Bobby Wipes Out on The Slopes

SAN MATEO (04/10/2000) - I should have known better.

My ski trip was going great; I was wearing my T-shirt and jeans and enjoying wonderful spring skiing conditions with no "mashed potatoes" snow in site. Then it happened.

Some little 8-year-old with a hat straight out of Dr. Suess came whizzing out of the trees and took me out. My knee is tweaked, and I'm out of commission for three to four weeks.

It's a good thing my job doesn't require a lot of movement, although I may have to send Madison out into the field a few times in my place.

Moving on down

Some of the workers at a few Silicon Valley giants are going to experience some increased movement, though.

I guess the New Economy that President Clinton, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates discussed last week in Washington is taking a toll on old-time tech companies.

Sun Microsystems is planning to outsource some of its IT operations to AT&T. To keep those who are considered "key" employees on the job until after the "transition period," March 24 to Nov. 24, Sun is offering them a retention bonus of 25 percent of their salaries for the period.

On March 24, Sun sent a letter to those bonus recipients, which included information as to when their termination dates would be.

Employees who aren't getting the bonus didn't get letters at all. The company figures if these people leave during the transition, the project won't suffer so why pay them them extra for it? And they can just take a guess as to their termination date.

Xerox, another Valley big boy, also recently announced a restructuring that will eliminate 5,200 jobs across the entire corporation. Outsourcing is part of Xerox's plans, too.

And according to internal documents from the company, only employees in the sales and direct research and development departments will be exempt from the axe. The company plans to eliminate 10 percent of the middle and upper management jobs in the United States. I guess some of those jobs duplicated others. ...

Similar things are going on at 3Com since the Palm spin-off. Many employees report being moved to other companies, including Motorola, as part of the networking company's restructuring to focus on growth businesses.

Obligatory Win2000 bashing

More reports are coming in about software and systems that don't support Windows 2000. One reader reports that Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions, aka Bell, does not support Windows 2000 using any manufacturer's modem. Guess who the company is blaming for the problems. A hint: It's a Redmond, Wash., company.

Another reader wrote that Adobe PageMaker 6.52 wouldn't print reliably under Win2000. He decided that it was time to move on and upgrade to Adobe's new publishing product, InDesign. Well, big surprise; it's not considered an upgrade. Adobe told him to either pay $699 to get InDesign or to stop using Windows 2000.

WITH ALL THIS DOWNSIZING, maybe I'll be able to afford buying a house in Silicon Valley soon.In the meantime, I'll be taking it easy here and resting my knee. Madison has been bringing me fresh, hot coffee all morning. Maybe she doesn't really need to go out into the field. ...

Is your company restructuring you? Tell me about it at

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