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The Big Bad Wolf: Outsourcing and how it affects the job market

We can all agree that no one seems to like outsourcing.

Outsourcing to China? Shame on you for not protecting American jobs!

Outsourcing to India? Double curses on you and your family!

Outsourcing, jobs, immigrants and how it affects us has been on my mind lately from reading Forbes, listening to Obama and Romney battle it out and seeing people’s reactions to the Olympics when non-citizens of that country, play for that country’s team.

1. People (and companies) make individual, economic choices everyday

When you go to a store, and you see a jacket for $100, and a similar looking one for $50, which one are you going to buy?

Will you care enough to pay $50 more just because one says “Made in the U.S.A.”?

Perhaps you would out of a strong sense of patriotism, but many people struggling with budget concerns, wouldn’t. They’d probably close a blind eye to that tag, and buy the $50 jacket.

Companies, as they are run by humans, think the same way and have their own budgets to worry about.

Why would they want to pay 100% more for raw materials if it can be purchased for much cheaper to give them a better profit margin?

2. Companies play on such patriotism and are sneaky S.O.B.s

To add insult to injury, companies even PLAY on such strong, patriotic feelings by making tags that say “Made in the U.S.A.”, when in fact everything in that product was produced in countries like Indonesia, China or Romania, but only the assembly and/or packaging was done in the U.S.A.

This gives them the legal right to put that tag on there that it’s “Made in the U.S.A.”

I do rather enjoy buying things from independents rather than big box retailers, but even I have a limit.

3. Is it a company or the government’s duty to hand you a job?

I am most likely (okay DEFINITELY) going to get burned for this, but I’ll say it anyway: Is it really the company or the government’s problem to find a job for you?

Let me lay out my logic before you come at me with your pitchfork.

I always feel like as a Western society, we have this mentality of: I Deserve.

“I deserved that job over her.”

“I deserve that promotion, because I’ve been here longer and I’m louder.”

“I deserve that job because I’m a citizen of this country.”

“I deserve that job because I am EDUCATED. I went to college to get a [insert unwanted] degree for goodness sake and now I’m thousands in debt. Society owes me.”

We all know that no one deserves anything (least of all money they haven’t saved and retirement), so why are we thinking that it’s the company or the government who has to hand you a job on a silver platter?

It’s like saying that you spent your whole working life screwing around with your money, going into thousands of dollars in debt, only to find at the age of 65 that the bank is telling you that you CAN’T stop working or retire because you have nothing saved and you owe them a lot of money.

Are you going to go to the bank and whine that they should not only clear your debts for you, but give you money to retire?

Are you going to argue that you deserved all those fancy vacations they paid for on your behalf because you worked so hard and needed a treat?

Or that your brand new car is a necessity because you hate public transportation, what with all those people crammed into a space making you feel like cattle?

The job market is essentially the same, brutal reality.

If you want more money, and you know what job you want, but that job requires skills you don’t have, are you going to storm into that company, and throw a fit saying:

Look, it’s not really my responsibility to learn new skills, go to school, and work hard.

It’s the company and the government’s job to give me what I want because I was BORN here.

I’m educated with a degree. It should be good enough for you to overlook the fact that I don’t have the skills you need.

Sounds ridiculous right?

4. Why are skilled immigrants such a supposed threat to the country?

Outsourcing is not only happening because of cost. It’s 90% of the reason, but it’s also that they (presumably) do the job faster and better.

As an immigrant twice over, I always get a distinct feeling (partially a stereotype really), that society believes that immigrants simply work harder because they don’t have this I Deserve mentality.

They know what it took to get into a First World country for a better life for their family, and they don’t expect anyone to give them anything.

It’s the survival of the fittest… and for their children — the hardest working and the smartest.

Their motto is: Who is going to pay your bills if you don’t hustle?

I was watching the most recent episode of Project Runway (Episode 3, Season 10), where Elena Silvnyak from the Ukraine gets annoyed when another designer tells her to calm down and doesn’t understand why she’s so intense.

Being from where I am [Ukraine], you need a toughness to survive.

If you go to the Ukraine, no one is going to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and bla bla bla.

To just survive and eat everyday, people have to really hustle.

You have to be very strong. The weak ones don’t survive.

I haven’t had to ever live in that kind of extreme, but I see her point.

Without a stream of skilled immigrants, could this country continue to grow and thrive? No.

Without people (never mind where you’re from), who work hard and get the job done, would this country be as dynamic as it is? No.

So why do we want to NOT challenge ourselves as a society, and instead, want to blame others for setting the bar too high?

Want to do something about it? Be better at your job. Work harder. Learn more. Adapt and outsmart the others around you.

5. Where are displaced Americans going to get the skills?

Okay, so if we’ve come to the conclusion that Americans don’t have manufacturing jobs available any longer, then they need to find other kinds of jobs they can do.

However, someone who has been a factory worker assembling parts for 40 years, is not likely going to be able to transition into a more complex job that requires more skills without getting a basic education.

It can be hard to go back to school at the age of 50 to try and learn something you haven’t grown up with.

It can be twice as hard to do this, when you haven’t saved enough for retirement because you expected that a company would take care of you, are unemployed and simply cannot do the job required.

(Not as a slight against anyone’s brain or skills, it’s more that it’s like the old adage goes — It is really hard to teach an old dog, new tricks)

Perhaps the answer is not to give jobs by forcing patriotism down people’s throats, or patronizing (and CODDLING) the workforce, but to offer higher education at more affordable rates and to encourage people into jobs that WILL pay.

6. Are we setting up our future generations for such jobs and to have a sense of competition?

There are some things you just can’t teach, and some people who just can’t learn.

You can’t teach me anything about chemistry — it just.. gives me a headache, and I simply don’t want to learn it mostly because I am not interested in it.

I’m going to take a wild guess that this is the same for most people.

So the problem is getting people to be interested in learning and doing jobs that are needed by the American market, today.

Instead, what I think I am feeling is that society is coddling everyone around them well into adulthood and it starts when they’re kids.

You can do and be anything you want, my precious darling!

You are the most unique snowflake in the world who is brilliant at everything.

OMG look, you learned how to spit up so adorably.

This makes kids realize that any little thing they do, get praised, so why bother challenging themselves or reaching higher?

This same attitude continues as they get older.

They just need to make a half-assed try at something to be told how awesome they are, then they’re surprised when employers are not impressed with their mediocre skills.

It also makes kids want to only do fun things. Like coloring. And napping.

Who the hell wants to learn math as a kid? Or study science?

Okay, so there are a few zealous geeks who started young, but the majority of kids dream about being ballerinas, singers, actresses and athletes.

They see the fame, the fortune.. and it’s COOL because their idols do it.

No one dreams about becoming an engineer.

So maybe you don’t want to go all Lion Father or Tiger Mother on them, but the bar should be set a little higher or else they’ll really be ill-prepared for the future job market.


  • Outsourcing results from people & companies make choices for their budgets
  • Companies play on that patriotism of: Buy American Made!
  • Is it a company or a government’s duty to give you a job?
  • Why are skilled immigrants overseas or in the country such a threat to society?
  • Where are displaced Americans going to get new jobs and find new skills?
  • Are we setting up our future kids, or hurting them?

I am open to all kinds of (CIVIL) opinions and discussions as I haven’t made up my mind totally and am struggling through with these thoughts I’ve laid out above.

I am also clearly biased (who isn’t?) based on my situation.

What do you think about the above?


  • enginerd

    I agree with most of your statements. It’s so annoying to hear people complaining about jobs and how the president (either party) will bring back jobs to the country, etc. It’s like they haven’t figured out that it’s not the 1950s anymore and we have to compete on a global scale. The president cannot just declare wages in the U.S. will increase by 20%. Learn some economics people.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      You’ve summed it up nicely. Job creation starts with the employee. Of course the government has a responsibility but it isn’t to hand unsustainable jobs out like candy.

  • Ban Clothing

    I think all engineering will be outsources in the future. It’s the easiest way to keep costs down. It just means a shift in working for EPC companies rather than directly for a corporation.

  • Sense

    I would never fault companies from moving production overseas due to financial issues. Would I prefer them to keep the money and jobs in the US? Sure, but, point blank, it just makes economic sense sometimes. I DO have a problem when they move overseas and the quality of their product or service declines, and/or because they are taking advantage of legal loopholes that allow them to treat people or the environment poorly. Pay decent wages with humane working conditions, don’t pollute, and train your new employees properly? I’m all in, American job loss or not. But I emigrated from the US, so…I guess I err more on the other side than most.

  • tan

    I’m agree with your points. I’m an Indonesian working in London, and the same problem happens here. Many people moans that british people can’t get a job because of immigrants, but the thing is, they moans too much.

    In college, they rarely come to class and use student loan money to shop and party. I simply work harder than anyone else and get my first class degree while everyone else blame the lecturers for not giving them the highest mark. I get my job quickly because of good qualifications and again I simply try harder. Many classmates don’t want to take unglamorous or not ‘fun’ fashionable jobs (I studied graphic design) and they simply ask too much (super high salary, cars, crazy benefits, etc) while they’re just starting out. Many employers pointed out that if they take locals they simply moans about everything, while we as immigrants just be grateful we have jobs!

    • Mochi & Macarons

      On the other side to say it is because they don’t work as hard seems very mean or stereotypical because it generalizes the situation.
      It is a tough call!

  • Allison @InsomniacLabRat

    This is such a complicated issue, and I have conflicting thoughts on it.

    I’ve been criticized for not driving an American car, “especially being from Michigan”. But…my car was assembled here in America. I know that’s not the same as buying a car from an American company, but it kind of seems like the people in the auto industry who are really struggling are the ones working in factories, putting cars together, not the big wigs running the companies. I don’t know. I bought what worked best for my situation.

    Oh, and when I was a kid? I wanted to be a scientist during the week, and a ballerina on the weekends. But I was super nerdy, so there you go!

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