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But the story of IBM’s downsizing provides an unusually detailed portrait of how a major American corporation systematically identified employees to coax or force out of work in their 40s, 50s and 60s, a time when many are still productive and need a paycheck, but face huge hurdles finding anything like comparable jobs.
Marjorie Madfis, at the time 57, was a New York-based digital marketing strategist and 17-year IBM employee when she and six other members of her nine-person team — all women in their 40s and 50s — were laid off in July 2013. Since her specialty was one that IBM had said it was expanding, she asked for a written explanation of why she was let go. Marjorie Madfis was among seven women in their 40s and 50s laid off from their IBM marketing team in White Plains, New York, in 2013. “The only explanation is our age.” Brian Paulson, also 57, a senior manager with 18 years at IBM, had been on the road for more than a year overseeing hundreds of workers across two continents as well as hitting his sales targets for new services, when he got a phone call in October 2015 telling him he was out.“If you’re over 55, forget about preparing for retirement,” he said in an interview.“You have to prepare for losing your job and burning through every cent you’ve saved just to get to retirement.” IBM’s latest actions aren’t anything like what most ex-employees with whom Pro Publica talked expected from their years of service, or what today’s young workers think awaits them — or are prepared to deal with — later in their careers.Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years.” With nearly 400,000 people worldwide, and tens of thousands still in the U. How it handles the shift from its veteran baby-boom workforce to younger generations will likely influence what other employers do.And the way it treats its experienced workers will eventually affect younger IBM employees as they too age.