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1 person found this helpful

Managed by a spreadsheet

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Project Manager in Cupertino, CA
Current Employee - Project Manager in Cupertino, CA

I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years)

Pros

Working for IBM is like working for many different companies, so potentially you can move about and build your career without changing companies.

Cons

Employees taken the burden of what I like to call "IBM Blue Overhead". There are processes, tools, databases by the 1000s. Getting help or support often requires contacting someone in another country. Raises and bonuses are abysmal. They have off-shored so many internal support positions that basically you need to be your own IT help desk, HR partner, and BA. Your first line manager has virtually no control over your salary, raises, bonuses.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Consider the burden your workers pay by your "cost-saving" strategies to offshore so many job functions. This may not show up in your spreadsheet, but it's there and you're burning out the hard-working employees whose jobs you haven't yet cut.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO
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  1. Database Specialist

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at IBM

    Pros

    Lots of highly technical and capable people. The benefits are fairly good though over the years more benefits were taken away from the employees.

    Cons

    Definitely an attitude of "them (employees) against us (management)" in terms of managers and employees. Development was done according to dates/promises set by management as opposed to consideration for the quality of a product. Many jobs have been moved overseas and it seems that the intent of the executives is to outsource as much as possible in order to save money - and the quality of product and services show that direction. I've worked for multiple companies over the course of my career and IBM would be the absolute last company that I would go back to - and only if there were absolutely no other options available to me.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Run the company according to the reputation it had in the 70's and 80's. Be concerned about quality and less about dates. Quit making promises to customers that you can't keep.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 22 people found this helpful

    Are you a designer being recruited for the IBM Design studio in Austin? Turn the interview down.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - User Experience Design in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - User Experience Design in Austin, TX

    I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Design salaries are competitive (but at a cost).
    – Design studio mentors do seem to care (but you get a sense they are unhappy too).

    Cons

    The studio directors talked a big talk about changing the world through design and fighting the good fight for user experience. In the interview, you're told (somewhat arrogantly, in hindsight) that you're here to "save IBM" by changing it into a design-led culture. Don't be fooled. In the end, what they are selling you is the same old IBM in "design studio" drag. Everything here is a facade.

    Here's what you can expect: an extensive interview in which you are wined, dined, and shown how awesome the studio space is (it's just okay) and how fun Austin is. Once hired, you'll spend a few months being romanced in "design thinking" camps with blue-sky exercises and nurturing from some studio mentors (the only people there who seem to care). Then the studio turns you loose onto a product in the "real IBM," and most of the people that fawned over you suddenly seem to forget about you—unless you raise concerns about your project or offer constructive criticism, at which point you seem to be immediately labeled as "entitled" or as a "complainer" who needs to just "do the job in front of them." Before long, you'll feel like a head of cattle instead of a designer.

    In the design camp, you work on "save the world" product ideas, and it's promised you'll have lots of choices of what to work on when you are finally "deployed." In reality, you are never told about the decisions made about you, your assignments are picked for you, and your project will be defined by money, salespeople and panicky middle managers... but not actual user needs. It is difficult to feel effective.

    After a short time it becomes clear you've landed in a culture of fear and blame. The people running the studio at the very top levels do not make an effort to empathize with you—though you will have enough interaction with them to hear how tired they are from traveling, how put-upon they feel they are with such an important job, and how inept they believe the rest of IBM is. Studio communication is poor and contradictory, and if you dare to point that out, then the director will become combative and you (like many others before you) will be blamed for not "making it better yourself." Outside the studio, in "regular IBM," you find that the lower band-level folks who do the work are rarely given credit by their managers, and you are at significant risk of finding out that you all work for one of many shallow, sheltered, self-aggrandizing executives in the company. With regard to the work, it doesn't matter if your project's progress is healthy or suffering, as long as the studio directors can show people a set of pretty pictures as "proof" that IBM Design is succeeding. It doesn't take long to realize that everyone here is really just out for themselves.

    As time goes on, there is so little discussion of what is happening outside IBM that you yourself are in danger of becoming sheltered from what's happening in design in the real world.

    The systems you'll use (Intranet, online tools, storage) are antiquated, unreliable, and counterproductive.

    The performance reviews are a "stacked rating" system, and are only based on quotas and financials instead of how well you did your job.

    Most designers will not qualify for bonuses in any given year.

    You won't have anything to show in your portfolio from the entire time you are there because everything is under a non-disclosure agreement.

    The morale of designers here is rock-bottom. If you relocate to IBM in Austin, you may experience such a shocking transition from the job that was promised to the job in reality that, like many before you, it won't be long before you want to move back.

    IBM Design recruiters are being paid to misrepresent the job. Don't believe them. It's a good market right now, especially for those of us who are early in their design careers. Go work literally anywhere else.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Eliminate layers of middle management from the decision hierarchy.
    – Replace the demotivating stacked performance review system.
    – Treat with validity, and not incredulity, the observations of your "boots on the ground" people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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