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Yahoo Lays Off 600; Free Beers and Jobs Flow 164

Posted by kdawson
from the yodeling-all-the-way-to-the-bank dept.
CWmike writes "Yahoo confirmed on Tuesday that it has laid off 600 people, following news reports often based on Twitter messages from employees who had been let go. The layoffs amount to about 4 percent of the company's global workforce, Yahoo said. The company said affected workers are receiving severance packages and outplacement services. Laid-off workers may find some comfort on Twitter, where they are receiving an outpouring of goodwill. One San Francisco brewery is offering a free beer to people from Yahoo who show their termination letters. People with companies including Aprendi Learning, Tucows.com, DirecTV, Combine Couture, OMGPOP.com, and Uptake.com all posted Twitter messages expressing interest in hiring former Yahoo employees. The site Quora is hosting a thread for companies in the San Francisco area interested in hiring laid-off Yahoo workers. So far, there are 14 posts about jobs with companies including Yammer, Mozilla, and Cloudera."
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Yahoo Lays Off 600; Free Beers and Jobs Flow

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  • by reset_button (903303) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:23AM (#34559612)
    Looks like Yahoo! also fired their exclamation point? If only...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:24AM (#34559618)

    What sorts of jobs were lost?

    Were these people programmers, graphics designers, server administrators, network administrators, network technicians and others who actually produce something of value?

    Or were these people involved with "marketing", "project management" and other ill-defined positions that usually just suck resources away from those getting real work done?

    Since the 1970s, there has been a disappointing trend in American corporate culture whereby those who actually do productive work get laid off, while those who fluff around in meetings coming up with "strategy" or putting together "action plans" end up remaining employed the longest. Eventually the company goes under, since it is not actually producing anything of value. I sure hope Yahoo! hasn't gotten sucked into this horrible situation.

    • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:38AM (#34559738)

      What sorts of jobs were lost?

      Were these people programmers, graphics designers, server administrators, network administrators, network technicians and others who actually produce something of value?

      Or were these people involved with "marketing", "project management" and other ill-defined positions that usually just suck resources away from those getting real work done?

      It's easy to dismiss those who don't have a direct impact in developing a project. You've obviously never worked with a good project manager. A good PM is vital to a development team when they do the right thing. And I wouldn't dismiss marketing people either. They might be loathed, but marketing works.

      • by am 2k (217885)

        You've obviously never worked with a good project manager.

        GP's statement being so popular says a lot about what kind of person usually works in such a position. In the end, it's not about what a project manager should do, it's what he/she actually does.

        • by drolli (522659)

          The funny thing is: Project leader/Manager is a fucking hard Job, if done right.

          a) balance the team internally: Stressful because balancing means stepping on somebodies toes.

          b) meet the deadline: stressful because driving the team is stepping on sombodies toes. missing the deadline despite of that mean that management steps on the own toes.

          c) Organize the transition between projects: either involves working twice as much for some time or being seen as a failure.

          Lets be realistic. Nobody wants to do that Job

      • by BVis (267028)

        They might be loathed, but marketing works.

        Then let them work with half as many employees as they need, like every other division in every company in America these days.

        Corporate profits are way up, yet there's no jobs. People are being forced to do the work of two or three, lest they be fired into an (artificially) terrible job market.

        • by sconeu (64226)

          Corporate profits are way up, yet there's no jobs. People are being forced to do the work of two or three

          The second sentence explains the first.

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:43AM (#34561252)

        Is that many people haven't dealt with proper project managers, as in a manager who's job it is to oversee a protect and make everything work. They've dealt with "Project Managers" people who's title is PM and who believe they can attach themselves to any project, no matter how little they know about it, and "manage" it effectively.

        Any project has a manager just because of how it works. Even a one man project, in that case the one guy manages it. For large projects, it is so complex that you need people who do nothing but deal with the management, the logistics, that kind of thing. A project manager, or in some industries a producer. A person who's focus is big picture, making sure everything is working and working to correct problems when they happen. That is valuable. However those people are generally people who are managers of that particular kind of thing. Someone who manages a large programming project effectively is likely just a manager of programmers, and probably has some understanding of how programming works.

        However the people who identify themselves as "Project Managers" who find their role in life is just to manage random projects? Worthless normally. I've dealt with a few indirectly, and have friends who spoken, at great length, about them. They are people who attach themselves to projects in a company. They aren't someone in the normal structure of command, they just kind of slip in. Because of this, they've no real knowledge on any of the things they are doing. They don't understand the project. As such they tend to do useless shit like demand meetings with the developers to "See what you have," even when development is in the stage there is nothing running, or they ask useless questions like "How much time could you save if we skip the testing phase?" or "Let's not worry about what's possible right now." (really, I was in the room for that one). They just regurgitate stuff they learned from a book or a course, presuming it works for anything.

        That seems to be the problem to me. A case of project management is useful but Project Managers are worthless. In my observation, "professional" Project Managers are a role the useless types work themselves in to. They don't have the skills to get themselves an actual management sort of job, they don't have the skills to really do anything, so they get themselves in the nebulous "I can manage any project even if I understand fuck-all about the technology, process, employees, and so on," position. That's where the dislike comes from I think.

        I don't worry when I hear a project has a manager, that just tells me that people have bothered to think about who is in charge, who makes the decisions, who needs to make things run smooth. I worry when a project gets itself a "Project Manager" to "help things out." Someone who had no real involvement and doesn't have a clear position in teh chain of command.

    • by kiwimate (458274) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:01AM (#34559930) Journal

      Were these people programmers, graphics designers, server administrators, network administrators, network technicians and others who actually produce something of value?

      Or were these people involved with "marketing", "project management" and other ill-defined positions that usually just suck resources away from those getting real work done?

      Spoken like a true naively arrogant 16 year old.

      Next time you have to do an upgrade on a live service that is used by millions of people, tell us how it goes without a project manager to define the work breakdown structure, a business analyst to capture functional requirements and produce a traceability matrix, someone to hand hold your valuable clients (you know, the ones who pay the wages?) during the transition...all those other positions that "suck resources away", in your elegant words.

      There are good project managers and poor PMs. There are good BAs and poor BAs. It's one thing to chuck up a small web site with a couple of developers; it's quite another to do this in the real world, where if things go wrong you lose millions of dollars, good will, reputation, and customers.

      • by evanism (600676)
        Poor Kiwimate. An MBA? Accountant/CPA? God forbid, a BA?

        Curse those 16 YO's my friend, they will own you and be paying you within 10 years. I guarantee it.
      • by DarkOx (621550)

        well its been my experience as time wares on that PMs, and BAs are getting farther and farther removed from the technical side. I have been in the industry about 10 years and when I started most of the BAs and PMs had at one time been programmers or admins themselves. They may have been doing the business side functions for awhile and might not have been educated in the latest technologies. They might have been COBOL programmers when we were using C++ and Java for instance, or former VAX guys while we we

      • Maybe such a thing as a "Good" project manager exists, but I have yet to meet them. The best managers of a project have been the technical leads who's asses and reputations are on the line, not someone who's title is project manager.

        It's been my experience that those with the title of project manager are there to act as an interface between management ( who doesn't like dealing with the techs directly ) and the techs themselves. This barrier in communication does more to complicate projects than it does t

        • by dlgeek (1065796)
          At my very first internship, I was at a small startup which was growing pretty fast. My mentor had been running my (very small, ~4 person) team because no one else was there to do so. However, he was one of the most senior engineers in the company and that took up a huge part of the day. A couple months into the internship, an experienced industry guy was brought on to run the team. My mentor's productivity soared because his meeting load plummeted, as did his load of "extra work". The manager was also spea
      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Mod parent up and grandparent down. Grandparent believes that running a business only requires people who do actual 'work'. Try run an org like yahoo with 14100 programmers, designers, admins, techies...etc. Grandparent is the type of people that believes he and his buddy can write a SaaS application, throw it on the web and believes that it will sell itself.
      • PMs are like PR, except on a micro level.

        A good one will stay behind the scenes, make YOU look good while their bosses are watching in on whatever trickery you're doing.

    • Management isn't about to fire themselves...

      Think of parasites slowing killing its host.

      OK maybe I am just having a bad day.

    • Don't you mean..."Or were these people involved with "marketing", "project management" and other jobs I can't do so it doesn't affect me?"

      Fixed that for you...

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      I can't believe the moronic lack of basic business knowledge shown on slashdot.

      If a company could cut 100% of its administrative staff, it would fucking do it tomorrow. In reality, even a small company needs someone to do bookkeeping, answer phone queries, deal with tax and other authorities, ensure compliance with health and safety laws, order coffee and take minutes at meetings, etc. etc. etc..

      The same goes for what you call "marketing" and "project management" - do you really think companies just de

  • by wjousts (1529427) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:42AM (#34559774)

    People with companies including Aprendi Learning, Tucows.com, DirecTV, Combine Couture, OMGPOP.com, and Uptake.com all posted Twitter messages expressing interest in hiring former Yahoo employees.

    Great idea! I'm sure Yahoo laid-off all their best people first.

    • Re:Hiring? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by chemicaldave (1776600) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:46AM (#34559802)

      People with companies including Aprendi Learning, Tucows.com, DirecTV, Combine Couture, OMGPOP.com, and Uptake.com all posted Twitter messages expressing interest in hiring former Yahoo employees.

      Great idea! I'm sure Yahoo laid-off all their best people first.

      And I'm sure Yahoo doesn't hire just anybody off the street. It takes someone skilled to get hired at a big tech company like Yahoo. Obviously these offers are indicative of others' confidence.

      • I've also seen many good employees let go because the choice in who was laid off was based primarily on salary and cost savings to the company rather than skill. It also kind of makes you want to punch people in the throat when you're one of the people who was kept during those lay offs, although I guess knowing that you're the underpaid guy who management may or may not see as any good beats being the unpaid guy in the end.
        • If conditions were that bad, I wouldn't rule out leaving and working for one of the other companies. Sure, that doesn't help your character, but if the interest is already there...
        • by bberens (965711)
          Generally speaking the people who are left behind to pick up the pieces have a harder time than the people who were laid off. The unemployed mourn and then move on. The people left behind take years to get over the stress of extra work and the depression caused by wondering if you're next.
      • by wjousts (1529427)

        First, all companies make a few bad hiring decisions. Just because you managed to slip your way past a Yahoo interview doesn't mean you're any good. Secondly, if you need to cut 4% of your workforce, you start with the least productive 4%.

        There is an exception to this which is when a company decides they are no longer going to work on X and they lay-off everybody who was working on that. In that case very talented people who are very good at X may get laid-off because the company's not doing X anymore. Of c

    • by XLazarusX (534555)

      Some companies do lay off their best people. A company gets too big, and the person cutting heads is completely disconnected from the people they're cutting, so they have no idea what the person contributes, just what their salary is.

      At my former company, only the most junior people with very low salaries are still there. They no longer innovate, and can barely maintain existing systems. Apparently it looks good to shareholders in the short-term when they cut expenses.

      • by bberens (965711)
        In my experience it generally comes down as "Your department must lose X headcount or X salary." and then relatively lower level management makes the final decision. I'm sure there's exceptions but if the CEO/board is making low level personnel decisions then you've got bigger problems at your company.
        • by wjousts (1529427)
          That would be more in line with what I've seen. A department head is told their budget must be cut by $X, so they should look at who they can do without.
          • Yeah, I've seen that as well. The injustice there is somewhat limited, because if the department head is in tune with what each individual is contributing they will be focusing on how to hit the budget goal while limiting the loss of capable staff. They are free to cut the people who are overpaid for what they produce.
    • by Xest (935314)

      I was going to ask this too, I don't want to sound overly harsh, but why prioritise recruitment of what are quite possibly the bottom 4% of people from a company that's plummeted to about half it's previous worth in just a few years?

      Wouldn't you be just as likely to find good talent by recruiting in general and hence possibly tempting over the ones who didn't get laid off and are hence possibly more capable rather than specifically targetting these folk who did?

      Is this a recruitment drive based on sentiment

      • by BVis (267028)

        I think it's pretty obvious. The unemployed are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to things like negotiating salary. If you're hiring someone that's employed, IN GENERAL (not always) you have to meet or beat their current salary. If you're hiring someone without a current job, anything looks better than unemployment benefits, so you can pay them less than you would have to otherwise. Makes business sense, even if it is soulless and cruel. (I find that a lot of things that make 'business sense' a

        • by wjousts (1529427)
          It makes sense if all (other) things are equal which, of course, it never is. The person who is currently employed might cost you more (because you have to tempt them away from their current employer with better pay / benefits) but they might be a more talented and useful worker which is why their current employer is holding on to them.
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      I always have this dream, where the first one to be laid-off, is the one that came up with the idea of laying-off.
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      There is always this perception that being laid-off later somehow means you are better. Personally I've even profited from that perception once. The truth is though that companies operate typically in a very short-sighted manner. Working on a vital project is a much better protection against layoffs than personal skill. Even worse - sometimes a company starts a challenging project, pulls in the best people from everywhere to work on it, and then runs out of cash and lays them off.

      Also having specialized i

      • by wjousts (1529427)

        Also having specialized in-company knowledge is a good way to stay employed - particularly knowing how to maintain badly-coded dinosaur applications.

        Pro Tip: Be the one to create the badly-coded dinosaur in the first place and you can cruise all the way to retirement telling junior coders that they just aren't smart enough to appreciate your genius design!

        • by Asic Eng (193332)
          That's really not such a great idea - companies come and go, and the dinosaur ties your fortunes to that one company. Better stay out of company-specific crap and keep your skill-set up to date.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:08AM (#34559972)
    Yahoo is like RadioShack, they've been in business forever, dumped everything that was cool about their service years ago and it's a marvel how they stay open despite having nothing that anyone really wants anymore.
    • by macraig (621737)

      Yahoo still has a services contract with AT&T (formerly SBC, formerly Pacific Telesis, formerly Pacific Bell *sigh*), presumably, which is probably responsible for 90% of its income these days.

  • Been seeing these ads myself on Craigslist and really don't understand it. The place is a cube farm, and while I know there's some knowledgeable people there, I highly doubt the braintrust in this layoff has any real appeal. Also, I know for a fact that they OVER HIRED from 2004 - 2007 because I was getting up to 5 calls a day from on-site and 3rd party recruiters for Yahoo, to the point that I wrote them a letter asking them to place me on whatever list they had for non-interested parties. That request actually did seem to work since the calls ceased. But it was common knowledge that they were hiring pretty much any warm body they could get their hands on.

    If anything, I'd probably steer clear of these laid-off workers since I'm pretty sure it's a separation of the wheat from the chaff. With the sort of hiring practices they engage in, picking up a bunch of sub-par workers is all but assured and it's only wise to jettison them when you no longer have a need for extra warm bodies or need to make room for new candidates to take their place

  • Yahoo? they still exist? I remember them in 1996 and they were big, but I assume they went broke/bust/irrelevant/trivial/unneeded in 1990.

    Seriously, these guys should have dies 5 years ago.
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon is offering free beer to anyone still working at AltaVista.

  • One San Francisco brewery is offering a free beer to people from Yahoo who show their termination letters.

    Just ONE free beer? What happens when that initial buzz wears off and his wallet is still empty? Poor bastard.

  • Just in time for the Holidays!! Ah. Brings back memories!
  • by e3m4n (947977) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:32AM (#34561122)
    what's with these corporate assholes that always choose the one time of the year that everyone has the highest financial burden to start downsizing/firing/laying people off? Why can't they make these decisions in April? or August?
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      Because they are genuinely that short-sighted. Q4 is shorter, so income drops. That's well-known, but financial circles are really so stupid that this is seen as bad news. Companies react by somehow trying to cut costs, no matter how dearly they'll end up paying for that cost-cutting in Q1. This goes from the typical "no pencil buying" to reducing business trips (resulting in wasted work and slower time to market). In one particular case my company delayed tapeout of a chip. Making masks for a chip is expen
    • what's with these corporate assholes that always choose the one time of the year that everyone has the highest financial burden to start downsizing/firing/laying people off? Why can't they make these decisions in April? or August?

      Because, with the tax year ending in a couple of weeks, it keeps the books neat. And frankly, if this is your highest financial burden time of the year, that's your own choice.

      • It's burdensome not just because of going on vacation or buying shit for your family, but also because nobody is hiring in the holiday season, because everybody else is going on their vacations.

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      Could be worse, my last company let me go on my birthday... Try to get happy about that... Total waste of party...

  • I've been using yahoo as primary email for a long time, shortly not long after it's rolled out (mid/late 90s? after mail.com 'promises' of free email and then backtrack the decision). It's been ubiquitous and very good for a long time. Last few years it's be acting up a lot a with unexplainable downtime and errors, and especially this email upgrade is just bad. The new interface and whatnot are simply unintuitive and not up to par with many bugs (e.g. after a few click you always see junk mailbox instea
  • One San Francisco brewery is offering a free beer to people from Yahoo who show their termination letters.

    I see a huge business opportunity there - www.yahooterminationletters.com

  • Let's tag this "after work party".

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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