Coping with offshoring - a modest proposal for tech writers

Subject: Coping with offshoring - a modest proposal for tech writers
From: "Mike O." <obie1121 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 12:02:37 -0500

A while ago there was a post to this list, mentioning a news article about a
US company that was advertising for US workers at overseas rates.

I've often been willing to accept lower rates, in exchange for the ability
to work from my home office, and to work with multiple clients at the same
time. I figure if enough work comes in I can make a decent living, and
still have work-family balance.

You'd think tech writing would be perfect for this kind of business model.
But with few exceptions, my prospects always wanted their workers onsite.
Even at the height of the IT boom when employers were begging for workers,
the job ads still read "LOCAL CANDIDATES ONLY" or "NO TELECOMMUTING."

That is, until offshoring took off.

Now, the policy has been revised to "NO TELECOMMUTING FOR AMERICANS -
door when you suggest working from your home office in the next state, are
now hiring whole rafts of unseen people on different continents. Even the
company mentioned in the article insisted that their US workers be onsite.

Understand - personally I am not opposed to IT offshoring; I think in
general it has more pluses than minuses. I have already worked with some new
friends from overseas, and I am looking forward to meeting more.

But if nothing else, the offshoring phenomenon has opened a vein of
hypocrisy in American employers with respect to telecommuting.

So, here's my modest proposal:

I want to work remotely, with multiple clients at the same time, and I am
willing to accept lower rates to do so. But US companies don't allow US
workers to do that. They only allow overseas workers to do that. So,
obviously, if I want to execute my business model I am left with no
alternative - I need to become an overseas worker.

No, I'm not moving overseas. I just laid in some dry firewood and a new
bottle of Jameson's - I'm not going anywhere.

I propose a new US-based company that will set up an offshore shell company
and bid on US technology work. When the work comes in, it will immediately
be assigned to US-based workers, working from their home offices, who are
willing to accept lower rates in exchange for the convenience of working

The employers never need to know that their work is being done by
experienced, qualified people working from their offices in the US. Better
they don't find out - they have policies against such things, and it would
only upset them..

Of course, we'll all need hotmail aliases, and a few international phone
relays and maildrops.

My new company's motto: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're an American."

If some of you are already doing this, it might not be funny at all.

Mike O.



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