[svlug] (forw) Re: [CrackMonkey] Enjoy your company, kids.

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed May 3 13:12:19 PDT 2000

Employers, start your engines:  It is claimed that Linuxcare, Inc.
of San Francisco has today laid off 25% of its staff.  I hope and 
expect that a number of their technical employees (past and present?) 
will be at SVLUG, tonight, and you may wish to speak with them.

Among the employees I know have just been laid off are technical support
employee Tracey Luke, and Engineering Department staffer (and sysadmin)
Nick Moffitt. 

-- Rick Moen
   (speaking for himself, alone)

----- Forwarded message from rick -----

Date: Wed, 3 May 2000 13:06:02 -0700
To: Simioj Frenezetaj <crackmonkey at crackmonkey.org>
Subject: Re: [CrackMonkey] Enjoy your company, kids.

Quoting Dire Red (deirdre at deirdre.net):

> Tell anyone you know who might have been "let go" to make it to SVLUG
> tonight. I can take anyone from Menlo Park CalTrain (I work less than a
> block from there); email me before you come. Rick and I will help get
> anyone home who needs it.

Let me second that:  Tonight's SVLUG meeting will be an excellent 
place to come, for people who have just been given the heave-ho from
Linuxcare -- and I will be glad to assist anyone who needs help getting 
_either_ to or from there.

Anyone who wants to come, but needs pickup from CalTrain should 
e-mail me or Deirdre directly.  (I would prefer to pick people up from
the downtown Sunnyvale station.)  I will be glad to take people back to
CalTrain after the meeting and traditional after-meeting dinner.  If the
latter runs too late, I will also be willing to drive people home.  Each
of us can transport about three passengers.

To everyone, both currently affected and not:  Corporations that
get in these sort of fixes (260+ staff, slender revenues, bleeding
cash, most of the second round of funding wasted on a horrific 
proprietary project) have a choice as to the _way_ they conduct
any necessary cutbacks.  This is where you distinguish the slimeball
managements from the fundamentally decent ones.

Nobody can make layoffs a pleasant matter (except on rare occasions 
when they happen to certain $MORONs on the executive staff, and even
_that_ pleasure is ruined by one's knowledge of their golden parachutes)
-- but _slimeball_ managements make matters worse like this:

(1) In the period leading up the bloodletting, keeping up a constant
drumbeat of "morale" cheerleading.

(2) Using the occasion to selectively fire people who were known for
independent thinking, or in disfavour with the in-crowd.

(3) Attempting to buy gag agreements from departing employees, usually
for trivial amounts of money.

(4) After the layoffs, resuming the morale-building, with the
implication or outright claim that those who left were losers or

(5) Refusing to provide contact information to remaining employees, for
those who left -- or contact information to those who left, to stay in
touch with remaining employees -- and in general trying to cut off all
contact between the two groups, and convince remaining staff to treat
departees as "unpersons".

(Honourable firms will go to lengths such as setting up or publicising
e-mail mailing lists to stay in touch.)

I don't have to cite any names, as to what companies have slimeball
managements:  You'll be able to tell, for yourselves.

Standard management dogma at _many_ USA corporations is for the
management to _deliberately_ act in exactly those slimeball ways.  There
are HR consultants who purvey those techniques as standard packages.

Some long-term lessons:  

(1)  _Always_ have a non-company e-mail address, and use it for all
non-company communication.

(2)  Make sure anyone at your firm you might wish to stay in contact 
with knows your non-company e-mail address (or telephone number).
Otherwise, you may find yourself suddenly cut off from friends and
co-workers, if you OR they get laid off and your management turn out to
be slimeballs.

Towards this end, if you suspect layoffs are even a possibility, it's 
an excellent idea to circulate a piece of paper where current fellow
employees can all write down their non-company contact information, if
they so choose.

(3)  Always keep your personal files and all personal mail OFF-premises.
Or at least copies of them.

(4)  Always assume that company Internet access is monitored by
management.  They have the legal right, and the legal right to lie about
this to employees.  Many take advantage of both rights.  Always use
ONLY ssh, scp, and rsync over ssh for any traffic for which you desire
privacy.  Never ftp, POP3, IMAP, or telnet.  Be aware that your IP 
source and destination ports and addresses will be logged.

(5)  If you're laid off, and you're asked to sign papers on your way 
out, DO NOT do so.  IMMEDIATELY put them in your purse or backpack,
take them with you, and study them at home, preferably after discussing 
matters with other current and former employees -- or possibly an
attorney.  If you're told you cannot take the papers with you and
must hand them back, simply refuse.  If necessary, walk out of the
office and come back at a later occasion, after making photocopies.

Last, remember:  You're valuable people, there are LOTS of companies
looking for people like you, and you have a long-term asset in the 
open-source community to draw on.

Cheers,              "By reading this sentence, you agree to be bound by the 
Rick Moen             terms of the Internet Protocol, version 4, or, at your 
rick (at) linuxmafia.com   option, any later version."  -- Seth David Schoen

----- End forwarded message -----

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