Go work in India they say. Well it is to be expected. But will they come? And if they do, will they stay? We already see white faces in our offices, streets and shops. Not many. Just a handful but the numbers seem to be growing.
The Indian technology workers moved to the US to look for many things, money being one. Opportunity is another. The press of people competing for limited job opportunities is so high in India that children are taught to compete from a very young age. Without this learning they will not be able to survive. Imagine this – half a million students appear for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) of the Indian Institutes of Technology. A few thousand are selected.
This very learning helps the Indian worker to shine anywhere in the world. And remember that the conditioning starts at a very tender age, in fact from Kinder Garten itself. So can the Americans compete in India with Indians for technology jobs? I think not. They don’t have what it takes to survive here.
It is not about the climate, the food, the dust and the 3rd world living conditions. If you are working in IT you can afford good housing, good food, good clothes, good transport. The good things in life. You can also afford to pay somebody to insulate you from the worst of the local conditions. A good driver for your car costs Rs. 6,000/- a month. That’s about $150/- a month. And the driver will clean your car everyday. And he will be available from 7 am till late in the night. He will work weekends too. A maid to clean your house, do the dishes, wash clothes costs about Rs. 800/- a month or $20/-. You can have people pay your bills, buy your groceries, deliver cleaned and cut vegetables to your door step. All for a few hundred Rupees a month. Total cost of insulation – less that Rs. 15,000/- a month. Or about $350/- a month. Very affordable. Even on the pennies-to-the-dollar salary that the LayoffBlog says is the catch in the offer.
So where is the real catch? Competition. Can the Americans survive the punishing work schedule that the typical Indian IT worker routinely puts in? Week after week, month after month. The day starts early and ends late. During the average work week I get about 3 hours of sleep everyday. And about a couple of hours with the family, if I am lucky. I am tied to my laptop and mobile phone the rest of the time. I sleep with my mobile phone under the pillow. Every morning I take it with me to the bathroom to check emails while I crap. I again use the phone to check emails and respond before I fall asleep. I survive on multiple cups of dark, caffeinated coffee every single working day. Towards the end of the week my coffee consumption can go up to 9 or 10 cups a day, each with two teaspoons of strong coffee in it.
If I don’t work at this rate there are many others who will happily replace me. I get a decent salary that enables my family to live comfortably. My children go to the best private school in the city and hopefully we will be able to afford the best college education this country can provide. I am comfortable. Not rich. But comfortable. But the pace is punishing.
Can you survive here, dear Americans?
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