Offshore Thunderdog

I’ve never really talked about my job, mostly because it’s boring. This isn’t Facebook and I’m not here to share the details of my fairly mundane life.

I work for an IT outsourcing supplier and I suppose that the best description of what I actually do is “Mong Wrangler”.

I have a real job title, but the work changes through each project or service that I work on. What doesn’t change is human nature, which makes the problems I’m asked to fix come back around to the same set of issues every time.

Arrogance
Not listening
Not thinking for yourself
Budget restrictions
Bad Management
No teamwork

All of this is at the top of my mind at the moment, I’m working on a toxic project that should have been drowned at birth and also taking on a pretty large, troubled service.

I’m now going to be in India until April, mostly Chennai but a few other cities too. Working with the offshore teams needs a completely different skill set to working with UK staff. What’s interesting though is that the people here accept 6 day a week working with 18 hour days as being acceptable.

I’m in awe of their capacity for work, if not always their ability, but that’s why I’m here, to help them.

This trip is 5 working days long so far (I started writing this from the office on Saturday afternoon and have just got back to the hotel at 7PM) and I think I’ve gone native.

Which is bad news for the UK team.

From this end of the conference calls, I can see their lack of leadership skills, their willingness to blame relatively junior Indian staff for every mistake, their lack of patience and their utter spinelessness in the face of a difficult client.

I can also see that offshore mid-level management is appalling, the staff are workhorses led by lobotomised donkeys.

It’s all a dilemma quite frankly.

Staff that have worked at insane levels for months now are being pushed by a client to work longer and harder, because that always fixes things.

For. Fuck’s. Sake

I can’t fix the management style here, nor can I replace staff in the UK, as much as I’d like to jump on a flight and point out some home truths.

Like, their levels of stress are high because they haven’t done enough research and don’t have the confidence to push back to the client.

Like, having ‘Consultant” in your job title doesn’t make you an expert.

So, all I can do is to work with the local team, show them the stuff that I’ve learned the hard way over a long time and show them that we actually care, a little bit.

I instituted ‘Pizza Friday” yesterday, from now until I leave. the whole team gets a pizza delivery and everybody stops work for 10 minutes to chill out.

We’ll be having a little award ceremony next week to reward the team members that have gone the extra mile.

I don’t actually think that this will boost performance, but it’ll cut the sick time down and maybe build a better team.

Maybe.

I’ll keep on rounding the Mongs up, wipe off their dribble and get the flavoured window spray stocked up.

On the plus side, I can hear the roar of the surf as I type this, hundreds of crows are having their early evening chat and I’ve seen a couple of bats flitting between the trees, ghostly wings shining in the light.

I’m supposed to be night-clubbing with the Germans in the team tonight, but the idea of just sitting by the sea, drinking cold beer til midnight and a good night’s sleep is winning the discussion in my head so far.

I’m adjusting to this place and think that the adjustment back may be quite tough too.

The beach and beers are calling me.

Have a wonderful Saturday wherever you are.

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