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How Can I Survive Outsourcing?

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Nerdywerds @NerdyWerds

Outsourcing doesn't have to be your downfall

Last fall, NBC came out with a great show called "Outsourced". The premise was pretty much what you'd expect. A guy runs a call center in Kansas City and goes off for some training. He comes back to find his operations have been outsourced to India. Personally, I really liked that show and would love it to be renewed for a second season. My affinity for the show aside, it showed the lighter side of outsourcing. But many people deem outsourcing to be a cardinal sin. Something only to be done by companies that hate America. This article isn't about why outsourcing is good or bad, you can go to thousands of other blogs for that, this is how to not have your job outsourced.

There are pretty good odds that say if you're reading this you either are facing the possibility of having your job outsourced, or you know someone that is facing this. First off, it's important to know that a company's decision to outsource doesn't happen overnight. If you want to avoid outsourcing, you'll need to take preemptive measures. The best way to avoid outsourcing is to be indispensable. When I worked as a programmer I read every white paper, every news release and as many programming manuals as I could get my hands on. I did everything in my power to make myself "too good to be true". One of the reasons companies outsource is to fill needs they can't meet internally. Say your company announces it plans to release a new product. Begin working to become an expert on the product and the production methods. If you're a programmer and get wind that your company is going to start using a new language, become an expert in that language. If you can bring more value to the job than an outsourced employee can, odds are you'll stay on board.

Another reason companies send jobs outward is speed. If production is lagging and your company is faced with pressure to meet a deadline, they will do what is needed to fix the problem. So my next tip, do everything you can so that situation doesn't arise. It is tempting to take a bit more time on your lunch break, or maybe check your Facebook during work hours. The dirty little secret of outsourcing is that it can bury a company too. Public backlash will be severe if a company is caught sending local jobs elsewhere. If you were hired to do a job, the company has weighed it's options and decided you were the best possible route. So how can you use this to save your job? Easy, work hard. Don't spend your day texting friends or family, checking email or playing online. Every second wasted on other things is time wasted for the company. You may think that your work ethic is wasted if everyone else is slacking off, but your employer will notice. So if your company starts sending people to the unemployment line, you will be taken care of. Good employees are valuable, and worth a bit more to a company.

I know this isn't exactly the miracle some people out there are hoping for, and I apologize if you're one of them. These tips may be common sense to some, but they are the best way to make sure you're one of the last on the chopping block. Outsourcing is demonized as some sort of conspiracy to rob hard working Americans of their jobs. The truth of the matter is that most companies don't look to outsourcing as a business model; rather they use it as a last resort. That's why the best way to avoid outsourcing is to make sure your company doesn't have a reason to look for more help. It's obviously not a bullet proof plan, but I've known people that have survived many rounds of outsourcing using these same two simple steps.


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