back to article If your bosses tell you you're 'in it together', don't ever believe them

Tech titan bosses like John Chambers, Meg Whitman and Joe Tucci often deliver tributes to their employees when reporting quarterly business results. Yet they lay employees off. NetApp says it’s a great place to work, and lays people off. Chambers lays thousands off and gets a pay rise. This leaves a faintly sour taste in the …


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  1. LarsG

    'We're in it together..'

    But if it means a choice of getting rid of you or losing my bonus, pay rise and increase in pension fund........

    Usually two to three weeks before Christmas....

  2. jake Silver badge

    Uh ... duh?

    Follow the money ... and see who is routinely left behind.

    This wasn't rocket science before we had rocket science.

  3. gautam

    REMF - Lol

    Wouldnt it be more appropriate to expand it as " Rear End Mother Fuckers" ?

    Echelon sounds too polite !

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: REMF - Lol

      "Echelon sounds too polite !"

      It's a military term.

  4. gerryg

    obligatory dilbert cartoon

    this one or this one

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    If you're ever described as "core .... "

    Just remember that the core is the part of the fruit that is discarded after all the nice, fleshy, bits have been consumed.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My, my....

    Ah yes the insider trading on the shares always gives it away. Mr CxO what a lot of shares you've decided to exercise your options on? I wonder why.....?

    A few days later.... A whole bunch of us are leaving due to down sizing of the workforce, the share price climbs on the back of it. We get shite all but look you've just cashed in those 50,000 shares you bought at $14 and they're worth $1.3m. Good work, you're definitely feeling our pain.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: My, my....

      That would probably be classed as insider trading and illegal in a lot of countries.

  7. Gav

    If you ever want to know where you stand, look at the spreadsheet in the finance dept.

    You'll find yourself listed under the '"liabilities" column, not the "assets". Accountants don't lie about these things.

  8. Grifter


    I'm so glad that you censored 'Rear Echelon Mother F*ckers', because as it is now I have absolutely no clue what that word could mean, and you totally spared me from seeing it! We're so fortunate that the human brain is completely incapable of decyphering single-letter substitution!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self-Censorship

      Agreed. The Register is becoming Prudish? They are still not totally a virtual generation, despite being a tech forum/site.

      Technically, a star is a star is a star is a star is a star. isnt it? Oh sorry, it's also an asterisk. No, its a multiplication symbol in Excel.

      See guv, we are not breaking the rules !

      Oh sorry, in the context, its supposed to FUCKERS .

      There, finally nailed it. But what does it mean?

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Self-Censorship

        Er, or it might be because a lot of content filters - as used at large companies and schools - auto-block pages that contain swears?

        So F*cker - ok.

        Fucker - no page to view.

        I've worked at places that enforce that sort of childish bollocks (and that's what it is, frankly) and it's fucking annoying.

        Steven R

        Edit: TheMole beat me to it by minutes!

    2. The Mole

      Re: Self-Censorship

      You may have an idea of what it means, but many company proxies and filters won't have a clue what is means and therefore won't flag the page up as inappropriate language and block the page (or site).

    3. frenchmustard

      Re: Self-Censorship

      I've always wondered about the f**king point of doing that 5h1t. Is it founded in some sort of plausible deniability. "Look, I never said c*nt, it's just your filthy mind".

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Self-Censorship

        As others have said in this thread, it's because corporate firewalls tend to throw their toys out of the pram if we swear too much.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self-Censorship

        I don't give two c*nts what you think. - quote from an email I sent to Mr Whiny

        I *clearly* meant cents Mr HR person. The head of the relevant department and the CEO and I still do not give two c*nts for Mr Whiny's opinion. So how about I give him 25 c*nts and he can call someone who cares - my reply to the HR complaint

        Did end up with a formal warning letter on record. About breaching privacy of HR complaints by forwarding certain emails. The 50 cent poster with Whiny's head on it in the breakroom had very little to do with me.

    4. LarsG

      Re: Self-Censorship

      I mentioned female waxing, post withdrawn, I mean who on earth could take offence at that, and I didn't even swear ***************?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We constantly get talks from upper management telling us how great our deliverables are and how much we mean to the company, but we all know we're one bad financial year of being kicked out. I suspect this is the same in many IT companies.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well, so, they have to be ruthless....

    The test therefore is not any "all in this together/valued staff" nonsense, but how well or poorly they handle the redundancy process and its effects on the employee.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no news

    Everybody I know appears to be aware of the gap between the world of sweet-worded fantasy shit coming out from the top, and the shit-smelling shit of reality pouring out from the same generals (I know, different orifice, but same source).

    That said, it doesn't hurt to remind people every now and then.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: no news

      You would be surprised how many young 'uns entering industry don't appear to know or understand this.

      Thankfully when I was a young 'un, the old hands quickly gave me the run down on how sh*t always rolls downhill. I try and pass on that hard earned knowledge where I can to the next generation...

  12. damian Kelly

    A soldier fights using his rifle (amongst other things). A lieutenant (and indeed all officers) fights using his soldiers.

  13. silent_count

    I occasionally fantasise about how the world would be a better place if the person who did the 'downsizing' was forced to take a pay cut for every person they canned. Sack 10% of the staff and they take a 10% pay cut. Same applies to their boss, and their boss, all the way up the chain.

    Yes, I realise that this is not at all realistic in a capitalist system but it's nice to dream.

  14. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Yes, but...

    "Capitalism is ruthless and you are a human resource to be exploited, one amongst many."

    MarxMind detected.

    Capitalism is based on exchanges on so it happens here: you get paid. Seeing how things are, quite a lot of people do like this, though they bitch about being exploited, adhere to the labour theory of value, demand that government pass laws so their paycheck is embiggened etc. etc.


  15. tony

    A dev team I was in was shit canned the day after the celebratory 'thanks for the hard work delivering drinks'.

    The writing was on the wall for months prior as they were outsourcing more and more, what was amusing was the outsourcing company began to revert to standard rates, along with recouping the loss leader, once the dev team was out of the way.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "A dev team I was in was shit canned the day after the celebratory 'thanks for the hard work delivering drinks'."

      Oh yes one outfit I worked for could always be relied to having a "culling" when a company lunch was organized.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: @Tony

        As soon as any of us saw a congrats or PHB waffle with the words "staff are our most important asset", we polished our CVs. Probably what PHBs wanted anyway. Pass the scepticism on. Mentoring the young is a good thing to do.

        The irony is the frequent waffle uttered by business councils about the need for commitment, dedication and motivation in workforces to compete with sweatshops around the world. Icon because kids are already learning to starve in style.

  16. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    An article in your rival, the Independent newspaper years aog claimed that the financial institutions actively sought out psychopaths as they were more effective at 'making money' than people who cared about others. When major losses were 'made' they would cry "O P M!" (other people's money). When large profits were 'made' they got big bonuses from their bosses.

    But success of psychopaths is nothing new. Herodotus' "Histories", recounts a king who, on discovering that the lieutenant he had ordered to kill his son, Cyrus (I think), had not actually done so, summoned all to a banquet, where the lieutenant had aspecial dish, which he ate, and was later shown that it was made from his own teeneage son.

    The good thing now is that all they really can do is fire you after stealing, sorry reducing, your pay. Cooking and serving up your children for you to eat has gone out of fashion.

  17. Horridbloke

    If your employer considers you a resource...

    ... then they can't reasonably demand you don't.

    X hours per week, Y days notice when resigning, and don't do anything to the IT that they can come after you for.

  18. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Not quite sure I understand the article.

    "Big companies sometimes make redundancies".

    Was there a subtext, metaphor, or related newsworthy event that escaped my notice?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not quite sure I understand the article.

      It's the logical disconnect between "employees are our most valuable asset" and firing them to save money.

      You don't see Rolls Royce saying "The technology for single crystal Titanium fan blades is our most valuable asset - so we decided to scrap it"

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: Not quite sure I understand the article.

        Been up for redundancy four or five times. Been made redundant once. No point getting upset about it.

        You owe them a week's work. They owe you a week's pay. Anything else is PR.

  19. TitterYeNot


    Whenever I see another warm, caring, global distribution email from our beloved CEO, country VP etc., once my bullshit meter has stopped spinning wildly, I just think of one of Terry Pratchett's lines (rough quote, from 'Going Postal' I think) :-

    "They cared so little about their employees, they even had an employee satisfaction programme."

    Still makes me giggle (Mr Pratchett, not the psychopaths in charge powers that be.)

  20. John Tserkezis

    Businesses are in the business of making money.

    Too bad the employees aren't.

    Employees cost the company money. Employees are tools, required to make the company do whatever it does to make money.

    Employers patting the backs of the employees, is a simple but effective method to keep them functional till they get shitcanned.

    Don't get me wrong, they're not *all* out to get you, just most of them....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last laugh

    9:30am: Developer A (among others) was laid off.

    9:40am: Customer Support Rep B was asked the status of very important bug-fix for very important customer.

    9:45am: CSR B answers "You'll need to ask Developer A. He was working on it."

    11:45am: Developer A re-hired as consultant at double his salary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last laugh

      I was got rid of from a place and 2 weeks later the Exchange server goes tits up due to hardware issue. They managed to get someone in to rebuild it and then went to apply the backups. Of course they'd got rid of the guy who monitored and ensured the backups worked.... me.

      Oh I how laughed... then I remembered I was unemployed which took the shine off it. Oh well.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Now I know...

    Now I know what the universe had in mind for when I grew up! Sadly, I got RIF'ed despite everyone EXCEPT HR (equivalent) wanted to keep me. I wonder if that kept me more sane? [Am I sane. Nope. Doc says so.]

  23. CmdrX3

    We're in this together...

    Roughly translated as "We've got ourselves a patsy guys, we're good to go".

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "We've got ourselves a patsy guys, we're good to go".


  24. asdf

    wasn't always this bad

    In the 1960s people did have more loyalty to their companies because the companies didn't do the new CEO once a year to lay off thousands to get his quick bonus and once crap hits fan he gets his golden parachute routine. People were laid off back then as a last resort. The difference I believe has been the sociopathic generation of the Baby Boomers (I got to get mine screw the grandkids) joining leadership ranks.

    1. asdf

      Re: wasn't always this bad

      Today layoffs are now part of many business models. But of course it all due to those ungrateful employees.

  25. unwarranted triumphalism

    That reminds me

    ...of the time I fired someone for riding a bike to work.

    News just in: your childish hobby is not a protected class.

    1. asdf

      Re: That reminds me

      Wow somebody would agree to work for a douche bag like you? They must have been desperate.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: That reminds me

        I tried to be reasonable. I told him I'd hire him back if he bought a car like a normal person.

  26. SirWired 1

    Heads I win, tails, you lose

    What cheeses me off is the "Every CEO's a Winner" approach to compensation. In a really good year, the execs get great bonuses for producing profits (even if the company merely kept pace with the industry.) In a bad year the execs get bonuses for leading the company through such difficult times of trouble and toil.

    They literally cannot make a decision that leads to a pay cut.

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    This just in. Work is where you get paid money to spend people you man not like

    Including subordinates, co workers and supervisors.

    Depending on your personality and their hiring practices you might like most of people and you may enjoy your work, but that is the exception.

    Yes, I do view all jobs remarkably like working for an "escort" service. :(.

  28. lunatik96

    Generals sat

    and the lines on the map

    moved from side to side

    Obviously somebody else's famous words

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