Outsourcing our headaches

Outsourcing our headaches
: Om Malik is back home in India, filing all kinds of interesting observations, including this, on the “dark side” of outsourcing:

Here I got to talk to many who answer my phone calls whenever I have a question about my Amex Bill. Amid their sometimes drunken but polite arguments, you hear the cry for help. The constant pressure of trying to be someone else, faking accents and trying to deal with the abusive behavior of their customers, you find many are crumbling. The late nights, cooped up in cool but antiseptic halls, the call center workers are turning to drink, drugs and sex to find some meaning to their lives.

  • Ebb Tide

    music cue: world’s smallest violin

  • Kottyieth

    I think some of the problems are being overstated. Call Centers are a new phenomena in India. So the industry will have its teething troubles. Problems adjusting to new working hours, physical and mental trauma are all part of the learning process of a new industry that’s trying to find its feet. When young people who have for generations been cooped in suddenly find financial freedom and easing of parental restrictions, they are bound to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have. In are effort to discover an original angle to the Indian outsourcing story, let’s not forget one thing. The hope that this new industry is bringing to millions of young Indians in towns and villages, never mind a few rolled R’s and a few thousand Texan accents. India grew 10.4% in the last 3 months (thanks also to robust a unprecedented monsoon). Things out here are not as bad as Mr Mallik and Co are making them out to be.

  • ken

    Poor things. Maybe they should go down to see how their countrymen in the shipbreaking yards and see how tough their lives are.

  • bob

    Outsourcing is great. There, said it.
    But there’s something weird about the whole deal with faking accents. As reported a few years ago, somewhere, (yah, I know .. reliable) they use American names and learn about American pop-culture, too. Basically, they’re trained to mimic Americans in completely irrelevant ways.
    It’s weird because, one, it’s manipulative. And two, it’s sad. (India’s had serious cultural growing pains in the global market. Now we pay them to become us .. )
    “If the caller refers to you as a boob, try to diffuse his anger by making a Janet Jackson reference.”
    “Repeat after me: ‘We’ll RMA your printer right away.’ No, John, that’s ‘right away’ not ‘right that way.'”
    “If the caller asks you where you are located, don’t say, ‘New Delhi,’ say ‘New England.’ If he asks about the Patriots, he’s talking about sports, not politics.”

  • Paul A’Barge

    “turning to drink, drugs and sex …”
    In India? To SEX?
    Wow. I didn’t think they were allowed to do that in India!

  • Brian

    Where did you think the Kama Sutra originated?

  • The Kama Sutra mainly deals with using sex as a weapon of war, not with diddling your co-workers, and it was written by a celibate monk.

  • cube

    welcome to america corpate culture.
    and be careful what you ask for you just might get it.
    Of course if they stop doing their jobs well, unionize, or cause signifant losses to the company then they will be out of a job. And americans will get their jobs back.
    Again, welcome to america

  • Vivek Shankar

    After satellite TV, outsourcing is the next wave of Americanization. One reason why they’re turning to sex, drugs and alcohol is that they can afford it. Kids in India typically don’t start working (no yard work, babysitting, etc.) ’till they finish college.

  • Funny, whenever I have spare cash, I buy books, music cds, and food. But I always was a nerd.

  • Obviously, the Indians have no self-control so we have to keep them barefoot and pregnant like before.

  • bob

    I should have mentioned ‘The Guru.’ Great comedy about an Indian (Jimi Mistry) who comes to America to become an actor. He finds out that while opportunities exist, not everything is as straightforward as he expected.
    The film wonderfully covers the Indian-American culture blend. There’s raw capitalism as both a tool of cynicism and of optimism. There’s the exploitation of the whole mass-guru syndrome. And it’s a romantic comedy.
    The subject is off-color, but the film barely earns its R rating, with a few moments of limited nudity. And best of all … Graham doesn’t strip. Hey, it’s a step up for her. And, she can act. Okay, not great acting, but she did her part.
    Anyway, cute little film. Saturday night, blah, blah.

  • Ga-ne-sha

    More sweat shops to make us rich.

  • More Westerners with patronizing “Hinduized” nicknames to make tired analogies. Hey, everybody wins!

  • hen

    since when is answering a phone to respond to questions about your credit card, or whatever, deemed a “sweat shop”? words have meaning you know? your pathetic argument loses any validity when you use such idiotic inflammatory rhetoric.

  • Ga-ne-sha

    hen, I was kidding. It is a pathetic argument, whenever. Thomas Sowell says that “sweatshop” workers are paid twice as much, on average, as the going rate locally. I think its a riot that the Libs blame America for the poverty of the 3rd World, then don’t like it when we generously send them jobs.
    I still want to know what else is “outsourced”, which I think is functionally the same as buying foreign parts or even completed products. Why don’t we make those things “at home”?

  • Ga-ne-sha

    “Why don’t we make those things ‘at home'”?
    Oops, I did it again.