IBM Corporate Service Corps

Today I applied for IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. Think Peace Corps but for computers instead. To quote the original IBM press release last year:

This program will provide leadership development experiences for IBMers, exposing participants to the 21st Century context for business – diverse cultures, policy environments and societal expectations. IBM will team with non-governmental organizations to place small groups of employees from different countries and business units together, outside of the office structure. They will build relationships and work on some of the world’s toughest problems, such as enhancing global economic opportunity and access to education resources. The Corporate Service Corps will be global from the outset: Approximately 600 IBM participants over the first three years will be drawn from all over the world. Project destinations will be in emerging and developing countries.

The program would be 6 months in total but only a month of that would be out of the US and in the destination country. The other 5 months would be part-time work in preparation for leaving and for debriefing once the in-country assignment is over.

The pre-reqs were reasonably high and they aren’t accepting that many people so we’ll see if I get selected. Preferential treatment will be given to folks who are already involved in volunteer work and while I listed DP and my sign language interpreting for Gateway the last several years I’m not certain if that’s what they’re looking for.

For the initial phase only three locations were listed as options and you were to rank them in your order of preference. My order was: Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa. Who knows, maybe my non-existent Russian will get some use?

The application deadline is February 15 and the coordinators are hoping to let folks know a month after that who has been accepted. Nothing to do but wait!

We’re buying a townhouse!

The counter-offer was more than reasonable so we accepted it — we’re buying a townhouse!

The only thing that Benjamin and I don’t absolutely love about this unit is the outside color. It appears that Gargamel finally got the upper hand and made a line of paint. Yes, the condos are Smurf blue. Luckily the units around it aren’t so you can’t see the color from the inside :)

Check out realtor-provided pictures at

The plan is to close on February 15th, lease back the unit to the current owners until March 31st, and take possession of it on April 1st. The lease-back helps the current owners who are in the process of building another home and gets us closer to the end of our lease at the lofts on April 14th.

This unit is vastly different from the unit we first started looking at but has the benefit of much more square footage, much nicer finishes, and a better possible resale value while only being slightly more expensive.

2007 PBC Rating: 1!

Two years in a row! :)

I just got off the phone with my manager and received the news about my 2007 Primary Business Commitment (PBC) results: I got a 1, again!

For the uninitiated: At the beginning of each year, IBM employees write down their goals for the year and put them in the PBC tool. At the end of the year employees write up how close they came to achieve those goals and submit them to management who reviews them. Also at the end of the year management gets together and rates employees according to how well they did compared to their peers. Ratings can be one of the following

  • 1 – Extraordinary
  • 2+ – Exceeded Expectations
  • 2 – Solid Performer/Met Expectations
  • 3 – Needs Improvement
  • 4 – Your Ass Is Getting Fired

Because PBC ratings are tied to bonus payouts, the number of 1s and 2+s are limited – generally at a 3rd line manager level.

My manager’s writeup makes me sound much more important than I really am but I sure sound good! I was a bit concerned how my relocation would impact my PBCs for this year. As a telecommuter I feel that I never really know how my peers and management team feel about me. Maybe it’s because I rely so much on nonverbal communication (can anyone say sign language?) and that’s completely absent.

In short: yay me!

Before you get too excited and think “hey, IBM just pre-released great 2007 earnings, it’ll be a good year for bonuses” remember that you’re applying logic and reasoning to the bonus process that does not exist. Besides, I’m told that while IBM did well, Tivoli did Much Less Than Well although I guess we’ll see later this week.