St.Louis Business Journal
HOW TO COPE WITH OFFSHORING
By Anna Navarro
If your job is at risk for offshoring, there are several long-term strategies that can help you re-orient your career to cope with the threat.
To get the phenomena in focus, it's important to understand which jobs are on the chopping block. The jobs most susceptible to being shipped out have several characteristics in common. They are clearly defined and someone at a distance can write specifications for how the work is done. They involve processes that are done repetitively on a large scale. And the work can be done easily via phone or Internet.
Fortunately, there are many technology jobs that are not good candidates for offshoring. That creates pockets of security. The strategies that follow spring from those pockets of security.
Shift your job to areas that are critical to the organization. Positions that involve working with sensitive issues that are the lifeblood of the organization are unlikely to be exported because the risk is not worth the cost saving. Examples include maintaining internal databases, and network security.
Enhance your knowledge of the organization's central endeavor and wed those skills to your technical skills. Whether it's avionics, biotechnology, finance or healthcare, jobs that require a knowledge of the organization's basic work as well as information technology are probably hard to export because of the difficulty of finding individuals with the appropriate extra qualifications.
Which of these strategies, or combination of strategies, will work best for you depends totally on your personal situation; there is no one best strategy that will work for everyone.
Peter was a very bright and creative guy with a master's degree in computer science, who lived in Arizona and was single and mobile. He worked for a huge computer service company that developed general applications for small businesses.
The company started offshoring jobs and though his job was not immediately threatened, he feared it would eventually go offshore. In our exploration of his background, I learned he had a undergraduate degree in biology and liked the field. He decided to dust off his biology background, take several molecular biology classes to update his skills, and look for an IT job with a biotech company.
He now works closely with scientists in a small company in St. Louis and helps them build computer models to predict more accurately how certain gene modifications are likely to affect crops. His job involves innovation, as well as knowledge of biology. He is the only IT person on the team. The small-scale nature of the endeavor gives him added security.
Tioga had an AA degree in computer applications and several Microsoft certifications. She was laid off when the bank she worked for shipped 90% of her department's work offshore. She needed to stay in her current location because she was a single mother who depended on her extended family for help with her kids.
As we examined her situation, what surfaced was that while she was shy around people, she enjoyed taking objects apart and putting them back together. Now she works for a company that does computer hardware repair.
Making a career shift of the kind I just described takes time and requires careful thought. So if you have to face down the demon of offshoring, the best time to start is right now.
is the founder of Work Transitions, a nationwide career consulting
firm that trains independent career strategists and consults
with individual clients.
was originally published by the St. Louis Business Journal.
The actual title of the column and date in which it appeared
in the Business Journal may be slightly different from what
appears on WorkTransitions.com.