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Outsourced Overseas

We have been outsourced to an firm in India.  In reality,  we are getting the boot, the work is going to India.  The company has it down to three firms that are bidding for the work.

A manager met with about 30 of the 100 developers they want to stay on for six to twelve months to bring the Indian team up to speed.  After that, our future would be "uncertain."  Which means "non-existent"  Even with increased earnings and profits, the companies are telling them they can save about 60% on developers, and 80% on IT costs by going overseas.  (Is that really possible?)

Some of the people want to say "screw them" and not stay at all. Others cannot afford to leave without another job, and I am conflicted.  It seems perverse to train my own replacement, but I also want to leave on a good note.

I have seen people on this board talk about it.  As they have not made a decision yet, is there any proof this is a bad deal for the company?  Something we can point at to show the actual costs or something?    It's probably too late, but I am willing to try.  Or should I be trying to beat the rush out the door? (The other 70 developers don't know anything yet.)

LostCause?
Friday, August 15, 2003

Name your company so we can avoid it's products....

Outsourced.
Friday, August 15, 2003

The list of companies you should avoid on are the fortune 50, 100, 500, 1000, and small caps.

Anonymous
Friday, August 15, 2003

I second that.

GiorgioG
Friday, August 15, 2003

Start looking for another job.  Immediately.  (Or do whatever else you have to do to ensure your own financial situation.)

If you don't convince them otherwise, you'll be out of a job in six months.  If you try to convince them otherwise, you may be out of a job sooner.  For some, this will be worth it, for others it won't -- depends on your exact situation, which you don't say much about.  Consider how much you agree with the statement, "If they can't get their heads out of their asses here, I'd rather look for a new job anyways."

Either way...it's a good thing to get that head start on 70+% of your colleagues.  Pretty likely you'll need it.

Mikayla
Friday, August 15, 2003

I wouldn't worry about leaving on a "good note". 

If they offer you a chance to stay and you do not have a suitable place to go yet, by all emans accept it.  Use the 6 months to a year, as a chance to search for the right job- It's easier to find a job when you are employed.  Once you find a new job, give them whatever you feel is an appropriate notice- that in my opinion is leaving on a good note.

Be weary of any things contigent (i.e. bonuses, etc) on you having to stay the full time (6 months/1year)- Be prepared to give them up in the right circumstances.  If you plan on riding it out, try to get better incentives to stay if you can (i.e. bonus).  Position yourself to have a position when this is all said and done (someone needs to manage the project onshore).  Get what you can out of the company-if they offer tuition reimbursement, start going back to school (MBA,? that way you may help yourself get a better position)

The reality is this: You owe yourself and your family not the corporation.  Do what you need to do to come out on top.  Your managers know this and if you have been a good employee, you won't be burning any bridges.

MikeG
Friday, August 15, 2003

Be sure to do a REALLY CRAPPY job for that six months while you're training your replacements!

Gorkon
Friday, August 15, 2003

I second what MikeG said regarding "stay-on" bonuses.  I was in a similar scenario once.  First, you're given a vague verbal promise.  You'll be told that the details will be finalized by a certain date.  Then the date slips.  Then the date slips again.  Then you finally get the written "stay-on" bonus offer, and it's for less than the amount originally verbally promised.  Plus, the retention bonus offer will contain many "weasel words" in the language that will allow them to find flimsy excuses for changing the amount later.

Remember: If they make a "stay-on" bonus offer, and they default, it may not be worth the legal expenses or hassle to try to collect.

Anonymous
Friday, August 15, 2003

Find another job NOW. Do the absolute minimum at the office. Work 8.0 hours/day and not a minute more.

One suggestion - ask for a copy of your job description. See if "training" is listed (or "other duties as assigned"). Put
them on the defensive, but gently.

Use all your vacation time, if you have any. Preferably a day at a time, when important meetings are scheduled.

I agree with everyone else about bonuses or any vague promises - treat them like lottery tickets; odds are you won't get them, they're just used to try to keep you around. When the time comes to pay up, something will happen.

Look out for #1 here. Get a new job.
(Oh, if your state doesn't require two weeks notice, don't give it - "Hey, tomorrow's my last day. Sorry")

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 15, 2003

If senior management stands to gain financially (bonuses, promotions, etc.) from outsourcing "the domestic help" then your chances of changing their minds is probably next to zero.

Whether or not you decide to stick around and train the Indian team, you should start living like you are already unemployed.  Save as much money as you can and only spend money on "the basics" and in finding the next job.

I can't tell you what to do (train vs. leave) only you can make that decision.  However, I believe you should do the following as soon as possible:

* Start polishing your resume
* Get your references in order
* Start networking like crazy (if you haven't been doing so already). 

You might want to post your story on alt.computer.consultants if you decide that you want to start looking for and collecting "anti-outsourcing type of articles" that you can present to management.  Several people who post there seem to have links to every online news article published on this topic. Here is the web-based URL to this Usenet forum:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&group=alt.computer.consultants

One Programmer's Opinion
Friday, August 15, 2003

While you obviously don't want to state who your employer is, can you tell us where in the US they're located?  I ask because I'm looking to relocate to Boston or Westchester/NYC and if I have 100 more developers to compete for a job with, I may as well reconsider ;-) Thanks.

GiorgioG
Friday, August 15, 2003

>Use all your vacation time, if you have any.
>Preferably a day at a time, when important
>meetings are scheduled.

I'd recommend not using your vacation time; save it up and cash out in two months. (If you company has that kind of a policy.)

Picking strategic days to be out of the office, or work at home, is a good idea.

Never underestimate the sloth of a big company.  IF they say they will lay you off in six months, it may be very well end up being nine months to a year.

If they offer you anything like a bonus to stay, insist on getting it in writing within five business days.  If they can't do that, they aren't serious, or -somewhere- in the chain, someone really doesn't care.

If it's a big company, will you get a package for waiting it out?  A big package?

If you are offered a big package, my advice is use it as a backup ONLY if you can't find a job.  Finding work tomorrow is far more important than some package that is dangled in front of you.

Finally, start lining up some contracts so if you are laid off tomorrow, you won't starve.  This may mean socking money away, or getting an additional job at a community college at night, or, heck, delivering pizza on the weekends.  (I knew a guy who could make $300 in a weekend delivering pizza.  If you do that for six months, and save $200/week, that's $5,000.

The point is to have built up a best alternative to a negiated agreement (BANTA).  That way, you can walk away if you have to.

The best BANTA, of course, is a day job, but if you are teaching 2-courses year-round at ITT, that's 6 courses a year, that's about $15,000.  Add some part-time telecommuting coding at 25 bucks/hr for 10 hrs/week, that's $13,000 = $28,000 = enough to live on until you get a day job.

And you may have to walk away.  The better shape you are in, the more realistically you'll be able to assess the situation - and that's critical.

bleh.  That was mostly from the hip, it might or might not help ...

Matt H.
Friday, August 15, 2003

On the bonus to stay on idea, a possible alternative is to arrange it like this:

Rather than getting the bonus at the end, you get it now. If you leave before you're laid off, you have to pay back the bonus, prorated based on how long you stayed.

Chris Tavares
Friday, August 15, 2003

Why don't you all tell management to go f*ck themselves?  You only get treated badly because you let them. If you act like it's a fait-accompli you're screwed already.

Either organise a strike and fight for your jobs, or get the smartest of you together, take your knowledge and start your own company in competition.

make your own fate
Friday, August 15, 2003

It's time to do Not Getting Screwed 101.

Why don't you contact the most relevant union and all join it together. Management is not going to listen to you if you just ask to "have talks" or "be reasonable."

You've got to get tough and do hard things. An experienced organizer from the union would let you know what real options you have.

If you all went on strike now, you would would stuff up all the company's future plans and so you have bargaining power now. If you wait three months, you have zero bargaining power, which is what it's all about.

Take control of your life.

For Life
Friday, August 15, 2003

As far as convincing them that the numbers don't jive - don't fool yourself. If your company is anything like my Fortune 500 company, they believe the sales and marketing rep of the vendor (in this case an outsourcing firm) over their own research. Close your eyes and imagine a dark room with all your execs and managers looking at a PowerPoint presented by Indian firm X. Firm X's employees get paid $10 per hour and the average American programmer gets paid $60 per hour, see we save you $50 per hour. At this point the managers start cranking the tiny calculator in their head (usually used for figuring out their own bonus) and realize $50 in savings per hour can be a huge number.

The problem of course is:

1. The per hour cost of their developers has very little to do with the final bill you will get from Indian Firm X.
2. If you don't know how to calculate your total cost versus your return on investment now, how can you predict what impact handing projects over to strangers will have on the bottom line.
3. How do you calculate the cost of intangibles like intellectual property, loyalty, domain knowledge, and experience? Most Indian firms guarantee you will get new resources every 12-18 months.
4. Does the company know the actual hours put into a project and how all that overtime might not translate well to a per hour cost basis?
5. Will the company be asking for the same things from external resources as from internal? Will they buy into the accredited testing mechanisms these Indian Firm's have? Large scale testing doesn't come cheap.
6. Will your company have to spend more time on putting together REAL requirements?
7. When your company decides to change its requirements midstream (which is reality), how much will that cost with external resources? What is the cost for this flexibility?
8. How much more management overhead will have to paid for to manage the resources and the relationships with their managers?

As far as training your replacement? Realize it for what it is - coasting through the final months of your job answering questions and being paid. You will be answering questions from your replacement, and if you are smart, you will be answering interview questions as well. I agree with others to see the writing on the wall and leave as soon as is reasonably possible.

Finally, some translation for those "affected" to remove the sugar coating:

Knowledge Transfer = Training your replacement
Availability Date = Getting Canned
Redeploy Resources = Send them to the unemployment office

There are much worse things that can happen besides loosing your job. Enjoy!

m
Friday, August 15, 2003

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