Big Blue shrinks at your expense

A bright idea, or so she seems to believe, from IBM chief marketing officer Michelle Pelosu, is not so damned wonderful at all, reports Jack Baruth:

Thousands of IBM employees who have worked remotely for their entire careers have been given ninety days to sell their homes and move to one of six “collaborative” cities. IBM will pay their moving expenses, but it will not cover the costs of moving to some of the hottest real estate markets in North America.

Very few of these IBMers earn more than $100,000 a year, but they have just ninety days to cash out and move to places where the average home costs between $315k and $1.5m. If they have families, then chances are that they are one half of a double-income couple. After all, that’s the only way anybody can afford to have children now. So Ms. Peluso’s arrogant decree doesn’t just turn thousands of homeowners into renters or house-poor bubble-mortgage slaves; it also forces thousands of people to quit their jobs and start over somewhere else.

The irony here is that IBM has pioneered multiple studies showing that remote workers are happier, more productive, and less expensive than their “agile workspace” counterparts. But Ms. Peluso is not going to let the facts interfere with her emotions. After all, she works in New York, and it’s no trouble for her. Why shouldn’t everybody have to come work with her? Why wouldn’t people want to move to the most exciting cities? Why wouldn’t they want to spend an extra three hours a day commuting to jobs where the first person to leave the office every day will be nonchalantly added to the top of next quarter’s layoff list?

I doubt she has entertained the slightest whiff of a notion that people who don’t earn several million dollars per year might have trouble making a ninety-day relocation to places where a family-sized apartment rents for $10k a month. She almost certainly has not thought about what an extra three hours of day worth of commuting means to the families and children of her employees. Like most C-suite types, she considers the eighty hours a week that she spends on private jets, in limousines, and at multi-billion-dollar resort facilities to be “work.” Surely everybody below her should be required to put in the same hours — and what difference does it make if they start and finish those hours driving a clapped-out Corolla ninety minutes in each direction from the only places they can afford a balloon mortgage?

Let them work in the best spaces! Holy shit, that’s worse than Let them eat cake.

“Everybody back into the office!” said Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, and we all know how well that worked out.


  1. Dan T. »

    8 June 2017 · 6:27 pm

    The age-old line is that IBM stands for “I’ve Been Moved!”.

  2. fillyjonk »

    8 June 2017 · 6:29 pm

    Maybe it’s a way to downsize the company (through attrition) without actually having to DO it.

    “‘Lean in’ Means Never Having To Say ‘We’re Downsizing'”

  3. McG »

    8 June 2017 · 7:44 pm

    The fish brain-drains from the head.

  4. The Other McCain »

    8 June 2017 · 8:26 pm

    In The Mailbox: 06.08.17

    Dustbury: Big Blue Shrinks At Your Expense

  5. ETat »

    9 June 2017 · 6:46 am

    Well, while I understand his outrage, he should’ve keep his math clear and choose the source of it, either or.
    If someone rents apartment for $10K, it’s definitely
    a) in Manhattan b) in premier, luxury stock c) several bdrms, 2+ definitely d) sometimes even furnished in hi-end furniture+fixtures.
    See, f.ex.,
    If someone commutes for Manhattan office 3hr/day => 1.5hr each way => lives either in CT, PA, NJ or Queens & Brooklyn near Long Island. In those places 3-bdrm apartments DO NOT rent for $10K. More like $2-2.5K. And one can choose stock.

    Besides, he paints NY to be such a monstrous place, a reader would be amazed to know the median income here is $50,711. How all these people WAY below requisite 100K, which Mr.Baruth seems to think a minimal decent salary – how do they survive? Do they all live under bridges (thank-god, we have several)? Or in the “projects”? COuld it be true that several million NYers commute every day to labor at their workplaces for 8-10hrs for a miserly $60K a yr and manage to have children, educate them and even pay for their own housing?

    Not everyone can work remotely, btw. That’s only good for sociopaths, introverts and nerds, who lives in their minds, not in the material word.

  6. Holly H »

    9 June 2017 · 8:34 am

    The point isn’t whether it’s too expensive to live here or there. It’s that the higher-ups don’t give a damn about the massive lifestyle changes required by their employees, every time a CEO decides to “clean house”. I think fillyjonk nailed it.

  7. ETat »

    9 June 2017 · 2:54 pm

    That is your point. I make my own.

  8. McG »

    9 June 2017 · 5:05 pm

    After all, this is America — where you’re free to have an opinion just for the sake of having an opinion.

  9. ETat »

    9 June 2017 · 6:55 pm

    No. My opinions are independent from place I live in: they grow from my life experience, not from somebody’s permission to thin.
    Also, opinions are different from points one makes. Above comment is relevant: it is on the inconsistency or Mr. Baruth’ argument, from someone who does live on less than $100K; owns, not rents; commutes 55min each way and generally survived worse bosses than the one he criticizes.

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