Saturday, November 10, 2007

Get Bangalore on speed dial

I haven't blogged in months. No excuses really. Just a lack of time. However, I have found time to begin reading Thomas Friedman's, "The World is Flat" the phenomenal best-seller in which he defines events that have allowed the rest of the world to catch up, and often pass, the United States in terms of productivity.
Friedman's first chapter deals with outsourcing. In vivid and often humorous detail, he describes how major U.S. companies like Microsoft and Dell have outsourced sales, technical support and customer service, to Bangalore, India, the Silicon Valley of that Asian nation. Young, highly-educated Indians clamor for a chance to sit in a call center in the middle of the night and sell Americans credit cards or answer questions like, "I accidentally deleted my hard drive. What button do I push to get it back?"
While Americans look at call center employment as about as desirable as dental surgery, Friedman points out that Indians view outsourced jobs as steppingstones to bigger and better things.
Hmmm, maybe I can help them achieve their dreams
It's Saturday morning and I'm going over my checklist of activities on what is supposed to be a day of relaxation: my ten-year old daughter Natalie has gymnastics from 10 a.m. to 11:30. During that time, I'll run to the dry cleaner, the grocery store and return home briefly to make sure my my five year old Amy takes a shower. Once she's clean, we'll pick up Natalie, drive to a bowling alley and participate in a fundraiser for Amy's cheer tumbling team. That lasts until 4, at which time we'll dash to Natalie's 6 p.m. piano recital. Did I mention lunch? Oh yes, we'll eat if there is time.
Sunday is no different. Up at 7 a.m. No church because we have to attend a cheer tumbling tournament that will last into the afternoon. Then somebody needs to get Natalie to her volleyball lesson at 4 p.m.
The pace is exhausting, to say the least. And I'm sure other parents look at my schedule and consider it to be a walk in the park. My next door neighbors moved in last month. They have four kids and I'm not sure if they have even lived in their home yet. Rather than spend the money on a 5,000 square foot, four-bedrooom home, they might have been wise to invest in a Winnebago.
My wife and I often refer to ourselves as human busses, chauffeuring our kids from one event to the next. It's tiresome, it's drudgery and it seems like a perfect outsourcing opportunity! Rather than sit in a cubicle all evening wearing a headset, I'm sure a bright Bangalore native would be happy to come live with our family and take over the driving duties. In fact, I'm thinking of putting an ad in the Bangalore papers:

Do you want to get ahead and experience daily American culture? Then the Schwem family wants you!

Hours: Change daily. On call 24x7

Requirements: Must hold valid driver's license and own cell phone. Must be capable of talking on cell phone while operating car seat buckles and straps

Must own car with GPS System and enough trunk space to carry sports equipment, musical instruments, art supplies and numerous overpriced uniforms which will most likely be worn once.

Must be willing to wait in parking lots with car idling, needlessly wasting gas while children dawdle inside

Must be able to consume fast food while driving

Benefits: The thrill of seeing a child score a goal, do a cartwheel, play Beethoven (badly) or succeed in some other skill that requires countless hours of coaching, teaching and specialized instructions.

Pay: None

If interested, respond to this blog. All messages will be returned sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight as this is the only time the employer is home.

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