July 13, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE FOREIGN EDITION

Q1 - Outsourcing: Just a few years ago, corporate outsourcing was all the rage (and by "rage" I mean "rage"... very few employees supported the trend of sending U.S. jobs--from customer service to computer programming--overseas). Has anything changed over the last five years. Is there still an inherent distaste for the practice or has outsourcing simply become a part of doing business? What do you think?

Q2 - Living in the Third-World: If you were told you would have to live in a third-world country for one year, what would you be most concerned about, e.g., food, sanitary conditions, missing your family, civil war, etc.? Related to this, what do you think would be best part of the experience?

Q3 - Foreign Affairs: Generally speaking, what do you think of the role the United States of America plays on a global scale? Is the U.S. doing an excellent, good, fair, poor, or unconscionable job when it comes to foreign affairs?

Q4 - Working Down Under: If your boss walked into your office on Monday morning and said that she/he wanted you to pick up and move your family to Australia to work in a new division, would you go? If you said no, would you change your mind if the offer included free airfare back to the U.S. for a personal visit twice per year, plus a significant raise in salary?

Posted by Mikal at July 13, 2007 7:32 AM | TrackBack


Comments:

1. I haven't really been following this, but I think it was a bad idea to move jobs outside the U.S. It's really hard talking to someone in customer service for, lets say, Dell, whose first language is not English. But from what I hear about all of this job outsourcing, it doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon. It's not as if they are going to bring those jobs back to the U.S.

2. I would worry about all of those things. Also, what would I do to support myself? It also depends on the Third World nation I would be living in. But, I think after a few months I'd be able to adapt, especially if I knew I was only going to be there one year.

3. I think the U.S. Gov't could be doing a better job on Foreign Affairs. I don't think there are a lot of countries that like us, at least that is what the media tells us. I'm sure most people in other countries like Americans in general, I don't think they like what our government does.

4. I don't have a boss, so it doesn't really matter. But if I did, I would not go. I wouldn't want to live on the other side of the world away from family and friends. Even if I did get a free trip home every year, it would take approximately a whole day of travel to get there. No, I'll stay here in the U.S. and save Australia for a vacation.

Posted by: Vera at July 13, 2007 9:06 AM

1. I think the distaste is still there, especially as more and more people have to deal with the consequences of it, whether it's lost jobs or poor customer service. That being said, I believe people are resigned to it since it's very difficult to boycott those businesses because customers don't find out that a company has outsourced say, customer service, until they've bought the product and are locked in.

2. Depending on where I was living, I'd have to say personal safety. The best part would be the immersion in another culture.

3. Poor. Our nation's collective power and wealth has been used to bully and intimidate the rest of the world into becoming either toadies or sullen victims. We've certainly lived up to the stereotype of Ugly American at least since the end of World War II.

4. I'd go in a heartbeat. I might try to hold out for the raise though.

Posted by: mike at July 13, 2007 9:11 AM

q1: I think the distaste is still there, it's just not the shock it used to be.

q2: Hmmm. That's a difficult question because the fears would partly be based on the specific 3rd world country. I think civil war and anarchy would certainly be a concern.

q3: Generally overall- fair. We've definitely had plenty of blunders and bad decisions.

q4: I think I might take it, sounds adventurous. I would definitely be more interested with the twice per year paid visits to the US and the salary increase.

Posted by: Ryan at July 13, 2007 9:16 AM

Q1 - What we have learned is that you have to know EXACTLY how to manage outsourced resources in order for it to be "successful". Outsourcing introduces many variables into your organization that you don't realize and can easily have bad side effects in areas you never thought about. By the way the best place to get technical resources is not India, its Mexico :-)

Posted by: Matt at July 13, 2007 9:19 AM

1. Outsourcing: People seem to have become accustomed to it. I still hear the occasional rant and rave from a whino about having to deal with Indians when they call support. But overall, I think it's mostly those who have been directly affected (lost a job) that even think about it anymore.

2. Third World: I think getting horribly ill would be my biggest concern. The best part would be... that's tough. Just the experience as a whole would be great (though I doubt I'd be thinking that as I went through it). It would certainly make me more appreciative for what I have.

3. Foreign Affairs: Good I think, but I'm looking at it from more of a "protecting American interests" view. I'm not really concerned about what the world thinks of us. They can hate me and my fellow Americans all they want, even while they imitate our lifestyle. Doesn't really bother me.

But then again, I frankly don't pay a whole lot of attention.

4. Working Down Under: It would depend mostly on whether I felt I would be happier (or at least less disgusted) in the new position. I would have to do a cost-of-living study and comparison, talk with my wife, then decide. But I would be inclined to go. It would be a fun experience to visit a new place and get a taste of a new culture. The raise and free visits home would almost definitely be a swinger for me.

Posted by: Stuart at July 13, 2007 9:53 AM

Q1: I think both companies and providers have evolved. Outsourcing companies I think have realized its not the pipe dream of cheap labor it once was, and those providing the services have stepped things up and are seeking to offer a better product as a result. That said, from the average employee's perspective, I think there is still a negative stigma to seeing your employer outsource.

Q2: Most concerning would be personal safety, but the cultural experience would definitely be the best part.

Q3: I think we are doing worse than we have at times, but better than others. Overall, I'm personally not that pleased with alot of our foreign policies, but others are ok. I am also not privy to the same information as many of those making those decisions, so I have to hope that they are making the best choice. At least those guys in Sector 7 know about the transformers so they can call on them if we really need help.

Q4: If the mentioned amenities were included, I would definitely go. I think it would be an awesome opportunity.

Posted by: Bryce at July 13, 2007 10:02 AM

1. Considering the low unemployment rates, its unlikely those jobs are coming back to the US, where corporations have to pay more for labor. The only thing that seems to be changing a little is customer service; I actually got someone whose first language was english the other day.

2. I think I would be most worried about personal safety. Since it would only be one year, I think I could deal with anything else, but keeping alive and well is something I have a little less control over if I'm in a dangerous place.

3. I think that we're doing OK. Granted there are problems, but by and large, we've politically protected 'our' interests and militarily killed relatively few civilians; I just know I don't want the job of setting that kind of policy because someone thinks you suck at the job no matter what you do.

4. I'd be a bit tentative right off the bat, but I'd warm up to the idea in a hurry the more incentives that got stacked on. I would be too good an andventure to miss out on if I was being well taken care of.

Posted by: Greg at July 13, 2007 10:06 AM

Outsourcing... now that is showing some great corporate American pride and patriotism! The next step is too incorporate overseas in a nice big tax haven! All these "Benedict Arnold corporations" are just sticking it to our own economy and workforce to put a few extra bucks in their own coffers!

tinyurl.com/f3ow5

Posted by: Yankee Doodle at July 13, 2007 10:15 AM

Q1 - Outsourcing: I think the Internet has made outsourcing a standard way of doing business. What I would like to see, however, is this trend reducing the amount of driving throughout the world. With more people being able to work out of their homes in any country, I would expect traffic to be reduced, but it seems as though it is only increasing.

Q2 - Living in the Third-World: Sanitary conditions. I've been to Mexico a few times, and sanitation is definitely an issue. What I like in third-world countries is that people aren't quite as caught up in the rat race.

Q3 - Foreign Affairs: I don't see how you can give the U.S. credit or blame for the condition of world affairs. Every country is responsible for making the world a better place. I think the U.S. tries harder than any other country and hence is hated for it.

Q4 - Working Down Under: I'm my own boss... well, my wife is my boss, so I hope she doesn't read this, because I say I would go, but if she read this, knowing that she's my boss, she would walk right into my home office and tell me that we're moving to Australia. Actually, she would prefer Mexico, but Australia would do--she loves to travel. I suppose I would consider it if she had a detailed plan on how the finances would work. Otherwise, I'm just too busy to think about it.

Posted by: Joba at July 13, 2007 2:16 PM

Q1 - Outsourcing: I think the Internet has made outsourcing a standard way of doing business. What I would like to see, however, is this trend reducing the amount of driving throughout the world. With more people being able to work out of their homes in any country, I would expect traffic to be reduced, but it seems as though it is only increasing.

Q2 - Living in the Third-World: Sanitary conditions. I've been to Mexico a few times, and sanitation is definitely an issue. What I like in third-world countries is that people aren't quite as caught up in the rat race.

Q3 - Foreign Affairs: I don't see how you can give the U.S. credit or blame for the condition of world affairs. Every country is responsible for making the world a better place. I think the U.S. tries harder than any other country and hence is hated for it.

Q4 - Working Down Under: I'm my own boss... well, my wife is my boss, so I hope she doesn't read this, because I say I would go, but if she read this, knowing that she's my boss, she would walk right into my home office and tell me that we're moving to Australia. Actually, she would prefer Mexico, but Australia would do--she loves to travel. I suppose I would consider it if she had a detailed plan on how the finances would work. Otherwise, I'm just too busy to think about it.

Posted by: Joba at July 13, 2007 2:17 PM

1) Business is business. For profit organizations are in operation to make money. They are going to do whatever they can to fatten the bottom line.

2) I would love to live in a third-world country. I think I would be most concerned about my wife being happy and comfortable. I would love the opportunity to get to know another culture.

3) I think the US does an ok job in foreign affairs. Several countries hate us, but I think it is because we are so wealthy.

4) I would do it in a heartbeat. What a great opportunity to see the other side of the world.

Posted by: Zirk at July 13, 2007 2:59 PM

1) Globalization is the natural evolutionary process of free market economies. Just as our Agricultural economy was overtaken by the Industrial revolution a hundred years ago, there will always be victims of this transformation.
2)Cons: Becoming accustom to new foods, sanitation, personal saftey measures.
Pros: Becoming accustom to new foods, sanitation, personal saftey measures.
3) POOR. I will reserve my opinion due to character limitations in this text box...
4) I would respond with one question, "What time does my flight leave?"

Posted by: Tyson at July 13, 2007 3:45 PM

Q1 - I don't really pay attention to the "business" world. I see the occasional "buy American" bumper sticker though. Personally, I don't think most people care about outsourcing - unless it happens to be their job!

Q2 - I'd be concerned about everything - I'm a spoiled American through and through. I'm sorry, but learning about another culture is not enough for me to give up what I have now. I don't see what is so worthwhile about it. There is a reason our country has so many immigrants - legal and illegal.

Q3 - For now, poor. However, our country has the ability to be the best. We can be extremely generous - when politics and the interests of those in power does not get in the way.

Q4 - I'd say no. I'm not moving anywhere out of the United States. The homesickness would kill me.

Posted by: American Aries at July 13, 2007 4:41 PM

1. Trend of out-sourcing is actually trending DOWN. Two large tech companies are now in the process of building state-side support centers. However, some out-sourcing is just being "transferred" to other business units or countries, such as those in SE Asia, Ukraine, etc. Reality; if a company is a good corporate steward, socially and environmentally, they likely wouldn't out-source as they have been over the last five years. There would be more evaluation (it wouldn't let me use the word ana-lysis!) of the impacts, besides just the shareholder bottomline.

2. Would have no concerns at all! Best part - the culture!

3. Poor job....we have for some time! Don't know if it's really fixable in such a global climate that we all face; challenging conditions, competing interests, power struggles, etc. It's just so vast.

4. Absolutely YES! And, having been in Australia for more than a handful of months, I can say without doubt that it's a great place to live, raise a family, work, and just enjoy life! AND, I'd do it even without the free airfare!

Posted by: BW at July 13, 2007 10:29 PM



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