Jim’s Story

In 2001, I was interviewed and ultimately hired by the 3M Company after a lengthy six-month interviewing process. During this time, many IT professionals were out of work, and competition for tech jobs was intense. I had been out of work for nearly a year, constantly applying for positions, sending out resumes, interviewing and rarely hearing anything back. I’m not sure exactly how 3M found my resume, as I don’t recall specifically sending one to them, but I was very grateful to hear from them and to ultimately be hired.

I started my career with 3M as an IT analyst II for the Western Distribution Center which, at that time, was one of only three 3M DCs in the country. My tasks initially were typical IT support duties, but, with time and experience, I was trusted to begin writing software interfaces and providing admin support for Unix databases and SQL databases and applications. My programming experience grew greatly during these early years, and I wrote numerous applications and middleware interfaces for many businesses within the company.

Over the years my local support role changed, as did our infrastructure model, and soon I was a team member of various distributed infrastructure teams within the organization – wireless team, PCN firewall security team, thin client and handheld computing team, site generalist team, mergers & acquisitions team, Unix admin team and active directory team.

My broad base of experience over more than a decade within the 3M infrastructure made me a good fit with so many different areas of IT that I was constantly asked to join new teams as they were formed. The problem, however, was that the compensation didn’t come along with the team memberships. If I wanted to make decent money I needed to specialize in one particular area of infrastructure.

Around my 12th year with the company, my supervisor asked me what I thought about specializing in SQL server and joining the US Infrastructure SQLAdmins team. I felt that this was perhaps the right way to go to further my career and start earning a more competitive salary. The first few years working as DBA with SQLAdmins were very enjoyable. I was learning new skills, working with great people and I really felt motivated that my career was finally moving forward.

In 2016 my work with the SQLAdmins team was recognized, and I was nominated for the highest award any 3M employee can receive: the 3M Pyramid of Excellence Award. I did not win the award that year, as there were many great entries, but just being in this very small group of nominees was an honor.

After my nomination for POE, I was offered a job as a global 3rd tier SQL admin SME (subject matter expert) by my next supervisor. Again the learning was fun, and my fellow team members were great. I learned much the first few years and became a valued member of the team working on development and automation tasks within a Jira development environment. The collaborative aspect of the team was very rewarding, and I think we all benefited from each other’s varied skill sets.

After many years of positive reviews and annual salary increases I finally was feeling appreciated and justly compensated. It had taken so long to get to this point in my career, I was glad to be a 3Mer and proud of our company.

In 2018, the first wave of IT layoffs began. Our first- and second-tier support staff was laid off – their jobs outsourced to employees from India working for a contractor. We SME team members were charged with the task of training these offshore contractors while we said “goodbye” to the team members we had worked with for so many years. But being loyal employees who always put the needs of the business above our own, we “bit our lips” and did the job asked of us.

The next year, though, it was my turn. No longer would I be able to dodge the IT layoffs, and in June 2019, I was informed that my position (along with 56 others) was being outsourced. My last day of work would be Sept. 2019. Fortunately, I was given a severance package, and my time waiting for the axe was spent preparing my family for the transition, closing relationships with people around the country and training those who would take over my tasks. It was a sad and arduous time.

I’d like to say that I’ve had nothing but success since being laid off by 3M after nearly 18 years of repeatedly awarded service, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have been collecting unemployment and attempting to find work during the largest economic disaster of my lifetime thanks to COVID-19. There have been interviews, but now that I’ve given my best years of my life in loyal service to 3M, I am now outside of the age group most companies are looking to hire.

In early August 2020, I watched President Trump meet with U.S. Tech Workers and workers and representatives of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), where jobs were in the process of being outsourced – identical to what happened to me. It was somewhat of a comfort to know that I wasn’t the only one who had been discarded in this way – discarded by a company whose board of directors and chairman (Mike Roman $12M/year) all live with filthy hands and deep pockets lined with the savings of paying a portion of our salaries to non-American contractors.

The striking similarities, and even the same month/year that I and my coworkers were outsourced, make me feel that there is more to this than just random happenstance. I believe that these board members are being enticed by some outside group that has led to these layoffs across many companies and affecting many American lives – so much so that I felt compelled to tell you my story.

Please pursue action against these companies who are selling off loyal hard-working American jobs to offshore contractors. Your work is very much appreciated!

24 Aug. 2020