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Outsource your own job, get fired. What's fair about that?

January 17, 2013|By Paul Whitefield
  • Outsourcing has left many offices across the U.S. empty. One clever worker tried his own system of outsourcing, but that didn't work out so well.
Outsourcing has left many offices across the U.S. empty. One clever worker… (Jennifer S. Altman / For…)

When the boss does it, he’s a savvy businessman and gets a bonus. When Joe Average Computer Guy does it, he gets a pink slip.

Apparently, what’s good for the tech goose isn’t OK for the computer gander.

I’m talking about job outsourcing, of course.

The Times’ Alana Semuels reported Thursday on the strange case of “Bob,” a computer software developer at an unnamed U.S. company who “unbeknownst to his bosses, hired a Chinese developer to do his job, allowing him to take home impeccable performance reviews while actually spending the day watching cat videos and shopping on EBay.”

Bob’s very clever scheme was uncovered when officials noticed the company’s computer network was being accessed daily by someone in from Shenyang, China, using Bob’s account. So they checked his computer, and, well:

Bob had PDFs of hundreds of invoices from a third-party contractor in Shenyang for developer services. Bob had been paying the contractor $50,000 a year, while he himself made hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While the developer was working 9 to 5, Bob surfed the Web. At 9, he'd roll in and surf Reddit, watching cat videos. At 11:30 he'd grab some lunch. After lunch it was time for EBay for about an hour, when Bob migrated to Facebook. At 4:30, he'd email management, telling them what he had "done" during the day, and at 5, he'd go home.

And the kicker?

Suffice it to say, Bob is no longer working for the company. It's possible that he is missed, though. His performance reviews were impeccable, and his company considered him the best developer in the building.

As my mom used to say, “Now doesn’t that just beat all!” (And why do scenes from “The Matrix” involving Neo and Agent Smith keep popping into my brain? And Dilbert cartoons?)

(Full disclosure, to you and my boss: I did this entire post myself. I also wrote the headline. And found the picture. And put in the hyperlinks. All by my lonesome. Honest.)

On Wednesday, I wrote about JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon getting his pay cut to $11.5 million after huge trading losses at his company, while a young California teacher was fired and was at risk of losing her pay simply because she had once appeared in porn films.

Now comes this latest injustice against the working man.

Instead of giving Bob a promotion, a raise and the Employee of the Month parking spot, they can him?

Gee, that’s odd: I don’t remember Bain Capital firing Mitt Romney.

I say Bob was an innovator, an outside-the-box thinker, a hero of the working class. (Alas, he’s also a hero with feet of clay: He did all this just so he could be on Facebook, EBay and YouTube? He could’ve at least produced some new app on the side.)

It seems the working man’s choices today are to sit idly by and wait for his job to be outsourced, or to do the same himself, only to be purged as a scofflaw.

As that great philosopher Rodney Dangerfield once opined -- for working men and women everywhere -- I tell you, I don’t get no respect.

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