INTERESTING: Corporations shift their IT costs

The End Of The BlackBerry Elite
Dan Woods, 04.20.10, 06:00 PM EDT
Companies are increasingly allowing workers to use their personal smartphones for work.

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And now that smartphones are relatively inexpensive and many workers own one, companies are encouraging employees to use their personal phones for work. One retail executive told me that most of his employees were eager to use their personal phones to stay in touch with work e-mail, and some workers could be reimbursed for their phone and texting charges.

Increasingly, companies are attempting to bring personally owned smartphones into the fold of corporate IT, which in practice usually means providing access to MS Exchange or Lotus Notes. This fits into the vision of Organic IT in which corporate IT is delivered through personal technology.

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This brings up some interesting questions like ownership, liability, wage ‘n’ hour, and exhaustion. All questions that the CxOs really don’t want to recognize.

When corporate data leaks onto an employee device with the corporations blessing, who owns it? Customer lists take to a competitor by a job changing employee leaps to mind.

What are the liability issues with agreeing to this? An employees answers a email while driving and crashes defends with “the boss made me do it”.

If an employee has to support “off-hours”, what’s the wage ‘n’ hour implications?

If an employee is exhausted and burnt out, what is the costs of the mistakes and replacing them?

And I’m not even a lawyer; just a fat old white guy injineer who has had to “do” it.

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JOBSEARCH: A relo is a test of faith?

Conan O’Brien will definitely leave ‘Tonight Show’
Published Monday, January 11, 2010, 2:43 PM

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“Conan uprooted his family, his life and moved to Los Angeles and they have not given him enough time” the friend said. “It is outrageous what they have done to him.” O’Brien’s family is extremely upset that the massive lifestyle change they made and the new responsibility O’Brien assumed has been taken so lightly by NBC.

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It certainly is a good lesson to anyone considering a corporate relo deal.

I remember one fellow getting axed as his plane was enroute from Sweden to Houston and he was so screwed.

To relo, you MUST HAVE a contract. History is replete with lessons. If they won’t give you one, how can you trust them?

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MONEY: “pension plans” an idea that’s time has passed

JCP&L denies full pension to former employee’s widow
by Karin Price Mueller/The Star-Ledger
Monday April 06, 2009, 9:00 PM

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How much is 17 hours of your life worth? It’s a question widow Brenda Slutter has been wrestling with for years.

Her husband, Ron Slutter, worked for Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) for nearly 36 years. He died of cancer at age 58. Knowing his death was imminent, Ron made arrangements to retire, a move that would allow his wife to receive the largest possible company pension benefit after his death. He was told by JCP&L, his widow said, that his official retirement date had to be on the first of the month — but died 17 hours and 40 minutes before the paperwork was finalized.

Thanks to a tangle of bureaucratic rigidity, legal fine print and the timing of her husband’s death, Brenda, 59, receives only half the pension benefit her husband meant for her to receive.

“If January only had 30 days, he would have made it,” Brenda said.

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Bamboozled contacted JCP&L to talk about the case, but the company wouldn’t discuss any particulars.

“We respect the privacy of all of our employees and do not publicly discuss or disclose any personal information,” said Ronald Morano, spokesman for First Energy, the parent company of JCP&L. “We work diligently to ensure that our employees and their families understand their benefits and the options available to them.”

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Brenda Slutter isn’t surprised by the company’s response, and she’s not giving up her fight.

“This is not how you reward someone for doing an excellent service for your company,” she said. “I guess First Energy needs half of my husband’s pension more than I do.”

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Argh! May I suggest that the various state and federal agencies be prompted to audit the JCP&L and it’s pension plan? Tell me that retirement dates haven’t been adjusted for the executives.

This brings me to why do we have pension plans at all. People should be paid out for their full worth and allowed to make their own arrangements.

It’s a shame to see anyone get screwed.

Pensions and “benefits” came about as a result of the gooferment’s wage and price controls of WW2. Does anyone think we still need the distortion?

Gooferment is the root of all evil.

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MONEY: Pensions are at risk! (Updated)

U.S. companies face $409 billion pension deficit: study
    * Wednesday January 7, 2009, 5:35 pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Volatile markets have saddled U.S. companies with a $409 billion deficit on pension plans, reversing a $60 billion surplus a year earlier, and will cut into earnings in 2009, consulting firm Mercer said.

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Put aside the obviously corrupt Enron-type organizations like the State of New Jersey, GM (who wags call “a sick insurance company that happens to make cars”), and the other “captive of union contracts” companies, that make no pretension of even trying to honestlly fund their pension obligations.

This presents a problem for both companies and all of their pensioners. If the company doesn’t make money, the federal Pension Guaranty fund will eventually be saddled with it. Think the Delta pilots getting screwed.

(You weren’t still living in the illusionary world of the “gold watch” era. Were you? Where “companies” felt a moral obligation for the promises they made. Silly rabbit. That went down the drain with all the other ethos that made America great.)

So if you are owed a pension obligation, you better get vocal.

Better yet, like the Social Security Ponzi scheme, plan for it to not be there. It probably won’t!

Sad, but true.

You can only count on the gold coins in your back yard for your “retirement fund”. And then you have to pray you don’t get Alzheimer’s and forget where you buried them.


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John Celenza on Facebook commented: “But haven’t pensions always been at risk? Invested as they were in stock. duh.”

My response:

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No, there is risk. And there is gambling. Back in the “gold watch” era companies, like AT&T and IBM, incorporated subsidiaries whose whole job was to pay those pensions. (That prevented things like Delta pilots getting screwed.) They staffeded it with execs nearing retirement to watch the pot. And they took it as a moral obligation to pay those and fully funded them. In IBM’s case, I know they over funded them to be certain. I suspect AT&T did the same thing. Today, it’s completely different. It’s gambling.  Except where there is not even a pretense of doing the right thing, that’s just fraud. imho!

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JOBSEARCH: Recent advice to a new “turkey”

— In MyVirtualPowerForum, I wrote:

> > Jackie,
> > If I were you,
> > FIRST: I’d PUT JACKIE FIRST – I’m aware that this position may be

With all due deference, politeness, and know I may upset the tender sensibilities of the readers …

Dear Ms. Jackie:


They have just “voted you off the island” and your worried about doing a good job for them?

Are you NUTS?

Yeah, you want your thirty days of continuing paychecks, BUT, (there is always a big butt), you have to “look out for Numero Uno.

You need to do a “wet ware control alt delete”. Force Quit all the obsolete notions of employment loyalty of yesteryear. (“I love you my company. You my company love me. Oh how happy we will be … as you send me over Niagara falls sans barrel.”) Don’t sing the company song on the way to the firing squad.

You have a long road to travel. I’ve been down it 6 times and am currently going down it. The “trash-situation-transition road”. Been there, done that, and have the tshirt. And the scars to show for it.

By way of help:

(1) I have a “turkey farm” (that what job seekers are) (Me included!) Feel free to browse and “steal” anything useful.

(2) Feel free to LINKEDIN to me “reinkefj”. Send me an invite.

(3) Listen to VW’s sage advice. (VW: I’d have said “assess financial status” first. Then get working. Need to know how close this shave is going to be.)

(4) Browse the state unemployment website NOW. On company time. They have a check for you. Understand exactly when you can get it and what you have to do for it. They don’t make it easy. But it’s gotten easier over the years. I know personally!

(5) DON’T spend money for “job search” help without vetting it here FIRST. I know the WSAs, the “get a job fast” industry, and “work at home” “barbara streisand” is VERY attractive but it’s designed to separate you from your money and it wastes your time and attention. You may need help with a resume. But that is NOT your immediate need. And, that is relatively cheap. (The good ones that is. Some are overpriced at any price because you do all the work.)   I don’t want to overload you with too much, but you need to quickly reorient yourself to the real world, figure out your Life’s Goals, define your Unique Value Proposition (I see everyone rolling their eyes!) to state what you are going to do to release value, and your Unique Sales Proposition (More eye rolling, I see) to state how you are going to “sell” yourself. Then get going.

Feel free to use me or my stuff or my network. And remember these lessons forever. Unfortunately, too many of our fellow turkeys fall into that old thinking immediately after they land.

We are a nation of “consultants” now. Very short term ones at that!

Best of luck,
the big fat old turkey hisself

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PRODUCTIVITY: Leaders empower their people  

Tuesday, December 09, 2008
The Best Email of the Day Award

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…Goes to Peter Clayton, producer/host of Total Picture Radio. It needs no further commentary from me as it eloquently speaks for itself. Good on ‘ya Peter.

“Capital goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s well treated.” Walter B. Wriston

Dear Dave,

When “The Citi Never Sleeps” ad campaign was first launched in 1978, Walter Wriston was running the place, and the motto had real meaning. Wriston was highly regarded, as was the institution he lead. Citibank / Citicorp was a cherished brand by its employees and a respected competitor in the financial services industry. Citibank had a unique, authentic, brand identity

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According to David, “82% of shareholder value is intangible.” According to John, one-third of all shareholder value is attributed to “brand.
“So here’s an idea I’d like your help with: If we could find 24,000 Citibank employees willing to donate $10 each into a fund to “keep the trains running,” it might give the employees of this beleaguered institution something to be proud of, and smile about. I bet through Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, and Facebook we could mobilize enough Citibankers to take up the cause. Next year, the Holiday Trains at Citigroup Center exhibit could be “In memory of Walter B. Wriston.” The fund could be set-up as an old-fashioned “Christmas Savings Account.”
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Dave always finds the great challenging ideas. Worth every nickel of my free RSS subscription.
It is clear that the current crop of “leaders” isn’t worth the power to blow them over. Poof! They’re gone. Gone; absconding with the salary, bonus, options, perks, and benefits. (I laffed at the Ford guy taking a $1/year! If the Congress MYOBed and Ford had to do Chapter 11, he could wave “bye” to his stock and options.)
It’s sad that “leaders” are so dishonest.
The time of large corporations is so OVER!
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MONEY: Might your employer be at fault for your 401k loss?

October 11, 2008 Your 401k Plan – Breach of Fiduciary Duty? Posted by Karen DeCoster at October 11, 2008 06:24 AM

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Some friends and family have asked me to advise them on their choice of investments because they are down – an obvious point – in their 401k plans. A bit late, and there’s not much you can do anyways. But …prior to the meltdown, so few people were really willing to understand and believe that there was a financial storm in their future.

* and *

While snooping around, I immediately noticed something in this Wachovia plan that is epidemic nowadays. There is absolutely no option to invest in something that is low in risk. Typically, if you are predicting that the market will go South (as I have been for years), you’d look for a 100% US T-Bill option in your 401k, even if you only park it there in the short term. However, this person’s plan had absolutely no low-risk option whatsoever.

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I know that everyone TRIES to keep liability at arm’s length from the business.

BUT, (there is always a big butt),

in this case, I think there may be a claim that has some merit against the employer and the fund company.

In my younger days, I would sneer at derision at “guaranteed return” offerings. I still do.

(Look at all those “safe” bond funds who have Lehman bonds in their portfolio, and tell me about safe! Money market funds as well. Icelandic banks. Inet banks. Yada, yada, yada!)

If a 401k has no “guaranteed” offering, I suspect that a claim could be made and imho would be paid off quietly.


Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, CPA, or even “thin, young, and handsome” any more. (Any More?)

Get me on the jury, present me with a good case, and I find for the “little guy” all the time.

Just my nickel’s work. (Two cents after inflation?)

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