Metavalent Stigmergy

How New Default Consensus Realities Instantiate

Outsourcing - Just Because You CAN, Doesn't Mean You Should

Once in awhile, a Slashdot echo is justified. This is one of those whiles: Techies Asked To Train Foreign Replacements. When will American Labor grow a spine again? Risk severance pay? WTF? Below is a basic recipe for helping the bean counters better quantify and understand the costs of such bomabastic tactics. Like any recipe, the cook must season to taste; omit or add ingredients as appropriate to the specific sitation. The basics:

  1. Don’t live in denial. If you are polite, you will not somehow save your job while everyone else is eliminated. This is a common affliction. We think that businesses will behave with the same sensible social reciprocity which which our friends and other social organizations behave. However, the bean counters are serious, and therefore, you must be serious. Not mean, not vindictive, but SERIOUS in the way you respond.

  2. Leave your job IMMEDIATELY if asked to train your half-priced replacement.

  3. Leave no documentation.

  4. Leave no passwords, especially key root passwords you might have in your custody.

These steps are not mere emotional or knee-jerk retaliations. These are steps that More Accurately Quantify Your Economic Value to the organization. The bean counters think that they understand the economics of their decisions, and that’s why they make them. The interest of the shareholder is paramount, and that’s fine. However, outsourcing based on the single metric of hourly labor cost is at best naive and at worst, ignorant.

The full cost, including all unanticipated externalities, WILL come back to hurt the stock holder. Therefore, the best thing that an I.T. staff can do in such situations is to Communicate The Full Value of those externalities as accurately as possible.

Whether or not spreadsheets capture it, TRUST and MUTUAL RESPECT are important components of the “At Will” employment contract. The costs to companies for violating those essential component values can best be expressed and measured by following the steps above, and similar case-specific steps.

Written on June 10, 2006