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Monday, February 2, 2009

IBM to Laid-off Workers: Offshore Yourself!

Even if you've read Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, this story from InformationWeek should give you the global-competition willies: IBM is offering to help laid-off American workers find jobs... in India:

Under a program called Project Match, IBM will help workers laid off from domestic sites obtain travel and visa assistance for countries in which Big Blue has openings. Mostly that's developing markets like India, China, and Brazil.

"IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal notice on the initiative. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move" [Paul McDougall, "IBM Offers to Move Laid off Workers to India," InformationWeek.com, 2009.02.02].

IBM does note that working overseas is a great chance for workers to "expand their life experience." I can certainly agree with that: for workers with no immediate family obligations or pressing financial problems (o.k., that eliminates 99% of us), a chance to work in India, Russia, or South Africa could be a spectacular opportunity. But for most of the 4000+ workers IBM has laid off since January 1, offshoring themselves probably feels like little more than a chance to become the cheap foreign labor that cost some of them their jobs in the first place.

Tangentially related: one Madison woman didn't need IBM to urge her out the door: Alison Jarrett, MHS alumna, is off globetrekking in India... and keeping us all posted on her adventures by blog! She's linked below in the Greater South Dakota Blogosphere... it doesn't get much greater than 11.5 time zones away!


  1. Hey sports, if capital knows no borders, then why should labor? Why should be have immigration concerns? Isn't what's good for goose also good for the gander? If really believes in the myth of free enterprise, then doesn't it also make sense to make labor borderless?

    Now watch the right wingnuts choke on their hypocrisy.

  2. Good friend just got the same treatment. After placing in the top 10% of his/her division, s/he was told two days later that was being laid off but that she could take an "internal" position in Nigeria, one-way ticket and local wages included!


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