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Kevin Kline

Does the down economy have an impact on your job?

As you probably know, I travel quite a bit with my job speaking at local SQL Server user group meetings and visiting with lots of customers of Quest Software.

I'm beginning to see a lot of belts get tightened and I'm wondering if you're seeing the same.  For example, I know of some very talented DBAs who were given a free pass to the big PASS Summit (  Unfortunately, they weren't able to attend because their company had completely cut the travel and meals budget.  The DBAs could go only if they paid their own expenses and used vacation time.

Have you seen anything of the same in your experiences?

I view this whole situation with some degree of irony.  Consider the case of a company that is in pretty good financial position today, but they cut all travel and training budgets simply because they're worried that things won't turn out well.  Fast forward one quarter, and all of the caterers, restaurants, and travel companies are having to lay off workers or make other cutbacks to survive.  Talk about self-fulfilling prophesy!    If you add just a handfull of companies like that together in each major city who are cutting back purely out of F.U.D (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), then you've got a mini-recession on your hands.

If you're interested in having an extended discussion about this topic, join me here, although I welcome your response here of course.

Best regards,


Published Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:44 PM by KKline
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cinahcaM madA said:

I don't think the recession is hitting my area (Boston) too hard, although I certainly agree about the FUD.  A lot of people are talking about how bad the economy is.  But I'm still hearing from recruiters on an almost daily basis so there is certainly plenty of work out there--at least, for people in our industry.  So I think we're in good shape!

January 16, 2009 8:51 AM

Denis Gobo said:

The purpose of a company is to increase shareholders value, how do you increase that? By making sure the stock goes up. Stock goes up when your profit goes up (in general) Cutting cost is a good way to increase cost

Having said that, there must be some companies that use the recession as an excuse to lay of some people who under perform or are not essential

Supposedly Microsoft will announce layoffs next week, Oracle laid off people on Friday and Google also axed some people, we already saw the Yahoo pink slip drama on twitter

I don't know, only time will tell, but I can tell you that a lot of people's 401K/IRA/Portfolio went down dramatically

January 16, 2009 9:27 AM

Jason Massie said:

+ 1 on the 401k pain.

January 16, 2009 9:52 AM

cinahcaM madA said:

OK, that is a good point about 401k/etc.  My IRA is pretty much worthless at this point.  But I do think it will eventually go up again so I'm not especially concerned.

January 16, 2009 9:58 AM

Denis Gobo said:

To myself:

>>Cutting cost is a good way to increase cost

that sentence does not make any sense, maybe you meant to say "Cutting cost is a good way to increase profit"

January 16, 2009 9:59 AM

John Marshall said:


I just got back from a trip to Mobile, AL a few weeks ago (all expenses paid).  We're getting our end-of-year merit increase and final bonuses, too.  Theres also talk of additional SSAS training for several of us on the SQL Dev team this quarter.  


January 16, 2009 10:16 AM

Uri Dimant said:

I think most of people have been talking about the economy in the US, i know everything get into touch with. I live in Israel and our company  which depends on the  car industry economized their costs ecen sompe say that the crisis has not even arrived to the country. I think in such situations (I have seen here) managers try to discharge programers and the last person will be DBA.

January 16, 2009 10:47 AM

Armando Prato said:

<<Cutting cost is a good way to increase profit>>

Hi Denis

My undergraduate degree is in Business Management.  This is ultimately a crutch in an attempt to preserve shareholder value.   All this really does is mask the fact that business is flat or shrinking. At the end of the day, it boils down to increasing both sales and profits. When examining an Income Statement, I always focus on R&D from year to year.  Some companies will cut this in an attempt to keep profits in line and the stock price from tanking

Want to hear about a lousy IRA? My broker calls me in July and strongly recommended I buy into Fannie Mae stock.  Well, take a guess at how well that went.  I think the certificates are worth more to me as wallpaper.  

January 16, 2009 11:21 AM

Kevin3NF said:

So far, we've avoided layoffs and salaray cuts, but we have to bring our own coffee mugs and spoons now.  Seems like a good trade.

Texas has raelly been weathering this storm well so far, overall.


January 16, 2009 11:41 AM

aspiringgeek said:

Kevin, wrt those DBAs who had a free pass to PASS yet failed to leverage it, I say, *shame on them*!  This is *exactly* what I did during my first year at Microsoft.  As a leader of IndyPASS I had a paas, but my then boss said my team couldn't afford to send me.  No pity party for me--I took a vacation & paid for all expenses out-of-pocket.  And it was worth every penny!  Not just in terms of knowledge, but also relationship-building.  For example, among many, many others, you & I got to chat, I met Joe Chang, visited disk deity Bruce Worthington, & made friends with Cindy Gross.

Yet, I'v also always said that companies who don't subsidize training--with accountabilities, of course--are short-sighted.  As Zig Ziglar says, "The only thing worse than training people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay."

Economist & great American Walter Williams evangelizes the concept of investing in one's own intellectual capital.  Indeed, it has been a HUGE part of my formula for success.  My lovely bride--then fiancée--thought I was nuts for investing in MCSE training a few years ago when I was between jobs--yet that was exactly the right time, & it was one of the best investments I ever made.  (Especially considering my portfolio investment skills--Dittos to Adam & Jason re: that 401(k)/IRA thing).

To answer your question, is the economy affecting my job?  Not really, not yet.  And I won't let it.  I've proven time-&-again MY success is up to ME, not on the whims of my employer or the economy's.

Jimmy May, Aspiring Geek & Terminal Optimist

January 16, 2009 11:46 AM

Alex said:

>>The purpose of a company is to increase shareholders value

Remember the good old days, when the purpose of a company was to do things?  I think the slavish dedication to shareholder value over all else (including long-term shareholder value) is what got us into this mess to begin with.  Hopefully the lesson has been learned but I doubt it. </rant>

I live near Philly, my job hasn't been directly affected but there is a hiring freeze in our department which is causing some pain (luckily its' in the Informix area which we are workign to eliminate anyways).  I'm still getting calls and emails from recruiters, but I'd imagine they're just trying to increase their odds of getting someone into one of the few job openings out there.  The count of out of work friends seems to go up by the week, but these are mostly in non-IT positions.  

January 16, 2009 12:08 PM

AaronBertrand said:

Yes the 401K stuff is pretty depressing but we need to remember that it is a paper loss and will hopefully recover on its own.

I am affected directly because we have let people go and guess who gets to pick up the slack.  I don't want to complain too loudly though; after all, it could be other people picking up the slack from my involuntary departure.

January 16, 2009 12:48 PM

RussellH said:

Here in the San Francisco Bay area, we're still seeing a fairly strong job market for skilled people.  I guy was recently let go from my group and found a good developer job withing a week.

I'm still getting unsolicited offers for part time contracting work in addition to my full time job.

There was a company memo that went that bonuses would be lower this year, but so far training budgets have not been affected.

January 20, 2009 11:40 AM

KKline said:

Excellent feedback, everyone!

Overall, I've seen only limited problems for people with IT jobs.  And those who are getting layed off are looking at a job scene that isn't terrible.  If you're in construction, retail, or car sales, then things can't get too much worse.  But for now, IT is still seen as an enabling for business that can save the company money.  In a sense, the last recession we had, based on the IT bubble was much worse for IT people than this one.  However, I think we will have a lot more to worry about if this goes on for another year and the recession digs in deeper to other aspects of the economy.

Thanks again,


January 21, 2009 11:57 AM

Denis Gobo said:

MSFT started to cut

Microsoft slashes 5,000 jobs

Software giant says it will cut 1,400 jobs immediately, and posts lower earnings that miss estimates.

January 22, 2009 9:29 AM

Kevin Kline said:

Before I jump onto the Goals and Themeword meme started by my buddy, Thomas LaRock ( blog | twitter ),

January 5, 2010 9:43 PM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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