Monday, June 05, 2006

Where to Apply for New Jobs?

Where do those of us who wish to return to Los Alamos and work at the lab apply?

The normal site we've used for years does not appear to have any new entries.

Is there another site, perhaps off of that posts new job openings?

G. Bailey Childs, CISSP

What new jobs?
Given the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, I would be quite surprised to see any new job postings for a while. If the predictions of a budget shortfall of ~ $290 million for FY '07 are accurate, LANL will be laying off, not hiring.
Looks to me like there are several recently posted job ads. Maybe the web site was down for a while being sanitized of any mention of UC-LANL...
All new applications are being referred to the state mental hospital in Las Vegas.
Speaking of jobs, have you checked that LANL website lately for the latest on the organizational structure?

There are now:
3 Principal Associate Directors
16 Associate Directors
80 Divisions, Programs, & Offices

There is no mention of the number of groups but rumor has it that there has been a significant increase here also.

Of course none of the new positions were advertised.

This has got to really increase the overhead costs.
LANS, LLC does act as if it has money to burn. One could assume a couple reasons for this:

1. They plan to RIF a large number of staff starting around January, or
2. They got a sweetheart promise from DOE with regards to covering the estimated $300 million budget shortfall that is just around the corner.

I wonder which it is?
Anyone with a bit of sense at LANL is now grabbing for a management
or program office position. And why not? The pay for these new
positions has likely expanded, and these will be "protected" positions
when layoffs finally hit. Likewise, many of the support positions
will probably be untouchable due to several reasons of which I'm sure
many at LANL are aware. However, if you are a lowly TSM, you are now
wearing a big red bull's-eye on your shirt. Most of the money that
will be needed to fund our new, high-cost LANS system of management
can be "solved" by shrinking the TSM staff by around 10%. And LANL
can probably take a 10% hit in TSM staff with very little detriment
to our scientific efforts.

Note that a formal RIF will not be necessary. Your "at-will" status
means that pink slips can now be handed out very discretely. Enjoy
your summer, however, as it looks like LANS wants to keep a low
profile until Oct 1st comes around. And if you're a TSM, you had
better start working extra hard to secure more funding for both your
own job and to feed this new high cost overhead that is now being
used to manage LANL. Like it or not, those are the cards that NNSA
has dealt out to the staff at LANL.

You've clearly been around the block once or twice. Your observations are spot on.
No! You don't mean that LANS, LLC would occasionally lay off co-workers every week or so until the met their quota in order to make up for that $230M they are short? This is so smooth that it will never make the headlines and no one will give a hoot. All we ask is for 100 employees a month for one year and that should do the trick until next years budget comes in. PERFECT !!!
I've been quiet for a while now, but I'll contribute my take on all this.
First - the LLC and UC has been very, very quiet lately. The LLC was very vocal prior to 15 May about getting paperwork in etc etc. Once in we just didn't hear anything. They took over and we still havent' heard anything. Too, too quiet....

Second - I seriously think that the LLC will be very juditious in downsizing. They still have a corporate image to maintain. They can't be viewed as the mean wolf in this fairy tale. RIF'g low level TSM's doesn't gain them a lot of money UNLESS it's in large numbers. Won't happen. It's those entry level TSMs and midlevel TSMs that they need. Those are the technical types that can be molded to what they want and the benefit in $$ is not there with them being riffed. And they are the ones doing real lab work to contribute to science, manufacturing, production, etc. It ain't managers that make this place work right.

The real impact could be seen with upper level TSMs and shadow's and contractors and ..... The lab is full of shadow people in support roles. Especially admins. They'll let some of those go. A few hundred. Low hanging fruit. Then look at performance appraisals over the past few years. That will do another few hundred.

That still doesn't get them where they need to be though. The next ones has to be the TSMs and senior support types that have been here 20+ years. They have the salary that has some meaning. Most of them also went inactive vested, went TCP2, and the LLC has to contribute 11.5% to each and every 401. Now that is real money.

They still have to maintain corporate image - and that means a lot to them right now. Might there not be some sort of enticement to get a 1000 or so of those types out. They are also the least trainable, moldable, etc and have been pretty vocal in all this transition because of what they were shorted. They could be the poison that needs to be gotten rid of. The LLC could easily afford $50-100M in incentives if they knew that they could maintain image, get rid of high dollar people, and have a younger workforce which would help them get their $500M fee over 7 years (and beyond). This is just good business. They now know that this is a tough crowd. No one just rolls over an plays dead. They will have to put real money on the table. They have real money at stake and have real money to play with as large industrial corporations.

They are also waiting until 1 July to see how many leave then. Still won't be enough. Between now and Oct there may be a few that just can't deal with the new sheriff in town and the new rules and will quit.

Just my observations in this. Sequence of events: Contractors let go. Some limited term let go. Shadows let go. Incentive of some sort to get rid of old timers. Then pink slips to poor performers. If you are old and a poor performer you will get one chance. The LLC wins. Reduced budget. Reduced overhead. Good PR to Northern NM. Good PR to DOE. They will have done everything right. Good business done the right way. Won't happen again in their tenure, but it could happen now.

Just keep waiting and hoping.
"Might there not be some sort of enticement to get a 1000 or so of
those types out. They are also the least trainable, moldable, etc"
- Butthead

If memory serves me correctly, DOE's new Directive N 351.1 now
dis-allows financial incentives to induce older staff to leave via
early retirement. Therefore, I highly doubt we'll see 1000 older
staff decide to walk out with extra cash through our front doors.

LANS LLC probably likes using contractors, as they can be quickly
up-sized/down-sized. Also, out-sourcing functions to contractors
is a big and growing trend in the business world. There may
be some reduction in contractor usage, but no big savings in
budget costs can be found by down-sizing in this area. BTW,
KSL has already laid off some of their workforce.

Laying off support staff would be political dynamite. We just
saw UC settle a legal suit involving discrimination against
female Hispanics. LANS doesnt't want to step into this pile of
worms. Also, remember back to the '95 RIF. Once the RIF began
laying off support staff, the discrimination legal suits began
to fly and resulted in a court ordered delay of the RIF. It
was all very messy.

Given the above, I beg to differ with your scenario, Butthead.
First to go will be TSMs, just as it happened back during the
'95 RIF, only this time you won't hear the dreaded word "RIF"
being used. Once some TSMs are removed, LANS will then have
political cover to begin limited reductions in our support staff.
They'll do a 1:1 type reduction of support based on the number
of TSMs that were previously cut. If you remember back to '95,
it was similar to this. First, mostly TSMs were let go. Then
management said, "well, since we have fewer TSMs, I guess we
should now have a smaller support staff". That's also how it
will play-out this time. It's a two-phased scenario.

When you cut a TSM position, you get a "two-fer". That is,
the TSM makes twice as much as most support staff, so it is
more advantageous, budget-wise, plus, you create less flack
in the media and with Congress, as only once voice will be
crying out, versus the two support staff voices that would
cry out if they were laid off. Also, don't forget the fact
that LANL TSMs are usually resigned to their fate when they
are laid off and don't try to fight it. In many cases,
they have other options. Based on this, I believe that the
average TSM at LANL is where LANS will be looking for the
necessary cost savings to make up for our $200-$250 million
budget hole. Expect to see about a 10% reduction in TSMs,
followed by about a 10% reduction in support staff. LANS
would rather not go through any of this (bad PR and all),
so they'll delay action until it is absolutely necessary --
perhaps during late FY '07 or early FY '08.
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