Outsourcing is a red-hot topic in IT today- and for good reason. You can read stories about the Disney IT worker debacle and others all over the news. But I actually don’t worry at all about IT outsourcing- and you don’t have to either, if you look at this the right way.
If you’re not familiar with the terms, here you go:
Outsourcing is basically when you allow another company to complete work for yours. In an IT context, it would be when you send your desktop and server support to an MSP (managed services provider) to handle. Sometimes they’re local, but they can be located all over the world.
Offshoring is just outsourcing that has been moved to another country or overseas, primarily to reduce the cost of the workers.
In either case, someone loses a job- so it’s an understandable response to get upset over this. But I give you some reasons not to be.
Here are 3 reasons I don’t give a rip about IT outsourcing and offshoring- and you shouldn’t either:
You can’t control it
You can’t control outsourcing. Not even a little bit. At the heart of this is issue may be the abuse of the H1B visa program. But unless you’re a very influential consortium of corporations or high-ranking congressman, you have very little to do with the solution.
Certainly- you should vote your conscience. But you have basically no direct control over if you company will outsource you- or your entire department.
The late Dr. Stephen R. Covey has a novel, yet effective, solution for this: Either expand your circle of influence, or forget about it.
In the center of your circle of influence is you, whom you have direct control. Outside of that is your circle of influence, where you can influence outcomes. Outside of that is your circle of concern. You have no control at all here, so you should just let those things go.
IT Outsourcing, in large part (unless you are the owner or CEO of your organization), is in your circle of concern. You can literally do nothing you can do about it. Just let it go.
David, are you saying that I should just lay down and take it?
No- not at all! In fact, you can take action on it. That action, however, begins by you taking responsibility for your career. More on that in a minute.
The outsourced roles are normally low to medium level
For the most part (and there are always exceptions), the types of tasks that are offshored are help desk, patch management, NOC (Network Operations Center) staff, and other support roles. If you think about it, these kinds of work can sometimes be successfully documented, then someone can read from a book to solve a problem. This is what normally ends up leaving your company.
While this can work, there is still a lot to be said for not outsourcing your core business competencies. Most of the time, local help is obtained for architecture and high-end engineering.
What does this mean for you? The longer you keep moving forward in your IT career, the lower your exposure to outsourcing becomes- because you know so much about your systems that it’s not practical for someone else to come in and tell you how to run them.
Interesting side note: if the customer experience is bad, sometimes these jobs come back into the country or even into the company.
You are responsible for your career anyway
The one thing within your control is you.
You can’t control any factors besides yourself, so control you and ignore the rest.
It starts by taking responsibility for your career. What I mean by that is that no one else is responsible for your IT career. No one- but you.
Taking responsibility says, “I am able to choose my IT career path, and I can respond to changes in it.”
It means also that when you win, it’s your success as a result of your action. And when you lose, it was your choice to fail. Once you admit that you chose whatever you got, you can choose differently.
Here are things you can choose to do that will
- Learn voraciously
- Help others continuously
- Understand the business side of IT, and how the business uses IT
- Do things you find interesting and therefore can be passionate about
- Network with others in the business, recruiters, and business owners
If you do all these things and you still get outsourced, don’t worry.
Worst case scenario: you can always quit IT altogether and become a carpenter.
You will bounce back. They didn’t outsource because of you. They did it for their own obscure reasons- reasons you can’t control anyway. Pick yourself up and move on to the next role. Someone needs you.
You can stop worrying about outsourcing and offshoring. It may happen to you, but if you don’t try to control things you can’t and you take responsibility for your career, you will have nothing to worry about.
Controversial? Maybe. Comment below if you want to add to the conversation or have a question. Thanks for reading- it was awesome having you! Make sure you sign up for the newsletter at the top of the screen so I can let you know when the weekly post is up!
Main Photo Credit: Dawvon – Pudong