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August 6 2006

30 Days, Season 2, Episode 2:Outsourcing

I just finally got around to watching this episode of 30 Days today due to my hectic schedule this week. It was well worth the wait though!

Meet Chris Jorbin, a 37 year old from Mount Vernon,NY who, until recently, was employed as a computer progreammer. Recently Chris was let go when his company decided to outsource his job to the Tata Corporation in India. Chris spent the last 6 months of his job training Indian replacements. Since then he has been unable to find work and has had to sell all his stock to pay bills. To add to the problems, Chris has just had a son with his girlfriend.

Chris travels to Bangalor to live with Ravi and Soni Ranjan, a family directly benefitting from the impact of outsourcing. While there, he must also apply for a job at a call center, take classes in how to fake an American accent, take the test to get an interview and, finally, get a job that just happens to be in the call center Ravi is a manager at. Imagine that luck! *cough* Was still interesting to see him go through the whole process.

This episode suffered from something though; two fascinating aspects of the same story and with both getting short-changed because of it. Seeing Chris react to India was fascinating, but so was the story of Soni trying to also get a job at a call center. While everything was interconnected, it still felt like this episode could have benefitted from a much longer format. Chris pointed out how outsourcing was changing everything about India. To work on American day light hours, the call centers were the busiest from 6 PM to 3 AM, meaning families were working more and more oppisite shifts. She also had the added turmoil of tradition saying she should stay home and take care of the extended family.

Morgan Spurlock, creator of the series, is certainly not wasting time taking on hot button issues this season. Illigal immigrants and outsourcing sure seem to be a way to get the season off on the right foot. Both epieosdes so far though seem to be suffering from the hour long format. Outsourcing could have easily used twice the time, and it also would be nice to know if Chris ended up finding a job.



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  • Two things about this episode: I don’t think Chris was that good a subject, as 30 Days is supposed to be about changing hearts and minds, and Chris’ was fairly open from the start.

    Second, and this was also a flaw in episode 2-1 (illegal immigrants), the show did not touch at all on the corporate greed involved. In both cases, outsourcing and undocumented workers, the focus was on the humanity of the workers from other countries–which is all good–but the fact remains that in both cases, the changes are not made to benefit those people, the changes are made so that corporations can lower costs while maintaining prices and therefore grab huge loads of cash for themselves, whilst lowering the average payment to the working class overall.

    I thought that this should at least have been mentioned as an aside…