Subject: Outsourcing
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 15:58:00 -0600

This practice, popularly called "outsourcing,"

No, this is not strictly what is called "outsourcing." It's a subset of it.
Outsourcing means a company is taking a function that has to this point been
performed within the company and is hiring someone from outside to do it,
instead. Sometimes it can mean what happened to your departments; often it means
hiring an already existing firm to do the work, instead. Sometimes, as in your
case, the employees will be hired back as contractors, other times they will be
hired by the firm which is taking over the function, and still other times they
are simply let go.

Businesses are looking to cut down on costs. If they think they can find someone
to do the job cheaper, they will. Don't get mad at them, for Pete's sake. You do
the same thing in your own life with your own money. If two plumbing contractors
offer to redo your bathroom, you take the bids and balance the cost against the
performance and go with what you consider the best cost/performance bidder.

The problem occurs when businesses see your function as mainly cost, with little
benefit. Yours apparently saw things that way. Their behavior is not a threat to
our profession. You could argue their perception of our profession is the
problem, but more likely it's the fact that they can't connect bottom-line cost
savings to good documentation. That's where the improvement has to be; not in
some mighty union who will sweep down upon our employers and demand our "rights"
(whatever they may be).

You know, it's so ironic I could laugh (or cry) myself silly. Here we are, the
collective personification of information, and the problem many of us complain
of the most stems from our not having provided enough good information about
what we do and the benefits it brings to the bottom line!

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.

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