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Does the World Owe You a Living? And Should It?

May 12th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Does a citizen have the right to expect that certain basics be provided to him, such as health care, housing — and a job?

For many professionals, technology and obsolescence are increasingly robbing them of the opportunity to earn a living in their area of specialty. And no where is this more prevalent then in computers, once viewed as the most stable and fastest growing career in the U.S.

According to an article in InformationWeek (4/4/05), the Gartner Group reports that 30% of high-tech jobs in the United States are at risk from outsourcing to India and other nations.

?I?m just finishing my MIS degree, and when I see articles like this, it just makes me ask, what?s the point of getting an education if everything my family and I sacrified to get this degree is meaningless?? asks Bob Walz in a letter to the editor in InformationWeek.

My heart goes out to Bob. On the other hand, do companies have an obligation to provide Bob and other workers with well-paying employment? If a company can get IT services like Bob?s at a fraction of the cost by outsourcing to a programmer in India, don’t they have an obligation to their shareholders to do it?

Your thoughts?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2005 at 9:52 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

45 responses about “Does the World Owe You a Living? And Should It?”

  1. Alexey V. said:

    The man becomes what he deserves, not what he expects.

  2. Eric von Rothkirch said:

    The world doesn’t owe an individual anything. The problem most people have is they don’t realize that to stand out from the crowd and be perceived as valuable they have to market and sell themselves just like you would a brand. Most people avoid that kind of perspective like the plague. They abhor the idea of taking something personal–their life, and aggrandizing it like a cheap advertisement.

    Unfortunately with an ever-increasing tech-saavy population and plenty of noise pollution, for some it’s becoming necessary just in order to survive and live a mildly comfortable lifestyle.

  3. Bob McCarthy said:

    Those companies don’t owe Bob a thing, but I believe the United States government has a responsibility for keeping jobs at home.

    US corporations and their shareholders enjoy great protections and benefits from this country, and while they should be free to outsource, expand and invest overseas, our government shouldn’t make it so easy.

    Much like our state and local governments, our federal government should use stronger tax incentives to keep business at home and our citizens employed.

    They say we live in a global economy, but we are primarily affected by the US economy – and as long as jobs keep getting exported overseas, it is the US economy that gets hurt.

    Some might call this protectionship but this form of protectionism doesn’t protect industries or companies; it protects jobs – a much more noble cause, I think.

  4. Joel Heffner said:

    Within the past month, three people I know have lost their jobs. Each one has been at the job for more than 20 years. It’s definitely not fun to talk to a guy who’s in his forties or fifties and can’t find a job…that he wants. The real crime in this is that people don’t realize when they are younger that they must learn new skills…even when they don’t have to at that time. One must be able to do more in order to be competitive. Also, as the new book by Tim Sanders (The Likeability Factor) points out, there’s more than just knowledge and experience to keep a job. Folks have to work on social skills as well. All of this must be done BEFORE it is needed.

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  5. TonyD said:

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whome owes what to whom. What matters is what they’ll deliver. If you leave your future up to someone else, employer or goverment, you’re taking a risk. Nowadays, you don’t just have to sell yourself and work hard, you have to build up creative capital. Bottom line: you have to have abilities and ideas that can’t be outsourced.

  6. Don Marti said:

    The need to keep employer-paid health insurance for the family could be one of the things that keeps people stuck in industries that they know are petering out. Having a “single-payer” plan to fall back on, independent of where you work, might make the difference between entrepreneurship and riding a dead-end job all the way down.

  7. Janet McAuliffe said:

    Employers don’t have as stong an obligation to their employees as they have to their shareholders. However, this situation may just present a marketing challenge ie. many U.S. customers do not *want* to speak to someone in India when they need Customer Service, they want an “American” who speaks with no accent and who follows the same cultural norms as they do (particularly with financial and or IT businesses). A Savvy marketer can turn “all U.S. based Customer Support” into a benefit and charge accordingly. There should be a market for this benefit if it is priced right and marketed correctly as well

  8. Greg said:

    I agree that no one owes Bob anything. Bob owes it to himself to put himself in a financially valued position if he hopes to hang onto a job. If he does not directly and positively impact revenue and profit his job is in jeopardy. Companies have long since stopped being loyal to good employees. We’ve seen workers changing jobs every two years, so they have no loyalty either. The more jobs we place in the hands of foreign countries the more we open ourselves to a different type of terrorist. This terrorist will be very powerful and be funded by American dollars. This terrorist is denial. My last experience with a support person was terrible. There was a language and cultural barrier that could not be avoided. It was power proof of the old adage, “You get what you pay for!” I will let my support contract lapse and then seek a local support company. It is the time for the small entreprenuer. Start you own business and do a better job for a reasonable fee. I speak from experience. My job, after 24 years, is being done by someone in Germany and for 1/3 of what I was making. The company I was loyal to for all those years had been number two in the industry. Now, they aren’t even on the map.

  9. edward said:

    It’s all about the allmight dollar for companies here in the U.S. And when they realize their precious companies are in danger, they sell out, i.e. Enron.

    Greed is the factor that is destroying not only jobs in the U.S. but hope as well. And for those who say it’s completely about what the individual can do, I quote a wise man who said; “One man is no man.”

  10. Apryl Parcher said:

    I agree with Greg’s comment; the business world does not owe us a decent living. It’s up to us to develop a skill set that we can market, and if trends such as outsourcing in a global economy threaten that particular field, you’ve got to be savvy and flexible enough to re-tool and move on. That’s the facts of life in a shrinking world, folks…get over it. We in the U.S. enjoy a lifestyle of independence and easy living BECAUSE of the freedom we enjoy as entrepreneurs to innovate and build a better mousetrap. Lose sight of that, and we might as well start trading in Euros. We’ve got to be hungry enough to innovate, push the envelope…strive for bigger and better solutions. Complacency and the desire to have Uncle Sam or Big Corporate Joe provide us with job, healthcare, housing, etc., is the beginning of the end. Corporate greed isn’t what will kill the economy; individual languor will.

  11. zapseo said:

    When various industries have been threatened, we have imposed tariffs. I guess it must be that they were industries, not employees. Too bad the government doesn’t place a tariff on outsourced employees

  12. Stephan Miller said:

    A few years back I was going to get a degree in computer science. I am glad I opted out then. Since then I have taught myself what I needed to know and tackled affiliate marketing, among other things.
    Looking at the industry now, I think I can make more money on my own than by working for some company that will just fire me to outsource to India.
    For a while, I tried freelancing online. It never failed. As soon as I thought I had a bid, someone from India bid below what I would to work at McDonalds.
    I don’t know where this will go, but this administration opened up the floodgates for overseas jobs. Without a reason to get a tech job, i.e. high pay, why would someone go to college for it. And without anyone going to school for computer science, where will all the innovations in tech come from. Countries like India.

  13. lucy said:

    Laziness and greed of employees is also a reason for lost jobs in America. Big unions have cut their own throats and the throats of their willing or unwilling participants. Its not a new story how a whole days work and thousands of dollars of profit are stalled because the person who moves the product from one side of the warehouse to the other was out and no one else was allowed to do it because of union rules. Some assembly workers makes $110,000 a year hording piece work. They have no true skills or at least no skills recognized any where else. They pay no copay for full health benefits and will enjoy full wage retirement. When the plant closes because it’s not profitable…..the person is completely unemployable for 2 reasons. He has absolutely no transferable skills and he’s spoiled rotten. Many jobs are leaving America because …some Americans coasted and lost thousands of jobs for the next generation and a big tax base for their cities.

  14. Paul Brown said:

    It’s called progress, or evolution. There are still jobs out there, they’re just in a different sector.
    Life is about growth, not stagnation. People are adaptable, they need to retrain, learn new skills. If they choose not to, that is nobodies fault but their own.
    Over protection of existing jobs just delays the inevitable.

  15. rem said:

    I think it’s the other way around, the man becomes what he expects not what he deserves.

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