What I was up to on my last day at IBM

Yesterday, Friday, the 13th was my last working day at IBM.  IBM really do not want you to work on your last day.  When I arrived at work I was no more authorized to use my email and some other IBM systems.  ILC was still working and I had to do that …yes you not going to get away with not doing your ILC.

I did my last paperwork and then handed back all I had to hand back.  The office then got together and said good-bye .. thanks Herman and Alex for the speech.  I was handed this massive card – the photo does not do it justice.

Good-bye Card

and the inside was full of personal messages (and a gift card for some gadget buying) – thanks guys & gals, I will treasure it.

Card - inside

I then said my good-bye’s, which took a while and was out of the office by 10:30.  Met up with a friend for some vida coffee and just sit in the sun and chat.

Then drove through to the V&A Waterfront and met up with another friend who is in town for the weekend from Pretoria.  It was such a gorgeous day that we again sat outside, had some drinks and just chatted away.  It is always so good to meet up with close friends from far away whom one only see once or twice in the year.  The time is never enough to catch up.

Drove through the Stellenbosch in the afternoon to go pick up my son from varsity.  The 2 of us then went to The Dros in Willowbridge for some drinks and just catch up on each others life.  Was so good to sit down with him and get to know what is going on in his life.  

Was a great day spending time with dear friends and my son.  Now a couple of days off not thinking at all about any work since I am actually unemployed until I start my new job on Wednesday, the 18th.

One Chapter comes to an end, and another start – new work.

In a week’s time I will be officially unemployed for a couple of days .. luckily only a couple of days.  It is that small period after leaving my current job at IBM and start my new job.

Next Friday, 13 August will be my last day at IBM after almost 5 years at IBM.  Working for one of the biggest companies in the world is an experience in itself.  I have learned so much over these past 5 years.  Working in virtual teams with people from over the world is something one has to learn and experience.  IBM have managed to do that mostly right.  But working for IBM can also be very frustrating.  It is like a bureaucratic government organization where the wheels turn very slowly.  It is process and procedure upon process and procedure.  Everything gets double and triple checked. 

Then I will be unemployed for a whole 4 days – can I go stand in the queue for UIF 🙂 I will be starting at AAPM (All About Project Management) on the 18th as Development Manager.  Looking forward in getting back to my roots per se .. working with a group of techies doing software development.  As most of you know, I am a techie by hart and it will be great to plow back my experience from on of the biggest companies to a smaller niche company that specializes in Project Management software and tools.

The thing about social networking and the global world we live and work in means that the people I have met at IBM will not just disappear.  All of them are someway connected via Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn or some other network.

4 day week — I can live with that.

According to this article on NewScientist

The four-day week could boost employment, save energy and make us happier.

If one really think about this, it makes a lot of sense.  In the state of Utah, they actually experimented with it and energy fell by 13% and employees were much happier, even though they worked the same amount of hours in the week. 

Now I just wonder if my company, IBM will allow me to do this.  Then again we can in any case work from home if and when it suits us.  It is a known fact that around the world, IBM only has office space and desks for about 50% of their staff.  The rest, either work on customer sites or at home.

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What you need to know about Project Management.

Project Management Truths:

  • A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager.
  • Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.
  • If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.
  • Everyone asks for a strong project manager – when they get him they don’t want him.
  • Overtime is a figment of the naïve project manager’s imagination.
  • Quantitative project management is for predicting cost and schedule overruns well in advance.
  • Good project managers know when not to manage a project.
  • All project managers face problems on Monday mornings – good project managers are working on next Monday’s problems.
  • Metrics are learned men’s excuses.
  • For a project manager overruns are as certain as death and taxes.

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I have not blogged in a while but am still alive (well, I am breathing 🙂 )

Firstly I do not have much to say at the moment.  Am going through some things and have to make some decisions which can go any direction depending on the day.

At work I have started on a new journey, it is a area that is totally new to me and a whole new learning experience.  Almost starting from zero at the age of 50, who would have believed.  Currently the job involves being on the phone most of the day with people in US and India and they being a couple of time-zones apart, is a real challenge.

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Will the IBM/SUN deal happen?

I have not said anything about the said deal yet.  I have just read an InfoWorld article by Neil McAllister and must say that I agree with him.  This deal would be good for IBM and so more for us that work in the Application Development area within IBM. 

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IBM to cut 5000 jobs in America!

The current economic market is more bad than worse that is forcing not only small organizations but also the giant organizations to cut out the work force. IBM, one of the leading groups, is about to cut 5000 jobs in USA.

The job cuts will account for over 4 percent of IBM’s U.S. workforce, which totaled around 115,000 at the end of 2008. An International Business Machines Corp spokesman declined to comment. The company, which had a total workforce of 398,455 as of end 2008, has not disclosed how many jobs it has cut so far this year, but has said it was making “structural changes” to reduce spending and improve productivity.

IBM, which now earns around two-thirds of its revenue from outside the United States, has been expanding its workforce in emerging markets like India and China.At the end of 2008, employment in the BRIC countries that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China with a total of around 113,000.

I hope this does not split over to South Africa.  It is unlikely since IBM seen SA as a Growth Market and is investing lots on money into this region.

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From 2 Windows XP machines to 3 Ubuntu machines

Around September last year I got a new work laptop – Lenovo T60.  IBM, for whom I work, gives one the choice of what OS to run on the desktop ie Windows or some Linux flavor. Oh and some people actually do run Macs also.  The Linux is either Red Hat, Fedora, OpenSuse or Ubuntu.  My choice was Ubuntu.

Getting Ubuntu installed and running with all I need to get my job done within IBM took about 40 minutes.  Inside IBM we have our own APT repositories with various layer packages that install the appropriate packages and applications to get everything up and going.

Now about 5 months later I have no regrets.  Having a working machine in about 30 seconds after boot is just great.  No more BSOD’s, viruses and/or trojans to really worry about and just a more stable and productive envirionment.

At home I also had Windows XP on some very old hardware that ran very slow.  Since my laptop experience was so good, I decided, what the hell, lets totally get rid of Windows.  Now my machine at home is also running Ubuntu and it is doing it so much faster than before.  In the mean time I got another desktop and this is runing Kubuntu

To be honest, I have not gotten used to Kubuntu so I do not know how long my second machine is going to run Kubuntu.  I just prefer Ubuntu and finding my way around it, is just so much easier.  And the fact that Dropbox does not work on Kubuntu is a real pain.  Oh and not being able to share my floders on Kubuntu with my Ubuntu machine is not great either.  To be honest I did not really try to find a solution for this yet so it is probaly only something stupid I did or did not do.

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