Monday, December 05, 2005

Neurotic outsourcing?

Worry too much? Want someone else to worry for you? Well, it's possible, says A.J.Jacobs, in an article named "My Outsourced Life". Among other things, Jacobs asked Honey, an outsourced personal assistant from India, to "worry" on his behalf for a business deal - and she replied saying it's a wonderful idea.

That article is funny. After reading "The World is Flat", Jacobs decides to get himself assistants for his research and his personal work - he gets em both for a sum total of $1,400 per month, from companies in India. He makes them do some of the research he needs. They will also send people emails - people he earlier would spend a lot of time speaking with. They'll change his cell phone plan, pester his boss for him, send birthday cards to his wife. They'll even mail people that send unsolicited mails, expressing the lack of his interest in topics like the world's most famous harlequin.

But it gets scary. From his article:

Whatever soul-deadening chore I give her, she says, "That would indeed be interesting" or "Thank you for bestowing this important task." I have a feeling that if I asked her to count the number of semicolons in the Senate energy bill, she would be grateful for such a fascinating project.

Jacobs tests this out. He asks his "assistants" to do things that would, from what I could glean, demean the average American assistant. The closest he gets to a "No", he says, is when he asks "Asha" to play Hearts for him because he spent too much time doing it. Asha says "Later" but still thinks it's a "good idea".

What's getting my goat? That in this article, somehow, it feels like it's fair game to ask anyone from India to do anything - and they won't say no. And that we'll do what Americans just don't want to do for themselves. Heck, you know what, they're right. A majority of companies here will simply bend over backwards willingly, if that means the extra bit of moolah.

And there's nothing wrong with that. But aren't there any companies that will stand their ground, and refuse to yield? Are we going to be classified as the whores of the outsourced economy, because the majority is willing to prostitute themselves? Moving up the chain is key, they all say. It's bloody easy, when you're the maggot in this food chain.

On the lighter side, Jacobs says he'd even considered outsourcing having sex. That, I know, would be of interest to a lot of people. I will even dare to say this: (whisper) They'll do it for free.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Have been living overseas for over six years now and there is quite a different opinion about outsourcing to India in Australia. But I agree with you about Indians bending over backward for "Foreigners". Silly. We'd be better off if we showed that much commitment to our own kind.

4:39 PM, December 05, 2005  

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