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10/24/2006
02:02 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
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U.S. Tech Workers Share Their Outsourcing Pain

Last week, I invited readers of this blog to e-mail me with accounts of how they've personally been affected by outsourcing. I received many responses (several of them of unprintable). Below are excerpts from a few, with names withheld. Regardless of where you stand on the outsourcing issue, it's undeniably causing pain on an individual level.

Last week, I invited readers of this blog to e-mail me with accounts of how they've personally been affected by outsourcing. I received many responses (several of them of unprintable). Below are excerpts from a few, with names withheld. Regardless of where you stand on the outsourcing issue, it's undeniably causing pain on an individual level.

As a technician for Verizon, I have seen the steady decline in morale from every direction. Since the company outsourced most of their DSL tech support and ordering to Canada, stopped budgeting for maintenance on existing lines, and never sleeps in the effort to weaken the union on every level, I fear that when the contract is up in August of 2008, we will see a long and nasty strike.

The company is pushing so hard to roll out their Fiber To The Premise (FTTP) project and their wireless base that even if they let the union win in 2008, it is only a matter of time before they are broken. Their plan is to cover 70% of the Verizon footprint by 2010. Which means that Verizon will have the proverbial "switch" that the layman believes exists in the phone company right now.

I would have died for this company. Now, I have a hard time getting out of bed. I have to consciously think of the customer and the people we serve. Among those are hospitals, the police, the electric companies, and 911. Sad that it has to be this way.

Here is an example of one thing that happened here in Rochester at IBM. There were 2 people from India brought in and people in our department were told to train them in case a plan had to be put in place to handle any surplus work we may get. There was not enough work for our area and 2 of the designers got laid off. There were also rumors that a sizeable project was sent to India, which would have kept our area busy for some time. Also, about 5-6 weeks after the first 2 from India arrived, 2 came for training.

Now, if there is not enough work in Rochester, why in the hell do we need a backup plan in India?

I am a retiree and working as a contractor at the time. It doesn't seem like IBM is too truthful with their employees about training their replacements. On another note, the ones getting laid off have somewhere between 25 to 38 years of service, with all being around 50 years old or older. Glad to say I am not there anymore. One year back as a contractor was about all I could handle. It's not fun working in such a negative atmosphere.

I am TREMENDOUSLY concerned about offshoring. I am a PARTIAL victim of it, as ALL americans are, whether they know it or not. In my case, I was an IBM CE for 28 years, until IBM decided to sell me to Qualxserv.

Most offshoring is a result, in part, of the same thinking. Nominally, they just want to take advantage of the lower cost of living for overseas workers, to perform tasks that don't require local action. When shipping costs and import costs plummeted under Republican leadership (with Democratic support) through the eighties and nineties, it became feasible to have everything manufactured overseas by underpaid, and often under age workers. Since Congress actively worked to adjust international commerce regulations, and corporate tax laws, to ENCOURAGE this, it became imperative for ALL American companies to offshore everything.

The worst thing for all American workers, is that this was done in a huge rush, clumsily, and without much thought or planning. IBM is classic in this...they did such a thoughtless job of outsourcing, downsizing, and offshoring, they are unable to deliver on any of the promises they made to their customers. Their customers start leaving, so they downsize more, or sell the business division.

The thing that all of us need to recognize, is that we are essentially dominoes. When the job next to you gets outsourced, you aren't lucky, you're NEXT.

I work for a large blue chip company, who I'd better not name. We are doing a lot of offshoring. There's no way to stop that and I'm OK with that. What I'm not OK with is the protection and conditions for North American workers in the event this happens to me to help me get another job. If my job goes to someone in Bangalore, I'm gone within a couple of weeks, with a minimal package. If I'm a worker in France or Germany (as many of my colleagues are), I get 2 years salary and help with securing a new position.

As a result, many North American staff are becoming very disillusioned with the offshoring policies being operated--they see their colleagues in Europe getting well looked after as their jobs are moved offshore, but we get nothing. Truly the North American worker is the poor man in today's corporate world.

I previously worked for IBM for 8 years as a cooperative education student while I attended college part time. IBM is working to get rid of their U.S. employees, especially the highly paid, over 40, and sick.

How has it affected my job performance? I used to be an excellent worker with excellent communication skills. I got a 6% raise before a new manager came in and all of a sudden, I had a communication problem. My new manager took away almost everything that I was doing so that I wouldn't have any accomplishments for the year. I am a very hard worker and very honest and dedicated employee, so I worked hard to try to prove myself, but no matter what I did, I couldn't improve even though my manager said I improved.

Watson would roll over in his grave if he saw what these managers are doing to people. At least I know what goes around comes around. You would think that these managers would realize that it is only a matter of time before their jobs are also outsourced, too. There is no job security at IBM anymore.

Any more tales of outsourcing woe out there? Send them to me at Paulmcd@cmp.com.

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