IBMer Stories

30 Years and Counting at IBM

Share this post:

By Simon Davey (3 min read)


You never really start a new role declaring, “Right, this is what I want to do for the next 30 years…” And yet, over three decades in IBM and I am still surviving and thriving.

As Linkedin’s #InItTogether campaign states, “Rarely do people love their job strictly for the money. Instead, we’re driven by other needs.”

In 1988, I was a young VTAM systems programmer at GEC Computer Services in Stafford, UK, a shared IT delivery division for the GEC empire which is now gone. I read a book called “The IBM Way” by Buck Rogers (IBM’s CMO in the 80’s) on a flight from New York and was inspired by the IBM culture. “THINK” is the IBM internal campaign inspired by our founder who said, “The trouble with every one of us is that we don’t think enough. We don’t get paid for working with our feet, we get paid for working with our heads.”

As an aside, I learned that Buck was a 4 handicap golfer and I was amazed that a senior VP had the time to play so much golf. At that time I was still naive in thinking that the more senior you are, the harder you need to work!

During this period, I quickly became known as the “IBM Fan” within my team. One day, while I was on a holiday, an IBM advert appeared on an IT periodical and I returned to work to see it stuck to my screen, signed by the entire team, with the slogan “Go For It!” This I did and have never looked back.

Did I think an IBMer would wear blue laces + jeans in 1988 ?


The one thing that is consistent in IBM is change.

Just a month from joining IBM, I was told that the team was changing – this news shook me at first; I was instantly worried I had made a mistake. Was IBM in trouble? Did I make the right decision? I soon learned not to worry about change because if you’re good and willing to adapt, you will survive.

There was a time a few years ago when, coming back from an International Assignment in Spain, I seriously considered buying a bicycle shop. But IBM came through for me and gave me what I asked for which is to become a Client Executive, a role I truly loved. I’m a petrol head and I work with automotive clients where I “need”, for business reasons, to go to the Frankfurt Motor Show every year. Tough.

In my over three decades at IBM I have never gotten bored, I still feel valued, and I believe that I can still do a better job as I’m constantly thinking about my clients.

My advice for anyone starting their career is to keep your head up, figure out what you enjoy and follow that path. Directions can change but embrace it and don’t fight it.


If you are interested in pursuing a career at IBM, join the IBM Talent Network to get updates on IBM news or job opportunities.


About the author:

Simon Davey is a Client Executive for IBM Europe focusing on Automotive clients based in the UK.

Click here to rate this article

Rate this article :

More Meet IBMers stories

Women in Consulting: “Measure Yourself with Internal Yardsticks of Responsibility, Courage and Emotional Fortitude”

On this issue of #WomenInConsulting, we are featuring Shikshya Khatiwada – the Business Development Executive at IBM Services. She shares her favorite part of working at IBM, her passion and advice on finding a mentor.   Name: Shikshya Khatiwada Position/Positions Held at IBM: Business Development Executive Current Work Location: 63 Madison Avenue Length of Employment at […]

Continue reading

How to Support Autistic Individuals in Agile Workspaces

By: Megan Roddie, Bill Dusch, and a network of autistic IBMers (5 min read)   Agile workspaces are becoming more and more common, thus increasing the probability that an autistic individual will find themselves placed in such an environment. Due to sensory processing disorders and sensitivities to certain environments, autistics may encounter difficulties thriving in agile office […]

Continue reading

IBM Tech Re-entry Program for Sales/Tech Sales Launched In India: Find Out What Makes It Unique

By: Lavanya Lakshmanan (6 min read)   The workforce of the future is all about skills. These skills can come from several different pools of talent. At IBM, we have been talking about P-TECH, New Collar Jobs, and Apprenticeship programs with a view that corporate leadership has to venture beyond hiring solely from top-ranked universities. […]

Continue reading