Article 43


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Unanswered Questions for AT&T Management

After getting layoff notice two months ago, I watched some of AT&T’s most experienced, long-time, best and brightest performers get pink slips, friends of management get whatever jobs are left by manipulation of job descriptions, and played a cruel psychological head game of false hope by applying for internal jobs that employees may never have had a chance for.


AT&T policymakers,

Four union techs in my (GCA) city submitted for voluntary early retirement (voluntary termination) in October 2004 - but AT&T only allowed one to leave.  At the same time OTHERS with equal or better skill sets in the same area were layed off.  Why not work something out to everyone’s advantage?

The number of people kept/let go in my department resulted so that techs doing tech jobs got layed off, and managers doing manager jobs didn’t - then took over the jobs of the layed off techs. 

A disproportionate number of folks who stayed, live and work geographically near the district manager, even if they were demoted to keep a job.

To get severance pay, we had to sign a release (under duress) that we’d never sue AT&T (for things like age discrimination.)

Is it a corporate policy - written or unwritten - to advertise jobs on the internal employee job net, close the job ads as filled without hiring anyone, then find identical job ads posted on the public internet without even giving those that applied internally a fair shot at them? 

Even though I hold a government security clearance, worked on FTS projects, and got a formal award for one - I WASN’T EVEN OFFERED AN INTERVIEW for any of the four Government Solutions jobs during the 60 DAYS between layoff notification and off payroll date.  Why do you tell us we get preferential treatment in order to try to stay with the company, when it really seems you’ll do anything to make sure we’re let go? 

It seems to me the initiative is to get rid of those who could sustain and grow the company - those whose skills, performance appraisals, and years of dedicated and productive service - speak for themselves.

How do your layoff policies really work?

Posted by Elvis on 10/26/04 •
Section General Reading
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Monday, October 25, 2004

Verizon FTTP (Fiber To The Prem) Project

In a press conference 10/21 - VERIZON announced it’s adding six more states - New York, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia - and as many as 5000 JOBS to it’s FIBER TO THE PREM DEPLOYMENT - joining California, Florida and Texas in their multi-year endeavor to put a fiber in everyone’s home.

New JOBS involve building, provisioning and maintaining the new fiber networks.  CWA Local 3250 posted details where to SEND A RESUME

Posted by Elvis on 10/25/04 •
Section General Reading • Section Job Hunt
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Friday, October 08, 2004

Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking

The Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking:

1. All-or-nothing thinking - You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, “I’ve blown my diet completely.” This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream.

2. Overgeneralization - You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as “always” or “never” when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the windowof his car. He told himself, “Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!”

3. Mental Filter - You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.

4. Discounting the positive - You reject positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t count.” If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn’t good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positives takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.

5. Jumping to conclusions - You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion. Mind Reading : Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you.

Fortune-telling : You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, “I’m really going to blow it. What if I flunk?” If you’re depressed you may tell yourself, “I’ll never get better.”

6. Magnification - You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the “binocular trick.”

7. Emotional Reasoning - You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly.” Or, “I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person.” Or, “I feel angry. This proves that I’m being treated unfairly.” Or, “I feel so inferior. This means I’m a second rate person.” Or, “I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless.”

8. “Should” statements - You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, “I shouldn’t have made so many mistakes.” This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. “Musts,” “oughts” and “have tos” are similar offenders.

“Should statements” that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general, lead to anger and frustration: “He shouldn’t be so stubborn and argumentative!”

Many people try to motivate themselves with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. “I shouldn’t eat that doughnut.” This usually doesn’t work because all these shoulds and musts make you feel rebellious and you get the urge to do just the opposite. Dr. Albert Ellis has called this “ must erbation.” I call it the “shouldy” approach to life.

9. Labeling - Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying “I made a mistake,” you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” You might also label yourself “a fool” or “a failure” or “a jerk.” Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but “fools,” “losers” and “jerks” do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration and low self-esteem.

You may also label others. When someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: “He’s an S.O.B.” Then you feel that the problem is with that person’s “character” or “essence” instead of with their thinking or behavior. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves very little room for constructive communication.

10. Personalization and Blame - Personalization comes when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulty in school, she told herself, “This shows what a bad mother I am,” instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman’s husband beat her, she told herself, “If only I was better in bed, he wouldn’t beat me.” Personalization leads to guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy.

Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways they might be contributing to the problem: “The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable.” Blame usually doesn’t work very well because other people will resent being scapegoated and they will just toss the blame right back in your lap. It’s like the game of hot potato--no one wants to get stuck with it.

Ten Ways to Untwist Your Thinking

1. Identify The Distortion: Writedown your negative thoughts so you can see which of the ten cognitive distortions you’re involved in. This will make it easier to think about the problem in a more positive and realistic way.

2. Examine The Evidence: Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. For example, if you feel that you never do anything right, you could list several things you have done successfully.

3. The Double-Standard Method: Instead of putting yourself down in a harsh, condemning way, talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you would talk to a friend with a similar problem.

4. The Experimental Technique: Do an experiment to test the validity of your negative thought. For example, if during an episode of panic, you become terrified that you’re about to die of a heart attack, you could jog or run up and down several flights of stairs. This will prove that your heart is healthy and strong.

5. Thinking In Shades Of Grey: Although this method may sound drab, the effects can be illuminating. Instead of thinking about your problems in all-or-nothing extremes, evaluate things on a scale of 0 to 100. When things don’t work out as well as you hoped, think about the experience as a partial success rather than a complete failure. See what you can learn from the situation.

6. The Survey Method: Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic. For example, if you feel that public speaking anxiety is abnormal and shameful, ask several friends if they ever felt nervous before they gave a talk.

7. Define Terms: When you label yourself ‘inferior’ or ‘a fool’ or ‘a loser,’ ask, “What is the definition of ‘a fool’?” You will feel better when you realize that there is no such thing as ‘a fool’ or ‘a loser.’

8. The Semantic Method: Simply substitute language that is less colorful and emotionally loaded. This method is helpful for ‘should statements.’ Instead of telling yourself, “I shouldn’t have made that mistake,” you can say, “It would be better if I hadn’t made that mistake.”

9. Re-attribution: Instead of automatically assuming that you are “bad” and blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using up all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty.

10. Cost-Benefit Analysis: List the advantages and disadvantages of a feeling (like getting angry when your plane is late), a negative thought (like “No matter how hard I try, I always screw up"), or a behavior pattern (like overeating and lying around in bed when you’re depressed). You can also use the cost benefit analysis to modify a self-defeating belief such as, “I must always try to be perfect.”

From “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David D. Burns, M.D. (1989)
Credit: Mary Schonder

Posted by Elvis on 10/08/04 •
Section General Reading
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AT&T Pension Class Action Lawsuit

Plaintiffs are management employees of AT&T who were participants in the AT&T Management Pension Plan as of December 31, 1996.

The proposed class is defined as any and all persons who:

1. Are former or current AT&T management employees,
2. Are currently over age 40,
3. Participated in the AT&T Management Pension Plan on December 31, 1996 and on or after the January 1, 1998 date on which the Pension Plan was converted to a cash balance design.

Checkout THIS WEBSITE and THIS WEBSITE for more info.


AT&T Retiree website - Check out the Pending Legislation and NLRN Legislative News sections

Track YOUR Senators & Representative - Sign up for MEGAVOTE, a weekly summary of roll call votes.  It is easy and spam-free.

AT&T Cash Balance Lawsuit Homepage - (Engers v. AT&T)

Actuarial report on AT&T’s Cash Balance Conversion

AT&T Concerned Employees (ACER)

US Congress - Find & contact your rep & senators. - Go to the Legislation Section (Bill analysis, Track your reps, etc.).

retire.gif width=360 height=272 align=top

Credit: pension_watchdog

Posted by Elvis on 10/08/04 •
Section Pension Ripoff
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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Another several thousand to get layed off in October

A few news articles - CNN, THE STREET, REUTERS, and one on AT&T’s WEBSITE - appeared recently regarding more layoffs at AT&T.  These are probably union jobs - non union layoffs don’t make the news.

Posted by Elvis on 10/06/04 •
Section General Reading
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