Working for da man

One of the advantages of working for onesself is that around the time the laptop starts creaking, I can choose a new one. In the past, I've purchased a top-of-the-line Dell XPS 'Blingmaster', and at the moment I have the old-model 15" Macbook Pro (which I love). I'll probably replace it around September when that one hits two years old - its not yet 'slow'.

Spare a thought for people working for large technology firms. Especially large technology firms that dont reward innovators - Developers, etc - but seem to be ran by penny-pinching accountants. Large technology firms that increasingly outsources important, core development work to India, etc, where their overheating technology sector means that you are lucky if you see the same names in a years time. However, thats not the point of this post.

Imagine being a developer or sales engineer, working for a technology Elephant. The beancounters insist you get a crap, underpowered laptop to begin with, and then its held on the books for five years. meaning as more bloated versions of websphere, portal, tivoli come out - it gets slower and slower.

Fear not! The IBM beancounters have rushed in with a solution: Buy your own laptop! From a limited range of Lenovo computers, for more than you'd pay for it on the street, with less options and smaller hard drives. And after two or three years service, it can be yours for a hundred quid. If you think I'm making this up, check out The Register's article on it.

You just cannot make this up. I am slack-jawed in awe of the level of corporate stupidity displayed here. Being a wage-slave means that the company pays for the stuff you need. You get less money but more stability. Thats how the risk/reward works. Recently, however, its been us self-employed folks who have seemed more stable. Does this tip the scales completely ?

So. What does IBM stand for? Innovation? Secure computing ? Diverse range of products? Incredibly technically gifted staff? (The ones that werent laid off last month, at least.). Cut-price job move to India ? And now this. How to seriously damage what market perception your company has by increasingly stupid penny-pinching. Whilst of course, Sam the Man trousers $21m in salary. Cant see his executive jet being grounded, can you ?

So what does IBM stand for these days ? Its stands for I Barely Matter. Something that people who actually deliver stuff within the elephant are reminded on a daily basis.

And something - for us customers or business partners - that just puts another nail in the coffin of the reputation of a once great company.