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The American man hour versus the Indian man hour

Posted Feb 24 2009 9:38pm 1 Comment
(My blog is a good place for me to rant. Please skip this post if you are not in the mood for some really offensive ranting.)

I had to attend a meeting using webex, an online collaboration tool which allows you to share your desktop with other participants and then discuss whatever. We had a couple of participants from India and three Americans and two Indians from the US.

Webex, as I found out later does a poor job of screen sharing over low bandwidth. There is however a feature that lets you upload the presentation in advance and it is supposed to work quite well in that mode. Well, I found that out later. Unfortunately.

What happened during the meeting was that I was talking about the presentation and realized that the slides were changing much slower than on my desktop. So, I had to wait for a while till the slide changed on the other participants' computers till I resumed my presentation.

Well, this pissed off one of our Indian 'friends' in the US. He suddenly asked me if I was at home or office. When I told him I was at home, he launched a tirade about how I was wasting the time of people whose time was being billed in dollars rather than in rupees and how they all had a lot of important things to do and now they were sitting there at the mercy of my bandwidth!

To cut a long story short, the call was hurriedly closed with an agreement that the presentation would be emailed to them and they would get back with questions.

I was quite upset. Not about the presentation. But about the comment that lunatic made. What the fuck did he mean by saying that their time was more important than our time because they were billed in dollars and we, in rupees? Each individual values his/her time as important. I care less than a fuck what he is being billed at. For me, an hour of my time is more important than anyone else's in the world.

And he had the gall to say that he had a lot of important things to do! Like fuck, he did! I had much better things to do than demo my app to a pea-brained son-of-a-bitch like him! Many people go to the US on work from India and gain an unreasonably exalted sense of self-importance. They suddenly believe they belong to another planet. They start looking down upon their counterparts based in India.

I have seen this in the past too. In Effigent, we had a bunch of morons at different times working out of the US who scolded the Indian folks so badly that we had a few resignations only due to this unacceptable behavior. I took this up a couple of times with the individuals concerned and it did have the desired effect.

If this had happened when I was in Effigent, I wouldn't have tolerated it. I would have taken this chooth apart. Unfortunately, I know how much this engagement meant for our company and my boss. Thankfully, it looks like my boss is on my side. After the meeting was closed, he asked me not to send any presentation to them!
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