Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Interesting news… and a rant.

I realize that I don’t rant here much. Generally most of the “negative” things I have to say are said in a joking manner. There are, of course, exceptions, but the vast majority are said tongue in cheek. This one, however, is completely serious and something that I view as a real, honest problem.

I would also like to apologize in advance for being a little long-winded on this post.

Before we get to that, though, let’s do the news part. There will be plenty of time for the rant afterward.

The news is that the people who thought that Ken Lay, the one responsible for the Enron debacle, would get away without any jail time were absolutely right. He has died of a coronary before his sentencing could take place.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. Part of me is surprised. Part of me isn’t. Part wanted to see him face sentencing and part of me just kind of shrugs at the way it turned out. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out before too long. It just seems kind of ironic to go through the whole trial and have him die basically right before sentencing.

I think part of me feels like they should pass sentence anyway just so we can draw this to a close. Not that it really matters. It’s just that it seems like the ultimate loose end.

In other, probably less interesting news, I have added an RSS feed to the blog and website. I figure that I update often enough that it is warranted.

Now, on to the rant.

I have maintained that I have almost no problem in dealing with accents. I’ve worked with, been friends with, and known people from all over the world. As long as we can both speak English (or enough of another language that I understand), I can communicate with said person without a whole lot of trouble.

There is, however, a certain company that is making me seriously reconsider this position. I think it’s the same company, anyway. If it isn’t, then it’s a really disturbing trend.

About every two weeks, I’ll get a call from a recruiting firm that says they saw my resume online. This in itself is nothing abnormal, and I have no problem with it. In fact, I am looking for a new full time position now that I am finished with the magazine and the fact is that I am kind of tired of contracting because constantly looking for new clients gets old after a while.

The problem is that first, it sounds like they’re using voip (judging from the delay and static) and second, that the person on the other end of the line is Indian with an accent so thick that even *I* have trouble with it.

They start out by asking me inane questions like do I have any experience in an IT setting which can be answered by simply *glancing* at my resume. Of course I have no experience. My resume just has software developer and network analyst/system administrator positions on it for no reason. Please take the time to at least look at what you’re calling me about first.

Next, in the midst of trying to answer their questions, I will tell them that I can’t understand them (which is true) and ask if they could contact me via email instead. Instead of doing so, the person on the other end just keeps on with their script.

This annoys me. I restate my request and they keep going, so I inform them that since they do not listen, I have no desire to do business with them and hang up.

A couple of weeks later, it all happens again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now, this is bad for a few reasons – first, communication is important in any relationship (business, friendship, romantic, etc). In a business setting, the person you have dealing with the general public should be able to speak in a manner which will be easily understood *by* the general public. This means that they speak the same language (in this case English), they speak at an understandable speed, and with an appropriate (or a “generic”) accent.

Doing this cuts down on a great deal of communications overhead and is a lesson that has been learned by everyone from the phone company and telemarketers to brick and mortar stores. Unfortunately, however, it does not seem to have been learned by a lot of technical companies. Here’s a hint – the same rules apply to you too.

Second, placing someone whom you know will not be understood by your target audience in a position which deals with them extensively shows an extreme lack of respect for your intended audience. In this case, if a company does this while they are trying to recruit me, they are not going to be able to do so. At all.

Third, the chances are that, if you continue to act in this manner, word will get around and it will be very difficult to connect with more customers (in this case, potential employees).

Like I said before, I think that this is the same company that has contacted me in the past. If that is the case, then they really need to get their act together. If not, then this is a disturbing trend.

Having said that, if anyone is interested in hiring me to work at a (mostly) sane company where the employees are treated with some measure of respect and not like instantly replaceable cogs in a machine, feel free to contact me. I am more than willing to listen and will relocate for the right opportunity.

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