aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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globalization of IT jobs
Posted by dav at 2004 February 4 10:36 PM
File under: Thoughts

I apologize in advance for this inchoate rambling, but I wanted to make some record for myself of my thoughts on this matter at this point in time....

/. recently linked to a WiReD article titled The New Face of the Silicon Age. The titular face is not an American one, of course; it's Indian.

It would probably be smarter if I had mixed feelings about this movement of software engineering and other "high tech" jobs to countries like India and China, but the fact is I'm not torn up about it at all. I do believe the jobs are leaving, and I don't think they're coming back. I also believe that this is not the best for me financially. Still, it doesn't bother me too much because:

1) There's not a lot that can be done to stop it. It's just nature doing what's natural.
2) I'm happy for the countries getting the jobs. They need them more than we do.

Here's a dose of reality:

Patni's head of human resources, Miland Jadhav, compares the Pissed-Off Programmers' efforts to the protests that greeted Pizza Hut's arrival in India. When the chain opened, some people "went around smashing windows and doing all kinds of things," but their cause ultimately did not prevail. Why? Demand. "You cannot tell Indian people to stop eating at Pizza Hut," he says. "It won't happen." Likewise, if some kinds of work can be done just as well for a lot cheaper somewhere other than the US, that's where US companies will send the work. The reason: demand. And if we don't like it, then it's time to return our iPods (assembled in Taiwan), our cell phones (manufactured in Korea), and our J. Crew shirts (sewn in Indonesia). We can't have it both ways.

I'm still a bit at a loss at what I should do since I am convinced that the US tech market is not going to ever "recover" to the levels on the late 1990's (which I've always believed were inflated by two-bit carpet-baggers anyhow). The article makes an effort to point out that the off-shoring of the more tedious high tech work will cause a boom to more domestic creative positions, much like how the advent of the computer eradicated jobs in the 70's and 80's yet ended up creating even more jobs in the high tech industry. I'm not sure I buy into that though. I'm sure creative / innocative jobs will increase, but not necessarily enough to deflect the losses this time.

I feel I'm creative enough to compete in such a job market, but the article also emphasizes a need for people-person qualities.

After a week in India, it seems clear that the white-collar jobs with any lasting potential in the US won't be classically high tech. Instead, they'll be high concept and high touch.

Sigh. I'm a solid INTP. The tech boom (AKA the rise of the introverted geek) was perfect for me. I'm glad I got to see the golden years where you could keep your head down and be judged by merit and not personality/politics :)

Things will be OK though. It helps that I'm acutely aware of how well off I am in the global sense.


i'm assuming these "high-touch" jobs aren't in the daycare industry

Posted by: lepton on February 13, 2004 04:58 PM

they're taking my job when they pry my cold dead fingers from the keyboard....


Posted by: jeff on February 27, 2004 06:23 PM

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