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Somethings I Remembered About IBM That Is No More

Updated on October 6, 2017
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.


I am an IBMer and probably will always be. Even though I left IBM 15 years, I still feel connected to it. I worked at IBM during its haydays. This article was inspired by a friend who I ran into recently. He started his career at AT&T and ended the last few years at IBM before retiring. He was tellling me about his experience. There are some traditions and practices I remember that are no more. Time marches on.

- July 2017

Some Traditions...

  • IBM Clubs
  • IBM Quarter Century Club
  • Silver spoons
  • Family Day
  • IBM Holiday Party
  • Defined Benefit Pension plan
  • IBM Art Gallery
  • IBM Palisades Conference Center
  • IBM Award Recognition Dinner
  • Three Basic Beliefs
  • IBM Song - Ever Onward

Michael C. Fina Co.


Many IBM locations had a nearby Country club facility. Some includes a golf course, bowling ally, swimming pool and other recreational facility. It cost very little to join and it was available to the family members as well. In recent financial difficulties, and cut backs, these places were sold off.

Becoming a QCC member was a real honor. It meant you have worked for 25 years for IBM, a good chunk of one's professional career. Receiving a gold watch, a plaque and $1000 check and a luncheon was all par for the course. In 2016, the only thing that survived is a luncheon.

When my kids were born, we would receive a silver spoon with the first name engraved in the mail. It was a welcomed surprise. The message was you are part of the IBM family. Congratulations on a new addition.

Every summer, a day was set aside for families. A picnic at a local amusement park where all the rides are free and foods and drinks are free...

Christmas holiday was very special for all the kids. Santa will be there to take photos and hand out toys for all kids under 12 years of age. Cookies and refreshments for all.

More Details...

One very personal loss for me was the IBM Art Gallery. There were some paintings collected by the Watson family. Our group was involved with a small side project of digital capturing the paintings. They included many from Frida Kahlo which was one of the favorite painters of the Watsons.

IBM Executive Conference Center - Palisades, NY. Located in scenic Palisades, where customers are brought in to meet and learn and relax... It was the one occasion that I met Lou Gerstner in person.

The 3 Basic Beliefs as set by the CEO of IBM -Thomas Watson Jr.

  • Have respect for the individual.
  • Give the best customer service of any company in the world.
  • Pursue all tasks with the idea that they can be accomplished in a superior fashion.

These ideas are timeless.

Palisades Conference Center


It is a sad story. My life and career with IBM, had ups and downs, mostly ups. From 1974 when I joined right out of college, till I left in 2002, it was filled with adventures and interesting colleagues and challenging projects. Mostly, we had fun doing it. It was not only the employees but a family affair. From the birth of our child to Christmas holidays and summer Family day picnics, the families were invited to join in the celebration. In the rare event of a Corp. Recognition dinner, we were treated to a high class celebration. On my QCC luncheon, I was given a binder of letters of congratulations from the CEO and many colleagues. I will treasure that forever.

It is sad because those memories will never again materialize for these new generations of IBMers.

Lyrics that is Probably not Politically Correct in 2017...

Ever Onward

There's a thrill in store for all,
For we're about to toast,
The corporation known in every land.
We're here to cheer each pioneer
And also proudly boast
Of that "man of men," our friend and guiding hand.
The name of T. J. Watson means a courage none can stem;
And we feel honored to be here to toast the "IBM."

That's the spirit that has brought us fame!
We're big, but bigger we will be
We can't fail for all can see
That to serve humanity has been our aim!
Our products now are known, in every zone,
Our reputation sparkles like a gem!
We've fought our way through -- and new
Fields we're sure to conquer too

We're bound for the top to never fall!
Right here and now we thankfully
Pledge sincerest loyalty
To the corporation that's the best of all!
Our leaders we revere, and while we're here,
Let's show the world just what we think of them!
So let us sing, men! SING, MEN!
Once or twice then sing again

© 2017 Jack Lee


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    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 5 weeks ago from Arizona

      Hey! My Dad used to work for IBM, when he first started the computers were still vacuum tubes! So here's a unofficial ditty about Poughkeepsie, NY:

      Everybody work for IBM

      All the women and all the men

      So it comes to no surprise -

      All the girls are computerized!

      The old-timers were called zipper-heads to update the brain with a new chip but now IBM's use velcro ...

      Also called 'beamers' (not the BMW kind)

      Remember the Country Club, all that stuff you mentioned.

      When at Endicott-Johnson,NY, saw the computer museum and the guts of the computer looked like macramé sewn by tiny fingers where each intersection of the wires was a tiny magnetic toroid.

      ! I would hate to rewire that! Glad I was born in the 1960's!