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Walter Underwood

HP had alternate Fridays off at least one more time, around 1990. It lasted for about six months. I was at HP from 1985 to 1996. That plan was referred to as the "nine day fortnight".


I worked for two companies that did complex industrial systems.

At company "A" there were twenty four engineers reporting to a manager who reported to the Vice President of Engineering. The group was pretty much self organizing so that expertise in one area might put you in charge of a team one day and the next assignment might be as a lowly team member somewhere else. Your head swelled only in proportion to what was in it.

At company "B" there were pre determined group leaders as opposed to the self organizing done at "A". In addition to the group leaders, management included supervisors, department managers, and other layers before you got to the Vice President of Engineering.

Company "A" had a ratio of engineers to management of 12:1.

Company "B" had a ratio of engineers to management of 1:1.

How does that happen? In good times "B" hired managers and engineers. In bad times "B" laid off engineers.

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