My Position On The Disney Outsourcing Layoffs

People who know me know I loved sharing my adventures at Disney. I still do. Anyone whose been with me in Disney World has seen this for themselves. Look at the earlier posts in this G+ collection. Ignoring the last 12 months my time at Disney was filled with numerous awesome moments. I made the most out of being there more than anyone I know. I worked there for over 10 years, which is unheard of in the technology field and nearly twice as long as anywhere else I've been. For a company that teaches people come first, I never expected to be reading and sharing stories like these. I waited nearly 6 months before saying anything.

Most of the people I know who were let go back in January were the hardest working professionals I'd ever met in my 25+ year career, and they routinely sacrificed personal time and freedoms to help make your experience in the parks what it was. There are things I cannot share that would help you see the dept in that statement. They had good performance reviews and none expected to be told they were being let go 90 days later. Many had their stress compounded by being forced to train their own replacements. Others made efforts to work as contractors, only to discover that door also closed. I don't believe they deserved to have their loyalty and sacrifice rewarded this way, in the declining years of their life for some. All of this during record company profits. Most of them will not say anything because every area business (contractors, recruiters, lawyers) has a relationship with Disney, or they hope to return there one day despite all this. I had hoped to contract there myself, but they changed the policy. My exit status is officially "retiree", but that was not planned and was 7 years before we were financially ready to really retire. We were in the middle of dealing with medical challenges when this happened. Even greater savings and better ethics could have been made by cutting the salaries or medical coverage of their executives. [Note I'm being sarcastic]

It would not surprise me if this is simply their new CIO (Tilak Mandadi) committed to reducing costs by xx% in order to comply with a hiring contract or receive a bonus. I have no knowledge this is true or not, but it does occur in executive hiring. He had no prior hospitality experience, and the financial sector is not known for being innovative in technology or valuing employees [I've worked in it]. A company would not normally risk their brand by taking key internal infrastructure services directly related to revenue, terminate the people responsible for them, and turn them over to foreigners  unless cost was a priority over stability and staff. That's not the company I joined. Any skill situation could have been addressed by re-positioning and/or training existing staff. If you view your staff as a liability, it's more likely a leadership problem.

I'm disappointed by this, but I have no anger or malice. Honestly I'm more focused on my own family survival. Disney Technology over time became incompatible with my professional work ethic and I don't expect to return even if  given an opportunity. I'm sharing news about it because this experience has taught me the H-1B Visa program needs to change to protect others in the future.

Note 6/12/15: The NYT has published a link to this post, so I want to make it clear these are my personal experiences and opinions. I've also shared some of my memorable experiences: https://plus.google.com/+KeithBarrett/posts/K2LXXHWKJSM ]

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