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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • not quite... (Score:3, Insightful)

    I think you are wrong on two counts here:

    First the kinds of jobs that can validly be outsourced are jobs that I want to do. I know because I telecommute from another continent, albeit one with a cost of living that's similar to the US. If I can do it from afar, so can someone equally smart from a cheaper country. And I like my job and I don't think it's a crappy one. It's just that it can be effectively done by anyone with a telephone and a good internet connection

    And even if you were right, if only crapp

    --
    mirod
    • by ziggy (25) on 2003.12.23 18:53 (#26811) Journal
      I think you're confusing outsourcing with the everything-is-moving-offshore hysteria.

      Sure, there's going to be lots of outsourcing all over the map. It's not just the blue collar cleaning jobs, but also programming type jobs as well. It's been happening for years, and will continue. The difference is that most of the outsourced jobs in IT are going to IT contractors and consulting firms that concentrate in something, like hosting, development, network administration, whatever.

      Those jobs aren't going to low wage countries to arbitrage a wage differential. This type of outsourcing acknowleges that every company doesn't need to hire and retain top-flight software developers and sysadmins to run a network of 25 PCs and keep the email flowing. Some of that outsourced work will move to lower wage areas, like from California to North Carolina, US to Canada, or England to Ireland. But for the most part, the value is in concentrating specialist expertise, not finding a replacable cog that does the same job for 10% of a full time employee.

      First the kinds of jobs that can validly be outsourced are jobs that I want to do. I know because I telecommute from another continent, albeit one with a cost of living that's similar to the US. If I can do it from afar, so can someone equally smart from a cheaper country. And I like my job and I don't think it's a crappy one. It's just that it can be effectively done by anyone with a telephone and a good internet connection.
      Yes, that's true, but for the most part, those aren't the jobs that are moving offshore en masse, like shoe production did for Nike, or textile production did for New York City's garment industry. Those are the jobs where a company finds the one or two people capable of performing the job, and structuring a telecommuting program for them. That's totally different from offshoring, which tends to focus on replacing a staff of 25 entry level programmers in the US for 100 entry level programmers in East Elbonia who work for 1/10th of the pay.
      And even if you were right, if only crappy jobs could be validly outsourced, haven't you worked in corporations before? Once the trend has started, they will outsource everything, even it doesn't make sense. Sure it will be non-optimal, but by the time enough PHBs realize it, you, I and many others might have been out of a job for long enough that we wouldn't be in this industry any more. A policy doesn't have to make sense to be applied. And I don't buy the usual "but in this case you shouldn't work for this company anyway": I have worked, and enjoyed working, for companies that made really questionable decisions in some areas, but which still provided me with a very good job.
      I think you're taking this reductio ad absurdum a bit far. Yes, companies are going to replace IT workers with consultants and contractors. There are lots of jobs it doesn't make sense to send offshore, and lots of important IT functions fall into that basket. But you're presuming that all corporations are mindless lemmings that follow this week's trends.

      Not every project is going to be sent to East Elbonia; there are still lots of projects around that benefit from having everyone working under the same roof (or in the same city, or in the same timezone, or on the same continent, or ...). And as Tim Bray points out, this whole wave of offshore hype isn't going to magically crack problems that are currently beyond the grasp of staff in high wage countries.

      Finally, I think you're unfairly discounting lots of companies that actually value their employees, and place a big emphasis on hiring the best people they possibly can. This approach is inconsistent with dumbing down all work until it can be sent out to the lowest bidder, possibly thousands of miles away. Maybe this offshoring craze is just a form of darwinian selection to cull out the companies that do manage by following this week's breakthrough management strategy. :-)

      • I think you're confusing outsourcing with the everything-is-moving-offshore hysteria.

        Yes I was confusing the 2. My main point though is that no matter how effective outsourcing or offshoring really is, if it becomes trendy to do it, then companies will _have_ to do it, otherwise they stock will suffer. And anyway the managers will go to seminars, or listen to HPCs (Highly Paid Consultants) that will tell them that that's what they should be doing, and eventually they will.

        I believe the 2 are very similar

        --
        mirod