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More Valve Layoffs

Gamasutra expands upon the story of Valve's firing of engineer Jeri Ellsworth with the report that as many as 25 staff were fired by the developer yesterday. Details are scarce, though after contact with some of those involved, they say: "the impression we get is that these cuts were driven more by company challenges than by individual performance issues." They also have a speculative list of those who may have been let go by comparing the company's employee directory to a cached version from last month. Following up, Engadget has a statement about this from Valve Managing Director Gabe Newell:

"We don't usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I'd take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren't canceling any projects. No, we aren't changing any priorities or projects we've been discussing. No, this isn't about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We're not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn't working here."

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26. Re: More Valve Layoffs Feb 14, 2013, 07:35 Beamer
ViRGE wrote on Feb 13, 2013, 23:22:
mag wrote on Feb 13, 2013, 21:55:
xXBatmanXx wrote on Feb 13, 2013, 21:39:
? If nothing is impacted, then why fire 25 people? Might as well have said nothing. My ASSUMPTION is that the mobile and hardware sections aren't doing as projected and they cut a lot of fat from those projects.....

Maybe 25 people are fired exactly because nothing is impacted. They were unnecessary. Superfluous. Excess.
If things are good, then your business is growing and you need more people. Which means if any individual position is necessary, you will typically cross-train them for where you do need them. Booming businesses don't have superfluous people.

This is ridiculous.
Really, no superfluous people? Cross-training?

For one, in order to cross-train you need someone that WANTS to be cross-trained. If you have an Android guy that loves coding for Android and you say "hey, we canceled our Android plans, want to code for Windows instead?" you will probably get someone who says "actually, with Valve on my resume and Android being so popular, I can probably get a new job tomorrow, so no thanks."

And sometimes you just go down a road that is pretty isolated skills-wise. If you spend time working on a controller and hire controller people, then decide not to make a controller, possibly no hardware fab at all, all the engineers that are pretty controller specific really don't have much room. They're highly skilled, highly paid controller people, but lack the skills elsewhere. Sure, you can train them and they can learn, but you're paying them a fortune to be experts, why would you move them somewhere they are no longer experts and why would they want to go back from being an expert to being unskilled?

My company is doing this now. We are saying no jobs are being lost. This is true. But people will be fired. Good people. We have too many, say, IT people and not enough, say, finance people. Some of those IT people are very highly paid and very highly knowledgeable about their field. But we are way overstaffed in that field. They have no finance skills that warrant their paycheck, and if they wanted to be finance people they probably wouldn't have gone into IT. So they'll be let go, and their salaries will be used to hire finance people as experienced as they are. It's unfortunate, but we have a ton of expensive, experienced people sitting idle in some departments and other departments suffocating from a lack of them. We also have a finite amount of money we can spend on g&a. So we need to go through the difficult task of letting some fantastic employees go because their skillset isn't needed but other skillsets are. We could train them, but who wants to go from being a Senior Director of IT to an analyst in finance, which is about what their skill level would be, and why should we pay them $150,000 when an analyst should be making a third of that? We either severely overpay them, or we ask them to take a paycut (which is a huge insult.)

Seriously, what kind of nonsense are you spilling?
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