on the IBM I used to know. The fun picnics and events they used to put on for the families of the employees. As a kid, oblivious to the problems of corporate life, I will remember the pony rides, cotton candy, and balloons. And I’m grateful for the years they gave my parents jobs.