July 18, 2014

Strategic alignment

If you work for a large company and happen to hear the higher-ups using the phrases “strategic alignment” or “workforce realignment” at a company all-hands meeting, you should prepare your resumé and maybe start looking for a new job. These innocuous-sounding words are the new jargon for “management made a bunch of stupid blunders recently that cost us a lot of money, but rather than laying off these extremely well-paid managers, we’re to lay off a bunch of engineers and other peons instead, because they’re so much cheaper.”

This happened at my company a few months ago; I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get sacked. Instead, the people kicked to the curb were mostly those who had been employees at startups that my company bought for no good reason. Then when management realized they’d made a blunder, employees from the acquired startups were kicked out. So not only did they not have their original startup company any more, they were also forced to look for jobs in Silicon Valley, where the tech bubble has popped and is still deflating.

Today I heard that Microsoft was doing the same thing. Now that they’ve realized that buying a big chunk of Nokia was an incredibly stupid move, they’re going to lay off a bunch (around 12,500) of those poor Nokia bastards. I detest Microsoft, so I should be feeling some schadenfreude, but I do pity Nokia: they used to make some decent stuff back around the turn of the century, and now look at them.