[ Essay ] Some thoughts about outsourcing


Recently I had a chance to witness the result of a customer support personnel search on an online freelance bidder application. Basically, I disagree with outsourcing customer support. Let’s put this way: are we willing to let someone else greet our guests at our home?

Anyhow more than 30 people have applied overnight, starting at an extremely competitive (low) price. I cannot help thinking that it is very easy for vendors to put price pressure and other additional requirements on qualified professionals, robbing them of motivation and sometimes even dignity. Once we start “comparing” conditions, we can be ruthless without realizing so.

The sheer amount of bidding, mainly from Asia with a very competitive price (okay, let’s just say…insanely low), taught me a simple truth: we live in a flat world, and it is not an equal world. Thomas Friedman repeatedly mentioned the brutality (and inevitability) of savage market created by the flattened world. It was fun reading the book. It is not fun experiencing it.

I projected them into my situation; I am sure I will one day have a chance to work as a freelancer, and will join these “bidding wars”. In that case, what will protect me from being filtered out as “one of them”? Certifications? University degrees? Work experience? There won’t be a single skill set that will protect me forever. Whatever the situation becomes, I still need to hone my skill set, probably for lifetime. I guess it is like selecting our partner; is it worth going through the inevitable downtime together, that is the question.