RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — An internal document made available to WRAL.com and Local Tech Wire offers a revealing look at IBM’s latest round of cutbacks in its Systems and Technology Group.

Those being cut were “selected to participate,” IBM says. I’m sure people were waiting in line to sign up for the exit plan.

From those facing customers to the executive suite at the vice president level, from young to seasoned , from sales and marketing to engineers, and even at least one person honored within Big Blue’s ranks as a “distinguished engineer,” the ranks of those being given their walking papers is quite striking.

Not only does the four-page “resource reduction action” – or layoffs, to you and me – document spell out jobs to be cut but also the ages of the people affected.

An IBM spokesperson confirmed 38 layoffs at RTP, but in an interview declined to discuss even what business unit was affected, citing competitive reasons. But he did acknowledge that some jobs are being shifted overseas, and IBMers will be training their replacements in Taiwan and elsewhere.

It’s bad enough to have one’s job “off-shored,” but having to train a replacement while preparing for unemployment – now that’s pouring salt on an open wound. Companies certainly must adapt to a changing world environment, but …

Making matters worse is how the document is written. The “Notice to Employees” is cold, bland legalese. But the words strike home when one thinks of the many blue-blood veterans that are being shown the door.

“The following is information regarding job titles and ages of employees selected to participate in IBM’s current resource reduction action as required by federal law,” the document says.

Those selected to “participate” were included for one or two reasons – or both:

“1.Work Elimination. Employees performing work that has been eliminated

“2. Staff Reduction and Restructuring: Total assessment of an employee’s relevant skills and performance within a job group, with seniority as a tie-breaker.”

Youth was no guarantee of job survival – a 28- and a 29-year-old were given the heave-ho.

As for seniority as a tie-breaker? Well, those up to age 68 are gone, or soon will be.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.