Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, July 25, 2014

Microsoft Lays Off 18,000 Employees Based Not On Performance Or Worth To The Company, But By Algorithm

The people going after teacher tenure and seniority protections always claim that they want these gone so that when layoffs come, teachers can be retained based upon performance and value, not time with the district.

But according to one former employee, Microsoft - the company founded by one of the major opponents to teacher protections, Bill Gates - just let 18,000 people go randomly:

At the end of last week, Microsoft laid off 18,000 employees — some were laid off in a terribly insensitive memo written by Microsoft executive, Stephen Elop.

One of those fired employees was Jerry Berg, who worked at the company for 15 years as a software developer. Berg or “Barnacules” is also the creator of a popular YouTube channel, “Nergasm.” On Sunday, he took to YouTube to explain the devastating layoff and what losing Microsoft’s very comprehensive insurance plan means to his autistic son.


Berg stated, that the layoffs did not appear to be based on performance or worth to the company, and he jokingly speculates that an algorithm may have had a role.
“Somehow, some algorithm put me on a list, and that was the end of it,” Berg explained. “I’d like to think that I was probably laid off by a computer. A computer put me on a list for whatever reason and sent me packing.”

Berg says that some who were laid off were "people I know have personally saved the Windows project countless times" - nonetheless, out they went, with a severance package and key card access revoked as of Sunday.

Berg says his severance package was generous and will give him a few months to transition to new work but

That's very little consolation when you think about how many years you put into that company.  And it's one thing if you're a bad performer. If you're a bad performer and you're not doing much for the company, that's one thing. But I had a unique set of skills that I had honed over the years. I know a lot of the systems, a lot of the infrastructure, I've made myself a place, I've made myself a permanent fixture at Microsoft and somehow some algorithm just put me on a list and that was the end of it. Nobody went and looked at my track record, nobody went and looked at my performance, nobody went and figured out, 'Wait a second, this guy could be an asset elsewhere in the company, we should move him!" It was just easier for them to cut everybody that was on the list.

Think about all of this the next time you hear Gates or any of the other prominent corporate reformers talk about how important it is that districts be given the ability to lay off based upon "performance."

You can see Berg's full You Tube video below:

1 comment:

  1. Of the people Microsoft let go, I wonder how many were key nodes for knowledge transfer/innovations?