Post of the Day
August 27, 1998

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Subject: AMAT Layoff
Author: WadaPhooliam

I started several times to write a post on this subject, but just didn't like what I had to say.

My employer, Applied Materials, laid off 750 people in our Santa Clara facilities, 600 in Austin, and another 650 worldwide will be let go by the end of our 4th quarter which ends at the end of October. 2000 people represents a 15% cut. What with an earlier Voluntary Separation Package (not offered across the board, but to selected individuals), and the cut in contract workers, the total is 3500 this year, about a 25% reduction overall.

  "It doesn't matter that we knew it was coming, it's the fact that we had to say goodbye to people we've known and worked with for years."

People I really like and respect were let go. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who's cut and who stays. It doesn't matter that we knew it was coming, it's the fact that we had to say goodbye to people we've known and worked with for years. To say that it sucks does not even come close to describing how it feels to see friends and colleagues go.

One thing I would like to remind you all of when you buy a stock is that you are buying part ownership in a human endeavour. The enterprise in which you invest is made up of people just like you who day in and day out do their part to make the enterprise successful. You share in that success simply by being a part owner, even if you are not directly involved in the enterprise itself.

  "I could care less what the analysts say or what the traders do, because I know what's behind those shares of stock."

I currently own a shade over 6,000 shares of Applied Materials, about 90% of which is in my 401K. I could care less what the analysts say or what the traders do, because I know what's behind those shares of stock. I see it every day in the smile of a coworker, a brainstorming session, an ad hoc training session where I am simultaneously a trainer and trainee, or even swapping reminiscences with another 'old timer' about what it was like 10 and more years ago.

As a last parting shot, I wonder if the SEC would consider it 'material non-public information' if I state that I am extremely proud to work with the caliber of people that I do. Probably not. Yet, in truth, the high caliber of those people is probably the most material item of all in the long run.


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