Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It’s not just the Call Centres

You can blame the delightfully delectable Vics for today’s post.

In her rant for today she talks about call centre staff obviously not being natives of the UK (probably not even based in the UK) and having such poor grasp of the English language that we can’t understand them and vice versa.

The company I work for has call centres in Mexico and India amongst others and on occasion I need to call up as a customer. I have in the past made such a call for whatever complex purpose and on getting someone with an incredibly thick Indian accent, made up some trivial reason for calling, which still takes 10-15 minutes worth of repeats and spelling out etc. to finally get sorted, then hang up and try again until I get someone I can understand and be understood by.

I know there has been a lot of controversy in the last couple of years or so, about the increasing trend by UK companies to outsource their call centre work to other countries, and I fully sympathise with the people who have lost their jobs because of it. But let me tell you now, it’s not just you. The Call Centres get lots of publicity because it’s more blatant and affects a great number of people in a short space of time, but over the last couple of years the message coming to me from my management is that my job will soon be transferred to India as well and I’ll have to adapt or die (a-la dinosaur).

You see I am a computer programmer by trade, I am capable of analysis and design and do get a certain amount of enjoyment out of both tasks, especially if I then get to develop the system I’ve been involved in designing, but at heart I’m a code monkey. So I want a job that is about 75% programming to 25% analysis and design.

The problem is that my company has a large IT centre in India as well. These guys can’t do the analysis and design, not because they lack the skills, but because they lack the business knowledge and local understanding of how the business works in the UK. However they can write code. So the long-term plan for IT in the UK is that the experienced staff in the UK will analyse, design and produce detailed specs, which will then be handed over to the code monkeys in India. Neat system don’t you think?

But hold on, what about those poor sods in the UK for whom programming is the love of their (working) life? ‘Oh you’ll just have to adapt and become an analyst’ or ‘There’ll still be work troubleshooting and testing the systems written in India’

Well I’m sorry but you can just kiss my big fat rosy red behind* (yes all of it, no I don’t care how long that’ll take). I didn’t spend 4 years at Uni. learning how to program, just to become an analyst or tester. I have the greatest of respect for both analysts and testers, and lion tamers and other people in dangerous professions, but I still wouldn’t want their jobs.

So it looks as though my options are:
1. Adapt (phhhhhhhhhht!)
2. Get a job with another company (hahahahahahah!)
3. Quit and set up in business for myself (anyone want a website building?)
4. Have a brilliant and unique idea for a website, build it up from nothing on my own until it becomes the next best thing since Google or Friends Reunited and then sell it to some entrepreneur for massive great wadges of cash and retire a millionaire before I’m 40.

I’m doomed.

*Vics is a bad influence on me