IBM's pay and benefits were great. They also had a strong commitment to work-life balance and actually encouraged work-at-home when it made sense.
Due to constant executive and management turnover and frequent reorgs, I felt it was difficult to establish the sort of reputation that I had developed at my prior company (another IT equipment firm). During my nearly 10 years at IBM, I was in senior positions in both software engineering and marketing.
While in SW engineering, I felt more like a cog in a machine than a respected professional. For example, engineers seemed to get moved from project-to-project without much thought about whether their technical background was a match for the new project. Also, layoffs seemed to be more about being on the wrong project at the wrong time than about how good your engineering skills were. CAVEAT: IBM is a big place, and I get the impression that it's not like this throughout IBM. Also, I think the organization I was in has improved in that area since I left. If you interview at IBM, ask the engineers how long they've been working on their particular project and how many projects/managers they've had in the last 2-3 years.
When I moved to marketing I was given good opportunity to advance and broaden, and I had reasonably good managers. The biggest issue for me there was the fact that I had so many managers and had to work with so many different executives. Someone once half-joked, that if you don't like your manager, don't worry about it, you'll have a new one soon. There were also a lot of reorgs. All of this made it much difficult to establish a reputation with upper management. They simply didn't stay in one place long enough to get to know you.
At the executive level, it seemed that executives (particularly the General Managers) normally were hired for about a 2-3 year stint, then moved into another division. As a result, they didn't seem interested in strategy alternatives with long-term benefits--unless those options also provided short-term payoffs that would occur on their watch.
Advice to Management
Don't be so quick to re-org every time there's a strategy change. Be willing to adopt strategies with that will yield long-term payoffs (3+ year time horizon)--even if investment in those strategies hurts profitability in the short-term.
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