Outsourced: The simple life, exploring cultures, and the importance of money

***I know this is long. It’s actually 4 or 5 blogs posts rolled into one, but I didn’t feel right separating them because they all stemmed from the same source. I tried to break it up to make it easier to read.***

I love movies. A good movie, like a good book, creates an entire experience. It opens your mind and thought processes to understandings and possibilities. When I read, I like to jot down certain phrases that are particularly inspiring or I’ll write about ideas the book incited. The experiences I have through reading are very personal. When I’m fully engrossed in a book, it’s as if the words are for me and me alone.

A movie, on the other hand, is more of a social experience for me. I despise watching movies alone, at least thoughtful movies. (Mindless movies have their place and those I do quite enjoy when I’m by myself.) I want to spend 3 hours watching an hour and a half movie with someone because we keep pausing it to discuss thoughts and ideas. If I see a movie in the theater (which is quite rare considering the cost of movies today – gods how I miss the $3.00 matinees!), I want to go out for coffee afterwards and spend hours discussing how we felt.

Last week, Kes and I watch “Outsourced” together and it was one of those hour and half movies that became a three hour long experience. A warning now for those who have not seen the movie, but intend to at some point – there will be spoilers.

First off, I thought the movie was brilliant. Through research, I found two common criticisms of the film. The first was the complete inaccuracy of what a call center in India is like and some general inaccuracies about the culture. This one I can completely understand. It is definitely aggravating when you see religions and cultures wrongly portrayed on screen . . . I just had this discussion with Kes the other day about another film and their portrayal of Paganism. So while I know very little about Indian culture, I’ll concur with that issue. The second was the main female character, Asha sleeping with the main male character, Todd too quickly and how that portrays Indian women. Okay, this is just silliness in my opinion. It’s a movie. Asha does not represent all Indian women. She represents *a* character in *a* movie and this character happened to give into her desires. I actually enjoyed the ‘something positive out of destruction’ theme here.

Moving along! The gist of the movie: Todd works for an American company that sells novelties. The company decides to outsource its call center to India and sends Todd there to train the new call center manager (his replacement). This post is going to be a bit about the movie itself, but mostly about Kes’ and my discussions during the movie.

The Simple Life

The first “pause” came when Todd purchased a snow cone type drink thing from a vendor in India. Todd offered the man one American dollar and told him to keep the change and the man was ecstatic about it. I stopped the movie and said to Kes, “Okay, so here’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to pay any of our bills for the next couple of months. We’re going to save all of our money. And then we’re going to move to India.”

The discussion continued about different ways of life. I basically said that as long as I had the internet, I could totally live “the simple life.” I need to be around people, so I couldn’t live out in the middle of nowhere, but in a close-knit farming type community? I’d be all about it!

I do admit that I would likely become a vegetarian because I don’t think I could kill my own animals, but I was a vegetarian for 3 years in college . . . I could do it again.

I could give up most modern conveniences and be perfectly happy . . . so long as I could keep my internet!

Exploring Cultures

At one point in the movie, Asha and Todd head to a more touristy part of India. I started talking about all of the places around the world I would like to visit, but that I don’t want to go to the ‘tourist’ spots. I am deeply interested in learning about other cultures and what better way to do that than to immerse myself in that culture. My feeling is why would I spend thousands of dollars to visit another country just to stay in an American-like hotel? I’d much prefer the local bed and breakfast and a firsthand tour of the best local spots.

I want to travel the world. I have a top 5 list (Ireland, Italy, Japan, Australia and Amsterdam), but there are so many other places I would love to visit, each one vastly different from the other. Maybe one day I’ll be able to!

Outsourcing

Well, duh. The movie is called “Outsourced” so a discussion about outsourcing had to come up! There was one part of the film that I thought was particularly poignant. A customer calls and complains about buying American products and having to speak to someone in India. Asha takes over the phone call to try to calm the customer down. She says that she understands. He says that she doesn’t. She explains that she knows some customers might prefer American-made and American-sold products, so she researched and found all of their products from strictly American-based companies and that she would be happy to direct him to that site. The customer replies with something like, “oh okay, is the price the same?”

Asha replies, “No, theirs is $212.00 more.” The customer breaks down and buys the product from Asha.

It’s a hot topic for a lot of people. The idea of buying American and of American jobs being lost because of outsourcing. Here is my most likely not-so-popular opinion on the matter – If it’s cheaper, I’m going to buy it, even if that means it was not made in America or the company has outsourced or offshored. My first priority is to take care of me and mine, and quite honestly, I don’t make a lot of money so I look for the best bargains that I can find.

Ideally, I wouldn’t buy anything from large companies. Ideally, I would make all of my purchases from mom and pop shops. I actually do this as best I can already. Most of my groceries come from local meat markets and produce markets. But when it comes to products I buy online or in a store, I never check to see where the company is located or where the products were made.

Personal ethics don’t come into play for me when I shop.

What I’m about to write is not going to make me very popular, but I’ve never cared much for popularity. I do not place Americans on a pedestal. People are people. Jobs are jobs. Not being able to provide for your family sucks no matter what country you live in.

Many (not all – I won’t even say most, but yes many) Americans have this sense of entitlement, like they deserve so much more than the rest of the world just because they were lucky enough to be born here.

There’s a song that I used to hear at work all the time. I just looked it up (it took a while because I only remembered a few lyrics). It’s called “America, I Believe in You.”  There’s a line that used to make me laugh in a not-so-funny way. “And then there was this big shot from the land of the risin’ sun, He said the workin’ people in America are lazy and dumb.” I laughed because I can’t tell you the number of people I saw come and go from that job. I can’t tell you the number of people I watched get fired because they were too lazy to do any real work. I can’t tell you because I lost track.

The fact is that while there may be a shortage of jobs in America, there is also a shortage of decent workers. Being born American does not entitle any of us to anything but our freedoms. Everything else, we have to work for. Plain and simple.

A company is going to look out for its own best interests and if they can save money by outsourcing or offshoring, of course they’re going to do it. If you ran your own small business and needed to hire a part-time employee and two people applied . . . both have the same skills and abilities, but one is charging $7.00/hour while the other one is charging $15.00/hour . . . who are you going to hire?

The Importance of Money

Our final discussion came at the end of the movie. After Todd’s crew not only achieves their goal, but surpasses it, he finds out that the company is going to outsource once again, this time to China. Everyone, including the manager he was training, loses their jobs. The only one upset about this was the manager in training. His reasoning is that everyone else has the skills to find another similar position with no problem, but he’s in management and it will take too long for him to find something new, which completely destroys his plans to marry the love of his life.

Todd assumes he is fired as well, but discovers they want him to go to China. They offer him a cushy position – after he trains everyone in China, he can go back to living in the US and just visit every so often to observe. He’s not interested. He’s fed up with the company who has now fired two full sets of employees in a very short time.

The supervisor offers Todd pretty much anything to take the job. Kes says, “I’m gonna be pissed if he doesn’t take it.” I smirked because I knew what was coming. Todd gave the job over to the manager he was training so that he could now marry his fiancé and live the life he’s dreamed of.

So the conversation became about the importance of money versus the importance of doing something you love and working for a company you love. Kes and I are not in agreement on this issue.

It’s been no secret that Kes is much more money-driven than I am. I would rather work in a lower paying job and be happy than a higher paying job and be miserable. Kes is made happier with the money.

I have no qualms about doing what I have to do. I’ve worked many jobs that I hated over the years because it was what needed to be done. But when I’m weighing my priorities, so long as basic needs are met, happiness comes way above money!

Hell, I once quit a decent-paying job with free benefits and went back to waitressing because going to work every day made me miserable.

I like money, of course, but it’s not what makes me happy.

Are there any movies that have provoked a lot of interesting conversations for you? What are they and what were the discussions?

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6 responses to this post.

  1. 1) I loved Outsourced like crazy. It was totally rocktastic.
    2) I was a vegetarian in college; it’s a great way to lose weight!
    3) I also have a top-five list for where I’d like to live: Ireland, Italy, New York, Seattle, Colorado Springs.
    4) I read all of the post, but I guess all I have to say now is “like.” : )
    5) Oh wait, here’s something: I prefer movies that make me think for days, weeks, years rather than have discussions or arguments for as long. Oh yeah, and movies that make me laugh for decades. Like Tommyboy.

    Reply

    • If you ever make it to New York, give me heads up . . . I’ll hop on the bus and meet you there 🙂

      I gained weight as a vegetarian 😛

      Tommy Boy was fabulous! I still crack up every time I see it!

      Reply

  2. If I can simply have enough money to have a place to live and food to eat….AND my computer with internet, like you said, that would be fine. I believe in doing what you have to do to get by but I agree it’s much better if you can do what you love, even if it means having to sacrifice a little.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anne Katherine on September 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I have not seen this movie, but enjoyed your blog.
    And the fact is that most people have to worry about their own bottom line, especially in these economic times.
    And I totally agree w/ you about how lazy a lot of Americans are. My husband owns a boarding and grooming kennel for dogs and cats. The employees he has are required to do a lot of hard, physical work. And believe me, it is not easy to find people these days who enjoy hard work. And, as you said, certain types of work. So that is a good part of the problem as well.
    And I agree with you – happiness is of utmost importance…in the long run!

    Reply

    • I really loved the movie. They made a TV show about it as well. The show is completely different. While the movie is classed as a comedy, it’s more subtle comedy. The TV show is a bit over the top, but it works just as well for that format. I enjoyed them both, but the movie definitely has more social commentary.

      Reply

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