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Outsourcing victim speaks
By Pulkit Sharma

In a flat world, companies operate on a more level playing field.  The Indian IT-BPO industry, built on high quality and low costs, has spread its wings to every corner of the world.  Despite the global recession, NASSCOM reported FY 08-09 export revenues aggregate of USD 46.3 billion recording a growth of 16.3%.  The domestic IT-BPO market clocked INR 570 billion; exhibiting a 21% growth.

The Indian IT/BPO/KPO will continue this growth for the next decade.

While our techies rely on their superb education, skill and competitive costs, there is a darker side to our expansion.  Not only has it caused job losses in America and Europe, the manner in which some foreigners are sidelined is quite demeaning.

How does this work?  An Indian IT/BPO company gets an outsourcing contract.  One element of such a contract is to train Indians to run the show, the other element is to ‘let go’ Americans and Europeans working in that particular IT/BPO companies.  Many Indian managers use psychological warfare and dirty tactics to drum westerners out of the company that has outsourced business to them. Western tech employees cost more and have the confidence to speak their minds.  Indian workers are more malleable.

ITGrunt has an irrational hatred for all things Indian and so lies discredited in the eyes of many Indians.  But hidden away in this blog’s venom is the confused shock and humiliation of many of the Americans who have lost their jobs to Indians on working visas in USA.

One such account of an American outsourcing victim was published in ITGrunt.  While globalization and the movement of jobs to countries like India are inevitable and good for the international economy, this first hand account is certainly moving. 

“    

Dear Ms. Overby,

I was contacted by a friend who has been emailing you at length regarding a piece you did for www.CIO.com about H1-B visa workers in the US. I was personally affected by this issue. What follows is my story.

I had been working for a major credit card company with a service center in Phoenix, AZ for four years. I was basically a "data miner" for the Merchant Services group. I had access to all the different databases and data warehouses that captured merchant data. I worked with internal customers to query the data in order to provide reports back to merchants or to drive business initiatives by locating process gaps and using the data to prove the gap existed and provide insight to possible solutions based on my knowledge of the data.

For three years, I received exceptional reviews. Each year I was with the company, I received a better review than the previous year. That all stopped when a woman from India took over the management roll for my team. She immediately instituted monthly one-to-one sessions, which I thought would be a great way to provide me constructive and positive feedback to better my work and my career. That was definitely not the case. In each one-to-one I was met with her blatant hostility toward me. She picked apart everything I did and NEVER gave me positive feedback. There was always something I should've done better and faster. I am admittedly a perfectionist, so I took her negative feedback very much to heart and tried harder than I ever had before in my life to meet and exceed expectations.....whatever her expectations were, because I could never get her to tell me what she expected.

Instead of things getting better, things got MUCH worse. Every single one-to-one I had with her, she came down on me for not doing a good enough job. Once when I was at her desk waiting to have an informal meeting with another colleague, she announced to me very loudly that I better start trying harder and doing better work, or I would get a "does not meet expectations" on my review. This astounded me, as I have never in my entire business career gotten a review like that. If anything, I'm always the one who excels and achieves the "goes beyond expectations" review. Plus, since she said this in a public setting, my peers sitting around us heard this, and I was publicly humiliated.

Another time, I found out I was being considered for jury duty. This was not just city court, this was a federal case and very serious in nature. I did not have a backup at work. My backups were laid off years ago, so I was doing the jobs of three people with no way to take time off since my management had never established a backup for when I was gone. Instead of understanding that jury duty is our civic duty as American citizens, she instead put pressure on me to "get out of going." As you may or may not know, the rules around jury duty have gotten much stricter in the past years, and seeing as I had no disability to keep me from going, I had no recourse but to go along with it, and I was on call every Monday morning for three months. Each week, I dreaded having to tell her the status of jury duty, because this would incite a barrage of hostility from her. She told me that if I were to get called to go to the court house that I should "get drunk first" so that they would kick me out. She also pressured me to "act like a crazy person" to get kicked out, and also to "tell them you endorse Sheriff Joe Arpaio" to get kicked out. This REALLY upset me, as I do support Sheriff Arpaio, and it made me feel like there was something wrong with me for feeling that way.

I could go on and on. She even questioned my time management skills, which is something I've always prided myself. It was common for me to fulfill a request for data in as little as 30 minutes from time of receipt, even though department standard was three to five business days from time of receipt. But instead of applauding this, she created more hostility by telling me I should spend less time at my desk. She requested that instead of sending an email to a customer in order to set expectations of a turn around time for a request that I get up, go down to their desk (on a different floor of the huge building where we worked) and speak to them in person about it, and this would result in a time savings on my end. When I questioned how taking the time to find someone at their desk was quicker than shooting off a quick email, she blew up at me.

Within weeks after this blow up, she posted two positions open to Indian candidates only for jobs exactly like mine. When I asked about these positions, I was told they were being hired to offer me backup, and that I'd be the lead over the team. I could see the writing on the wall. It was no surprise to me when I was pulled into a conference room in January and told that my job was being migrated to India. I was told I had 45 days left with the company, and that the two Indians who'd be taking my job would be flown to Arizona for me to train. Not only did they take my job and my livelihood, but the ultimate insult was that I had to TRAIN them to do my job, and if I didn't train them well, they would withhold my 12 weeks of severance pay. So I spent the next 45 days training these guys the best I could. Neither had experience with data query or writing SQL code. It was as if they had literally hired these two individuals off the street with no skills and no background. Their only qualifying "skill" was the fact that they were from India.

At the time, I was making $47K a year. The two Indians taking my job told me they were getting paid $10K a year. How can I even come close to being able to compete with that?

In summary, it is my opinion that my manager purposely created a hostile work environment in order to try to get me to quit so that they wouldn't have to pay out the severance to me. I could not go to her manager, as she was a Chinese lady who treated me the same, if not worse, than my Indian manager. I also feel that I am the victim of reverse discrimination. Since I left the company, old coworkers have also moved on, and their jobs are being filled with H1-B visa workers from India and Pakistan. There are no longer any Americans working on my old team.

So now, here I sit at home on this computer writing my story to you. I am unemployed, and I have been unsuccessful in finding a new job (I'm over qualified for what little jobs are out there). I'm drawing a weekly unemployment claim, for which I receive $200 a week. I can barely pay my bills or support my two children.

Now you tell me how sending American jobs to India or giving American jobs to H1-B visas is helping the U.S. Ms. Overby, until you spend a day in my shoes or the shoes of another American citizen who lost their job to offshoring, I ask you how you can support this type of legislation. This is just my story, but there are millions more like it all across our country. Perhaps you should get down in the trenches with people like me....people who spent a lot of money to get college degrees and spent many years building upon their careers.....people who worked 60 hours a week just to "get ahead" who are now unemployed. I have never been on welfare in my life, and it sickens me now that I must depend on it. But knowing you need to feed your children and keep a safe room over their heads makes you do things you thought you'd never have to do in life. Goodbye, my pride.


(9/1/2009)
Comments
Trust me at 9/1/2009 10:08:06 PM
ITGrunt is run by a loser - he just wants to sit with his outdated .NET skills and watch the world pass by. He's kind of person whose Dad complained that he lost his Auto manufacturing job to Japanese. Chinese toys are toxic but Americans still buy it; Indian code might be allegedly of lower quality but American companies still want it because it is cheaper.
Outsourced American at 9/2/2009 1:12:09 PM
The displaced Arizona worker's story is almost identical to mine. The only difference, the employer is a Seattle based high tech company. My performance reviews - exceeded expectation (until the L-1/H-1B militia took over). I was laid off while two foreign visa workers in the US less than 6 months were retained. Three weeks after my layoff, an H-1b recruiting company contacted me to take a dumbed down version of my job at a 50% pay cut. My performance - perfect, skills - state of the art. Despite an aggressive job search (30+ applications weekly), I never hear back and sadly still unemployed. I struggle to keep home and pay my bills - my total monthly unemployment check doesn't even cover my mortgage. What am I doing about it? - Attending worker retraining at a local college for a high demand career. - Working with lobbyists to pass S.883 to eliminate corporate visa fraud and abuse and restore American jobs for American citizens. I know that the citizens of India would be heartbroken to know that their participation in the H-1B and L-1 program deprives hard working and well educated American citizens of their fundamental rights civil rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Indian citizens, we know you too are affected by corporate visa fraud and abuse. Please help us.
Thiswasmystory at 9/2/2009 7:55:58 PM
I am the person who this story is about. I just want to clarify that you may all have your opinions about ITGrunt.....but my story is real and should not be discredited in any way just because I shared my story with him. I don't hate Indians. I just hate my ex Indian boss who pushed me to the extremes of my mental and emotional well-being. She did not like it that I questioned her about things she wanted me to do. I wasn't questioning her to be a jerk, it's just in my nature as a data person to question in order to see the big picture. She created nothing less than a hostile work environment for me that I endured for nearly a year. Although I have not talked to her or seen her in quite some time, there is not a day that goes by where I don't think of her with anger. Not with confused shock and humiliation--but real, honest to God anger. It's one thing to get displaced and be expected to train the two people who are taking away your livelihood, but it's another to get treated worse than a dog by an Indian. I feel everyone is equal, and I give everyone a fair shake. She demoralized me and pounded into my head daily that I was worthless. This type of management behavior is completely inappropriate in American culture. There is no doubt in my mind that she is racist against white people/Americans. I just hope she is an anomaly and does not set the "norm" for Indian management operating in the US. Thank you for your time and taking my story seriously.
TrustMe at 9/3/2009 11:28:58 PM
I am speaking on behalf of many Indians I've worked with in US. Most of us came here on H1B many years back where alleged fraud was unheard of. I am an American citizen now - I pay my fair share of taxes, don't support or commit crime i.e. I am a good citizen and so are all the Indians I know. Coming to your story, I feel your pain, I really do. And I highly respect your post because it is not over the top but restrained, measured, respectful and allows discussion. IT Outsourcing hurts so much because we are talking about white-collar, well paying jobs that support upper middle class lifestyle. IT outsourcing accelerated after tech bubble bust because of several factors that came together: high bandwidth internet, cost cutting of American companies and availability of cheaper pool of programmers outside USA (Russia, Phillipines, Vietnam, even Pakistan). Over the years companies made the model work, some abandoned it but overwhelmingly it was a win-win for US companies. To exclusively focus ire on Indians, giving it anti-Hindu hue, making death-threats is not conducive to debate. Did you know that Indian outsourcers are outsourcing IT jobs to Philippines?! Bill Gates once said that how much you make should not be decided by where you live but by what you know. FYI: India makes its own satellites, super computers and rockets; is a leader in tele-medicine, tele-education.
Tunnel Rat at 9/5/2009 12:36:14 PM
Thanks for exposing the truth about Indians in the American I.T. business. This woman has a 3-yr old child and she was brutally purged out of her job by nepotistic Indu-supremecist, which is what most of the Indians in I.T. are. I just read that the amount of Indians going to Australia to "study" had dropped by 50% after all the beatings. Since Indians don't want to behave in America, and are importing their caste culture of bigotry, misogyny, and corruption to ou shores, we techies will have to take matters into our own hands. We are already tracking the movements of this boss in Arizona that treated this woman so badly. She will pay dearly for her actions. THERE WILL BE RETRIBUTION
YouMorons at 9/6/2009 2:18:25 PM
Why are you printing Tunnel Rat's threats on your blog? You are being partners in crime if this crazy m***** f**** does anything to harm that IT manager. We are talking about life of a woman here, please be responsbile.
Tunnel Rat at 9/8/2009 10:08:41 PM
They are posting my comments because they are ashamed at what the Indian outsourcing industry has done to the reputation of decent Indians. It is about time that you people looked closely at your legacy of fraud, nepotism, corruption, and bigotry.
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