Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Indian Outsourcing

So here I am - finally right in the middle of the huge Indian outsourcing story, as I set foot in the backend office of a large & fashionable Investment Banking firm. Like any other outsourced office, the place is buzz with IP phones, conference rooms, and a lot of talk about late hours and long work weeks. And most people seem to be proud to belong here.
So, are we a race that feels proud of 'supporting' businesses? Many people have done analysis on why India is the hot target for most outsourcing. Is it only because we are too many people in this country and are willing to work cheaper? But why have so many of us decided to acquire skills and develop ourselves along the lines where we can 'support' some external businesses? I think a lot of it has to do with our ingrained humility. Perhaps it is the long history of foreign rule that has made us habitual to respond to foreign command (after all, 'request' as they call most assignments, is just a camoflagued order).
In my personal opinion, a job is a job and whatever you do has to fit somewhere.If it fits in an international arena, 10,000 km away from u, so be it. The primary thing is that you and your role be treated at par with the rest of the jig-saw pieces. Also that you have ownership of the task and are not simply given directions to follow. And finally it has to fit your intellectual capability.
As for the skills, I do think selling is not our USP. Collectively, Indians are more comfortable solving a numerical enigma than weave a lucrative speech in front of a corporate audience. Hence we should probably leave the sales to our global counterparts and take from them what we do better. Of course it doesn't mean that we dont gain those skills, but we do not need to treat them at a higher echelon simply because someone has chosen to keep that job to themselves.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

More on the reservation...

As I had expected, things have flared up on the reservation front. And I hope that some of the ire reaches the ears of those illiterate and deaf politicians. I have recieved many a mails for signing petitions against the proposal, and even though I am going to sign one, I see very little point in it. In a democracy, petitions hold no more value than a scrape of paper. And I cannot express the amount of anguish and frustration me and thousand others like me feel in a mere one-liner that will be largely ignored in the sea of petitions that reaches the doors of the courts so often.
I have also heard of an IIT Guwahati guy who threatens to immolate himself if the law is passed. Even though it is an exaggerated step and a very dramatic response that should not be encouraged, I wonder if such measures are the only way of confronting disastrous decisions that politicians take riding on the backs of this country that is too scared of reacting violently. Is it fair that our own government takes profit from the fact that we are a peace-loving and adjustng set of people? Does the solution lie in burning yourself up or running away to the pastures of a foreign land and try hard to forget that you belonged to a nation that tried to take everything away from your hands?