As my days at IBM grow shorter, I’m beginning to realize how many “lasts” have already happened or are imminent.

Some passed unnoticed, because I didn’t realize they were the last of their kind:

  • I’ve already changed my intranet and Notes passwords for the last time
  • I’ve already created my last PBC (Personal Business Commitments)
  • I’ve already submitted my last TEA (Travel Expense Account)
  • I’ve already ordered my last set of IBM business cards (and didn’t get a chance to use any of them!)

Some happened after I got the word:

  • My office has been vacuumed for the last time (at least while it’s my office)
  • I’ve qualified for the Fitness Rebate for the last time
  • I joined my last “Community Builders” conference call

And some are yet to come:

  • I have the opportunity to attend a final Architecture Review Board call on Wednesday
  • I’ll be giving a last GTD-at-IBM presentation on Friday
  • I could even attend a final CIO DE community meeting on March 31st

No, they’re not all significant, but they’re all steps towards what comes next. And so they matter.

15 thoughts on “Lasts

  1. I don’t have a ready made list to offer you but look around for external sites/services which require you to have an email address and sign up for them if you haven’t already (one example: make sure all of your addresses are added to your profile now, even though they are not/will not be your primary address). Reason: it’s easier to sign up for them now and verify that you legitimately have an address and then later drop the service, than to find out later that it could come in handy (I think you told me you’d already done some of this).

    I found it handy, years later, to have printed copies of a bunch of my own IBM personnel docs, PBCs mostly, but some of the award info and there was some sort of stock thing which I only had access to inside IBM but which I needed when I sold a bunch of stock about a year after I left (not options. Unsure why at this point since I assume Computershare or whoever held the IBM book would have given me the info after enough phone calls).

    There’s some IBM ESC number you’re supposed to call *after* you’ve left in the event you move or other life changing activities. I long lost the number (and it’s got to be irrelevant to me by now) but it lead to some amusing incidents as I’ve moved three times within the same general neighborhood. Apparently mail from IBM occasionally appears (“We regret to inform you confidential personnel information has yet again been lost…”) at one of my former residences.

  2. Ed, thanks. I just added my address to LinkedIn, not that I’ve ever intentionally used it, but it can’t hurt.

    I scanned in copies of my PBCs (not all of them, but the last few years, plus those I still had in hardcopy), as well as printing out all of my “About You” pages to PDF and adding them to my stuff.

    Computershare makes the stock purchase stuff available on the Web these days — 15 transactions at a time. And the site requires JavaScript. I got lazy and harvested the data by hand while on a call, though I feel guilty for not having automated the process.

    I suspect I’m going to need the ESC number (I think it’s the same one as active employees use; I’d have to look it up because my phone knows it), since I’m retiring and therefore will want IBM to be able to find me.

  3. I don’t like the fact that the Bluepages record for an employee disappears when they leave when it could still be so helpful. E.g., can’t find your docs, posts, etc., in our internal systems which are still useful even after you leave, in fact probably even more so. I wonder what happens to communities you are an owner of (or sole owner). Only now getting into the GTD approach, so lots to catch up on there. I’m with Ed, I’d save copies of your accomplishments elsewhere.

  4. A couple of other tidbits from an experienced “RA-ee”

    1) Yes, the ESC number remains the same for you/us (and no, they don’t treat us like Lepers when we call ;-)
    2) Depending on what service you use there, you can still use your IBM SN, or just use your SSN for ease. Mostly, if it is insurance and bennies related stuff, easier to use the SSN, because they do strange things to your ESN once you become inactive. However, for personnel related things, like getting W2s, confirming payouts etc, just “zero-out” to an representative and tell them you are a former employee.
    3) This one is a goodie – for 2 years after leaving, you are still eligible for IP recognition. So, any patents you have pending with USPTO, or things that have gone into the IBM process will still get you paid within 2 years of departure (e.g. I just got a file award in December, and 2 recent issue awards) No, does not pay the mortgage, but it’s nice nonetheless
    4) Print out your IBM inventor history as well, (publications too) – make sure all the payouts are reconciled, and it’s nice to have the dates of record of filings etc.
    5) If relevant, export your Notes address book as CSV or vCards to add to your personal systems (I always had a merged personal address book I synched with my Mac and iPhone, so I was already there.
    6) Any internal publication (non confidential, or course) from Developerworks, etc, especially old ones that have been removed from the site – always good to have copies of your writing

    Anyway, just some other things for the “this week” GTD list ;-)

  5. Thanks, Dave — I hadn’t thought about capturing my inventor history! Or my internal blog, for that matter (though a friend offered to do that for me just this morning, which I appreciate). I think I have my other significant publications captured (I could try to get all my forum postings, but I suspect the value is limited).

    Oddly enough, I just got notified last night that a patent filing had gone through and that I was owed a [small] award; I think it’s too late for my BluePages manager to get it into my next (last) paycheck, especially since she’s on vacation at Club Med and her only access to wifi is at the bar! (At least that’s what she said on Facebook!)

  6. I think there’s an effort to create “Grey Pages” (IBMers who have left), but I don’t know how far it’s gotten. I do know that BlogCentral does not delete postings when an employee leaves (and that was a deliberate decision); I don’t know about Lotus Connections Blogs.

    I am looking for a volunteer (or volunteers) to take ownership of the internal “GTD at IBM” community (link only valid inside the firewall, of course) to make sure it doesn’t Go Away. So far, the work required to administer the community has averaged zero minutes/month, so I’m hopeful that someone will step up.

  7. Some other ideas: once your Lotus Notes id expires you can’t decrypt anything encrypted with it. Not that I’ve run into this myself, of course. But on the off chance that you have documents or emails you’d like to retain a copy of (solely personal/personnel related of course, you can’t do this with IBM C*nfidential information for example).

    Same with any other keys you might have. Also make sure that any Notes ids or VM machines that run things are properly transferred to somebody. Apparently at some point I owned a “role” id which had been used to sign a Notes agent and, well, there were some surprises when it expired and no one could reach me.

    Change your voicemail now, if you haven’t, to indicate that you’re leaving and whom IBMers should contact for business issues. One less thing to forget about that last day. Any obligation to respond to business inquiries from IBM terminates on your last day, if you choose to respond it’s out of courtesy (with the possible exception of the very next sentence following…)

    A conversation I wish I had had with someone intelligible before I left: what are/were my obligations to IBM and vice–versa when it comes to litigation. Basically: if you’re contacted by a third–party, should you contact someone at IBM? If so, whom?

    Completely random aside: has epc ~@~ ever been reissued? Curious if the inbound spam level ever dropped enough to make it a usable account again.

  8. er, and one more thing: the only reliable way to export a Lotus Notes Form document is to print it to PDF. If you should happen to copy it to an IMAP folder for example, it’ll just be junk and form structure junk, the actual data may or may not be copied, and the actual structure is lost since it’s not converted to a mime type or base64 encoded in any way.

  9. I *love* the idea of a “grey pages”. Hope it happens in our lifetimes :-).

    Ed, your id is not active at this time – cant tell of course if someone else had it in the intervening years. I dont know if there is a policy on re-use, but I have to imagine mine will go quick: there are at least five other people with my firstname-lastname combo alone, and since my id is just my first name it be even more usable. I wish departing employees were allowed to auction their email shortnames before leaving :-)

    The nugget there about two-years for IP payments is interesting. Good to know.

  10. @Ed — As it happens, I’d wanted to be able to use Spotlight to search my Notes mail archives, and so I took advantage of the December quiet period to write (and adapt) code to go through a mail file and send everything through Notes’ MIME serializer to a very stupid mail server on the same machine, which then turned everything into mbox files, which Spotlight is quite happy to deal with. It’s not 100% perfect (as you point out, Notes forms have internal structure which won’t be preserved by this process), but it was adequate to my purposes. IBMers can find the blog posting (with pointers to the code) here — it is not for the faint-hearted. Oh, and it only runs on Windows.

    I do have to deal with my private Notes database-of-stuff; most of what’s in it is no longer relevant (or, in the case of jokes, even funny), but there are a couple of items I don’t want to lose. Print-to-PDF is probably the simplest path forward.

    Voicemail? You must have left back in the day when people made direct phone calls to each other instead of meeting on conference bridges! But it’s a good idea, and I will update mine today if I can remember how to do it!

    I’ll see if I can find out anything about the litigation question from my friends down the hall in the legal department. It would be good to know.

    And I will be so happy to finally get off the spam lists from certain spammers who I can’t seem to filter out programmatically…Technology Transfer Tactics and Charterhouse Leads, I’m talking about YOU (among others).

  11. The last time I interviewed to return (maybe 2003?) the ‘epc’ id was active enough to cause problems scheduling the interview.
    I was told once that it was receiving ~3000 spam messages a day at one point.

    Kids: never, ever let anyone list your email address in a corporation’s RSAC rating. I know, what’s RSAC?

  12. with regards to many of the suggestions here, like @epc’s suggestion on answer phones and returning calls. Yes, do update your voicemail, although it mostly goes dead these days within a couple of days, its not like the old days.

    as for “I could try to get all my forum postings, but I suspect the value is limited)” – Jeez, you obviously have not run into Lynn Wheeler on the net then, he’s recycling his old posts time and time and time and time and time again… its like he’s either forgotten he posted them, or is intentionally trying to bump up his googlistic standing as a major compute player… I used to like and Admire Lynn in the 1980’s, but kinda not anymore…

    Generally I’ve found IBM honest to a fault on paying any form of payments due. I just recent cashed a check for 64c from the return on some award stock that I sold just a few days after the quarter closing…

    I was sadly though still dealing with Earnst and Young for IBM until January, and for whom my tax details and tax return, even all my current non-IBM salary details were required as a result of my International Assignment. I think this is now at an end following IBM making an unintentional disclosure of my personal bank details to a 3rd party. As result I insisted in communicating in person or severing the assignment tax agreement. I’m guessing no response means I can go ahead and file my own 2009 US taxes… At least you don’t have that to look forward to.

  13. David, I sent info to your Notes address regarding a painless way to save your (old) forum postings.

  14. @Mark — please be careful in what you say here lest you invoke the spirit of postings past!

    I found out that my phone will go away no later than Monday, April 5th; I’m asking for it to be turned off sooner if possible (or maybe I’ll just forward it to my manager!). I wonder how long my mail will stay active.

    I am not worried about IBM’s paying me what I’m due; the only tricky part has ever been getting the info into the system in the first place!

    And I am very glad that I don’t have to deal with the complications of an international assignment.

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