Outsourcing

Why I love offshoring and outsourcing

Most IT employees look at offshoring and outsourcing with begrudging acceptance to thinly veiled (or outright) xenophobia, but Patrick Gray believes they have made the IT profession stronger and more competitive. Here's why.

Offshoring and its close cousin outsourcing are loaded topics in most workplaces and especially in IT departments. We were one of the first business units to experience outsourcing and offshoring on a massive scale, and many in IT still smart from the wounds (real and perceived) inflicted by these controversial siblings. Perhaps most painful is that many of the technologists most acutely affected by outsourcing are specialists in the very technologies that made offshoring possible: high-speed, long-haul networks, and cheap, ubiquitous collaboration tools.

The feelings of most IT employees I've worked with around these topics range from begrudging acceptance, to thinly veiled (or outright) xenophobia, but I believe outsourcing and offshoring have made the IT profession stronger and more competitive. Here's why:

A global playing field is inevitable

If you want breathless praise from globalization, take a gander through Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat. I'm a bit less sanguine in my views than Friedman, but along with cheap connectivity and an increasingly universal technical "vocabulary" based on common standards and development tools, IT simply arrived en masse on the global stage before many other business functions. While it's easy to lament the negatives of this global playing field, mainly that an organization can now draw on a global pool of smart and/or cheap people, I believe this competition makes IT as a profession better.

You can agree or disagree with this assessment, but this global playing field works in both directions. IT is one of the least location-sensitive professions, allowing workers to telecommute and market their skills worldwide. The rapid adoption of offshoring has made companies far more willing to hire outside expertise, and a tiny company like mine can now do business with Fortune 500 monoliths with neither party finding anything unusual in the arrangement.

While high-volume, low-quality manufacturing has largely left the United States, an opportunity has arisen for high-quality, localized, or specialized manufacturing. Similarly in the United States the days where you could make a comfortable living working in a desktop support call center are probably over, but more challenging (and presumably rewarding) opportunities have arisen in their place.

In an interesting role reversal, many formerly low-cost outsourcing centers have now been so flooded with demand and money that they have become yet another high-cost technology hub, and many CIOs are chasing "the next India" since that country is no longer as cost-competitive as it once was. Highly cost-sensitive skills are almost always headed for commoditization, so if your area of expertise begins to be outsourced it might be time to bone up your skill set.

Salary and skills are rapidly rationalizing

Like any new technology or business practice, offshoring in particular was subject to an initial hype cycle that has since rationalized. I remember sitting in a meeting with the CEO of a large company as he extolled the benefits of offshoring, mentioning that one could hire a PhD in computer science in another country for pennies that was "even better" than a local resource. While this may have been true for a brief period in the 1990s, the mythical "5 times smarter at 1/100th the cost" person no longer exists. Companies have largely figured out that you get what you pay for, just as highly skilled people in low-income countries realize that they can charge similar rates to local resources.

Educational credentials are also rationalizing, and firms are realizing that a high-level degree doesn't always mean high-level skills. At the end of the day, many companies are realizing that a slew of letters after one's name doesn't guarantee talent, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, or business expertise.

Outsource and offshore yourself

Big companies aren't the only beneficiary of outsourcing and offshoring, and arguably the technologies that make these practices possible can be deployed even more effectively by small organizations or individuals. I've tapped the global talent pool for everything from high-end legal expertise in contract law, to rudimentary administrative work. The two O's have made many IT shops more sensitive to what you accomplish than how many hours you sit in a cube, and with your own outsourced "staff" helping you with everything from booking doctor's appointments to assisting you directly in your business (where possible, legal, and allowed by your employer), we can garner many of the benefits of these practices ourselves.

While it's tempting to lament the way things used to be, or at the extreme attempt to legislate away the global playing field, it's clearly the new normal and I'd rather exploit the opportunities that it presents than be washed away in a tide of nostalgia.

Patrick Gray is the founder and president of Prevoyance Group and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. Prevoyance Group provides strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com, and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

107 comments
MaSysAdmin
MaSysAdmin

I now swear never to purchase his books or have anything with his name on it. Techrepublic do NOT have this guy write anything for you ever again

LightVelocity
LightVelocity

When you refuse to hear the fact. Go ahead, shoot him. Make Techrepublic the exclusive for the people who cant face the reality and want to read only self fulfilling prophecies.

d.l.todd
d.l.todd

The true part is the fact that IT jobs are getting outsourced and not necessarily to India. We have several local outsourcing companies right here that tout 24/7/365 support. The other fact is more organizations are moving to the cloud which also touts 24/7/365 support and up to 5 9s uptime. Companies are gravitating to this because its gives them a budget item, a fixed monthly expense. The economy is still recovering and businesses are continuing to look for new ways to curtail expenses. and yes keep investors happy. The sad fact is that server farms, in house developers and IT departments are slowly, but surely, getting outsourced. Companies may stop outsourcing to 2nd and 3rd world countries but outsourcing and reducing the IT footprint is not going away. And no, Im not a proponent of outsourcing but will eventually have to face facts.

gpride
gpride like.author.displayName 1 Like

As a IT consultant, my firm provides outsourcing services to organizations locally and in other states so I support outsourcing. But only to companies in the USA. My company hires local workers which supports the local economy. Offshoring is ruining our economy for the sake of making big corporations larger. When we offshore, not only are we taking jobs from the US, the money that these foriegn workers make does not circulate here in the USA. As a result we are turning foriegn countries in to super powers with better economies than our own. Not to mention the security risk(s) and quality control issues. We are self-destructing as a nation for the sake of Wall Street gains. In the industrial age, America became powerful because we made most of the goods that the world wanted, the jobs were plentiful and the money circulated within our borders. Look what has happen to places like Detroit and Flint Michigan. Support the American Workforce!!

blarman
blarman like.author.displayName 1 Like

Many of these very outsourcing companies based in India and China only exist because there isn't enough native demand for their services. If there were more need from companies in their own countries, they wouldn't depend on the US to stay in business. I'm not a xenophobe, I'm just recognizing that while the economy is globalizing, communication is still key to doing business. And my personal experiences have been that the cultural and language barriers between companies based in India and China vs those based in the US is a significant and poorly understood barrier that has a significant impact on the success of business dealings between those companies. Until BOTH sides understand this, you are going to continue to see one bad outsourcing deal after another.

brian.v.allen
brian.v.allen like.author.displayName 1 Like

I also completely disagree. This subject is nothing new. In fact it's well over 20 years old. It's put a lot of IT people out of work and has devalued their skillset. C-level execs think they can save a buck by doing this when in fact they see the degraded quality of service and rising cost over the long haul. Many companies have switched back to in-house employees because of the complaints they get from their customers when dealing with people from India. You can't understand them and worse...if they can't follow a script then they can't fix your problem. Outsourcing and offshoring belongs in the Dilbert handbook.

digital riverrat
digital riverrat

Dogbert, the Evil HR Executive. Dilbert, being a techie, would want the jobs here for him and Wally to do.

gsveeb
gsveeb

.... but wait, people don't like that either because foreigners will be taking away all the "good" jobs. Well, wouldn't that be the lesser of two evils? The money would remain "here", salaries would be kept closer to their current levels. These folks would have to pay taxes, buy houses, cars, food, etc, all of which would help the economy. But no, a lot of people opposed this, so now, here we are ... welcome to the Global Economy!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson like.author.displayName 1 Like

Strangely that solution hadn't occurred to most of us.... What a bunch of stupids we are...

davids
davids like.author.displayName 1 Like

What a fine one dimensional view. Using the terms ???globalization??? and ???xenophobia??? and with the statement ??????or at the extreme attempt to legislate away the global playing field,??? Your true colors and intent shine through like a nuclear blast. ???Inevitability??? is lazy AND a nice synonym for ???progressive.??? Changing for the sake of change or because it???s the ???right??? thing to do is ridiculous. If you are an American the right thing to do is to hire American. Although not strictly ???politically correct??? the US is (or at least has been) the best country in the world, the most innovative, the most creative and has the best system, the smartest minds etc.. (Traditionally this has been because the US allowed all people to come here who wanted to make a better life and contribute. Now people come here to freeload and WE send our jobs away) the reason why this is changing IS the ridiculous idea of globalization. You make my point for me. Those workers in India that were paid pennies on the dollar for what an American was paid quickly realized that they could charge more. The net effect here is that the salary of US citizens went down (less taxes, less money in the US economy, a lot less!) NOW we go to China or some other 3rd world country and the process happens all over again. IT salaries go down in the US and we lose jobs. This is called ???Social Justice??? and in this form ???globalization??? really is the prelude to a world monetary system, a one world government, global socialism, global communism and the end of the human civilization and we have come to know it. Your opinions are noted, along with those that are just as ignorant of what is really going on. People need to do the research themselves and think about where that information is coming from. The only thing that is good for America IS America. (Now call me crazy, I know you want to)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson like.author.displayName 1 Like

Don't forget who's doing this to you, americans, living the american dream. It's nowhere near as big an issue in nasty socialist countries... All that government regulation and unconsionable interference you see... So you are as one dimensional as Mr Gray, like him you are in the ME dimension, you need to shift into the US dimension. :p Before you try to turn this into a left vs right debate, you should know I'm a real socialist. "The goal isn't to want a welfare state, it's not to need one". Outsourcing requires one, as does the unregulated pursuit of individual happiness, and cheap mexican help. There's only so much to go around...

Jemonaco
Jemonaco like.author.displayName 1 Like

I've seen quite few anecdotes about how the quality of service goes down when outsourced and off-shored. I have encountered this in my life too many times to count. If your customers are unhappy because a cheap but ineffective "solution" is available, well, that's no solution at all. In the long run, your customers WILL flee - probably to a series of competitors that provide the service they need - at least for now. As far as corporations moving money and assets overseas, I am curious how the large corporations will retain these items should the foreign countries raise taxes or nationalize the operations. Please don't call on the US government or taxpayers to defend your overseas "rights". You will taken a risk and lost. Good going geniuses! So who wins? It strikes me that almost everyone loses but a few near-sighted, gluttonous, C-level managers with golden parachutes. Shame on the shareholders and boards of directors for permitting this to occur.

Organic53
Organic53 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Looking to make a quick buck and greed are two of the mainstays of corporate jerks like Mr. Gray. The biggest problem with outsourcing is it leaves the in house staff cleaning up the mess left behind. Unfortunately, short sighted people who are only looking at the bottom line tend to discount the amount of work and garbage left behind.

cgkomeshak
cgkomeshak like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why on Earth does TR have anyone on staff? Can't they get someone in India to write these articles? It obviously would be faster and cheaper to get an army of Indian triple PhDs to work for 5 cents a year than him for free. It only takes a committtee of (higher paid) contract admins here in the US to oversee the work. I'm just saying, if its a good idea to outsource System A, then certainly it makes sense to outsource System B and so on, until the entire economy is moved over there and everyone can have everything for no cost, virtually, I promise. Have I ever lied to you before? (this time!) Hey!!! We can outsource all these responses, too! Don't say "Now you're being ridiculous" because how can you define the point when it is a good idea and when its not? Its obviously not a good idea at any point, never was, never will be. The Indian/Asian/African IT economy needs to grow itself and become competitive on a skills/cost basis, like everyone else, and they know it. Outsourcing is a new version of the old shell game. Make a promise, hide the true cost, pocket the money, and move on to the next sorry sap not bright enough to ask a few questions and do simple arithmetic. Sorry to all the folks who fell for this one and all the destruction left in its wake, but shame on you for not being bright enough to figure it out at the start. Like all other con games, some true believers will persist even after its proven false a thousand times.

TheFrankman
TheFrankman like.author.displayName 1 Like

Patrick, Having one's profession outourced is a life-changing event. I hope your superiors have not given thought to the possiblity of your position/blog being performed by someone other than yourself in another part of the world for a more reasonable cost...I hope...

ChallengerTech
ChallengerTech like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

The Patrick Gray's in this country are a part of the problem. Their uncompassionate, unpatriotic, and greedy idealism is what has seriously denigrated our entire IT industry in the US. Companies that outsource should be heavily taxed if there is an American worker available to do the job. Unemployment is above 10% in a lot of states...and believe it or not there have been a lot of competent IT people layed off and replaced due to outsourcing/off shoring and cheap labor if they want to sponsor H1B visas. This type of content should never be published in Tech Republic...as a long time subscriber, I am severely disappointed! Please remove Patrick Gray from your list of content providers...he really cheapens the website!

sunny7v
sunny7v like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Mr.(Dummy) Patrick Gray you are so off the research, did you outsource your article as well? Look like you have no experience dealing with outsourcing (Indian) companies at all.After reading this article of your's, I think TechRepublic/CBS management should OUTSOURCE your job as well. You have no idea what we have to deal with them on everyday, look like we are here to correct their mistake's or guide them to get the their job done the right way. Unlike few years ago, we are not even sending any critical (innovative) work anymore, but stupid/ corrupt executive team still want to send some work to Indian's, why to get the bonus's.

SafeInAFlash
SafeInAFlash like.author.displayName 1 Like

Well I hope his position is outsorced to China, just skip that so yesterday India for cost savings. I just wish I knew were the next China is; Malaysia? Maybe in a few years it could be outsourced to the lowest income country at that time --- USA!

dodad
dodad like.author.displayName 1 Like

Obviously this article is a prank. It's just too far out. I get it: do something really dumb to make IT professionals more competitive. Not to worry! they are driving middle class into the ground even without the help of offshoring. But you know what happens: they bring the offshore people to the west to send an even stronger message. Riddle me this: who is making the real money on this, and how?

sherman.meeds
sherman.meeds like.author.displayName 1 Like

Companies outsource jobs (outside the US) that would normally be considered entry-level. Those would normally have been the major way people get into the IT field and gather enough experience to be promoted. By doing so we have given other countries increased capability to home-grow experienced, senior IT technicians and removed the main way newly graduated IT workers would enter the field. That makes it even harder for workers in this country to compete and reduces how many skilled, senior-level IT technicans can be found in the work pool here.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst like.author.displayName 1 Like

Patrick Gray's just telling us what's coming and suggested a way around it. Not everything has to be outsourced to a call centre in Mumbai. The key word is "outsource" and the "offshore" part is not a must. Unfortunately, first-world countries can't compete with third-world on price, so we have to try create a user experience so superlative that they demand it. No dangling on the line for ten minutes listening to someone's idea of music would be a start. Most offshore call centres I've contacted use VOIP and sound like you're talking to Mars so if you have the advantage of a proper telephony system, use it. Patrick Gray made himself violently unpopular by saying that OO is a Good Thing, but let's look past the opinion part of the article and face the hard facts.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson like.author.displayName 1 Like

You mean corporate surely... Which bit of import everything, put a significant amount of your workforce on welfare, tax the remainder to pay for it and have a crap balance of payments = patriotic in your book? Can I interest you in a bridge, one careful foreign investor, offshore maintenance and the building debt sold on 18 times? Country....

VPerkins2
VPerkins2 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

TR, please create a new button so that I can forever skip articles from this author. Call it the 'BS' or 'Douche' button; it's function is to warn me the next time I open a TR e-mail containing references to articles from those authors I deem unworthy of my time. Thank you.

techrepublic
techrepublic like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Let's ship all the jobs overseas, then we can bring in illegal immigrant construction workers to build more Salvation Army shelters so we have a place to live when we can't find jobs.

Computer Dave
Computer Dave like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Two years ago I was working in-house support for a very large, global database/software company. When you, as an employee, had an issue with your laptop the 1st call went to India. You told them your problem and they read the answer from a script. Most of the time it was "Update your Norton Anti-Virus, run a scan, and call me back." When that didn't work, the ticket was directed to me, where the problem got fixed that same day. Now tell me again how outsourceing IT jobs if a good idea?

wlportwashington
wlportwashington like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Offshoring takes needed jobs away from Americans. It is the worst thing a company can do to it's employees and to the country.

stroebs
stroebs like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

There is a saying "what gets measured, gets done" CEOs are only measured by this quarter's profit, and will go to great lengths to maximize it. This is exacerbated by the intense focus on share price which is (yes, circular reference!) determend by quarterly profits. CEO's should be rewarded based on their contribution towards improving the long term viability of the company. When they focus on what is best for the company over the long term, they will have to take the consequences (other than the near term impact on profits) into account. This leads me to the subject heading: Corporate responsibility. Business exist to increase their shareholder wealth, which should not be an issue when done in a responsible way. Corporations also have a responsibility towards their community, their country. They should realize that their actions have a direct or indirect impact, and should be held accountable for that. Imagine how their attitiude will change if they are not only measured on their bottom line profit (which is why they exist in the first place) but also how their community and country prosper because of their decisions. This can in principle apply to all areas - from jobs to infrastructure to environmental issues.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I get the feeling that Mr. Gray will not be following up on this discussion. Also, I think he knows his target audience, the recipients of a small number of retweets, "movers and shakers". He knows that they don't have the attention span for digging into the discussion, and also that they have effective shutters against "people (so-called) who don't agree with me". What we're witnessing is one warhead of a MIRV (remember those?)... Up there, where the air is thin and the thinking is impaired, they're throwing these things around. Like a flock of giggling flagellants, whipping themselves and each other into an offshoring frenzy. Fluck all we can do about it.

techlife01
techlife01 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Outsourcing is a method that wealthy individuals and corporations use to increase their wealth. It is just that simple. Sometimes the result is an acceptable service level or product quality and often it is not. In either case it is simply a mechanism to increase the wealth of those who are already wealthy or to allow others to compete with those already outsourcing when selling in markets where people don???t seem to understand or care that their current standard of living is being diminished as their income declines or stays stagnant against inflation or worse yet, the future of their children is diminished by lack of opportunity. We are the problem, when we consume goods and services that we do not produce. We have forgotten or tried to ignore the fact that it is the lack of money (paychecks) that the people who use to produce the goods and services that are now outsourced that is the missing component from our economic engine. What you buy from someone in your community or country, gives them money to buy something that you produce and when they actually buy something that you produce then you all have a future. When you buy from someone that will not be making a purchase from you, then the money is simply gone and you have to ask for it back as a loan. And when the trade is out of balance, you will end-up a borrower or beggar nation. It really is just that simple. Not something for the government to do, something for us to do. A movement, (remember when we were not all sheep and this country had social movements to change things?), that will pick worst offender industries and companies and systematically boycott specific offenders out of existence while the other offenders take notice; would probably put and end to major outsourcing and off shoring in a single generation. Or we could continue to just keep talking about it (spinning our wheels) and sink deeper into the ditch.

arema212
arema212

Take it or leave it... business always about money...money again...then more money...more...again and again...

Lamini
Lamini like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Your TR readers suggest thumbs down, less stars, etc.. for these type of articles that just attract attention rather than anything beneficial. Youre just becoming a part of the problem (sales/marketing/badmanagement) instead of trying to being part of the solution.

melbert09
melbert09 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I think the argument for people who like outsourcing is if they have an outsourcing company that makes a partnership with the company and is there to really support the company. My experience in general has been extremly poor, and this is with outsourcing companies workinhg in the clients building. I am not making judgements based on location or language skill. But in general, these "Consulting companies" and I am talking about the big, well known companies that are associated with hardware (I have worked with many of them), generally hide behind process, hide behind ITIL, hide behind Change management and pass the blame instead of getting things done when things go wrong or moving forward with projects. Basically they look for any way either not to do the work or charge a massive amount of money to get things done. When working with smaller companies, worked with outsourcing companies that partner with the client and really help the company move forward with there business and it makes all the difference. The bottom line is that any outsourcing company, whether Data, Phone, or service needs to work with the company and make it easier to get things done.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

if we cut the salary budget, it looks like our intrinsic costs have gone down therefore we'll get a promotion or a bonus. Oh you meant a reason. :p If your bottom line was accurate, those of us who see outsourcing as dubious business option would have a lot less ammunition. Why are we supplied, well there's this mistaken belief that quality plays a part in the decsion making process for starters...

earlehartshorn
earlehartshorn like.author.displayName 1 Like

Flexibility and adaptibility? Over the last 35 years I have had to re-invent myself 4 times because my job has been moved off shore, first time was with Motorola in '82. That was a tough lesson to learn, that I was not indispensable and that someone else could do my job cheaper after I trained them how to do it. But I learned from that experience and have always since worked at improving myself and keeping my eyes open for the next opportunity to take advantage of. If you are always learning and always prepared for change it doesn't matter if a job moves somewhere else. Sadly, it appears that most people are not willing to put forth the effort required to to stay on top of this game; it is so much easier to whine and say 'poor little me'. If you want to win in this global market you need to know far more than just your job, you need to know your business and at least some of the businesses you do business with. Yup, takes time and effort, but I'd rather be a winner than a whiner.

Dknopp
Dknopp

You state "after you trained that person how to do your job". If it is company intellectual property, training a replacement may be distasteful ( and I would probably quit instead, knowing what is coming down the pipe ), but acceptable. But if a company wants me to train a resplacement by teaching him all of the years of experience in the tech field that I have accumulated - THAT is my intellectual property and you cannot have it.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

1975, Boolean algebra, binary arithmetic, truth tables... Hmm this could take a while. And it also implies that learning and garnering experience stopped. So job for life, and impossible to outsource. :D .

TBBrick
TBBrick like.author.displayName 1 Like

...and see how reinvention stops working. So long as you are below mid-thirty, it's a great and fun game. Once above thirty-five or so, esp in a rotten economy, things strangely change.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

like a tumbleweed... or someone else's kickball. A tool is a tool is a tool is a tool.

digital riverrat
digital riverrat like.author.displayName 1 Like

As of right now, I have the knowledge and ability to take a company from the idea stage all the way through putting people in offices and doing the work. Here's what I mean: With the help of an architect, I can create the blueprints that the contractors need to build the building. Once all of that is signed off on, I have the knowledge and skills to install the plumbing, sprinkler, life safety(NYCET certified), voice and data network cabling(BICSI RCDD AND Level 2 technician certified), and the electrical power and distribution system (Certified commercial electrician). THEN, I can install all the patch panels, servers and routers (MCSE, CCNA, CCNE). I can then staff and train the IT department (A+, MCP, MCT, plus the others). Then, I can train those that run any databases the company needs (SQL/ACCESS). If the company has a motor pool, I can run that, also (ASE certified brakes, suspension and steering and engine performance). 4 times? That's all? Let's see, 35 years ago....1976, still in junior high, still had the plan to become a Naval Aviator and fly Tomcats. Still studying aeronautics and aerospace engineering on my own. But, also working as a mechanic with my father at his repair facxility, learning THAT trade. Did what had to be done to be accepted for admission to the (then) most prestigious high school in the country (at the time, maybe the world) for boys. Ended up leaving in the middle of senior year for financial reasons, but still got my full NROTC scholarship. Transferred schools in the middle of the year, but due to "paperwork issues" (read lazy Lieutenant/counselor), lost the scholarship. So, decided, use the GI Bill to pay for a year of college. Enter the Navy, in advanced pay rate because of high school ROTC experience, and attend training as avionics technician. Training shortened when it's discovered that I'd had surgeries on my knees in high school. So, left the Navy and entered the material handling/inventory control arena. Moved up to management there before almost all jobs were sent overseas ( I worked mostly in high tech, low tech jobs were pretty safe, but not open). So, took it upon myself to learn the computer/tech field. A+, MCP, MCT, MCSE and the rest of the alphabet soup. UNTIL, 4 years after separating and the divorce is almost final, I find out,the hard way, that my (then) wife had been cheating on welfare. So, all that time and effort and energy spent on training myself and all the money spent on obtaining pieces of paper to put in frames, wasted. I entered the construction field. Obtained BICSI certification as a Level 2 technician and an RCDD. Became certified in fire and life safety system installation and repair (NYCET), became a certified electrician in 3 different states. Apprenticed as a plumber and a sprinkler system installer. Worked with general contractors and handymen and became well trained in drywall, framing, tile/masonry and landscaping. Then, I got injured. Not on the job. Ruptured achilles tendon, and blown knee. Coupled with the two surgeries for carpal tunnel release, no contracting company would touch me due to insurance issues. Now, I'm a freelance writer. So, EARLE, remake myself enough? Bring me you car-I can fix it. Bring me your plane with electrical problems and the right troubleshooting equipment-I can fix it. Problems with your database?-I can fix them. Blue/black screen problems?- I can fix them. Need new network cables installed?-I can do that. Need a security alarm or access control system installed?-I'm certified for that. Need a fire alarm installed?-I'm certified for that, too. Need to build a new wing on your house?-I have my contractor's license. I can do that. Got a leaky faucet or need a new sink installed?-No problem. New house need a programmed sprinkler system installed?-Been there, done that. Just installed a 16 station system last week for my parents at one of their rental properties. Mom just got a 5 light track system installed over her sewing desks. Last time I left Cali, I installed a solar PV array and inverter for them. I also fixed the screw-ups the general contractor made on the addition they had installed on the house. So, flexibility? PLEASE DON'T make me laugh! What do I do now? I'm a freelance writer, doing DIY home improvement, auto repair, electrical and civil engineering pieces and Windows platform desktop stuff. I laugh at your "I reinvented myself 4 times in the past 35 years. I did that in the first 25 years of my life and have done it again since then.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

You've a strange defintion of a win, sounds to me like three false starts, and the recall gun is no doubt pending... Haven't been noticeably out of work since 81, never had to reinvent myself, so maybe, I wasn't whining...

JonathanSeer
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People who lose their jobs suffer tremendously in a short period of time. They can lose literally decades of time and effort advancing up the ladder or establishing security via seniority Etc. This is done knowing the trade off, because they assume that the company they work for sees them as a human being with needs not just a cost figure; knowing that by investing their time in a company the company will invest in them by keeping them employed short of a widespread recession or depression. Now with outsourcing even the most "libertarian" minded type is realizing it's just not that easy or fun being seen as simply a cost of production. It wasn't that long ago that tech types in general sneered at the working classes, the poor for their shortcomings and referred to their failings as the results of self-imposed stupid decision making on their part. They did so oblivious to the fact that they too made a salary; that they too were "employees" who far from being indispensable were just much larger expenses on the bottom line; expenses could be cut dramatically if their employer could find another source for there labor. While they looked down without mercy on those who were the first to suffer like truckers, farm hands, manufacturing types Etc., they loudly and proudly proclaimed that the corporations had every right to do this, and they in general worshiped the success of their "corporate" employers, because all too many believed naively that they were the "next" entrepreneurial phenomenon. An odd faith considering how much more highly educated how this group of "libertarian leaning" types are vs. a vs. the typical American. Bachelor's were a minimum to get a job, but far more expected to advance in the tech. world so no claims of innocence can be claimed. So much more was demanded they assumed that they HAD TO BE immune from the simple market forces that were devastating the American workforce. Then suddenly lead by the likes of Marc Andreessen the notion of replacing American tech staff especially engineers with the over-educated but under employed pool of engineers in India was born. He introduced Corporate America to India basically. A nation of "English Speakers" who could do and would do many of the jobs Americans did but at a fraction of the cost. Who knew? At first the educated engineer types scoffed. We are simply better, and of course irreplaceable. They maintained their inane "individual against the corporation" mentality even as corporations made billions of investments to "train" them in India, even when they were told to train their replacements they were silent. And we have today as a result. Despite billions in profits, hiring of those irreplaceable tech types hasn't happened. They're staying unemployed or taking far lower paying jobs. Surely this is the time for the entrepreneurial spirit they all say they have to emerge and take care of their OWN needs, not like the lowly industrial workers, truck drivers Etc., who they agreed deserved the lesser fate of mere hourly wage workers who are one job away from being social parasites. All I can say is too bad some of you couldn't empathize with those who first suffered these pangs in our nation. I wonder where is that "libertarian" "government is evil" talk now. Oh I know, you still believe it all, but you're occupied telling the world how unfair outsourcing is repeating verbatim the words of people who worked in the industries that first rushed overseas (did you spare a word of sympathy for the furniture industry worker whose entire corporate structure moved manufacturing over to China in a few years back in say 2004). I wonder do any of you who so strongly proclaim your "libertarian ideals" who voted so proudly for your tea party candidate see any contradictions between their beliefs and reality of the corporate workforce? Are any upset that their tea party representative in DC is now fighting to prevent any changes to the laws that allow your job to be shipped overseas? Obviously I'm generalizing and do not condemn anyone in particular. I just think it's time to ask those facing the fate they felt was the right of the employer to execute on lower level employees still feel it a right and so right now that corporations are inflicting the same fate upon them? There are many socially concerned tech types, but from my experience they are the small minority. I doubt it. More than likely any reply will be another version of the libertarian, tea party song and dance.

digital riverrat
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Growing up, I was a mechanic with my dad. But I decided (with the help of my "you want to touch ME with THOSE hands? I think not!" wife.) to get into material handling and inventory control after my discharge from the Navy for medical reason before I could fully complete my avionics training. During this time, I had seen a number of jobs in other industries sent overseas and knew, even then, as an almost fresh-faced kid a few years out of high school, that this practice would be destructive to the economy. I worked for a number of big names in the tech industry, first as an order picker/stock room employee and working my way up to management. Then, I actually had to help pack up most of those warehouses and stockrooms for shipment to Malaysia, Bangalore, Singapore-wherever industries such as IC manufacture/fab, component manufacture and system assembly were sent. Again, I told my (then) wife that continuing this process would ruin the country I had wanted to serve and defend my whole life. That it would lead to the country tearing itself apart from the inside. After about 10 years of this, a number of friends told me I should get into IT, since I had taught myself more than enough to work tech support and help desk. I went to work for a number of companies as a temp/contract worker. Until.....yep, you guessed it, those jobs either started being gobbled up by the likes of "Uncle Billy in Washignton or sent to you-know-who in Bangalore, India. So, (by now divorced), I took it upon myself to obtain certifications (A+, MCP, MCT, MCSE, CCNA, Novell......). Yeah, as the jobs with lower qualifications began to be sent "over there", the jobs I found here made me a little more money, but the outsourcing/offshoring kept following me the higher I went. So, while working for a company (that ended up being bought by Redmond) that produced the de jour standard in log file analysis, I began to teach myself SQL and Access, to where I could become a dba, which I did. But then, the technology to make long haul database administration efficient came into play and that company packed up its offices and sent the jobs overseas. This whole time, I kept asking "friends" of mine that thought outsourcing and offshoring were good ideas, how those people that just hit the unemployment line were going to be able to keep buying the consumer goods that needed to be bought in order to keep the economy going......They kept replying that "they" would find 'other' jobs to replace the ones that they had taken so much time, and in many cases spent so many thousands of dollars being trained to do. Luckily for me, I'm the kind that learns better by myself and only had to pay the fees to take the tests, not the tuitions to pay for the classes. So, long story short, being as old as I am now, I've been saying this trend is a bad thing since I started seeing it happen while I was in high school. The difference is now, my voice is louder, thanks to the Internet and social networks.

sissy sue
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And the Tea Party is not a libertarian movement, although both claim to uphold the Constitution. The Tea Party does not totally tally up with the libertarian idea that the US should not be the world's policeman (as George Washington said, we should not entangle ourselves in foreign alliances, nor, as J.Q. Adams said, are we looking abroad for monsters to destroy). And libertarians do not believe in corporate welfare, nor any unholy alliance between government and corporations, to the disadvantage of the taxpayer, consumer, and small businessperson. My allegiance belongs to the US and to the Americans with whom I share citizenship. I am against any corporate and government policy that is detrimental to working Americans. Such a policy is tantamount to treason, in my book.

mthomas
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This guy, his name being mud, runs a business outsourcing IT departments to help companies with their bottom line.

AnsuGisalas
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Can somebody make a form letter that we can all email to him? And then tweet around for others to email to him? It's not a DDOS, it's a good old fashioned grass roots mail campaign. Effect is the same, tho :D

dayen
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Outsourcing and offshoring you guys left out Security the hackers love Patrick Gray can't blame them he's giving them open networks admin rights access to all user e-mail wonder if that how Congress's e-mail got Hack maybe it not hacking when you are given all the passwords

sissy sue
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If those corporations which outsource their data one day find that it has been compromised, they will have deserved it.

thefixerofthings
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This was the most short sighted and most infuriating article I have read on techrepublic, Patrick do not write any more articles until your job is replaced by someone overseas and you know how it feels. Till then pick another subject that you THINK you know something about.