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More firings?
11

More firings?

More firings?

(OP)
Has anyone else noticed more out and out terminations/firings in the business? Use to be, they'd target people at layoff time (to avoid lawsuits)....now there is more and more straight up fired type releases.

What is really disturbing me in some of this is: I've seen some really sharp people getting canned over the years.....I suspect some of this is: a lot of companies are taking on the Mission Impossible type jobs.....and looking for someone to blame when it blows up in their face.

RE: More firings?

In my opinion , we as society need more firings , not less. Both Canada and the UK have relatively generous " stay at home " payments to temporary laid off employees. Not sure how things are in the USA but I suspect theres something similiar. We as a society will be paying for this for decades. All its doing is delaying the inevitable. Bite the bullet and lets get on with resetting our expectations.

RE: More firings?

The firings, particularly of "sharp people" who are likely older as well, is probably prelude to hiring a bunch of new grads who haven't found a home yet. Since this is a buyer's market, the new grads can be bought on the cheap.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: More firings?

WARose, is this something new that maybe related to the virus?

As far as I know people are still going relatively strong here.... I work as an independent contractor and was on my way to a banner year when the virus hit. I worked straight though from March to the end of June. I have only recently seen a down tick in work coming in. I do have a few new projects coming in, but nothing as big as what I was dealing with March to June.

If this is virus related it might be time to tighten my belt a bit.

RE: More firings?

(OP)

Quote:

WARose, is this something new that maybe related to the virus?

No. I saw it both before and after this started.

RE: More firings?

No one knows why people get fired except for the people involved.
You can assume and propose reasons all day long, they mean nothing.

Worry about yourself

RE: More firings?

I see the pattern, too. Almost everyone at my previous employer now has a warning against them and are on a performance improvement program. One more strike and they can be fired.

My strike was because another engineer didn't approve a document revision in time and I was in charge of the project, that's why it was late. Neither that employee nor his boss got a reprimand, though, for not doing their jobs. Why? Because they already had a mark against them. This was a made up excuse to justify my termination the future should upper management deem it necessary.

Layoffs require severance.
Firing does not.

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

RE: More firings?

I was part of managers meetings for the structural group at my last company. I can't recall anyone getting "fired for cause". We did have a couple of people who were let go under the guise of a reduction in force but the company probably had cause to fire them.

I'm certain some decisions on who to keep during reductions in force factor in the age of the employee. A guy close to retirement that's a good but not great hand is more at risk than a younger engineer that's good but lacks the experience of the older guy. It's essentially age discrimination.

RE: More firings?

3
Every one of my scorch marks is a badge of honor.

RE: More firings?

swertel, I see the 'race to the bottom' in HR talent as in most areas of management. The building of a case that makes legal action by a discharged employee more difficult is now considered SOP. My last employer did this as a routine practice. Their internal policy let them cut your severance in half if there was 'cause'. The funny thing is that in almost every case they require a lot of extra time and BS from the managers involved, and if they would just terminate people earlier and pay full severance it would cost the same and save trouble.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, consulting work welcomed

RE: More firings?

With few exceptions, the only difference I've seen between mass-layoffs during downturns and individuals laid during good times is that management schmoozes the later group a bit more. Usually most everyone knows that those folks are being let go for-cause whether incompetence or other failures, or bc they did something unprofessional, but to avoid issues/lawsuits management usually gives severance, a referral, and kind words at the exit interview. IME if someone is fired in a negative way then they have likely done something significantly illegal, unethical, or arguably so and in several cases those folks were arrested immediately before or after being terminated.

Whether/not folks deserve to be let go is another story. I do believe that many companies and managers choose to get rid of both great and terrible employees unnecessarily on a regular ala the Jack Welch bs methodologies to ensure their own positions and attempt to minimize employee overhead. I also believe that most employees would gladly give their heartfelt loyalty to a company for an entire career if kept and treated half-decently, and IME the most successful companies are the ones that hire good employees and keep them long-term. That said, there are many engineers in every age bracket that need to be in another profession due to their own laziness. I have no issues with folks willing to learn, however when folks refuse to learn CAD or perform other basic engineering tasks necessary for their position, then I take offense.

As to this downturn, if you're employed and busy then I'd recommend celebrating by banking your paycheck bc you might not have another for awhile. Many aren't, and even the govt is cutting back severely and going through mass layoffs. I concur with miningman on the notion that we will be paying for the first shutdowns for decades, and I try not to consider the possibility of a second round.

RE: More firings?

most people are at-will employees and being terminated can occur at any time w/out cause. the same applies than when the employee departs the company. no reason or cause need be given.

RE: More firings?

pmover, that depends pretty heavily on geography and culture.

As I understand it (which is not very well) in my current geography, any downsizing is legally required to begin with the youngest employees in the company -- regardless of title, performance, experience or seniority. Purely age.

----
just call me Lo.

RE: More firings?

(OP)

Quote:

No one knows why people get fired except for the people involved.
You can assume and propose reasons all day long, they mean nothing.

Worry about yourself

I'm self employed. But I was talked into interviewing for a job a few weeks back and I knew a guy who worked there and was canned a year or two ago. I basically told them: if you had a problem with him.....you'll likely have a problem with me. (because he is top notch.) It got me thinking on this because he was always saying every schedule they got on a project was just ridiculous.

RE: More firings?

4
There is no denial of the fact that some project and team leaders can dismiss sharp people in the brutal spirit of competitiveness. However, I want to bring another point of view to the discussion.

More than we can blame office dynamics and politics, poor capacity planning is to blame. An organization should hire people only after analyzing the steady increase in future project demands. It helps them manage the tasks efficiently and avoid an unreasonable lay off process. Firing resources may appear as cost reduction to the company but frequent hiring and firing process costs a company three times than paying consistent employees. Refer this article to understand the basics of workforce capacity planning with the solutions to avoid dismissing employees.

RE: More firings?

Planning is great and all that, but life likes to throw curveballs, and one really can't predict overall business beyond about 3 months with degree of accuracy. To wit:

> We were on 3 related, multi-year contracts run under one prime contractor, whose sub was our direct customer that ballooned our workforce up to about 250 people; the government decided in yr 3 to terminate all contracts related to that procurement and we had to downsize to under 100 within about 6 months. The prime contractor had a poor track record of performance on certain contracts; this was one of them, but we were two levels down from that, but not insulated against the prime contract being canceled. As it was, we were understaffed throughout, specifically because of frequent change orders, and the desire to not have to layoff people because of minor perturbations in government funding, but there was no way to accommodate the cancellation of billions of dollars of contracts across the country.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: More firings?

I worked my way up from a designer engineer to a manager over the years. I found that "sharp & productive" is a rare breed for a lot of engineers. We used to have to let "sharp" people go because they couldn't get out of their own way - or as the saying goes "analysis paralysis". Great engineers, but blew the budgets every time. To answer the OP's question, yes, I've seen more people just flat out fired over the last few years, even in government.

RE: More firings?

Sometime is who you know and not what you know.

It has been my experience (my opinion)
To many contracts with the same sub or prime contractor.
A a company has to have diversity.
That way loss of some contracts people can get shuffled.

Contracts with in the company under bids,
Under schedules , with these crazy undoable
Schedules, then blames engineering for going over budget, and over the schedule.
Bah seen this to many times.
Who pays for incompetents at the higher
Management incompetents. You bet poop rolls down hill. The dam bean counters.

Example company makes 1/2 mil per month.
Does good always in the green good profit.
Company gets sold, corporate pushes for 1 mil per month. With out upgrading much needed equipment and personal.
Tighter schedules and pushes employees for higher production rates
Causes more scrap in consistent shipping and lower morale.
Only one main customer, customer becomes unhappy pulls work.
People get laid off.

RE: More firings?

Quote (CWB1)

IME if someone is fired in a negative way then they have likely done something significantly illegal, unethical, or arguably so and in several cases those folks were arrested immediately before or after being terminated.

Nope. Some of mine have just come from standing up for myself whenever management goes off the rails with stupidity. I put up with bullying and BS from no one. Before forming the wrong opinion about me, allow me to explain: I am in every day to do my job to the utmost quality. Unfortunately, when you start at most places these days, you have already been pegged, whether you know it or not. I am agreeable, but only to the extent the directive given to me is reasonable and ethical. Far too often, in today's culture, directives are neither. At that point, I speak up and out against idiocy. I have no problem doing that. That is the reason some like myself have gotten fired. Like TheTick said, I count those as badges of honor and hold my head high.

RE: More firings?

Quote (pmover)

most people are at-will employees and being terminated can occur at any time w/out cause. the same applies than when the employee departs the company. no reason or cause need be given.

Exactly why leaving a bad company with no notice sometimes makes good sense. I have never worked for a company that gave me two-weeks notice before showing me the door. Why should I do bad actors any favors? Burning bridges is never advised, but there are some where I am happy the bridge is gone.

RE: More firings?

Quote (CWB1)

however when folks refuse to learn CAD or perform other basic engineering tasks necessary for their position, then I take offense.

Unfortunately, most companies I have seen over the years only perpetuate this with their mode of climbing the ladder. If you do CAD, you are labeled as "The CAD Guy", and that's where you will stay. Far too many companies are just a bastion of backstabbers waiting to climb the ladder by any means necessary. That often means avoiding CAD and/or any "menial" tasks. Much as I despise that, it does seem to be the overarching reality at many places.

RE: More firings?

Stories from the same company
> My first week, they had a "Welcome Onboard picnic/party at a nearby park on Wed; Friday, they laid off half the new employees, amongst others
> 4 years later, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, there was a notice of an all-hands meeting in another building. Upon arriving, there were three conference rooms; one that had a back door where you were escorted out, one for those that had a job until they finished their project, and one for those that were staying (semi-permanently).
> A year later, I've tendered my resignation, but the group VP calls me into his office and says I should stay on because they were offering an LBO and I'd get stock. But, how were they going to be become profitable enough to cash out my future stock if they couldn't turn a profit while they were still employees? I turned them down, since I'd already accepted another job.
> 3 months later, the LBO crashed and burned; the owners accepted a cash offer at half the value of the LBO. The owners finally wised up! winky smile (after losing (1980's) $1B a year for 7 years.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: More firings?

Company meeting was called, but only certain people were invited. If you were invited, your new salary was 50% of previous, reduction of benefits, etc. If you weren't invited, you received a personal interview with HR shortly before they walked you out of the door. I showed up to the conference room meeting, sat in the far back corner per usual, and there were a lot of uncomfortable looks as they tried to get me out of there without saying anything damning.

I was working at a new place within a month, but for those who were "lucky" enough to stay, they eventually got back to 85% of their salary after 6 months, and were let go en-masse 6 months later as the company closed shop. I figure they lost the same amount of money as me after 2 months of working there (50% salary), so financially they were on the losing end of that deal.

I lost my pre-IPO purchase money, but the really annoying part was the IP (and I'm sure equipment, too) was sold back to the owners at pennies on the dollar so they could start the exact same company again less than a year later, with a slightly shortened name. I just checked, looks like that company is no longer alive, either. Disappointing on several levels, but in the grand scheme of things it was a good thing professionally.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: More firings?

Quote:

Nope. Some of mine have just come from standing up for myself whenever management goes off the rails with stupidity. I put up with bullying and BS from no one....I am agreeable, but only to the extent the directive given to me is reasonable and ethical.

Unfortunately, most companies I have seen over the years only perpetuate this with their mode of climbing the ladder. If you do CAD, you are labeled as "The CAD Guy", and that's where you will stay.

To each their own experience, mine has been limited to the corporate aerospace and automotive/ag/construction worlds, mostly in research. I have seen my share of unethical folks but never anyone asking others to be unethical, likely due to attorney-led annual ethics training being the norm. Bullying, attitudes, etc happen but that's the nature of engineering IME bc right or wrong, we debate different options daily, often none of which are good and ultimately a decision is made by management. Thin skins need not apply nor those easily upset by "bad" decisions. My job is to design the product within the parameters given, not to define what the "best" product is nor sell it.

As to CAD, IME if an engineer cannot design and analyze their own parts in today's world then they need to retire or find another field. Having designated "CAD guys" was 1990, a serious rarity today. Without a mastery of 2-3 modelers, FEA, and CFD an engineer isn't likely to be hired much less become a manager today.

RE: More firings?

Oddly we still have CAD designers (used to be draggers). They are on the same grade structure as engineers, but they don't do any formal analysis other than the better ones who do hand calcs. I've worked with some of them for 30 years. Most started as toolroom apprentices, so are very much aware of manufacturing.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: More firings?

The big issue with having a separate CAD team isn't producing manufacturable parts, its simple efficiency. Not only do you end up with a ton of back & forth to tweak designs, but you also end up with a lot of parts that are overbuilt/expensive bc analysis isn't driving the design of much - cant afford to optimize every part bc they weren't optimized up front. Junior engineers and dummy moments aside, I dont see issues with manufacturing/DFMA too often bc tooling design is baked into the model. A toolmaker might tweak the design but ultimately an engineer should be creating cope/drag, dies, and other tool models to perform a casting/forging/other manufacturing sims before sending out a model for quote.

RE: More firings?

Think the discussions in this thread have reinforced for me the notion that people really need to think defensively and try to find a company that really treats their employees well and sees them as assets to grow rather than cogs in a machine that can be easily discarded or swapped out when they're either not needed or don't perform to whatever expectations (good or not) that the company has for them. Talk to friends, talk to colleagues, consult glassdoor, pay attention to benefits and language during the recruitment process. Think it's easier to do this now than it's ever been. If you can't find a spot at a company that really takes care of its employees then focus on building your bank account or network or resume and plan to bail when you're satisfied with what you have or company is no longer to help you grow whatever you're trying to grow. And be prepared to be jettisoned whenever for any or no reason. Lifers are fewer and farther between now than they've ever been and that trend probably continues until the logical conclusion of everyone being in the gig economy and basically moving around from company to company as projects and market forces require.

RE: More firings?

Quote "find a company that really treats their employees well and sees them as assets to grow rather than cogs in a machine that can be easily discarded"
very hard to find these day there is few out there, and those who have these jobs are not letting go.

RE: More firings?

quote "The firings, particularly of "sharp people" who are likely older as well, is probably prelude to hiring a bunch of new grads who haven't found a home yet. Since this is a buyer's market, the new grads can be bought on the cheap."unquote

I seen a trend to hire younger less experience engineers because they cost less Overhead, EG less cost insurance, lower wage, more energetic to please, do more as they are ask, more demand for less, and are force to do more.

RE: More firings?

Quote:

Exactly the reason I’ve told my kids that I will not pay for their college education if they go into engineering

Not sure why engineering is getting such a bad rap, given that one's kids could do worse by getting a degree in psychology, which gets them into the lowest paid majors section:
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/com...

I'm happy I'm an engineer, and both kids majored in computer science, which has one of the highest paying entry-level salaries for college grads. Anyone halfway decent in computer science will start off with about double the salary of a psychology bachelor.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: More firings?

Whoever told you to not go into in comp sci in the early 2000's was incredibly short sighted.

RE: More firings?

Engineering is still a good gig for some engineers currently practicing. It is still a good gig for the top 10% of the engineering graduating class, for the most part. It is however being sold as if it were "the new liberal arts education" by the engineering academy here in Canada, which makes me throw up in my mouth a bit every time I hear it said. The ever-increasing enrollments are cranking out grads at a rate the profession could never, ever, hope to use properly. That has changed very much during my 29 yrs since graduation.

As a volunteer who has been teaching a section of a 4th year chem eng water treatment course for the past 24 years, it makes me scratch my head why I'm bothering to teach the design of water treatment systems and equipment to a class which is no joke, 1/2 to 2/3 occupied by future management consultants, generalized "businesspeople", and SR&ED grant application writers.

Psychology likely wasn't their 2nd choice of major.

RE: More firings?

Quote:

Think the discussions in this thread have reinforced for me the notion that people really need to think defensively and try to find a company that really treats their employees well...Lifers are fewer and farther between now than they've ever been

Being a "lifer" today doesnt make financial sense, unless someone has a pension its in their best interest to job-hop and get their 401k out into the open market via an IRA to maximize returns. Retirement via individual investments in the past has been difficult enough, with the impending failure of SS its rather foolish to stay with one employer. It can also be career limiting, I've seen quite a few ~50 laid off and struggling to find work bc they lack a breadth of engineering knowledge as they have been in one desk at one employer for decades.

As to engineering being "crappy salary," not sure I'd call being in the top 10% of individual incomes in one of the wealthiest countries in the world within 5-10 years of graduation "crappy." OTOH, not sure I could take a parent seriously if they tried to hold the cost of an engineering degree over my head vs a life-changing decision, as if ~$30k (a car payment really) is an impossible investment for a kid to make. Liberal media gripes ignored as they should be, I know many who graduated with little or no debt while working part-time and taking classes full-time.

Computer science incomes really depend on the employer. If one can get into govt/military work then yes, it can be a highly rewarding field however in private industry its become severely overpopulated by the degree mills to the point that many companies have gotten away from requiring a degree in favor of specialty certificates. The last programmer I worked with made half of what I did, but was without a doubt significantly better at higher order math from optimizing the employer's clusters.

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