I was part of Intel's recent layoff, and decided it was arbitrary like most are. I had been rated successful for my entire 10+ years at Intel. I had one EE rating with a promotion early in my career, and even got 3 SSL 2 ratings. I wouldn't be writing anything on here except that I think the whole "underperformer, and you are so bad nobody at Intel can hire you again" label given to successful people like me is new, and really reaks of bullshit. As Jon Stewart said on is way out: "if you smell something, say something." So here goes.
To prove my point, I'm going to talk about about two engeers.
The first engineer slacked off in 2013 and got a BE review with an SSL5 but stick it out and managed to get an S / SSL4 in 2014, then and SSL3 in 2015.
The second engineer was sick of his current job in 2013 and went through same personal trouble, but managed to do well enough to get an S / SSL4 when he changed jobs (the SSL4 was a parting gift from his previous managers). He got an S /SSL3 in 2014 and an S/SSL4 in 2015.
So for the three years used, we have:
Engineer #1: BE / SSL5, S / SSL4, S /SSL3
Engineer#2: S / SSL4, S / SSL3, S / SSL4
By the standard applied to this layoff, Intel retains engineer #1 and lays off engineer #2, despite engineer #2 having a better performance record by their own focal metrics. The reality is, anyone who got an SSL3 in 2015 was "saved" no matter how bad their performance had been rated previously. This is where I think BK screwed up. This was just a roll of the dice. Wait one more year and these two engineers could easily have traded stock tier levels.
Who was luckier? I'd bet on engineer #2. That's me, and I got a new job I like even better before they even cut my severence check. :)