RE: Interesting job description

Subject: RE: Interesting job description
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Elisa R. Sawyer'" <elisawyer -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 13:42:28 -0400

Yes, Iâve seen that pattern in acquisitions before. I suspect it has something to do with the buyer not understanding the thing they have bought. If you donât know where the results come from in the company you have bought, it is easy to make mistakes in who you fire. You canât preserve vital corporate knowledge if you donât recognize it when you see it. But the expensive and the disruptive people stick out right away.



Mark



From: Elisa R. Sawyer [mailto:elisawyer -at- gmail -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2016 12:25 AM
To: mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com
Cc: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>; Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com>; techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: Re: Interesting job description



I've seen patterns of layoffs that made sense and other patterns that made no sense at all.



Here's a story about a layoff that only made sense in the minds of people who hadn't bothered to fully understand an acquisition:



I was once on contract at a successful company that had been acquired a year prior to my engagement with them, and the acquiring company was just beginning to make some changes. In performing what they called a "strategic layoff," they laid off one of the most talented and productive people in the acquired company, someone whose genius for pattern recognition meant that he could debug code faster and more accurately than almost anyone. Laying him off ended up being quite costly in ways that the acquiring company probably never admitted.



The genius employee who was laid off had no problem getting hired elsewhere and probably was able to increase his already high rate of pay. :-)



-Elisa



On Sat, Oct 8, 2016 at 1:21 PM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com <mailto:mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> > wrote:

Yes, that is exactly the pattern I have seen as well. And I have been on
both sides of the retention decision.

And this just reinforces the point about the value of corporate knowledge.
When a product bombs, that devalues the knowledge of everyone who worked on
it. The company no longer needs to remember how it works or how it was
built. It can dispose of that knowledge, and the heads that contain, it
without long-term consequences.

Some cherry picking does go on as well, to weed out the worst and keep the
very best. But in the short term the knowledge of the next great product in
the head of a mediocre engineer is often worth more than the skills of a
better engineer who has spent years working on something else.

This is one reason that engineers, in particular, tend to be more loyal to
the technology they know than to the company they work for.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Gene Kim-Eng [mailto:techwr -at- genek -dot- com <mailto:techwr -at- genek -dot- com> ]
Sent: Saturday, October 8, 2016 3:59 PM
To: Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com <mailto:bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com> >; Mark Baker <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com <mailto:mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> >
Cc: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com <mailto:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> >
Subject: Re: Interesting job description

I have never worked in a company where the tech writers - at least the
company's own direct-hire writers - were the first to be let go.

The pattern I've experienced has been that the first to go are contractors
of all types, beginning with those whose contracts are running out. Next go
the developers of products that have bombed and have no alternative work
assignments. Next, as products in the development chutes the company still
had hopes for are completed, released and fail, go the people tasked with
supporting them, and that's when many of the tech writers go. The last to go
are the developers who are working on the "next big thing" the company is
hoping will save its bacon.

Along the way, internal politics will act to push out management and
executives the company's inner core of power holders dislike, regardless of
their positions or capabilities. And this management cleansing doesn't
necessarily sync up with the shedding of individual contributors.

If you see a growing parade of your company's best and most effective
managers going out the door, it's time to start looking even if there hasn't
been a hint of problems at your level.

Gene Kim-Eng



On 10/8/2016 12:32 PM, Keith Hood wrote:
> "As to why tech writers are the first to be let go in a downturn"
>
> You are wrong. Tech writers are always in the first wave of layoffs


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Elisa Rood Sawyer
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"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." Mark Twain

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Interesting job description: From: Keith Hood
RE: Interesting job description: From: mbaker
RE: Interesting job description: From: mbaker
Re: Interesting job description: From: Kathleen MacDowell
RE: Interesting job description: From: mbaker
Re: Interesting job description: From: Keith Hood
Re: Interesting job description: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Interesting job description: From: mbaker
Re: Interesting job description: From: Elisa R. Sawyer

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