It’s time for some more (negative) publicity for outsourcing. American elections are coming up and so these issues are in the line of fire once again (there were there last just about 5 years ago, when our dear hero was voted for second term). Along with that another side kick of an issue has earned its share of rumbling. This is the issue of the H1B visa. This of course has caused a bit of a furor among the IT junta. Having my name in the lottery caused me also to be copied on all the mails that were doing the rounds at work, about the latest on the visa issue.
So what was all the noise about anyways? Well some members of the American senate decided that granting as many H1Bs as they do is proving detrimental to the employment figures of the local population in their country. They have this concept of Phantom GDP that explains why they were hailing outsourcing as the next big things all these years but suddenly have the numbers that prove that, well, it's not all they imagined! The long and short of it is that they opine that when we go ‘ onsite’, as it is called in IT parlance, we rob an American local of his job. Of course, they forget to mention here that the amount it would cost our dear client companies to pay an American to do the job is more than it would cost them to have two Indian IT yuppies there to do the same job and then some more! So anyways they decided that they would have some kind of lottery system to decide who among the thousands who apply for visas will be the exalted beings that will get to grace their shores. It doesn’t make sense to me at all so I’m not going to say too much about it here. All I know is that they don’t understand that H1B or not, getting us to do the work is a win-win for both parties and a win-lose for the aforementioned exalted parties. Win- lose you wonder? Well, you win because you get to go. You lose because once you’re there, you lose all your sleep and peace of mind. People say that the lose part makes up for the number of zeros that add to your bank balance. I don’t know about that though and I don’t think it is food for thought.
We will come back to outsourcing for now. I read somewhere that there are organizations in the US – where else! - that are willing to outsource journalism! Simply put it means that you can, sitting here in India, cover an even that is going on in some part of the US! Sounds improbable? You’ll be surprised! Pasadena Now, a local news website has hired reporters from India to cover Council meetings sitting in the comfort of well, their country! According to a printed interview of the guy who owns this website, this move has been done in keeping with budget issues. You can read more about this here. Apparently, this is passé stuff because the Wall Street Journal regularly gets Reuters reports for its editions that are written in India’s silicon valley, Bangalore. Needless to say, the American media has been to quick to lap this up and the ensuing buzz that this news has created.
Where there is controversy of this sort there are also some funny takes! You will recall that I recently pointed you to a really classy article on Joshua Bell’s impromptu undercover concert in Washington DC subway station. The author of that brilliant piece has written another classy and really hilarious piece on his take on the outsourcing of journalism. You can read that and have yourself a good laugh right here. This isn’t long and is a must for those who are familiar with the politics of Tamil Nadu - the rest of you can read it too so long as you know the name of our Chief Minister.
So what’s the bottom line here? Nothing much really. They made a lot of noise about something. They managed to create some noise here. They got their way for this year. What’s left to be seen is if they’ll get their votes. I suppose that could be the stuff of another post. Meanwhile, we’ll just remain mute spectators to all the job-hopping that is going to be seen here among those who have got their visa applications rejected. And of course we will be mute and enthusiastic spectators to more Indian journalists getting their names in the black and whites of American news business.
Are we in for some entertainment or what!