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Fear of Being Outsourced? Fight Back
Me, outsourced? Impossible. How could they replace a business-humor columnist? But my brother-in-law, the radiologist, told me his hospital was threatening to cut his position because they had found a medical group out of India that would read MRIs at half the cost.
He warned me, "Hesh, don't be so smug. No one is indispensable in today's world economy."
He was right. I had become blasé. I needed to diversify and find readers outside the USA, especially in the booming call-centers of India.
Do Indians find our business customs humorous? I decided to do some research. I called the IBM help desk. I asked the technician where he was located. He said "Birmingham, Alabama," and he said it with pride.
I asked for his boss. I told her that I wanted to be helped by someone in Bombay. "What? I usually get the opposite requests," she blurted out.
I told her that I found their staff people in India to be more helpful and courteous. And I found their English easier to comprehend compared to the southern accents from Birmingham.
Within seconds, I was talking to Bombay. After spending a few minutes on a fictitious problem, I asked my help-support person what he found humorous about working with Americans.
He said, "Sir, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on you Americans and your business practices."
I kept on digging. "You must be frustrated spending eight hours a day listening to us Americans. How do you blow off steam?
He suggested I call a business radio talk show in Bombay where the locals call in with their problems of working with westerners. It was called "Can I Speak to your Supervisor, Please."
Using my computer I was able to find a real cheap Internet-phone line to Bombay, and I called. The radio show's producer doubted my veracity when I told him I was calling from the USA. He thought it was a crank call. But when he listened to my accent - half Pittsburgh and the other half Brooklyn - he knew no Indian could impersonate that dialect.
He reminded me to use only my first name, when being interviewed. The talk show host began, "Our next caller is a Mister Hesh from the USA. We are very lucky to have an overseas caller. Welcome to our show."
"What is it about doing business with Americans that you find most intriguing or disconcerting?" I asked.
"A great question," the talk show host realized he had an issue that could generate some controversy. "Mr. Hesh, why not hold on as we let our callers respond."
The first caller began, "Mr. Hesh, you Americans have such a childish belief system. You expect every problem to be solvable. Our culture has taught us the inevitability of misfortune. I want to say to callers, 'Sorry, Mrs. Grady, your hard drive is forever broken and can never be repaired. Please unplug it and grieve for the next 10 minutes.' But, I am not allowed."
The second caller said. "We are obligated to try to sell you a software upgrade with each call. We think that this is very inhospitable. In our culture when someone calls for help, one must never try to gain an advantage from another's adversity. But we are taught that this is what makes you Americans so wealthy."
The producer asked me to call again. He had dozens of local callers waiting to talk to me. Before I knew it I was a radio personality in India with my own morning business call-in show.
Now, I visit India almost twice a month. I am a regular commentator on their TV morning shows and a sought-after lecturer at business conferences.
The travel back and forth is brutal even in first class. Plus, because of the time difference I have to be wide awake from 2 a.m to 5 a.m to take the calls from my audience. Why I am actually considering moving to India permanently.
Somehow the governor found out about my impending move (I bet it was from my mother) and he called asking that I not take my business overseas. It would be a terrible loss to our region's image.
He had funds to help businesses keep jobs here. I would qualify for an economic-development grant if I did not relocate. I guess it is like paying farmers not to plant corn. (Do they still do that?)
I called my brother-in-law with my good news, and said, "I told you going to medical school was a poor career choice. You should have majored in English, like I did."
A Job is Not a Job
It only happened on Mondays. Sometimes I escaped the unpleasant ritual. But, more often than not, right before boarding I threw up in the ladies room of the train station. It wasn't the commute I hated. It was the job. The reasons don't matter why a job I once enjoyed turned into a job I didn't. It happens. Bosses change, companies change, priorities change, budgets change, responsibilities change. Some changes bring personal growth and opportunity. Some don't. What does matter was the lesson learned that stayed with me the rest of my career: a job is not just a job. That job I hated helped my checking account. But my confidence, creativity, health, energy for life and view of the world was not as fortunate. When the alarm clock sounded, my previous excitement to face a new day became cocoon-like behavior, both in and out of the covers, wanting protection from another day's battle. It was safer for those I loved to refrain from sharing important issues or concerns with me, never knowing how I would react. How you spend a significant part of your day rubs off on the rest of your day, and on those you share your life with. Over time, it rubs off on your life. I'm not talking about temporary potholes and work hiccups that come with change or periods of work intensity, or the interim choices to increase finances, or the normal setbacks and challenges that should be dealt with at work. I'm talking about the long term match between who you are and the job you have. When you're in a job that's good for you, you can feel it. And you can feel it when you're not. I agree with Barbara DeAngeles, "No job is a good job if it isn't good for you." You see, you can't be winning at working if you don't like what you're doing, where you're doing it, or who you're doing it for. If what you do feels like work the majority of the time, you might want to think about why, and what you can do to change it. That doesn't necessarily mean you should change jobs or companies. Transferring to another team, volunteering for a new project, or asking your boss for new responsibilities may be all it takes. But, whatever it takes, you won't be able to offer your best you at work and get rewarded with interesting work, personal growth and financial rewards, if you aren't in a good workplace environment and a good position match for who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer. I've worked in jobs where I couldn't wait until Monday. That's when I'm so excited about the new project or the new idea or the next thing I'm working on that it's not work to me. It's a challenging, interesting, stimulating and fun way to spend my day. And, I'm a lot happier when that's the case. (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
The Network Within
When you hear the word "networking", what comes to your mind first?
Professional Moms: How to Get Ready to Re-Enter the Workforce
Finally! Your youngest is in school and you are ready to hit the job market after an extended absence. As you scrape the last of the Fruit Loops from the kitchen table, you ponder a few unfortunate truths:
10 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Job Fairs
Many job seekers tend to overlook job fairs. They can be crowded, busy, competitive and confusing events. But they offer you the opportunity to contact many potential employers all within one place, and they can help you land a job.
Change Your Life, Change Your Career And Get A New Job!
Careers dictate resume format
Writing Great Cover Letters
Cover letters are an essential ingredient to your complete résumé package. This is the best opportunity for you to demonstrate your personal character, knowledge of the company and your business writing skills. The following is a relatively generic format for creating your cover letter. Note that most cover letters are designed to target a specific company or at least a specific industry. First Paragraph You must spark the employer's interest. Focus on your unique characteristics, whether they are based on experience or personal traits that will benefit the company. Don't simply restate your résumé objective statement. You must command attention, not simply alert the employer that you are applying for a position (they already know that!). Second Paragraph Provide more detail about your professional qualifications or relevant educational background. Highlight your professional accomplishments and/or achievements, not responsibilities. Use active verbs when describing things that you have done and back it up with a statistic or concrete fact when possible. Tailor this paragraph to the position that you are applying for. Third Paragraph Demonstrate knowledge of the company, their industry, and the challenges that they may be facing. This is where you connect what the company needs in an employee and the skills that you bring to the table. You want to implicitly show your knowledge of the company without regurgitating something you read on the company's website. Alluding to general industry trends that are affecting the company will let the employer know that you can see the big picture and how your position affects the company's strategy. Fourth Paragraph This is the final paragraph of most cover letters. You should demonstrate your confidence and enthusiasm in working at the organization. Be sure to include a call to action, requesting an appointment with the decision maker (using the word appointment over the word interview helps make you sound more confident and professional). It is also recommended that you alert the employer that you will follow up with them, usually one week after sending your résumé package.
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Something That Hasnt Been Invented Yet!
Most of us were brought up to study hard, get good grades, choose a "practical" college major, and strive for a "good job."
Is A Career a Calling or Choice?
How much of our career path is destiny and how much is free will? In my opinion, it is 50/50. We are given a life map at the beginning of our lives, and there are things we are meant to learn, people we are meant to meet, work we are meant to perform. But many of us are not tuned into ourselves and the signs that are presented to us. We often miss important information, and miss out on those lessons, people, and jobs.
Seeking A New Job While Currently Employed : Tiptoeing Through the Minefield
So, you currently have a job but you are looking for something a little better. You are getting tired, uptight, and maybe just a little stressed out. This is a dangerous time ? the time when job seekers can turn into wing nuts and make key mistakes. So, how do you avoid tripping over those pesky landmines, you know - your current boss, workmates, and customers - and still carry out an effective job search?
Employment Law: Attendance Rewards - Legal Ramifications
If you were thinking of offering your employees special rewards as incentives for having good attendance records, then you must read on. In fact, employers that offer attendance bonuses may find themselves falling foul of the law.
Building Your Army of Supporters: How to Build Strategic Relationships in the Work Place!
Once you have accomplished your task of getting in the door and getting the job the real job of career advancement begins!
How To Deal With A Nightmare Boss
It can happen to anyone. there's a change in the organization and -- suddenly -- you find yourself working for the boss from Hell. Arrogant, demanding, ignorant, bullying and insensitive. Do you leave right away? Do you fight back? Here are some tried and tested ways of coping with impossible bosses -- and coming out on top.
The 5 Ps Of A Job Search
Step One - Plan:
Create Your Plan B Before the Layoff Axe Falls
In one short week, the axe fell at a number of companies and thousands of employees were without jobs. Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Ford Motor Company of Canada, PNC Financial and Kimberley Clark each had to make critical business decisions and lay off large numbers of employees. Reasons ranged from "maintaining a tighter rein on costs" to creating a "simpler nimbler" organization". Although the news is usually shocking, layoffs don't just happen. There are usually some subtle signs that changes are coming. How does one prepare for such an eventuality? By having a plan in place...creating a Plan B. Make it your responsibility to manage your own career, to swim out and meet your ship, not wait until it comes ashore. Such a mindset will help lessen the impact of a layoff, and will enable you to weather the storm if and when it comes. Here are some tips to help with your preparation:
Technology in the Workplace - Boon or Curse?
Like all new innovations, technology in the work environment can either work for you or against you. What is good for the employer or is not always the same for the employee.
How to Overcome Being Overqualified
Have you ever gone through the interview process, felt confident that you'd performed extremely well, and then heard these dreadful words: "I'm sorry, but we feel you're overqualified for this position."
Five Facts You Must Know When Changing Careers
Too often in life, we fail. We fail not because we set our goals to high and miss achieving our aspirations. Instead, we fail because we set our dreams too low and we achieve them. If we achieve what we set out to do then how is this considered to be a failure? Failure occurs when we are not fulfilling our highest aspirations. Theresa Castro, executive career coach and author of The Dark Before the Dawn: 70 Secrets to Self-discovery, provides insight on what anyone can do while they are in the midst of wanting to change careers.
What is Experience Anyway?
I learned in first grade that one plus one equals two. But, that's not the right equation when counting work experience. We often think we're building experience to help us get ahead. In reality, we're passing time. Ten years working like a cloned Bill Murray in Groundhog Day is not ten years worth of experience. Doing the same thing again and again yields an experience formula more like: ten times one equals one. I used to equate years of work with years of experience. No more. I learned by making plenty of hiring and promotion mistakes in twenty years of management the two are not equal. Neither are years of work and performance. Doing something for five, ten or twenty years doesn't make you automatically five, ten or twenty years better than when you started. I've been cooking for thirty years but I remain a mediocre cook. Two or three years involved with a business start-up or a new project might provide more growth and knowledge than ten years in a stable venue. And it might not. Gaining experience is more about you and your approach than anything else. Recurring work events can be predictable, boring, and unchallenging ways of passing years at work if what you're doing is updating last year's memo, tweaking last year's budget, or fine-tuning last years goals without applying innovation, analysis or critical thinking. Retiring on the job is as prolific as spam and will get you as blocked as those unwanted emails. I've found the difference between people who are winning at working and people who aren't, is the difference between passing another year at work and gaining another year of work experience. Those who build their experience build their futures. And, you can build experience without changing jobs. Building experience is about the depth, diversity, challenges and learning you gain by offering the best of who you are at work. It's about seizing and creating opportunities. And it's about continual self-improvement and constant self-feedback. You know you're gaining experience when you problem solve your own mistakes; learn to use knowledge building blocks to handle more complex issues; make contributions more valuable than the year before; acquire new skills by venturing outside a comfort zone; embrace new ideas or technologies; or recognize you don't know as much as you thought you did as you begin to see a bigger picture. People who try new things, push the envelope, pitch ideas, offer innovative problem solving, take accountability, and never stop learning and making a difference, are people gaining experience and building their work future. (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Power Resumes ? Writing Your Objectives
A powerful resume starts with a good statement of objective. This is the headline of your advertisement promoting yourself. The headline has to be simple yet state with clarity that you are the perfect choice for the specific job or position.
Stop Whining and Ask For What You Want!
When you want something, the best way to get it is to make your request in a straightforward and positive way. You should not expect your boss or co-workers to read your mind and know what your expectations and desires are. Nor should you brood about the fact that someone else has not recognized what you think is obvious to everyone.
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