Saturday, May 13, 2006

Outsourcing Alternatives

The following is an open letter to those out there who are concerned about the ever increasing amount of job outsourcing taking place in this country. Written by a good friend Lisa Jansen, not only does she lay out the dilema of outsourcing but she then calls for us to come up with real positive solutions to present to businesses and others in power, to curb this trend of losing work to cheaper labor overseas. Please read below and feel free to comment:

Yesterday on KLTA Channel 5, a report on local real
estate vs. income said that only 17% of Southern
Californians can afford to purchase a medium priced
home. This means that people who earn $60,000 are now
in the lower middle class. At the same time somewhere
in LA a couple 100 of Los Angeles Time employees were
told that their jobs are being outsourced to India,
and if the outsourcing works out then the entire
Tribune corporation which employs 21,000 people
nationwide will eventually outsource a majority of
it's computer positions overseas as well. According to
Computerworld 1 in 5 IT jobs is outsourced overseas.
This does not include the 100's of banks postions,
telecommunication service, customer service positions
and manufacturing jobs all overseas. To ask companies
not to outsource would be like standing on the beach
and try to stop the waves from coming in. I understand
the demand for less production and labor costs to make
more of a profit but is outsourcing overseas to
countries with less stringent labor standards the
answer? I tend to wonder where we as a society are
heading when we lose sight of our fellow people on the
path to making and saving a dollar. If we can't afford
to buy gas let alone our own homes, what are we
suppose to do when our $15 to $25 an hour jobs are in
jeopardy by someone who is willing to work for $3 an
hour in Asia?

I am looking for positive alternatives to outsourcing
American jobs overseas. I have friends who have taken
their stand by boycotting the L.A. Times and of course
writing letters to editors, Senators, Mayors etc.
Without solutions a letter writing campaign is futile.
The Tribune and other companies like it are not going
to be intimidated by a few letters or e-mails.
Politicians are not going to risk the support of the
L.A.Times (and it's affiliated papers, radios and
television channels) to promote issues without
plausible resolutions. Employees and unions affiliated
with the Tribune companies are not going to rock the
boat by speaking out because they need to be able to
continue to work in the publishing industry regardless
of how hard finding a local job is going to get.
Several states have pending legislation to minimize
outsourcing jobs overseas but most of these new bills
are mere slaps on the hand. If you had a voice what
would your answer be? If you were the L.A. Times,
Verizon, Google or E-Bay what steps would you take to
keep American jobs on American soil?

I am asking that you write down your alternative and
then copy and forward this entire bulletin to myself
and all of your friends. Hopefully with enough
positive alternatives we can find someone willing to
take on large businesses like the Times and mandate
changes. If you don't agree with my view, thanks for
reading this far and let me know (politely) that you
disagree and I will not forward any more bulletins or
e-mails to you.

I look forward to hearing your voice,


Michael_the_Archangel said...

Hmmmm - I'm not sure how you're going to like this but ... I don't have a problem with outsoucing. Being a HUGE fan of capitalism, I actually encourage it - this from a victim of outsourcing, which I'm still recovering from.

Why do I support it? Well, first from the capitalist side, moving a job where I can get the same amount of work (and quality) for a lesser price is part of the capitalist game. When my costs for making the product are cheaper, I make more profit, my company makes more money, my shareholders (that would be me and you) make more money; we have more money to invest in our business, expand and or start up/invest in other businesses.

Let's look at it from the employee point of view (again, remember, I've been there). Usually there is a terrible shock, my life, my livlihood is a stake - and it is, to some degree. However, is there a positive side? I would argue yes! How many folks get 'stuck' in job? I would venture that it's a very large majority of us. Maybe we started a job with great ideas, expectations and goals, but through management changes, job redefinitions, our own changing interests, the job has become just that - a JOB. Not something that we wake up and look forward to, but just a job. A job that we're scared to leave (on our own accord) because ... we make too much money and the next job won't pay that much ... while I'm not all that happy here, I know everyone I know my position, a new job - well everything would be new, how would I get along with everything and everyone being new ... I'm too old now, no one will hire me ... This is the only job I know, while it's not the best job, I can do it ... etc. etc. etc.

To be brutally honest, the above reasoning (while understandable) is NOT what made America great. The benefits of losing your job? You are forced to reassess yourself, your life, your job; was this REALLY the way that you wanted to live the rest of your life? Did you wake up every morning eager to go to work? Is this where your passion lies? Haven't you changed, grown, during the time that you worked for company X? Haven't you seen/figured out ways to doing things faster, more efficient, better if you were in charge?

The VAST majority of folks laid off from a job end up finding a better job that they like better than the one they lost. Many start their own businesses, and THAT is where America has always held a great advantage over the rest of the world. It forces you to look at your life and choose something that CAN'T be outsourced next time (the field I'm in can never be outsourced).

Should we still be making buggy whips by the gross just because someone had a 'job' doing that? (Note - in the Amish country there still are a few buggy whip makers but not like there once were). Should we still be making cars one piece at a time because someone had a 'job' doing that? When automation (in many cases) has made the cars better and for less cost? Do we really want the talents and energies of people to go into 'jobs' or would we do better to allow that brainpower, that talent and that energy go to somewhere that can help the individual and the country in a much bigger, better and greater way.

Having your job outsourced is a shock, it's a splash in the face with cold water. However, it typically is a good thing - are you mired in your 'job' in your life? Or do you want to do something with your life, make it worth living? Live it to the max.

Anonymous said...

Well.. I am not a victiim of outsource and i had that thoughts as Michael_the_Archangel too. Yes, i though that i can increase my education skills find another better job... Thought. Couse no I don't think so. Might be I can, might be you can, but the 2 years pass and we see that most of people can't. And the rest of as working on developing the technologies to apply in other countries and creating jobs in other countries while people in USA more likely will have to go on welfare.

It is not a capitalism, it is stupidism. We should put the business in the situation where they have nothing but american soil, american employees. Should not be any headquater in USA that have business overseas. And let them compete. Hey everybody can compete if he has slaves. No slavery for $3 hour any more. Compete with what you have.