Saturday, March 9, 2013

Speed Up

I don't typically like to post articles from Mother Jones because they are an extreme left wing organization. When I talk about things, I don't like to immediately be discredited because I posted a blatantly obvious bias. But this article about the Speed Up of American workers was passed around in some of my circles and it hit home for me.

The gist of the article is that businesses had to lay off a bunch of people during the recession and ask the workers that remained employed to pick up some of the workload. The un-spoken agreement being that once the recession was over, those missing employees would be rehired.

This, for the most part, hasn't happened.

When we graduated college, it was only a few weeks before the major dip in the stock market. Having several entry level jobs between the wife and I during this recession, I can say that the article might not be far off.

For instance, the job I have now used to strictly be content creation and updates with no time on the phone.

We've lost many full time employees to other positions and companies in the past few years and haven't hired a single full time employee in at least 2 years.

Instead, we use contractors. They are easy and don't have strings attached. You bring them in for at max 18 months, lay them off, bring in new contractors.

Problem is, fewer contractors are being brought in each round even though there's the same amount of work. Its as if they are testing to see how few people we actually need to just scrap by. This changes the customer service immensely. If you call, there's a good chance you have to wait on hold for a few minutes. We can only spend a certain amount of time with each caller, so that we can answer the next call that's waiting in queue. And god help you if you need to transfer a ticket to another resolver group. That hurts your stats, so many people will misinform the user, just so they don't take the hit.

To back fill some of those missing guys, they asked support teams of the help desk (like my current team) to take calls. So now, I have to spend half of my time doing help desk stuff and half of my time doing content creation. Basically, I'm working that 60 hours that the article discusses condensed into my normal 40 hour work week and I'm not making a ton more from what I was 5 years ago.

All the while, some positions are being outsourced to India and the Philippines and my company reports record profits every quarter. And I've asked around, we aren't the only company that is doing this. My wife has witnessed similar deeds in the paper industry. Most of my buddies that work for major corporations have the same things happening.

I try to ignore all of this around me sometimes, but every now and then I think about the future of America, and we're setting ourselves up to be a nation in trouble. Cost of living goes up, but salaries don't. Take more credit and loans, can't pay the bills. You think about the terrible shape that Greece is in and I can't help but wonder if we're headed the same way.