back to article Leaked Kyndryl files show 55 was average age of laid-off US workers

IBM spin-off Kyndryl was accused in a recent age-discrimination lawsuit of not only relying on IBM resources for its layoffs but also following Big Blue's frequently alleged playbook of ousting older workers. Yet Kyndryl, carved out of IBM in 2021 as a managed IT infrastructure giant, differs from its erstwhile parent in one …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Commiserations

    Unfortunately this seems more and more common - right across the board.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Commiserations

      "Unfortunately this seems more and more common - right across the board."

      I have seen a lot of ageism. Unless a company is stupid enough to turn down an applicant and tell them it's due to age in writing or let somebody go in the same way, it's awfully hard to prove until you see a HR blunder like this one. I have a very low opinion of HR departments in general and this is something they should have seen coming and let corporate know that they will be caught.

      Younger works will take lower salaries, but they also can take longer to perform a task and there's always the cost of mistakes they make where an older worker with far more experience won't incur those same costs. The downside of older workers is they are less likely to take the same level of abuse as somebody staring down the cannon barrel of massive student loans and the lease for the very expensive apartment they just signed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you chose the wrong idiom!

    The board is the one part of a company where "get rid of the oldies" doesn't get applied.

    1. BebopWeBop
      Facepalm

      Re: I think you chose the wrong idiom!

      That is apparently because the 'right sort of person' becomes more effective the more experience they get....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can confirm the treatment of employees is pretty accurate

    Internal management confusion, poor-to-nonexistent communication, people benched for months at a time after being pulled from accounts often leaving a 'last man standing' scenario. It's kind if fascinating to watch this train wreck from the inside as a bench denizen. In my opinion the stock price is way too high and the only people with credibility inside this organization are the legacy teams killing themselves to keep the lights on for some pretty important customers. I think that the companies true values shine through in how they've treated the layoffs and the lies they tell people 'on the inside'

    The majority of bench people are easily over 50.

    The risk to clients' environments is unacceptable. Pretty, pretty, pretty pathetic..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately...

    Older folks will be laid off because the generation behind them is massively under employed and as a result, much, much cheaper.

    Oldies being laid off is a symptom of not hiring enough younger people at a fair wage. By not hiring them or paying them a fair wage, a gap has been created by managers and recruiters that makes young people so much cheaper than oldies. Why have one oldie at £90k when you can have 3 youngsters at £30k each? The oldie can only do one 8 hour shift, but the three youngsters can cover 24 hours in three shifts...doesn't matter if they're not as good, as long as there is someone to pick the phone up. Unfortunately, the bar for IT services is that low. How many of you have spoken to a client and heard this line..."I just want someone that picks up the phone that I can talk to".

    I win customers on the basis of being responsive and contactable alone. It doesn't matter than I'm a 3 man company and I don't operate in several time zones...I pick up the fucking phone and if I don't pick up the fucking phone, I call you back within 20 minutes or at least leave you a WhatsApp, Teams message or email...or in some cases all three!

    The key part of any tech service is that the customer feels listened to and they know someone is "on it"...the bar is that low. Not a single person on planet earth would accept "Sorry, all of our highly qualified and extremely experienced engineers are up to their balls, we'll be free in a couple of days". Doesn't matter if you're the wisest elder nerd on earth if you can't deliver in a timely fashion.

    This is why, I think, a lot of oldies get laid off...yes they are super experienced, amazing engineers...but they come from a time where things plodded along and were a lot more methodical and that is just not worth as much as a solid, fast response anymore.

    You also have to factor in the chances of a person resisting a technology. An older engineer (rightly or wrongly) will always be more likely to push back against progress.

    How many over 50s here are excited about deploying AI? How many of you know how to deploy AI? How many of you can train an AI? How many of you could do it right now if I threw money at you? How much more expensive would you be than me?

    I can deploy AI, right now, train it to your specifications using the data you provide me with and I'll have it done in one maybe two days...and I'd charge you £750 for it. For an extra £500 I'll train your staff how to prompt it to get better results.

    How many over 50's here can deliver that, right now...hands up.

    That's just one example. I was in a Zoom call a few months back, pitching for some work...one of the other freelancers was an "oldie"...the work was to integrate a new payment platform into an existing site and adjust the code base for the site to work with a new(er) version of Python. For me and my guys, that's a few days work...tops..about £1,000 ish. The oldie quoted for 3 months and he wanted £15k. He was the guy they were currently using...we got the work and not only did we deliver on time, 15x cheaper, but as a bonus, we also optimised the cloud infrastructure because the oldie fucked it up which caused the site to drop to a crawl at peak times...the optimisation got rid of the bottlenecks and shaved off £1,000 a month in Cloud costs, we also did some housekeeping on some absolute garbage SQL queries. We now have them on a monthly retainer...which is a fraction of what the oldie used to charge. Their monthly cost for 3 of us, is less than half what the oldie was charging them.

    The client described us as "a breath of fresh air".

    This all said, quite a few oldies are being laid off unfairly, we do sometimes come up against some formidable oldies...but also, quite a few of them are just plain shit or are just not capable of delivering what people are currently demanding at a price that makes sense in the current financial climate. Having said that, I wish I could get away with charging what some of the oldies out there charge. I might actually own a decent car, have some nice holidays and drink fancier beer than the £2.69 for 12 stubbies dreck from Lidl.

    1. ExampleOne

      Re: Unfortunately...

      > An older engineer (rightly or wrongly) will always be more likely to push back against progress.

      I am going to have to take issue with this. A good engineer doesn’t push back against progress.

      A more experienced engineer is more likely to question “fad of the day” hype, which is not the same thing!

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately... / Progress vs Current Fad

        The pattern I see is newer, potentially-useful technologies are over-sold and inappropriately-applied. as if they were miracle cures for everything from high transaction latencies to warts and thinning hair. Part of that is marketing doing what marketing does, part of it is neophilic, finger-constantly-to-the-wind, bandwagoneering executives, part of it is neophillic/axe-to-grind techies (I paid big bucks for my Facebook Certificate in AI, and by gum, I'm gonna make sure I get serious money using it!), and part of it is [warning: hot-button word approaching] ignorant executives who go along with the hype because they don't know any differently.

        It's our job to learn about this stuff and explain it in a way useful to the decision-makers, and it's their job to listen to us in our expert role.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately... / Progress vs Current Fad

          It's also our job as oldies, to train up the people that will help implement and maintain it to ensure long term continuity...lots of oldie jobsworths practice "job security" and don't do this, which ironically, makes them worth less.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfortunately...

        "An older engineer (rightly or wrongly) will always be more likely to push back against progress."

        This is a very popular meme that is not based on reality *but* prejudice against older workers.

        This prejudice is based on the fact that olders workers have seen more and lived through many 'changes' that have been trumpeted as the 'great improvement' only to founder on the 'rocky shores' of reality.

        Often, that lack of buy-in is based on real doubts that cannot be raised because some '10 year-old' new manager has seen the light and will not accept anything other that 100% buy-in to his/her 'new' idea.

        The words missing from all this is 'prior experience' and is often not factored in when the latest new idea or fad is being exercised.

        Unless you live & work in a sealed box doing the same thing, getting older == gaining experience !!!

        :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately...

          "An older engineer (rightly or wrongly) will always be more likely to push back against progress."

          Yes and no.

          Yes because it’s a fad or it’s shit (hello JavaScript)

          But just because it is shit and you push back for good reason doesn’t make you right in eyes of the world.

          And as for the original poster yes I could deploy an AI solution if I wanted to - at over 60.

          But the questions still remain - is it the most appropriate solution?

          Progress means accepting nothing for granted and questioning everything - the scientific method and the engineering implementation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Unfortunately...

            As engineers we aren't always paid to implement the most appropriate solution, that decision is commonly made before we're hired.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately...

          Yeah, but you don't need a full time village elder to impart wisdom to the village idiot...you can hire an experienced consultant to help make decisions, he doesn't have to have to be a ridiculously high paid permie haunting the hallways of your offices...how often are major technical decisions made in the average business? Once every few years?

          Why spend £90k a year, plus all the benefits to keep an old guy around, using up space...when you can simply pay a few grand once or twice a year when you need him?

      3. GruntyMcPugh

        Re: Unfortunately...

        "A more experienced engineer is more likely to question “fad of the day” hype"

        Or quite often know it's been tried before, and didn't work then. Experience over optimism.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfortunately...

        But an older engineer is more likely to write something off as a fad that may ultimately turn out not to be.

      5. Blank Reg

        Re: Unfortunately...

        And all too often that fad of the day is just a rebranding of something that was tried years ago and failed

    2. Ace2 Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately...

      "How many of you know how to deploy AI?"

      Don't know, don't want to know. I have successfully dodged a series of such buzzwords in my career so far and I'm holding out hope that AI withers as quickly as the previous ones.

    3. NLCSGRV

      Re: Unfortunately...

      > How many over 50's here can deliver that, right now...hands up.

      The sheer arrogance here is utterly astounding. No wonder you wrote it as AC. Let's hope you get a taste of your own medicine when you are the other side of 50. For what it's worth, I'm over 50 and I have been "deploying AI" or put more correctly, "training and deploying machine learning models" for a couple of decades now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfortunately...

        You are the exception, not the rule...how many folks laid of at Kyndryl share your skillset? Being old and experienced, doesn't necessarily make you skilled or valuable.

        I could spent 30 years splitting coconuts on my head and be the worlds foremost expert in splitting coconuts on heads...that doesn't make me valuable or even useful...but I'd definitely be old and experienced...unless the company I worked for was a specialist in splitting coconuts on heads...but even then, my vast coconut based knowledge and experience is only worthwhile if the company decides to stay in the coconut splitting game...if they want to pivot into cracking watermelons with hard ons, I'm no longer valuable or useful...because everything I've ever done involves coconuts and barnets...sure the company is still in the business of splitting one thing with another, but the parameters have changed so much that my knowledge is largely irrelevant, I'm basically starting again, but this time, I'm less capable than the younger people at the same level, because I now have to sustain a hard on for long enough to smash watermelons at the same rate as someone half my age...even worse, as an experienced coconut splitter, I'm now earning a huge salary in a business that longer has the coconut splitting work that kept me sustained...so I'm costing way more than someone that can not only learn faster than I can, but is physically more capable.

        There is more to knowledge and experience than just possessing it and neither of these things trump capability.

        There is also a key component of experience that isn't very desirable to businesses...experience can teach us that we hate to do things...more experience can lead to less willingness to do something.

        For example, after 20 years, I know for damned sure that I never want to lift a single UPS battery up a staircase again or push another cage nut into a rack in a freezing cold datacentre with my bare hands. Not only because it's knackering, but also because I can't just sleep it off to recover anymore.

        20 years ago, I could go to bed and sleep off a bad back, I'd be fine the next day...20 years later, if I wear my back out, it could be a week to recover or more. The same thing applies mentally as well...yeah I know more, I can see problems faster and solve them faster...but I can't work the same loony shifts I used to work...I want to go home by 3pm and have a beer in the garden with the missus.

        You don't hire experience to perform a task, you hire experience to extract the maximum value out of those that can / will perform the task by sharing knowledge and experience.

        Oldies need to train and handover to youngsters and be there to support them...that's how you stay in work when you're older.

        Being the daft old prick that thinks he's as useful as he was 20 years ago based on experience alone, while costing 3 times as much as he did 20 years ago is kidding himself.

        When you're being paid a high salary to be an experienced engineer, you're not being paid to do what you've done for the last 20 years, you're being paid to make more of yourself...to train others...to pick up the young guys when they fall over, dust them off and send them back into battle.

        The sheer number of old geezers in our industry that still think they're Rambo is quite sad really. You are not Rambo anymore, you are Trautman...so go and find your Rambo, train him or her up to be the "best of the best" and remember to tell everyone that if they're going to send that many bugs up against your Rambo, they're going to need a good supply of bug body bags.

        All you have to do is imagine a team with the benefit of your knowledge and experience, but the body and mind half your age. If you had that, would you cling on to a crappy job somewhere that trims old people from the payroll or would you go into business for yourself and attack the industry with your highly trained platoon of Rambos? I know what I would do, and it's what I am currently trying to do.

        I'm a valuable guy, but you know what is more valuable? Five younger versions of me, all foaming at the mouth to prove themselves, jumping out of planes into freezing cold datacentres at 3am with rucksacks full of UPS batteries and cage nuts, loving what they do.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Unfortunately...

          You do raise some interesting and valid points, but your problem is you are generalising all "oldies" as stick-in-the-mud fossils and all "youngies" as eager, willing and able to dive in and "get with" all the new stuff. The bit you are clearly missing is that not all "oldies" are as you describe and most definitely all "youngies" are not as you describe. Being young, eager and willing, even at 1/3rd the salary, isn't always cost effective when the lack of experience shows it's ugly head. You just have to look at the constant "re-inventing the wheel" going on across much of industry, not just the IT industry. Remember, the vast majority of start-ups" fail. Often because they are built and staffed by "youngies" painting fresh lipstick on an old pig and they don't even realise that is what they are doing. But, of course, no one remembers them. They just point at the very, very few start-ups that succeed and go "oh look, all those young entrepreneurs, inventors and designers are amazing and incredible"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfortunately...

        Assuming that young people cannot be as capable as older people is also pretty arrogant. Young people can't help being young...they can only live one day at a time like anyone else...but they can learn quickly from oldies willing to share knowledge, experience and the benefit of a life long career and become better than the old people before they are old people themselves.

        It is possible to condense 20 years of knowledge and experience into a few months of training...that's what education is. There is no need for a young person to have to spend 20 years, to get the same 20 years of knowledge and experience you have...because in 20 years, you've not only learnt what you need to know, you've also learnt what wasn't worth learning. In passing this knowledge down, you save the youngster wasting 20 years following the same fucking path, and they can find another path, with it's own pitfalls and new things to discover...which he can then pass down to produce an even better youngster...and so on, and so on.

        As an oldie, you're only as good as the last youngster you trained...after all, somebody trained you...you weren't born a technical savant...in fact when you were born, tech didn't even resemble what we have today, you have, like all of us, been constantly learning throughout your career...lots of mini "start again" moments...which probably means young people aren't as far behind us as people like you like to think...in fact, they also don't carry the same baggage either. I spent 5 years in the 90s working as a Visual Basic programmer...yes, I got 5 years of programming experience...but nearly everything I know about VB is functionally worthless now. It helps me pick up new languages a little quicker than I otherwise would...but, other than that...it has no tangible value...especially since, I now no longer work with any of the technologies that I worked with back then. Hell, I'm not working with technology that I worked with even 10 years ago. Experience doesn't carry anywhere near as much weight in our industry as it would in other industries...simply because things change so radically and so frequently.

        A lot of old people hold on to knowledge like it is some sort of arcane wisdom...when in fact, it's not arcane...it's just not documented.

        There is an oldie I occasionally work with, even older than I am, that has weird licensing contracts for software he builds. Essentially, everything he builds has to be housed on platforms that he, and only he, controls...one day, the mask slipped and he got in a mess, he needed help...so he let me in to help him with a problem...turns out, his code is fucking crap and his main motivation for hiding his codebase away is to prevent anyone scrutinising his code and stepping in to take it over...so after some coaxing, he let me send a youngster around (that I trained, he is 22) who tidied up the codebase, made it a lot more efficient, much easier to deploy...and it is now documented...also, because more than one person now understands the setup, he can take a day off every now and then and not worry about anything. I paid the youngster 70% and I took 30%...because that is fair...camping on a £100k job and preventing young people being hired is not fair and will ultimately result in what we see here at Kyndryl...oldies being laid off.

        Young people can't know what we know unless we share it with them and when we do share, they can be just as good or better

        If you're in the camp that thinks experience trumps youth simply because youth has no experience and that is one of the main things keeping you in work...then you sir are a fucking jobsworth like the bloke above was. When you finally retire, there will be nobody to replace you and everything you've created will be worthless...it will be scrapped, and somebody will come in and start all over again...if you train young people, bring them into the fold and teach them how to carry on when you're long gone...your influence, knowledge and experience can far outlive you and continue to be useful and continue to provide wealth for others...otherwise, you're just another dead pleb that simply did a job for 30 years.

        If the work you do is truly unique and cannot be fathomed by literally anyone else, then congratulations, you are one of mankind's rare super-geniuses...a true one of a kind...I'm sure monuments will be built in your honour and your name will carry into legend for generations. People will be talking about you around campfires for centuries.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unfortunately...

      Almost entirely BS. Slightly older, experienced engineer here. I'd argue that I get more done at a faster pace than an inexperienced newbie.

      In my experienced you're right about the client wanting the phone picked up or their email answered promptly. That part of their support journey is more often than not governed by the engineer who gets shit done but by their account manager/customer services/autoresponders.

      Pinching pennies and driving down your skills base is a recipe for decline.

      1. Screepy

        Re: Unfortunately...

        What a totally shit OP.

        "Why have one oldie at £90k when you can have 3 youngsters at £30k each?"

        I'll tell you fuckin why!

        It's because when I log in in the morning it will take me 30 minutes to fix the finance system issue that your 3x juniors spent all night on and are still no closer to fixing.

        Sure, they answered the phone, and the customer got to speak to someone. What good did that do if that someone is still too inexperienced to know how to fix it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately...

          My juniors are great, because I as an oldie, trained them. I'm getting on (for a techie) and with a few well trained youngsters, I'm an oldie with 8 arms and 4 brains that never sleeps. You as a fucking oldie, have your clients on tenterhooks until you've woken up and gone to the office. They don't know if the problem is serious or trivial until you arrive the next day after the problem was noticed...all they know is, the system is down.

          "it will take me 30 minutes to fix the finance system issue that your 3x juniors spent all night on and are still no closer to fixing"

          A part time oldie will fix that problem, no need for a full time £90k a year old guy. Unless the finance system is going down every day, in which case the oldie is clearly shit.

          If you have one oldie overseeing a team of youngsters, that one highly skilled oldie can have pairs of hands in multiple different places at once. The cheap youngsters, in volume, will be far more effective overseen by a small number of oldies, than a large group of oldies can ever hope to be.

          Also, bear in mind, my 3x youngsters can only be as good as the documentation provided by the oldie that built the system in the first place, unless they built the system themselves. I don't know what planet you're on, but for the most part, when you take a client on, you're usually supporting a pre-existing system...it's not common for a business to hire a new tech firm and tell them "fuck it, scrap everything we've got, let's start again".

          I don't consider myself to be young in this industry, I've been in the industry since 1996 and there are things I could do 20 years ago, without blinking, that could cause me serious harm now...like rack mounting heavy kit, running up and down staircases, working long nights etc etc...techies are not evergreen. We do age, we do get slower and we are not worth 3 times more than someone half our age. The pay in our industry is backwards...we should start out on high salaries, with daft hours and taper off into smaller salaries and fewer hours...and we should be training up "shitty youngsters" to be better...if the young people in our industry aren't as good as we are, that's our fault. It's not their fault. Why should they have to go through a life time of success and failure to reach the same level of knowledge and experience as us? They should be succeeding and failing in areas we haven't had time for or didn't consider and benefit from our experience to shorten their learning curve to make them even better, even sooner.

          Calling out young people for being rubbish because they haven't lived long enough yet, is just as ageist as calling old people shit because they get old. Both ends of the argument have valid points to make, but only one side can do anything about it...us...the oldies. Young people can't make old people younger, but old people can make young people smarter.

          Now fuck off you grumpy old bastard, go and train up some youngsters so they don't have to stay up all night waiting for your miserable old arse to turn up in morning...that issue could have been solved hours ago and the business wouldn't have lost 30 minutes of trading...doesn't matter if you can fix a problem in 30 minutes if the business had to wait 12 fucking hours for you to fix it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately...

          I've literally just recently done this.

          System down for 14 hours. A team of techies completely unable to fix the problem - even worse they couldn't really articulate it either (aside from "It's not working"). It gets escalated, I get pulled in (I have never worked on the account or with this team) and I have them up and running in around 30 mins.

          You can't teach experience. You learn it through the successes and failures you encounter. You can share those experiences, but I tell you now there aren't many people who'll remember - it only sinks in when YOU'RE the one in the thick of it.

          So back to the problem I mentioned above. How did I fix it so fast? Experience. Different time, different career, but I learnt from it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Unfortunately...

            They must have very little respect for you, if you weren't contacted in that entire 14 hours, someone decided it was better to keep plugging on for hours than to just drop you a line for some quick pointers...also what did you do to ensure that the team is better prepared next time round?

            Letting a system stay down for 14 hours, then swooping in at the last minute to fix it in 30 minutes...you surely are the crown jewel of your tech team. If you are a senior engineer in your setup, you would surely have been in the loop the entire time and you could have stepped in at any point to assist. Why didn't you? Too important to waste 30 minutes of an evening?...I'd have jumped in to assist, use it as a training opportunity for the team, and left work early the next day to get my time back.

            That aside, I'm sure while you were fixing it, you allowed a couple of the team to shadow you while you explained your processes and helped them to understand why they fucked up...you didn't just wade in like billy big bollocks, fix it in 30 minutes (after 14 hours) then shit on them behind their backs on an internet message board.

            Yes, you have to be in the thick of it to understand what you don't know yet, you don't know what you don't know, until you know what you don't know, but that's where people like us come in, yes we can fix things quickly, but we can also help others learn how to fix things quickly, if we don't help them, they will never know how. Simply being caught with your pants down over and over again teaches you nothing. You need someone that has solved the problem to explain that belts and braces exist, and how to use them.

            The system wasn't down for 14 hours because the other team was crap, the system was down for 14 hours because they weren't adequately trained or prepared. Has nothing to do with experience. It has everything to do with the people senior to them.

            When I was 19, just starting out professionally, I was outshining people twice my age. I still outdo most engineers. I was taught by a fucking good engineer when I was young, I had been shadowing an IBM guy since I was 14 for no pay on his side jobs, he spotted my potential when I was young, because my old man had called him round to perform an upgrade, and he saw what I'd been doing with that machine to upgrade it myself as well as the coding I had done by hacking around with QBasic and various other crappy tools built into Windows at the time...I taught myself basic coding with nothing but the sample applications that came with QBasic...if I recall, the two that I messed with the most was a game called "Gorillas" where you had two gorillas that threw bananas at each other and some lame basic accounts tool...

            ...anyway, this IBM guy spotted the potential, and he had a word with my old man (as well as being our local techie, he was a mate of the old man, he lived on our street)...before I knew it, I was on site visits with him fixing stuff all over the place, in his lab in his garden learning how to solder, how to use various tools etc...and he wasn't the kind of person to sit down and slowly explain things...he threw me in at the deep end...here's some RAM, here's a floppy drive, upgrade that machine. He was a tough man, and he wanted the best. He would wait for me to fathom it out, then when I fucked up, he'd tell me why I fucked up then, and only then, he'd take the time to explain things. This was a good method for training me, because it ensured that every fuck up was controlled, and I would only ever fuck up a task once...and crucially...it gave me actual experience...proper experience that taught me how to handle mistakes, back track a little, take stock, think...those are lessons you can learn in an afternoon, but only if you're in the hands of a quality engineer yourself...you don't need 20 years.

            Point is, I wouldn't have been as good an engineer at 19 if not for a more experienced engineer taking the time to train me and share his own experience...and his willingness to throw me in at the deep end and bail me out when I couldn't swim anymore...he knew that was the only way he could impart experience on me...I needed to not only see the solution, but also had to swallow a little bit of pool water for it to sink in...but that's only possible if there is someone to drag you out.

            He was mid 50's when he started training me. Probably dead now, he moved overseas and we never kept in touch...he just upped sticks, left me with his clients and his tools and that was that, I only got a weeks notice...which was the biggest vote of confidence I've ever had, I was almost 18 when he upped sticks, so got me trained up to replace him in roughly 3 years, in all fairness, after the first 18 months, there wasn't really any training, just sending me out to clients to get the job done...I never properly thanked him...in hindsight, I think his overarching goal was to give himself an out...he wanted to move where his kids were, but he didn't want to break continuity with his clients...easiest way to achieve that...find a local talent and train it up...when he found me, it must have been like all his birthdays came at once...he saw an out. I kept those clients going until most of them had died off.

            I've gone out of my way to shadow other good engineers over my career, I was rock solid at a young age and I'm still solid...I didn't have to wait 20+ years to accrue the same knowledge and experience as my predecessors...because my predecessors *trained* me...my current 20+ years of experience, is the sum total of their experience *and* my own.

            I never...EVER...attack young people for being inexperienced. If I work on a team with younger engineers, and they fuck up, it's because I didn't do everything I could to support them. One of our primary jobs as older engineers is to support younger, less experienced, engineers...if we aren't doing that, we aren't worth our higher salaries...because we are essentially doing the same job as a younger engineer...better probably...but the same nonetheless.

            I don't gauge my value, like a lot of old knobheads do, as relative to a person younger than me simply because I have more experience. I gauge my value based on the number of problems solved without my direct intervention...because that accurately reflects my ability to use my knowledge and experience beyond what I can do with my own two hands.

            20 years on, I take the time to train younger people myself...because I know, that as an older guy, I'm far better off with a team of really good young people around me, than operating by myself. This adequately justifies my higher pay, because my knowledge and experience can now be in more than one place at a time...especially if my younger underlings are adequately prepared and well supported by myself.

            Am I a better techie now that I am older? Probably yes. Is it entirely down to experience? No...I wouldn't be where I am now if not for the investment of time and money when I was young.

            If you're one of the oldest techies in the group of techies around you, it's partially your fault that the younger ones suck. One bad apple can spoil the batch...know what I mean?

            If the youngsters around you fuck up, you have to take the time to explain to them why they fucked up, because then, it's highly likely that will be the only fuck up of it's kind.

            Tarring all young people with the same "don't have experience" brush is complete horse shit.

            The team that did a shit job, did a shit job because they were badly trained and their senior engineer didn't want to help...not because they were inexperienced.

            You can teach experience, using experience, if you take the time to do it...that is what education is.

            The key in our field, is to have a young person shadow and experienced person, let them fuck up before you jump in, but you must jump in, then once the bollocking is over, you take them through how *you* fix things and explain *your* thought process so that *they* can use that knowledge next time.

            Let them cock up, give them a light bollocking, show them the remediation then get them to document it...that's the recipe for experience...and getting it to sink in...it also gets your documentation done for you.

            Not enough old techies show enough leadership. You certainly don't seem to.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Unfortunately...

              Jeesus - what crawled up your arse and died.

              I am honestly glad I don't have to deal with someone like you. I can't work out if you're trolling people here for the down votes or you honestly believe the bullshit you're peddling.

              Now, as you seem to be unable to read properly before engaging your brain, I clearly state "(I have never worked on the account or with this team)". I was pulled in BECAUSE of the respect people have for me. Once I resolved the problem, I wrote up what had happened, why, and what to look out for next time. Not only that, I regularly put out training material to help others, and encourage those that I help to write documentation to share with others in *their* teams and wider communities. It helps reinforce their experience.

              You don't know how my company is set up. You don't know the environment I work in. You don't know me (those that do would be pissing themselves laughing at you over your last comment). If I were you, I'd wind my neck in and take a large dose of "shut the fuck up".

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unfortunately...

          Your world must be tiny.

          What if it's a multinational company? Is the Dallas office going to want to lose an entire day while they wait for some old fuckwit to shuffle in at 9am UK time, is that business going to want to pay a premium to be guaranteed a 30 minute fix after waiting for a day?

          Or, are they going to hire you with the expectation that you can impart your knowledge and experience on to cheaper, younger guys that can work round the clock?

          You daft old twat. As an old guy, you're not there to fix things yourself, you're too fucking slow because you need a good nights sleep to make sure you aren't cranky the next day...you're there to support the youngsters so that you can walk in to the office at 9am and know it's already fixed. Waiting for an old guy to shuffle in at 9am for a "30 minute fix" could cost millions in lost business.

          If the three juniors working overnight can't fix the problem, that's not on them...it's on you, because you didn't train them...not only that, you also wasted a load of money, because of the overtime for the 3 juniors and you wasted a combined 36 hours of peoples time.

          If your firm can't hire juniors because there isn't enough money, take a pay cut to accommodate under the proviso that once you've trained the junior, improved efficiency and decreased downtime and therefore lost business, you want your pay put back.

          If you and your junior have no effect on the bottom line, then you're working for the wrong business...you're old and experienced, by now you should be able to help make decisions that improve the bottom line. You should be in the exec suite, you shouldn't be shouldering support tickets.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Unfortunately...

            Wrong again. I am on callout. I am always there if the call goes out. Haven't missed one yet. I've saved more money for the company I work for (and their customers) than potential offspring you've shot down your toilet (assuming your aim is better than your attitude).

            Now be a good muppet, go shove your head back up your arse and leave the serious stuff to the grown-ups.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfortunately...

        You may well be capable of getting more done than a younger person in isolation...but if 90% of your job only requires 10% of your skill base, why would a business want to employ loads of you, if they can hire even more people that are cheaper that can cover 90% of their job with 90% of their skill base? Just have a few seniors dotted around for the complicated edge case stuff. Better yet, there train up the youngsters?

        Having more skills and capability doesn't necessarily make you the optimal choice from a business standpoint. If I want the walls painted in my living room, I ain't gonna hire "Michaelangelo"...yeah the dude that can paint breathtaking frescos is going to do an amazing job painting my walls a neutral colour...but at the end of the day, I could probably get a result basically identical to that from someone that just paints walls a solid colour all day...they don't need to be capable of producing a fresco to get a satisfactory...and cost effective...result.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfortunately...

        "Pinching pennies and driving down your skills base is a recipe for decline"

        Not if you get rid of the miserable old fuckers that won't / can't train younger engineers and keep the ones that will.

        Young people have to learn from somewhere, otherwise they will never become oldies themselves.

        One capable old guy that can train people with a team of young guys will always be more effective than a team of old guys...because you can combine the skills and experience of an old guy with several young guys that can work longer hours.

        Yes, as oldies, we can probably solve problems quicker than a young guy, but if that problem occurs in the evening, you're waiting 12 hours for that "quick fix"...with some young guys, you can have the oldie solve the problem, and the young guys can implement the solution...it might take them an hour instead of 20 minutes, but you won't be keeping your clients on edge for 12 hours...the CEO can go to sleep knowing the problem is fixed.

        The CEO doesn't give a shit if you can fix the problem in 20 minutes in the morning, the CEO wants the problem fixed before the doors open, preferably now...because when he opens his laptop in the morning, he wants to know that he can get on that call that was booked for first thing with his important customer...he doesn't want to tell them "Don't worry, Old Dave will have it up and running in 20 minutes".

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Unfortunately...

          Yes, as oldies, we can probably solve problems quicker than a young guy, but if that problem occurs in the evening, you're waiting 12 hours for that "quick fix"

          Why do you assume that "oldies" never do shifts or go on the "on call" rota? You seem to have little real world experience.

    5. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately...

      I can understand your viewpoint, but you're missing a few important things

      1) You're severely undercharging. 300 quid a day barely works out as good permie rates (once you factor in all taxes and employee benefits) never mind contracting. You're not either not providing enough money to grow/protect your business, or you're severely under paying your employees. I was being charged out at 650 quid a day not far off thirty years ago and that wasn't excessive. To quote my ex boss 'get big, get niche, or get out'. As a business if you can't charge heavily (but not insultingly) in a niche, you need to change. The businesses you work for are unlikely to be nice, so don't undersell yourself.

      2) The talk about younger keen 'work all the hours' employees vs older ones is a false equivalence. Yes, been there, done that, realised it was abuse and wised up. I'll still do overtime when absolutely necessary, but not when it's an excuse not to resource properly or more importantly architect a system.

      Systems going down outside business hours shouldn't be a thing. If it reoccurs your architecture is broken or insufficiently resourced.

      A lot of getting older is about wising up. If you're being treated well, offered training, and the things you are working on are well resourced all is good - drop any of those and people will either walk or reduce their effort.

      3) People have *always* wanted a solid, fast response. This hasn't changed and is one way a small agile independent firm can win. Larger firms could manage this as well, but the issue is as per 2) they often do not resource teams and technology properly, and they don't train properly.

      Leading on from this, effectiveness as an employee or willingness to learn is not necessarily age related. Yes, when you're young there's generally more enthusiasm and energy before the rest of life gets in the way, but staff that are obsessed with moving on or always choosing the next trendy technology (hello AI, hello new coding techniques) instead of *addressing the actual problem* is age agnostic. I've had to pick up the pieces from both inexperienced younger staff (which is fine), and older staff who really should know better but unfortunately managed to create things in their own little bubble without consideration for others.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately...

        "2) The talk about younger keen 'work all the hours' employees vs older ones is a false equivalence. "

        I can see some truth in this. A younger fresh out may not have a spouse and kids so they have the time to work on call. Somebody a bit older may have more of a family to look after and it's hard to be a parent when rarely awake at home due to lots of out-of-hours work. People will also burn out over time and start seeing the extra money (if any) as not worth the lost sleep and lack of a life.

    6. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately...

      I can get very frustrated when it's obvious that the person I'm calling for support has no experience and only knows how to follow their script/flowchart. Not only don't they have any experience, they have never used the product or anything like it, they've just been trained to follow the script and, if after 20 minutes, the problem isn't solved, escalate the call to a 2nd tier tech which to me means another 20 minute wait on hold until the call drops and I can't dial back in as they are closed now.

      I like being able to reach somebody when I call for service or have them return a call quickly, but all of that is utterly useless if my issue still can't be resolved and it has taken more than an hour with some incompetent manning the phones in another country.

      BTW, A big shout out to BK Precision, maker of electronics test equipment. I picked up some used gear that needed work and they got back to me within 12 hours with schematics and service docs plus direct contact information should I need more assistance. This is old gear but now I'm far more likely to be looking through their catalog the next time I need something they make.

    7. frankyunderwood123

      Struggling with this illogical gibberish...

      ... perhaps it's because I'm an "oldie", I don't quite understand the thrust of the "argument" that this rather odd post presents.

      The first rather large elephant in the room is this bizarre black & white concept of "oldie".

      Last I checked, in my immediate team and also casting the net a little wider, we have a considerably large mix of different ages.

      That's the amazing thing about humans - we can all be different ages at the same time as each other. Crazy, right?

      So, we have developers in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and even sixties.

      Can the OP please tell me at which point any of these groups could be considered "oldies" - and at what age he wouldn't hire one of these "oldies" that charges huge amounts of money?

      39? 49? anyone 55 or older?

      The second elephant in the room (there's a LOT of them), is the strange belief that all "oldies" are making bucket loads of money and want to earn more than those cool hipster young-guns.

      Looking at the company I work at, I 100% know there's software engineers 20 years younger than me on the same salary or higher.

      Heck, there's people 15 years younger than me who are 3 steps higher up the company food chain, probably earning triple my salary.

      That's the amazing thing about humans, we're not all the same. Some humans earn more than others at an earlier age and have more responsibility. Crazy, right?

      I can only assume that OP sees the entire world through the lens of their own experience alone, being unable to grasp anything outside of that tiny little bubble in which they exist.

      In OP's world, there are only awesome young developers earning low wages and slow and rubbish oldies earning lots more.

      What a strange world.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unfortunately...

      "Having said that, I wish I could get away with charging what some of the oldies out there charge. I might actually own a decent car, have some nice holidays and drink fancier beer than the £2.69 for 12 stubbies dreck from Lidl."

      At £375 per day for such a skilled job you really are under selling yourself. If what you deploy will save the client so much money then you could be charging a whole lot more based on the value to them. Your hourly rate is far below many other non-IT trades. IT as an industry isn't valued anymore. You will find in the future that your wage is pushed further down by outsourcing and by other younger, cheaper, people. So you will need to compete on quality and on things you probably haven't considered in your end-to-end model. For example what provision has been made for security, what provision for backups, resilience, regular monitoring, etc, etc. What the "oldies" have learned is that simply installing the tool can be done by most technical people with a little bit of learning. That's not necessarily where the money is and also may not be a complete solution. Just because the client wants something installed doesn't necessarily give them what they actually wanted in a full solution.

      In your specific cases I have not idea whether you are offering a comparable service to the "oldies" (an offensive term to some by the way). But the cost difference is so large then it at least begs the question of what the other company was providing that your cheaper cost isnt'.

  5. Woodnag

    Average?

    Mean or median? If the median is higher than the mean, the distribution is pushed towards old.

    The mean itself doesn't say much, as it can be distorted by extremes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Average?

      If only people knew the difference between averages, means and medians ….

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Average?

        Although not in this case, the people were between 24 and 70, it's not like there were any 10,000 year olds to skew the average.

        I'm not sure (off the top of my head) if an average age of 55 out of 156 and 52 out of 264 is statistically significant depending on the age distribution of the employees

      2. Woodnag

        Re: Average?

        "Average" could be mean, median, or mode. Same answer in a Normal distribution. Definately not in a distribution such as personal assets, where a few very large values (billionaires) skew the mean way up and give a false impression.

        TL;DR If an article says average as opposed to declaring the statistic to be one of mean, median, or mode... then the argument is probably biassed.

        1. Brian 3

          Re: Average?

          It's pretty significant what positions those relatively aged employees had, too. If you fired 50 or 60 18-24 y/o n00bs from the call center, there is a lot of room to fire expensive older staff.

  6. usbac Silver badge

    Wow, the PR droids are getting dumber every day. Calling an attorney a "serial lawsuit filer" is about the same as calling a sanitation worker a "serial trash collector". Can we call PR droids "serial bullshit dispensers"?

  7. Ciril

    Not worth it

    This is exactly why I have actively refused to work for Kyndryl, even when the recruiters were promising everything I could dream of.

    It's not worth slaving away for a corporation that treats you like garbage.

  8. Sparkus

    Watch their ServiceNow practice closely.....

    The 'average age' of the top-15 people ramping up this new division inside of Kyndryl is well over 55.......

  9. Grunchy Silver badge

    I am IBM customer

    I got 3x X3550 blades for $30 apiece at auction, I mean whatr ya gonna do with all that?

    But seriously: I own the product, I am a customer.

    I’d say IBM should listen to my first-hand customer account except I haven’t gotten around to doing anything with em yet?

    They are nice equipment though. Good enough for $30, anyway.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tread your own path

    I quietly planned it for 38 years and achieved it exactly on the target date.

    I invoked early retirement by my own choice and at a time that suited me.

    It actually shocked the boss.

    Marvellous.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Similar to other stories of this ilk - how many of them wanted VR?

    My personal exit plan consists of make it to about 55 with 25 odd years service in the bank and take advantage of a corp reorg to get a fat exit cheque.

    I do intend on carrying on working beyond that, but to do so on picking my own terms and projects because "interesting" rather than because "living costs".

  12. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward Bronze badge
    Joke

    It's Bollocksy Manglement

  13. Ashto5

    Some real oldie hate in here

    Some of what I just read is pretty disappointing young vs old, so very sad.

    I like to “pay down” for the future so I train grads etc to the best I can, but if I thought they thought like some of the posters on here I wouldn’t teach them to wipe their asses.

    You all get old and it comes round too quick.

    Tech changes weekly, so knowing when to step in to it is the key.

    When at an interview I was told the interviewer expected the dev to be a member of many external groups of like minded devs, her face froze when I asked her what external management groups does he belong to.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: Some real oldie hate in here

      It's sounds like some of the posters are angry that us old guys make so much more than they do. I don't make 2-3x what my junior developers make because I'm old, I make that much because I can do things that they can't. They just don't have the experience or confidence to pull it off. But I'm teaching them all I can, then when they are up to speed I'll move on to even harder problems

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    all sounds plausible till

    When people do something difficult and with consequences its amazing how age and experience is suddenly valued. Step forward the medical profession.

    NHS more dangerous place now the oldies took the chance to clear off early. Government crying like bitch to get them back lol.

    You cant even get an appointment to see a doctor even though they are all young and work 5x as fast we are told.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all sounds plausible till

      Something to do with training to become a doctor has been very financially unviable for UK residents for quite some years now. Happens to co-incide with student fees going up to £9,000/year. You can put two and two together to work the rest out.

  15. elawyn

    It's sometimes all that 'other' knowledge that makes tha different too

    As an 'oldie' myself ( 67 years young), I know things that would take young-uns a decade to learn fully.

    Like the mandated regulations under HIPAA ( not just privacy, but also the other three parts. I know Medicare rules for managing part D benefits (which change every 6 months or so, and also Medicaid ( all 50 of them!). I know which states have restrictions on opioid prescriptions and what those restrictions are.

    I know the ANSI X.12 standards too, and how they differ from NCPDP standards.

    I know which two states charge flat sales tax on prescriptions.

    I know what 8521760 means in a numeric field that was badly mapped from a 4 byte EBCDIC alpha field.

    I'm a database designer, and if I get a requirement to add tables or columns that imply breaking 42 USC § 1320d-2 I can stop it before it happens.

    I also know COBOL, which is still heavily used in mainframes.

    I can usually answer client questions about any obscure bit of data on their billing files without needing to refer to ANY documentation. Others have to try to find the documentation and pass it to someone else to interpret what the client *Actually* said.

  16. CarloJ

    It is all to accurate, this company is shedding the older more expensive workers as it claims to be getting back to profitability. Well that's one way to do it.

    They are playing smoke and mirrors with wall street.

    The consulting pipeline is empty for the forward 4-6 months. They are panicking and laying off the front line consultants.

    Seems counter productive if they want to grow the business. But corporate fiduciary responsibility to shareholders is a thing of the past.

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