Outsourcing: Through The Eyes Of The Pro-active Person
By Dale Robert
First things first, let's talk about the difference between 'Outsourcing' and 'Offshoring';
Dictionary.com defines 'Outsourcing' as: to purchase (goods) or subcontract (services) from an outside company. Dictionary.com defines 'Offshoring' as: the practice of moving business processes or services to another country, esp. overseas, to reduce costs.
Although I want to talk about both today, I think people use these words interchangeably even though they don't mean the same thing.
Outsourcing and offshoring are certainly commonplace in today's workplace. It seems to me that many American workers are fighting it tooth-and-nail, which really translates into complaining about something they can't stop. So what can you do? Wait and go down with the ship? You could, but there are far better options like changing your career focus, starting a business, or becoming a consultant!
CHANGE YOUR CAREER FOCUS
As outsourcing and offshoring are becoming more and more popular, let's look at some career paths that will compliment outsourcing rather than be eliminated by it. Let's say you work at an off-road equipment manufacturer and your company finds it much cheaper to have the prototypes designed overseas. Certainly no company is going to hand a project off to a company overseas and say 'run with it'. No way! Rather, your company is going to require Project Managers to facilitate and manage the whole process. This might mean working with the overseas Engineers as well as multiple groups within your current company. Or let's take it one step farther; say your company finds it much cheaper to have the entire new piece of off-road equipment built overseas and then ship it back to the US for sale. Logistics professionals and Supply Chain professionals are now needed more than ever!
So there you go, we have been on the topic for about 3 paragraphs and I have named 3 different job titles that are in huge demand (and additionally there are many subcategories for each).
STARTING A BUSINESS
If companies are buying other companies products and putting them all in a bag, shaking it up, labeling the final product, and selling it for a profit, why not have them buy a product from you! If you're a Machinist for that same heavy equipment company we last discussed, why not start your own shop and make products for ALL the heavy equipment companies across the land?! My guess is that if this one hit too close to home, you are shaking your head 'no' in disgust right now. "Dale, that can't be done! I don't have the resources to start a shop! I don't know how to sell! All I want to do is Machinist work!" My question to you is: do you work with anyone else that is afraid of losing their job? Or, could you work with a Small Business Coach to get you started (shameless self plug!)? Every single company, large or small, was started by one or few people. Why can't you be one of them?
BECOME A CONSULTANT
This avenue is sort of like starting your own business, except that instead of producing a product, you are the product. Typically Consultants break off on their own after a few years with a company because they have gained a certain expertise in an area. For example let's talk about an IT Professional. Let's say that an IT Professional gains lots of experience in a certain software at a company, and 5 years later that same company decides to offshore their IT group and now she finds herself unemployed. She does, however, know of several companies in her area that use this same software. She could consult to each of them for 10 hours a week. Perhaps one company will even let her work remotely from her home; or better, they all let her work from home! Now, instead of collecting one paycheck from one boss every week, she gets 5 checks and has far more flexibility! Let's say that one of those companies eventually offshores their IT group. Now she is down to 4 paychecks a week instead of 5, which is still 4x the amount of checks she received earlier.
What expertise do you have? Don't say "nothing" because I HIGHLY doubt you would have gotten a job in the first place if you didn't have at least one strong skill set! Things that come easy to you doesn't necessarily mean that they are easy to others. Becoming a Consultant is very easy to do! Work with a Small Business Coach or talk to another Consultant to get started! It doesn't cost a dime to get started (when following a certain business model) and it can be very easy and fun to market yourself.
Outsourcing has actually been going on since time. There is hardly a company in existence today that doesn't do at least a little bit of outsourcing-it could be accounting or bookkeeping, or processing paychecks, or having a part-time IT consultant come in once a week to maintain the network. These are all forms of outsourcing! Both offshoring and outsourcing are (likely) here to stay, so instead of fighting, create your own destiny instead of letting your boss create it for you and you find yourself forced to make a radical career change. (Now let the 'hate-mail' roll in!)
About the Author
Dale Robert is a Career and Small Business Coach, writer, and seminar leader. Visit Dale online at http://www.Career-Mechanic.com and/or http://www.SmallBiz-Mechanic.com. Email Dale today for a NO COST Career or Small Biz Coaching Session!
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