Saturday, September 16, 2006

Indian Sweatshops

Well...my two-week long hiatus from blogging has been ended with this post I hope, if I get around to posting it.

You see, the time is well past 3:00am on a Friday night, and you can't be blamed if the question popped up in your mind, "Why break the silence in the dead of the night?" Well, I have my reasons. And quite a few of them too. First of all, I'm in a slightly foul mood - for the most vaguest of reasons you can well argue. And as the saying goes - "Don't go to bed mad. Stay up and fight", I've decided to stay up and fight out a mental battle, not against anyone in particular, not as much as to reach any logically satisfactory solution, but maybe just to let my thoughts out. Maybe I've surpressed them for some time now. Now, the reason for all this does not concern my personal life, so this mood is not emotionally-driven I add. But it does concern me in the exact same way it concerns you too, depending on what your profession and nationality is. If the answer to the first is "the IT industry" and the second is "Indian", you may fall into a similar scope, else you can be satisfied this does not concern you in anyway, close this page, and be on your way to more productive things.

Well, I'll add a disclaimer now - "This post in no way relates or refers to any specific company, or people, or person. If you feel this way, it may just be an unfortunate co-incidence, and I'm sorry about it, but not sorry enough to accept any blame."

Okay, the reason for my unrest is a well-used word, that the White man fears. The fear that there is some dark-skinned person out there who may take over his/her job tomorrow. OUTSOURCING.
Ahh..I could stop right now and be happy, but no, I'd like to be a bit more verbose and go on. Don't get me wrong, Outsourcing is very good for India and her economy. It also make us Indians proud, thinking "Aaahh...we're smarter than them, that's we are stealing their jobs." But think about it, why are we getting their jobs? Every businnes is profit-driven. What's one way to increase profits? Cut down your costs. And that's exactly where we come in, we actually "help" them in getting their costs reduced and thus boosting their businesses. There are smart people all over the world. But not all smart people are ready to work cheap. Sadly, we can't help it. That's the way our service industry has been structured. We are selling ourselves to any buyer who has the money to offer. In the end, ofcourse your company is helped too, their cash resgiters are ringing too, but what about you? Do you have the satisfaction that you need to have about the hours you've put in? Or don't you care as long as you get something in your account at the end of the month? If so, do you realise that what you just got is what someone else working in a different country in a similar job like yours made in less than a week? My friend just commented upon this a few hours back, when he said "This body-shop wages per hour work is non-sense. This attitude of taking all what the client assigns - makes us look that we are desperate for work and will do anything for $10 or more". Do we need to be like this? Unfortunately the whole Indian IT Industry is fiercely competitive, trying to bag offers (read better cash - not better work) from foreign clients, by saying "Pick us! Pick us!! We have more bench strength than Company-X, we 'supposedly' have more specialized people for your work than Company-Y, we are ready to work for 20$ lesser per hour than Company-Z!!" Ultimately we (the employees, not the employers) are just pawns used in a deal.

I have a lot more to say...but I have to stop now. However, I stress again - instead of being more of a cheap labour workforce, I hope we can soon reach a state that is well...in the simplest of words, atleast different from what it is now.

20 comments:

Guru Panguji said...

First off, good ya finally realised that. :-)! I had made a post of this sometime back Software Engineers of India - Software Coolies or not!

But, here's the deal, yes the industry has some massive financial politics in play, however the situation is indeed changing, even though at a snail's pace. You know how slow India - esp the older generation is at adopting the new things ;-)! I mean we scorn @ change generally.

But, if you notice something, Indians have always been adopting the "service" kinda roles right from the beginning. I am talking about the majority of India - so don't get offended anyone and come back lashing with examples of the leaders of India [Yes we had them and still have them, but let's look at the statistical majority for a change].

During the British rule, we have been the guy who does the Britisher's dirtywork, so to speak. The role of a service guy has always been there. ;-)!!

Anyhoo, forget that, the thing you pointed out is something the Indians SHOULD know. About why we are being chosen - not coz of our superior brains, but because we are cheap, servile and well, again the majority of the Indians are slightly above the average and we have TONS of people ready to work for peanuts and feel important coz they are in the Indian software industry.

Btw, I was thinking about it - Would raising the Indian rupee against the dollar, slowly, suddenly help the Indian software/ITES industry any way?? And if so, how are we gonna come up with a solution to it, other than quality work and niche work? Sorta how the Swiss have become niche bankers - we mite have to go revert to the niche software. But then, if the rote work doesn't come in, we have a sudden level of unemployment as well..

stan_da_man said...

@guru: well, its not-so-much a case that i realised it right now..the fact has always been well-known..I think I wrote that post due to various other reasons..majorly, a more strong realisation of the previous realisation perhaps! :) I don't think any change can drastically change the way things are done, cos let's face it, it is a GOOD thing for most people actually...I'm not happy with that sumhow. Maybe if more people started thinkin our way, something would eventually happen.

Anu Nair said...

Patience man patience....u think no one has thought abt this before? hell no... we have... infact after a few months in the industry, u shed that "Please get me a job in the software industry" waul and u'll start thinking on those lines that u already have thought abt.

But i'd say that patience is the key... Son ur prayers will be answered one day (but not in another 25 years or so...).. I mean we need a stronger economy (for that we need the firangi money) and time to stretch our legs ... and trust me we are actually getting there...

BTW u getting serious once in a while is good.. ;-)

Xpressin Jay said...

it is a fact...havin said that, we are a country that opened its doors for money to flow only 14 years ago. Face it. We do not have enough money. And in this world of today's, money dictates quality. U hav money --> u can have quality as you wish. It is only about money. nothin else. And i dont see the picture changing in our lifetime. Not until India curbs its population explosion and take the hard route of manufacturing. There is no other way that our national wealth will increase. This service industry may help us to be better off. But to go further, we need manufacturing to boom. If not we will remain in this state of mediocrity for eternity.

stan_da_man said...

@anu: off thankyou..like i said before..its not that i said its a new thought or anything..the realisation just hit me harder again...dats all.

@jay: thanks man...yea..wat ur sayin is true..lets just hope dat we reach thr sumday.

US said...

Bottomline it's about how smart you are?
AND AND AND
What is the price you are ready to sell yourself in the market?

One of my close friends used to say - "No matter what I do - when I sell myself, I will always overcharge. I am not ready to undersell myself."

What India is doing, or rather it's "Super-Managers" are doing is - They are underselling us. Not that we are not in the market, not that we are not competing - but underselling is stupiditiy none the less.

What do you feel about the vegetable man/farmer who has to sell his produce for peanuts of price?

Pity. huh!

(It's another thing that pity is a fundamentally wrong/flawed.)

We shouldn't feel pity - we should empathize with him, he is a victim/part of an idiotic, inefficient system which has undersold his output. Part of it emerges from the path on which we are "Destined to fail". So when one does fail eventually there should be no qualms/regret about it.

This is a choice we made long ago and what we are only reaping what you sow long time ago.

The only choice remaining with us is - how much longer we continue to be undersell ourselves.

--
US

stan_da_man said...

@us...agree gree gree...hehe..wow..strong words there buddy!!! :) niceeeeeeeeee!

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samantha cruise said...

outsourcing is ofcourse good for both, the outsourcing country and the outsourced country. because in the end, it saves cost for both the parties.

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