Chad Fowler shares his India outsourcing experience and insight and he provides simple truths about the importance of anticipating and adapting to change. Lessons learned in this book can be applied to any field, not just technology. The world is changing faster and faster and to stay on top means learning how to be champions of change, not resistors.
Fowler offers readers excellent advice on how not to be left behind. Fifty-two ways to save your job, as the title suggests. None of us can afford to be complacent in our current successes, knowledge, or skillsets. Complacency breeds arrogance and laziness. These are very simple truths. The people who take the time to learn new things and adapt to changing business environments more quickly are the ones who are going to come out on top. Right now, we're seeing the tide shift and those diligent people in India are reaping the rewards of their hard work.
Outsourcing or off-shoring...whatever you want to call it, it is not going away. And it is not the dirty word it was a couple of years ago. Outsourcing is old news! The epiphanies of "The World is Flat" is old news! Companies who have not yet shifted some of their operation to India or China or Western Europe are likely feeling a little panicked. And I think they rightfully concerned. As companies continue to expand outsourcing to India (Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Siebel, et al), for any of us to keep our jobs, we need to continue to find new and BETTER ways to be provide value. For some, it means learning new technical and/or language skills. For others, it means changing careers altogether. Adapt, adapt, adapt.
This book was excellent--it's well written, it's timely, and frankly, I found it very reassuring. I recommend "My Job Went to India" in particular to my fellow American friends and coworkers who run the gamut from being concerned to downright paranoid (whether they'll admit it aloud or not) about the prospect of "**INSERT COUNTRY NAME HERE** (India) taking precious jobs away from **INSERT NATIONALITY HERE** (Americans).
If I can digress for just a moment, I want to tell you how I found this book. I stumbled across it in Barns & Noble--one of those mega stores with the multiple floors and separate coffee and lunch stands. You know, the ones that are the size of a mini mall? I went there to pick up some programming books. I decided I needed to brush up my programming skills and I was trying to determine the best way to get started and what language to focus on first. The store's tech selections were overwhelming. I was in the store for three hours pouring over books. The more I searched and read, the more lost and frustrated I felt. And, if I'm being honest, the more stupid and ill-prepared I felt. I picked up Foweler's book because the title caught my eye just as I was about to leave. I read the cover and laughed (okay, snorted) so loud the person next to me took a couple of steps away from me, out of concern that I was crazy or possessed. Or both. The book struck a chord because the company I had just left has begun recently outsourcing to India and many of the employees I knew are feeling a bit confused, frustrated, and some are outright disgusted. As if the strategy somehow implied the company had sold its soul. Which, of course, simply isn't true.
At any rate, I read the first page and thought, yeah, this looks like it might be an interesting read some day, and I then flipped over to the page where Fowler starts talking about what the experience in India taught him, how the unfamiliar and strange had become totally familiar to him, how he changed his perspective, and how India became his new norm and how his return to the USA was a complete shock to his system.
It was this section that made me sit up and take notice and it's what ultimately sold me on the book. It's like a trusted friend revealing a buried or forgotten truth. Fowler's words rang true to me. I read the whole thing in one sitting.
What I appreciated most about his writing is that it is not radical technobable rantings of a professed expert. The writing is not arrogant and for the most part, it's written in simple terms. I got the sense he's just a guy who wants share his experience and the lessons learned to save us programmers and programmer wannabees (like me) the trouble and offer suggestions that might reassure us of the future. So much of what he says are just simple truths that deep down I already knew were true. And he writes it in such a way that the book could be relevant to all tech workers, not just programmers.
So read it. I tell you, it's freaking brilliant and you will probably feel better about your future. I certainly do.