I once feared all programming jobs would be outsourced…

As much as I enjoyed the first coding class I took in college, I didn’t want to go into a career that would be shipped overseas. It just seemed so easy for businesses to hire programmers for a fraction of the cost in another country. While online marketing in the US, I even outsourced work to the Philippines.

This got me thinking. Why be afraid? Why not embrace it.

Empire

I moved to the Philippines and began hiring. My outsourcing empire was on its way. Though my parents were from the Philippines and I felt at home there, I noticed cultural differences in the workplace right away. What stood out most was how employees or contract workers didn’t feel comfortable communicating with superiors or those hiring them.

I shrugged these differences off at first. I thought, no worries as long as the work gets done. Then the work didn’t get done. Then people I hired disappeared and they didn’t email or text back. Challenging.

Was it me? Did I not pay enough? Did I say or do something offensive? According to other business owners this was a common practice.

Disappearing and cutting communication without explanation was less awkward for employees in that culture. Can you imagine being hired in the US and you just stop showing up without saying word? Then you’re boss or whoever hired you tries to call, email, and text and you don’t respond back at all. In the US, we call that a D*CK MOVE.

Fast Forward

I lived and worked in the Philippines for six years. Throughout this time, I hired many people, worked with and became friends with many business owners, and had many more experiences. I led the second Startup Weekend in the Philippines (the first in my area) with over 300 programmers, designers, and entrepreneurs participating. Towards the end of my time there, I trained and led a team of 5 full-time in-house employees to do work online.

So now I have good feel for what business outsourcing is and can be.

Guess what? Based on new information from my experience, I enrolled back into Computer Science when I returned to the US. I no longer feared all programming jobs being outsourced. The thought to me now is ridiculous.

For a job as complex as software development, you want to work with someone you can be on the same page on most of the time. You don’t want to be tied up in constant miscommunication.

Culture Fit

When hiring, wise companies seek out culture fit. Maybe a candidate can do a specific job, but if both candidate and company values don’t match, it’s like attempting an organ transplant with conflicting blood types. Get ready for failure and rejection.

Cultures around the world are different, obviously. Now, let’s say someone from a different culture starts to impose their values on you. How’s that going to play out?

Now, let’s say you attempt to impose your culture and values on that same person. Does that play out differently? Both are trying to change the other and nothing gets done.

Here’s the kicker: neither person thinks they’re trying to impose anything on the other. That’s not a recipe for a successful business. That’s the recipe for failure.

More importantly, that’s the reality of many who have tried to outsource overseas and discovered it’s not all that it’s cracked up be.