Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thinking like the big shots

Employee parrots

While my previous job winded down, it became too boring to discuss here. PB apologizes for the funk.

But one of my last activities was a course for project management, that was mostly notable for the sad things PB heard during group participation activities. Groups were formed to solve various hypothetical problems using project management techniques, and the assumptions that each group displayed would have Eugene Debs rolling in his grave.

99 out of 100 people in this industry (my unofficial estimate) have completely swallowed the Kool-Aid concerning lay-offs. The industry line: "We will try to find a place for everyone who has been displaced by this action (outsource) but we can't make guarantees." Of COURSE they could. They just choose not to. But the PM class participants who had to lay off people as part of their exercise didn't consider any alternatives. And they're all on the chopping block themselves. Shameful brainwashing.

PB has executive sympathy? Yeah, kinda.

There was also a recent, unspoken yet clearly discernible frustration voiced by our execs, and I actually found myself in agreement with them. Following continued 30% and above year after year profits, our stock has gone nowhere. Our industry profits were barely touched by last years recession, and indeed gave big pharma huge opportunities to gobble up smaller firms with new technologies and drug candidates. So, what's with the plummeting stock prices? Our execs are required to meet with fund managers, Wall Street analysts, and so forth, to describe our business, and explain how they will continue to make their reliable profits. How about some of those investment gurus explaining THEIR business to US for a change. Hell, at least we manufacture stuff that people still buy. They just lose tens of billions (Mr Potter secretly pocketed it all at the bank!) and get bail-outs.

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