Oracle Laying Off Friends

    January 11, 2005

Usually I don’t post stuff that’s off topic but this calls for it. For those of you that don’t know, Oracle is merging with PeopleSoft and there are going to be massive layoffs on Friday.

I use to work at Oracle in Orlando Florida. It was my first job out of college and I worked in the Fixed Assets ERP Support team. Since my degree is in accounting it made a lot of sense for me to get my feet wet in the technology arena at a company that allowed me to leverage my accounting background. So Oracle was the best fit at the time.

During my first 2 months there I was in what we called “boot camp“. A rigorous training program all new hires went through to get us up to speed on Oracle’s financial systems and everything required to install, setup, run and support those systems. It was pretty intense but I loved every minute of it. Plus, how many times do you start a job and get to go to 2 months of training and get paid to boot?

In addition, it allowed us newbies to form packs. These weren’t deliberate but after bootcamp we all kind of checked up on each other to share horror stories and give moral support.

Little did I know, after the bootcamp process was over we were going to be thrown to the wolves. Basically we were paired with a mentor that didn’t have enough time to handle the TARs (technical assistance requests) they had in their own queue, much less teach a newbie how to do their job.

Needless to say, there were many a time when all of us newbies were extremely frustrated and felt like quitting, usually multiple times a day. Then we’d pull it together and go back into our queues of TARs and do what we could. Knowing that if we had problems and went to one of the senior folks on the team we would be humiliated in front of our coworkers for not knowing how to do our job. This humiliation seemed joyful for some of the senior technical analysts.

I remember one individual vividly to this day. He loved working on the most difficult problems because he knew he could solve them if he had enough time, and he usually did have enough time since his family wasn’t in the country. But if I would try to get his assistance with a difficult issue or if I needed the answer to a question he would explode.

These explosions almost always happened when I asked him to get on the phone with me to calm down an escalated client. Sometimes during these explosions I thought he was going to physically attack me or one of my coworkers. There were several senior technical people who had great attitudes and did as much as they possibly could to help everyone in their teams but they seemed few and far between. It was like they had the attitude of…

I’ve been here for 2 years and paid my dues and now I don’t have to take crap from any of you dirtbags. If you have a client that’s pissed off then you can deal with it just like I did. Didn’t your mother teach you life’s not fair. Now quit your crying and go fix the problem.

Usually after a verbal lashing like this I’d go back to my cublicle feeling humiliated and utterly helpless. I’d reflect on what just happened knowing that I should have never gone to this team lead but my “manager” said he was a “resource” we were suppose to use and not following the “chain of command” is frowned upon. That line was usually followed up by this one… “the chain of command is in place for a reason and stepping outside of that chain of command is frowned upon.”

It was after hundreds of these episodes and conversations that I began to hate all the corporate bs. The corporate-ese slang, the gratuitous butt kissing, the slaving away for the MAN knowing I’d never see anything in return. I knew that after a little over 2 years of it I had to get out. If I didn’t then something bad was going to happen and I didn’t want to stick around for that.

Since leaving I’ve kept in contact with many of my coworkers and they’ve told me about bonuses being replaced with stock options that were worthless, no raises, getting replaced by cheaper labor in India, and countless rounds of layoffs. Usually there was some sort of warning in the months before the layoffs but then this happened.

I get an IM from a former coworker of mine who’s still at Oracle and he points me to a press release Oracle put out about 6,000 layoffs hitting Friday. Now Oracle is using the press to tell employees they’re going to be laid off. He said management said they “know nothing”, typical bs answer as usual and nobody has seen any internal memos about the press release either.

I asked 4 former coworkers if they’d heard anything about the layoff and 1 of the 4 said they had but he’s a manager. He said his director was up front with them about the layoff but hasn’t said who’s being impacted. Plus, he’s in development and the other 3 are in support.

Basically, support is getting the short end of the stick because they’re the easiest to replace. One of the folks in support has been told by mgmt. they think they’re safe since they’re already short in headcount but doesn’t know anything for sure. Word on the street is that support issues will only increase as a result of the merger and the ones being affected most will probably be those in sales and consulting.

For all of you guys still in support, I hope everything works out. You’re busting your butts day in and day out and deserve more than silence. Especially when your jobs are on the line. Keep on rockin in the free world!

Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.