Nortel Insider – by Desk Jockey

The view from one Desk Jockey

The Day After

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thedayafterOr, more accurately, the day after the day after. But the present title seemed more fitting and succinct.  After Nortel’s spectacular collapse into bankruptcy on Jan. 14th (something that was denied again and again by management until it was required to be made known by law), many questions still remain. 

True, Mike Z. held a GIS immediately following the filing, and individual business unit leaders held GISes the following day, but neither of these addressed the fundamental questions that employees have been demanding, and deserving, the answer to.

Questions such as:

  • How and why did Nortel get to where it is currently? 
  • Is anything being done to rectify the root cause?
  • How will you avoid a liquidation?
  • How should employees plan for the future?

Do not misunderstand us; there was plenty of talk on both days, but it amounted to a lot of useless blather and repetitive phrases that everyone has heard.  In fact, save for the initial opening statements, much of what was said was almost exactly the same as in previous GISes, such as the one after its diastrous Q3 2008 results

There was not a mention of the word “bankruptcy”; instead such euphemisms as “financial restructuring” and “sound footing” were used.  Let’s be clear here: Most employees are fed up with this sort of white washing.  We are not children and we are certainly not so incapable of hearing the truth. Unfortunately, due to the continued behavior of management in this manner, many simply do not believe anything that comes from them anymore.

Even more appalling was the tone with which the current news was delivered.  Rather than accept responsible for their actions that have led to this most tragic outcome, management had the gall to phrase the current news release in the following manner:

Nortel must be put on a sound financial footing once and for all” – Mike Z.

It’s almost as if management just happened to find Nortel in this dismal shape and decided to ride in on a white horse to save the day.  Never mind the past 3+ years of mismanagement and utter disregard for employee morale.  And blaming the current economic crisis is just an attempt to red herring the responsibility away.  As this report from Gartner notes, things were bad far before the credit crisis hit.  We would go as far as to say that the recession has benefited management, by giving them the scapegoat they were looking for.

Without acknowledging responsibility, we are left with two explanations for the behavior of management, neither of which are good.  Either they truly believe they are doing a great job (and are just unlucky), or they are continuing their pattern of deception, manipulation and propaganda.  In the first case, they would be delusional; God help us all if that is the reality.  In the second case, they would be corrupt, and thus fitting for immediate removal.

I do have to give them credit for honesty in one area.  When asked by an employee whether the contractually promised severance would be paid out in the event of being laid off, the answer was a succinct  “No”, without a hint of remorse, regret or pity.

Written by Desk Jockey

January 16, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

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