Leaving IBM
Leaving IBM

This blog (Phyl’s Journey) started 5 years ago with my getting my exciting new job with IBM. The job was a dream job for the first 3 years… 3 years almost exactly. I haven’t blogged much in the past two years. I supposed because it is difficult to share news, when it is not happy.



Our team, the Center of Competence (CoC) for TRIRIGA (a Facilities Management software), was really working well together. Our boss, Rusty Deane, was a great manager. He had our backs. He funnelled the work to us. And, he insulated us from the corporate BS. We all loved working together and we really were effective in helping our clients.

Then the CEO of IBM blew up our team. It was totally a political move, to make a statement. IBM was going to focus their best and brightest (CoC members) here in the US to fix the problems that resulting in a poor first quarter… 219 people were uprooted from their departments and thrown into the fray. Trouble is, our team WAS working. And inside of the US, we didn’t have any workload. So after the move, there was not enough workload to keep us going, and most left IBM or were laid off.

Our crippled next phase

Logan and myself stayed on the same team, but out leader was gone. Over the next year we were bounced around to 6 different managers, none of whom were as effective as Rusty, and in some cases actively working to get us out.

In January this year I was rolled off the project I was assigned to. On the team we were on, we are supposed to be available for anyone in the world who needs our help. Therefore, we are not supposed to be dedicated indefinitely to any given project, so the roll off was natural. In the standard IBM culture employees are treated like consultants, which means you have to go out and find your own workload. Well, I didn’t have the relationships to do that, and the software I support (TRIRIGA) has been shifting to being supported by the Indian team who are about 1/10th the cost. So no work anywhere.

A PIP and Coronavirus

In March, I was put on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) because my utilization was not up to the 75% goal established by the company. I continued to look for work, and continued to hit dead ends. And then COVID-19 hit, and clients were not expanding their TRIRIGA programs. Many more of the practitioners were released from their projects. I was told repeatedly that they would be bringing back others instead of contracting me.

Corona virus actually caused IBM to freeze the PIP process. The deadline to get billable work was extended an additional 2.5 months. But still no projects were staffing up.

A number of projects were born out of Coronavirus as IBM scrambled to repurpose various software programs. In my case that means TRIRIGA and Maximo. The project I worked on helped companies get “back to work. The software will track social distancing, mask wearing compliance, temperature tracking, etc. I was assigned to a few of these projects, but as these were not billable projects, they didn’t qualify to satisfy the PIP.

No big surprise.. The result was layoff.

ANYHOW, In the end I was laid off at the end of June. This process was so long and arduous. By the time it came around we were more than ready to have IBM out of our life.

The first three years at IBM were fantastic, the last two were horrendous. As you know the travel was a main attraction to me for this job. However the travel really ceased in May 2019. I will remember the first three years fondly! But I will not miss working at IBM. Instead we are very excited, maybe a little anxious, about what is to come.. Not sure what it will look like in the end, you will have to watch this space…. But at this moment I’m hoping it is not going to be a full time professional 8-5 job. I’m looking forward to alternate options.

The IBM office in Hortolandia, Brazil

8 thoughts on “Leaving IBM”

  1. I’m sure will find fascinating and unexpected opportunities ahead. All the best to you in this transition time!!!

    1. Thanks Gordon, we were hoping to come back to the Oregon coast this summer, but Coronavirus spoiled those plans.

  2. Sorry to hear that it did not all work out, but I’m excited to see what doors and windows you kick down next! Wishing you all the best!

  3. Hi Phyllis, very sorry to see this happened to you. I got to know this when the next week after you left Mehdi asked if I knew anyone who knows BIRT and I could not find you in the system!!
    I used to be in CoC too in 2014 and exactly the same thing happened to me- move from WW to US and then laid off from US. But at that time TRIRIGA was at its peak so I got internally hired in Software Group. But yea you’re right not many TRIRIGA projects in the US now!
    Anyways, wishing you good luck for your next adventure.

    1. Thanks Sumit.. I appreciate my colleagues and your struggles so much. I’m so happy right now, each day, when I wake up and think I can do ANYTHING I want today ;-).. But let’s stay in touch.

  4. So sorry this happened to you Phyllis. I’ve had so many friends (including Josh and wonderful employees that I placed in amazing positions) have the corporate world fail them in almost identical ways over the past 10 years. It is so sad when corporations become places where executives feel that it is their right not to lead but rather to bully and shame. I know that your next position will be amazing. Sometimes a door closing leads to the best opportunity ever. Best wishes.

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