I’m not sure how many people got the ax last Friday, but I just got a call from a good friend in the server administration and high-level web usability department that he got the word Friday. I’m supposed to be going out for lunch with friends in my department as a going away thing for me, which is really nice of them, but I wonder if there won’t be more people than just me in attendance who are also going away.
I’ve got two years here. It’s not easy to let go of. But damn, I can’t imagine what it’s like for people with decades of experience.
I spoke to a recruiter at my placement agency today about the layoffs at Kodak, he was asking me what I thought the effect on my group would be. I told him I expect it to be pretty rough, which I’m sorry to say I do. He told me that just about 100% of the contractors working through this agency for Kodak were being denied their contract renewals.
How many people is that? I asked.
“Its. . . . Well, it’s just ridiculous.”
We finally figure out the obvious and start buying banks, Gene Simmons buys a record company, and masturbation becomes a healthy ((not to mention natural and zesty)) enterprise in this latest of news roundups for DFE. Lets whip out some stories, shall we?
- Buying jets with bailout money is for pussies. How about this: take bailout money, then host a conference call filled with influential business leaders and lobbyists to try to break the back of the Employee Free Choice Act. Why not take taxpayer money and then use it to spend on lobbying politicians? And so you can break the bank of the unions that fight for the taxpayers you just bilked?
- The Obama Administration sees the banking industry sliding farther and farther into trouble and it’s beginning to look more and more obvious that some “nationalization,” or the government buying a controlling interest in distressed banks, may be necessary. As a side note, see Dean Baker for why shareholders of bankrupt banks actually make out quite well in such a scenario. Hint: a few bucks for paper worth nothing is a good thing.
- Corning expects that of the 3,500 jobs they’re cutting back across the enterprise, 650 of them will be local jobs. Bad news, people. I feel for ya.
- Peanut butter recalls continue. It was reported last night no less than twelve incidents at the offending company where testing revealed traces of salmonella and they sent the stuff to market anyway.
- Gene Simmons announced on his website that he’s starting up a new Universal Records company in Canada, eh? Can’t wait to see Gene in full KISS regalia on the Canadian $5!
- It’s been a long couple months for Toyota. In addition to posting it’s first annual loss in its history, now they need to recall a million vehicles for defective seat belts.
- Calling all mad hatters! If you thought the salmonella outbreak in peanut butter was fun, get ready for the long-term effects of corn syrup laced with mercury. Yessiree, Bob! Bad news: you may go insane or this may have something to do with the increase in Autism. Good news: you’ll more easily be able to find your way home after you’re diagnosed with mercury poisoning.
- People are flocking to small business ownership as a way to avoid the layoffs going around right now. Why you would think that selling pizza would be a way to save yourself is beyond me, but interesting, nonetheless.
- Finally, mixed news for the porn industry: studies show that masturbation among teenagers increases the risk of prostate cancer, yet masturbation among the 50-something set actually decreases it. I guess based on the bell curve, I’m free to whack it whenever I want.
It’s another interesting day for news here at DFE, so I thought I’d take a moment to point out some articles to watch for the day:
- Xerox will be laying off 275 workers here in Rochester, both at the Webster Complex (didn’t that used to be called the Wilson Complex?) and in the downtown offices. Anyone with information on the layoffs can contact me here with details. I’d appreciate it.
- Citi bank posted a big loss and now plans on splitting the company in two: Citigroup, which will be its traditional banking and Citi Holdings, which will handle it’s “riskier assets.” They’re hoping to minimize losses by dividing their assets up.
- Intel is reporting big losses in this quarter, a sign of just how hard the recession might hit consumer electronics markets this year.
- It’s a Microsoft Worm World again!! It’s been a few years since MyDoom and Klez virus hysteria, but the boys are back in town with a virus that attacks low-security networks and USB flash drives. It’s infected 3.5 million computers world wide. People, patch those systems up now!
- More tech news: “illegal” private downloads from peer to peer systems such as BitComet and others completely swamp the industry approved, industry profit downloads available from iTunes. Not sure how they quantify that, but here’s a question to ask: how many legal copies of albums got sold compared to cassette tape recordings? If cassettes didn’t bring down the music industry, why should we give a shit about downloads?
- President Elect Obama did a very long and wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post wherein he pledged that entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security would be getting reformed during his term. Not a small order, that. But I’d rather trust him than Republicans. Wonder if they’ll float the investment angle again?
Channel 13’s Allison Watts is reporting via Twitter that SEC filings reveal 222 jobs will be lost at Paetec, though there’s no word yet on where those jobs will be coming from. I’ve gotten reports today via anonymous tipsters that some layoffs have happened in the Tulsa, OK office, so obviously not all job losses will be here in Rochester. A sigh of relief locally, with apologies to those of you in other offices. . .
Meanwhile, Channel 8 here in town is saying that the layoffs could take as long as till 2010. How they arrive at that date is in question, however. The company says it will pay about $6.6m in severance in the process.
All this information comes from an SEC filing by the company, which you can read here. The operative sentence in question in Channel 8’s reporting is here:
The Company expects to incur total charges of approximately $6.6 million through the end of 2010 in connection with the terminations, the majority of which relate to cash severance costs.
As I read this, it does not seem to mean that the layoffs will continue through 2010, but rather that the continuing payment of severance will probably continue through 2010. Anyone expecting a reprieve based on Channel 8’s reporting is, I fear, out of luck.
You gotta hand it to Washington Mutual for balls-out cruelty in the holiday season: they’re letting 1,600 people go and handing them all 60-day notices by December 1st.
Merry Christmas from your former boss!! It’s a time bomb disguised as a letter of termination!