Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The (Coming) Lab Layoffs

Here's a guess—a pure guess—about what happens when the forecast layoffs come to Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
First, the world won't end.
The suspicion is that there will be buy-outs—people will be offered money to go away. This is what Bank of America did with me in 1997. I took the money. A good many people taking the laboratory (read: taxpayers) money will be Baby Boomers who have been there a long time. If these people are on the technical side, they earn good salaries, well over $100,000.
By the way, the reason Los Alamos has a high proportion of millionaires is not because of entrepreneurial activity, but because of well paid scientists chunking money into pension plans.
The bulging pension plans will mean slight loss of income for those leaving the labs. Some of those leaving will be rehired as consultants and maybe even net out with increased compensation. Others, just a few, might even do something entrepreneurial. Over time, some of those dear departed ones will be replaced by young Ph.Ds who will be very well paid for their age and who will spend the money on houses, babies, expensive hiking gear and Priuses.
in sum, then, the guess here is that the ripple in Albuquerque won't be noticed and the ripple in Los Alamos will be modest.

No comments: