Nov 22, 2007

Los Alamos National Laboratory director: Buyouts should deflect layoffs

The Trib had a slightly longer version of the story.

-Gus

______________________________________________

Los Alamos National Laboratory director: Buyouts should deflect layoffs


Deborah Baker/Associated Press
Thursday, November 22, 2007

— Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio has a message for workers who may be thinking about retirement: "If you've been waiting for a deal, this is the deal."

Anastasio told state lawmakers Wednesday he's hopeful that enough employees take voluntary buyouts that layoffs won't be necessary at the nuclear weapons lab, where some 500 to 750 jobs will be cut for budget reasons.

Los Alamos is waiting for Department of Energy approval of a restructuring plan under which workers — except those in certain critical jobs — will be offered severance packages, based on years of service, if they leave voluntarily.

After that, the lab would start laying off employees.

"What I hope is that with phase one we get all the people we need," Anastasio told a legislative oversight committee.

Laid-off workers also would get the same severance packages, leading lawmakers to question why anyone would take the voluntary buyout.

Anastasio said there are a "significant number" of employees who are ready to retire but for some reason just haven't done it, and that the buyout may appeal to them.

Workers who take voluntary buyouts could be gone by mid-January, he said.

He rejected suggestions from committee members that the lab encourage a particular group of employees to retire: about 600 so-called "double-dippers" who retired once, then returned to work.

"That's something we cannot do. . . . That has to be their decision," said the director, who added that the lab could be sued for targeting certain employees.

The cuts are being driven by a combination of factors, including flat budgets in recent years, about $175 million in added costs because the lab is no longer being run by a nonprofit operator, low staff turnover and ongoing budget uncertainties.

With nearly 11,000 employees — half of them from outside Los Alamos — the lab is a huge economic force in northern New Mexico. It paid $911 million in salaries in 2006, according to spokesman Kevin Roark.

State Sen. Richard Martinez, an Española Democrat, said the job cuts would put "a big dent in our economy."

Congress hasn't come up with a final budget for the current fiscal year that began Oct. 1, and the lab is operating under a stop-gap spending measure at last year's level. Anastasio has said the best-case scenario for this year is a flat budget, but there could also be cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The director said trimming 750 jobs — about 9 percent of the lab's regular work force — could save nearly $100 million a year, and that it was prudent in light of the uncertainties.

The lab's budget last year was nearly $2.2 billion.

Roark said the 10,924 workers employed at the lab at the end of September was a drop of nearly 850 from the previous year, demonstrating the lab's belt-tightening efforts.

The cuts will come from a pool of about 8,200 regular lab employees. The remaining workers include contractors — whose ranks already have been thinned — or short-term workers or students or post-doctoral researchers.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

This strictly voluntary RIF will do nothing to reduce our outrageously high overhead. The likelihood is that most of those volunteering will be senior level TSMs. The cost per FTE will go up. Any hope of diversifying our mission via bringing in work from outside of NNSA is doomed by the obscenely-high labor rates. Futhermore, what little WFO that we have will be threatened by the increased labor rates.

Anonymous said...

We have 600 double-dippers at LANL? OMG, I had no idea it was that high!

Anonymous said...

and they're just the ones who will NOT go........

Anonymous said...

What are you idiots doing reading and posting to this blog on THANKSGIVING for?

Oh, wait a minute...

Anonymous said...

One more idiot chimes in.

Ok, two more idiots...

Anonymous said...

The next shoe to drop will probably involved the TCP1 pension.

Mikey will spend the whole next year telling the LANL staff:

"No freeze of TCP1, and no plans to freeze TCP1!"

Then, sometime in FY09, LANS will freeze out the TCP1 pension.

Anonymous said...

At LANS, 2/3rds of the staff took TCP1. At LLNS, only 1/2. LLNS is stating that because more than expected took TCP2, their costs are suddenly higher than expected for the pension plans.

Which is of course nonsense. TCP1 costs more than TCP2, 15% vs 10% of payroll in annual contributions. TCP2 does require cash flow into each paycheck, so your costs in today's dollars are obvious. Private companies are rapidly dropping TCP1-like plans, as they acknowledge that the true costs of them are much higher than TCP2/401(k) plans, but that it takes longer to realize it.

The real unstated message from LANS and LLNS is that neither is putting any money into their TCP1s. Nor are the employees. At LANS, that's $90M/year still unaccounted for, i.e. it's not part of the $175M they keep mentioning as the new costs of the contract.

Once LANS finally files the formal financial documents for TCP1 (May 2008?), the Pension Provision Act of 2006 will quickly force their hand to acknowledge that they are grossly underfunded and that there is no practical way to catch up in 7 years. Then there will be much hand wringing, as there is today, that this was a complete surprise, but there's nothing they can do. Either the employees must immediately start contributing a substantial portion of their paycheck, or the benefit must be dramatically scaled back.

TCP2 contributions are already slated to be markedly scaled back next June 2008. So DOE will not be offering much of a contribution to the TCP1 plan either. The employees will have to pickup the bulk of the shortfall.

All of this is inevitable, already playing out at many other companies. I just wish our management would be honest about it.

Anonymous said...

OK, since 'Honest-Ozzio' won't disclose how many employees he thinks will volunteer, I'll be the first to guess the number of "Self-Selected" rats to jump ship.

Once anyone over 50 begins to realize that management (and Congress) is gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better, they'll start thinking seriously about leaving for smarter employers. I'm thinking 625.

Anonymous said...

At LLNL, our TCP2 match is 6%. But when you add that we have received no raises after a year of service, its pretty dismal.

Meanwhile, everyone on wall street is raking it in. The Bonus this year averages $201,500 for each employee . Even the secretaries are raking in more than NNSA's best and brightest! And best of all, wall street could have made this bonus by churning our pension plans. Would you like some sub-prime with that?

So LANS, How about stepping up to the same plate, and offering $201,500 each for each employee that takes a VSP?

Anonymous said...

ny guess is under 100

Anonymous said...

We should all quit. Every one of us. There's strength in numbers.

Anonymous said...

Start with two sick days. I declare Monday and Tuesday December 3 & 4 "Sick of LANS day".

Anonymous said...

8:13 pm: "Once anyone over 50 begins to realize that management (and Congress) is gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better, they'll start thinking seriously about leaving for smarter employers. I'm thinking 625"
I'd be surprised if many over-50'ers took the voluntary. After all, they can wait and get the same deal and if not, are still probably double-dipping, having already retired from UC.

Anonymous said...

This recent history of management spending, since the LANS,LLC takeover June 1, 2006, shows the need for a "Salary cap" at LANL:

"In professional sports, a ´salary cap´(often called a ´wage cap´in the United Kingdom) is a limit on the amount of money a team can spend on player salaries, either as a per-player limit for the team´s roster (or both). Several sports leagues have made salary caps mandatory, both as a method of keeping overall costs down, and in order to balance the league so a wealthy team cannot become dominant simply by buying all the top players. Salary caps are often the major issue in negotiations between management and player´s union." (My remark: You have "Salary caps" in NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, NLL.)

(Source: Wikipedia: "Salary cap".)

Anonymous said...

"TCP2 contributions are already slated to be markedly scaled back next June 2008."

I whole-heartedly agree that LLNS TCP-2 401(k)match and service based contributions will be reduced dramatically based on the next (June 2008) BenVal study. However, the actual reduction won't be immediate. The contract language (which could always change) calls for LLNS and LANS to submit a plan by the end of August 2008 that will reduce the benefits as needed to bring the total benefits to the 105% level. Then NNSA has to review and approve the plans before the changes take effect.

Because LLNL employees get their 401(k) matching contributions every two weeks with their paychecks, any required reductions can't be retroactive - the money is already in the employees' accounts. My bet is that the current contribution percentages are good through at least the end of FY '08. I don't know about LANL employees - don't they get their service based contributions at the end of February for the previous calendar year? Their service based contributions could be retroactively reduced effective January 1, 2008 - I wouldn't put it past LANS and the NNSA to do just that.

Anonymous said...

"I'm thinking 625."

I think that number is excessive, I'm thinking more like 100 to 150. There really is no incentive - wait for the axe to fall and you'll get unemployment as well. Of course, many of those ending up on the unemployment line won't get much, if anything, from the State of New Mexico. If you study up on NM unemployment benefits, they take into account any pension income you're entitled to - I can already imagine the scene where the people behind the desk start laughing when a 30-year LANL veteran TSM PhD getting 60% of $150K/year in retirement from UC asks for an unemployment check. I'd bet the amount is a big goose egg.

Besides, what chance is there that 625 LANL employees, many of them over 50, will be successful in finding suitable employment outside the Lab? Especially given the short window they'll be given to decide.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 11/22/07 1:10 PM is wrong about the cost of the TCP1 pension. While it is true that the "actuarial value" of the TCP1 pension is 15% per year, the factis that employees, UC, nor DOE have made any contributions to the UCRS fund since the early 1980's. The management of the fund (except for a few years when Parsky arranged to move a lot of money to his cronies) has been excellent and the UCRS was totally funded from its investments. In fact, although there was some concern that employee an employer contributions would resume in 2008, the recent performance of the investment portfolio has made that unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe a restructuring of 401k match will happen. The benefit reduction as per benval will apply to ALL employees (tcp1 and 2) so I am confused as to how reducing the 401k contribution achieves that. It would seem you are suggesting that only tcp2 subscribers will take a hit. A more equitable approach would be to curtail those benefits which affect all employees equally.

Anonymous said...

The reason that they must sweeten the pot is that job security is fundamental to the future of the lab.

Prospective employees must weigh that it takes years to become effective, and that the skills used here aren't marketable elsewhere. Without job security, young talent will not take the risk of joining the national mission here.

Having a reputation for firing folks is a risk to staffing the long term strategic mission of the lab. LBL has this reputation and has poor continuity as a result. How many readers avoided aerospace and construction engineering because job security is only the latest contract?

In short, the only smart way to maintain the reputation necessary to attract a lifetime commitment from top talent is to invest in maintaining that reputation.

This is done by making the choice to retire a fiscally rational one. The current offer of 9 months severence will only be a fiscally rational one to a small number of folks.

Must sweeten the pot. No other rational choice.

Anonymous said...

11/23/07 8:30 AM

"The benefit reduction as per benval will apply to ALL employees (tcp1 and 2) so I am confused as to how reducing the 401k contribution achieves that."

This is not true - the BenVal only pertains to TCP-2 (TCP-2 is a market-driven plan, TCP-1 was supposed to offer substantially equivalent benefits).

The following language is from the LLNS contract, and I'm almost 100% sure the same identical language can be found in the LANS contract. You'd be wise to read the contract.

"For New Employees, Inactive Vested Transferring
Employees and UCRP Retiring Employees, the Contractor shall provide a total compensation package that is market-based and that will allow the Laboratory to recruit and retain critical scientific, technical, and engineering skills to
develop the next generation of scientific personnel
necessary to successfully carry out its mission. In addition, any total compensation package shall comply with the requirements of paragraph (e), pensions, as set forth below. Cost reimbursement of benefit plans will be consistent with the approved “Relative Benefits Value Index (RBVI)”
and “Per Capita Employee Benefit Cost Comparison (Cost Comparison)” as described below in paragraphs (d)(6)(i- iv)."

LLNS' initial proposed benefits package, because of a 2007 BenVal study, offered significantly lower 401(k) service-based TCP-2 contributions than LANL (which was based on a 2006 BenVal study) in order to stay at 105%. For employees with 20+ years of service, the LLNS proposal was 2.75% vs. 5.5% at LANL. That fact is at least some indication of the trend - a 50% cut in service-based contributions in just one-year's time. Extrapolating that one data point could lead to a conclusion that in a 2-year period (the frequency of required BenVal studies) the service-based contribution could disappear entirely.

Anonymous said...

"....doomed by the obscenely-high labor rates..."

Not necessarily. It depends what you want done. If a successful interdisciplinary team of senior, University-caliber, scientists, with ready clearances and classifed scientific equipment and facilities are required to crack a tough nut, we are the place. Even at $1M per person. Depends what you need. You need win a war or run a service station?

After dismissing 99% of the population, it still takes 30 years to grown a Ph.D-scientist and another 5 years to train them in their field of inquiry.

This is after all "rocket science", not plumbing. Think of yourselves as being an Olympic athelete on an Olympic team.

For those detractors, remember many an armchair slugger thinks he could be Barry Bonds.....until he takes the field.

Anonymous said...

"I just wish our management would be honest about it."

Isn't that the truth.

Anonymous said...

I'd be surprised if many over-50'ers took the voluntary.

I would be too. Look at the numbers. They don't work.

Anonymous said...

"If a successful interdisciplinary team of senior, University-caliber, scientists, with ready clearances and classifed scientific equipment and facilities are required to crack a tough nut, we are the place. Even at $1M per person."

Wow. A legend in your own mind, aren't you, 10:52? It is no wonder that LANL staff have a reputation for unwarranted arrogance. Sadly, you seem to believe that the Real Smart People at Los Alamos can do things that cannot be done elsewhere. Well, you should just keep telling yourself that as the RIFs continue and LANL's mission shifts to that of pit production, and only pit production. Eventually your over-developed sense of self-importance well be tempered by reality.

Anonymous said...

"In short, the only smart way to maintain the reputation necessary to attract a lifetime commitment from top talent is to invest in maintaining that reputation."

Considering NNSA's recent history, and given the indication production is taking the place of science at LANL, they don't really care if they have a talented staff willing to commit to a lifetime career in weapons-related science (except maybe materials science). Almost everything left on LANL's plate will be project-like, much of which can be performed by contractors that come and go as projects are completed.

Anonymous said...

As a TCP2 guy, I think I will check into increasing my contribution rate for the first half of 2008. Perhaps I can get more out of LANS if they reduce the percent contribution later in the year.

Anonymous said...

10:52 here

It's not a matter of ego. Simply how important is the mission to the customer and who else can do the job?

No important jobs, lots of competition and the value is diminished (probably your perspective, 10;52). Important job, only one team to do it, the value is high (these needs still exist). It's not my choice. It is the marketplace.

Anonymous said...

"they don't really care if they have a talented staff willing to commit to a lifetime career in weapons-related science (except maybe materials science). Almost everything left on LANL's plate ...can be performed by contractors that come and go..."

Who, pray tell, is going to certify the stockpile in 2030?

Who will President Jenna Bush trust to say, "Yes, they will go boom when they are supposed to and not one moment before."? AQ Khan under contract?

Anonymous said...

"Who, pray tell, is going to certify the stockpile in 2030?"

Well, no one. China or whoever will see the chance and thats it for the ol US of A. It had to end sometime. Old story really.

Anonymous said...

Well, 4:53, we'll just let the marketplace decide. I'm betting that the marketplace will decide that LANL is not as indispensable as some of its staff apparently think.

I expect that in a couple of years, the only expertise you will find at LANL will be in the area of pit production. At that point I will agree with you that the customer will pay whatever he thinks pits are worth.

Anonymous said...

11/23/07 10:41 AM, you are basing your argument on a false premise: that DOE/NNSA decisions are based on rationality. This is demonstrably false.

Job one for any bureacrat is to not embarass a congressman or senator, no matter how stupid or corrupt. If Stupak and Dingel (and that puke from Ohio, who's name escapes me at the moment) hate Los Alamos, DOE/NNSA will cheerfully light the funeral pyre. They get paid regardless of the damage they do to national security.

For a scenario that will lift you out of your chair cheering, read Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honor." Or, as we used to say in Vietnam, "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

Anonymous said...

" At that point I will agree with you that the customer will pay whatever he thinks pits are worth."

Which will be zero. So that brings us back to the 5:23pm case.

Anonymous said...

Wow, is 5:54AM living in a dream world. The only reason that neither UC nor its employees resumed contributions this year is that Schwarzenegger balked at contributing anything, saying that the state could not afford it. UC then decided it would be unfair to ask the employees to also resume contributions. And the unions are threatening strikes at the effective loss of pay should contributions resume.

But the analysis remains unchanged. 15% of payroll, per year, either from employee or employer, it doesn't matter, is needed in addition to projected market returns to keep the pension plan solvent for the future.

Anonymous said...

"This is after all "rocket science", not plumbing. Think of yourselves as being an Olympic athelete on an Olympic team.
11/23/07 10:52 AM"

You must certainly mean "SPECIAL Olympics". Most PhD's are clueless morons except for the smallest sliver of specialization.

Anonymous said...

"As a TCP2 guy, I think I will check into increasing my contribution rate for the first half of 2008. Perhaps I can get more out of LANS if they reduce the percent contribution later in the year. 11/23/07 3:10 PM"

If you're not already matching $ for $ at the 6% rate, you've missed the boat. That's free money, Stupid!

Anonymous said...

Nice sense of self-importance. How indispensable do you really think you are?

Can you build a pit? (Not a TA-55 Special Olympics pit, a real one.)

Can you keep a secret?

Maybe the nation should outsource to AQ Khan. At least he wasn't such a screw up.

PS - Citing Tom Clancy and "kill them all" - what kind of psychopaths are you? Maybe you guys deserve to be shut down.

Anonymous said...

5:33. I doubt Dingell hates Los Alamos or nuclear weapons.

From his Wikipedia entry: In 1944, at the age of 18, Dingell joined the United States Army. He rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant and received orders to take part in the first wave of a planned invasion of Japan in November of 1945; the Congressman has said President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war saved his life.

Maybe he hates incompetence and waste.

Anonymous said...

The problem is time scales. By the time the powers that be realize what is lost, it will be too late to keep it. It will be gone.

Anonymous said...

Hobson: As a congressman, some of Hobson's primary concerns are improving health care, controlling government spending and balancing the budget, and strengthening national security. Hobson also believes that Congress must help to stimulate the economies of former industrial towns who have seen factories leave.

What a puke, indeed.

Anonymous said...

it's appalling to read the bile and jealousy and hatred against LANL. As the lab sinks into pit production and your local economy equals that of Ghana.... try to remember your moronic bravado of hate while you eat your canned beans.

Anonymous said...

5:33 pm:

Well, I guess I'm not old enough to spend a lot of time "in my chair" so I don't need help being lifted out of it. However, I will somehow avoid cheering if a "national security nightmare" occurs that somehow LANL could have helped prevent if only it were funded. Not likely, I'd say. Not to imply that I believe "national security nightmares" are not imminent - they are. Just that LANL isn't the savior. Neither is Congress.

Anonymous said...

>Nice sense of self-importance. >How indispensable do you really >think you are?

Well we are more important than you.

>Can you build a pit? (Not a TA-55 >Special Olympics pit, a real >one.)

Hello ... yes we can.

>Can you keep a secret?

This is getting real old.
We are better than every other lab and every other Federal organziation. We have been through this before.

>Maybe the nation should outsource >to AQ Khan. At least he wasn't >such a screw up.

Your kidding ... right?

>PS - Citing Tom Clancy and "kill >them all" - what kind of >psychopaths are you? Maybe you >guys deserve to be shut down.

You sound like the psychopath to me. At the very least you sound like that bitter nutcase Chris Mechels.

You know these crazy rants of yours are getting real old. Ok we get that you are a bitter dishonest loser, you do not have to keep telling the world over and over.

Anonymous said...

"However, I will somehow avoid cheering if a "national security nightmare" occurs that somehow LANL could have helped prevent if only it were funded. Not likely, I'd say."

Life is a gamble.

Anonymous said...

"You must certainly mean "SPECIAL Olympics". Most PhD's are clueless morons except for the smallest sliver of specialization.

11/23/07 7:17 PM"

Ohh ... no.

You sound like someone who has very intelligent and insightful observations for the world.

Anonymous said...

"The reason that they must sweeten the pot is that job security is fundamental to the future of the lab.

.....

Must sweeten the pot. No other rational choice."

Good one. Why would you possibly think NNSA/DOE was rational?

It is true that prospective employees notice RIFs. Several of my students asked me about it (very nice to have escaped LA in time). Anyone accepting employment at Los Alamos should simultaneously plan their exit. Los Alamos will be able to hire people, however higher quality employees will probably consider other options more, and loyalty is already a thing of the past from what I can tell.

Anonymous said...

10:48 - “I will somehow avoid cheering if a "national security nightmare" occurs that somehow LANL could have helped prevent if only it were funded.”

A partial list of national security nightmares that LANL could help prevent:

1) a budget surplus
2) a sudden increase in sinecure-seeking children of NM state representatives and senators
3) the appearance of the new and improved Star Wars Death Star which only an army of Ewoks can fight

Any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

"You have my personal commitment to make this process as fair as possible."

Yea right! What's "fair" to one person is "favoratism" to another, and the Lab is notorious when it comes to applying the "whose your daddy" doctrine when it comes time to inflict pain and suffering. Good ol boys, best friends, college buddies, political allies, and bed mates will always get a free pass at the Lab when that time comes. After that, it's open season...and ye'll know what that means.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought.

Rumors abound that TCP1 will be requiring employee contributions to stay afloat.

What better way to encourage TCP1-ers to self-select, than for Mikey to announce next week that employee contributions into TCP1 will start on Jan 1?

Anonymous said...

11/24/07 7:42 AM

This junk of yours is getting old and make no mistake it is total junk. Either you are a liar or just really really stupid.

1. Mass epidemics. LANL has done some of the best modeling work on these scenarios. I know for a fact that this work is now used in national policy.

2. The most effective use of wide spread vaccinations.

3. Understaning HIV and the creation of the drug cocktail.

4. Non-prolifertion. You know someone has to detect and analyze
materials and explosions. Traking and so on. Kind of important.

5. Capabillities to disarm or detect nukes.

6. New weather modeling techniques.
You know the whol Global warming thing might be relevant.

7. New supercomputers. Also things like modeling a comet strike.

8. Stockpile Stewardship. You know global security.

9. All the DHS work done at LANL and the implications.

It just goes on and on. To the 7:42AM poster, you need to get some facts straight. Just think how much better the world would be be if you just left everyone alone.

Anonymous said...

11/23/07 10:41 AM "The reason that they must sweeten the pot is that job security is fundamental to the future of the lab."

Oh brother...is this for real?! How can so many educated people be so damn clueless and stupid, particularly at this point in time given all that has occurred?! Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

"I just wish our management would be honest about it."

Like I said, how can so many educated people be so damn clueless?

Anonymous said...

11/23/07 8:17 PM said:
"The problem is time scales. By the time the powers that be realize what is lost, it will be too late to keep it. It will be gone."

No, the problem is you think too much of your selves...you arrogant butthead cowboys, you.

--Admiral PN

Anonymous said...

Those who seem to think they are indispensable to LANL and that LANS must sweeten the pot to keep them here must realize one thing... most of the capabilities that NNSA requires for the future (chief among them being the building of pits) are all well established institutional capabilities. The are no longer held as individual capabilities.

Thus, LANS can safely get rid of many of the prima-donnas at LANL and still meet most of the NNSA milestones. In fact, getting rid of the prima-donnas may even help LANS accelerate achievement of the meager goals which NNSA now requires of the lab.

That some of the swollen-heads at LANL still can't grasp this fact is truly unbelievable. Scientist can be known for being dense at times, but some on the staff must have craniums re-enforced with depleted uranium!

Anonymous said...

"most of the capabilities that NNSA requires for the future (chief among them being the building of pits) are all well established institutional capabilities. The are no longer held as individual capabilities."

That is just so clueless, it's funny. You must be a LANS manager.

Anonymous said...

11/23/07 8:44 PM: "it's appalling to read the bile and jealousy and hatred against LANL. As the lab sinks into pit production and your local economy equals that of Ghana.... try to remember your moronic bravado of hate while you eat your canned beans."

Did someone hoit your boo-boo? Poo baby!

Anonymous said...

...And I thought that the contractor cuts last year were to cover the $175M increase in costs for the new contract? Too bad our management has failed to do anything to cut our costs! That $120K average cost is only salary plus fringe. To any program, that same average cost is $240K to $400K to a project. Perhaps the New Mexico Legislature Oversite Committee could ask Mike why the overhead costs so much and provides so little? I am aware of programs paying for things that offer new value or benefit, except for somebody else milking the system. The sad thing about this pending reduction is that our costs will INCREASE, not decrease because less bodies will have to generate more revenue since anybody from overhead will NOT be reduced from the workforce.

Ravenfriend said...

7:42 a.m.

I LOVE your wit! I think I'm in love with you.
RF

Ravenfriend said...

OK. The situation stinks. But, for a company in the private sector, which LANS IS after all, it isn't unusual to can some people when you take over. Especially if the company is Bechtel--or so I've heard.

It happens all the time. It just hasn't happened to the Lab before (not much anyway). I've spent most of my 34-yr career in the private sector and I've seen this happen quite a few times. It really is "business as usual."

What I'm amazed at is how much notice LANS is giving us. Don't get me wrong; I'm not groveling gratefully. I was once laid off after 8 yrs on the job AFTER putting in a full work week--at 4:45 in the afternoon on Friday. I guess that's at the other end of the Bell curve from what's traditional at the Lab.

I DO understand how difficult it is for so many of us to face this RIF. (I will lose my home, probably my car, etc., if I wait to get RIFed. I have no second income.) Employment here has a long history of being pretty stable. I thought I was all set (to cruise on to retirement age) when I was finally hired as a UC regular after living in LA for 14 yrs. I guess I juuuust missed that big, perks-loaded LANL boat by a few yrs. Bummer.

I'm not afraid of working hard, but I'm not looking forward (as one of those "over-50s" some have referred to) to job hunting at my age. I've only been at LANL for 9 yrs, so I'm not eligible for any kind of cool benefits except a bit of severance pay and a small amount of NM unemployment insurance that will just cover my mortgage.

But--I can't see moaning about it all. IT'S TIME TO ALIGN MY PERCEPTION OF REALITY WITH WHAT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING. The sooner I do that, the better off I'll be.

Just a thought, but maybe some of my colleagues here might want to think about doing the same. I know it's fun to vent (especially anonymously) sometimes, but maybe it's counterproductive.