The Beast of the East

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to experience Friedman’s “Flattening of the world” as I journeyed to the dynamic city of Bangalore, and witnessed this phenomenan that would leave a lasting impression on me. The last time I was in India was in 2002 and within a mere 8 years, Bangalore had changed from a small city, into India’s very own Silicon Valley. The moment I left the very modern airport, I was inundated with a plethora of sights, all of which coincided with Friedman’s description of the city. HP, Dell, Microsoft, and Yahoo were just a few of the many Multi Billion dollar corporations that flanked the four lane highway. Despite the heavy security, I could see in the distance dozens of young Indians going in and out of the buildings with a great deal of speed and a sense of purpose that would make even the most dogmatic of New Yorker’s jealous.

While observing this aspect of globalization from a distance was interesting, the more fascinating part was meeting someone who actively took part in it. Enter my Uncle Jeffey. For the past several years he has worked for a company based out of India that takes audio transcripts dictated by doctors in the U.S and then types the information up into a report. The big advantage with this situation is that the audio transcript can be sent in the evening (US time) via high speed internet where it will be early morning in India. So while the U.S doctors are sleeping, the Indian workers can listen to the audio recording, type up the report into a word document, and have it ready to be sent back to the U.S the moment the doctors wake up. Such a concept effectively promotes the idea that globalization is in fact necessary for efficiency.

As for me as a soon to be graduate entering the workforce in a relatively turbulent time, the number one trait according to Friedman is flexibility. As his book argues, there is almost an endless list of jobs that could potentially be outsourced, from legal studies to hair cut appointments, and the only way to successfully thrive in such an enviornment is to either move to the country of opportunity (as some westerners are doing) or develop a skill that is so unique, outsourcing will be very difficult to achieve.

As both Friedman and my father said after leaving India, globalization is here to say and we must adapt to it in order to thrive. This is of course not suggesting that all jobs will leave the U.S. Certain aspects of American life such as politicians and government employees can never truly be outsourced. At the same time all the data taken by said fields can be processed for a fraction of the price in another country.

My current field of interest is in Marketing/PR, something that many of the nations responsible for the “flattening” such as India and China are actively looking for. Whether or not I will work in a foreign country is still up in the air, but the experience gained from such a position would definitely aid in future job searches.

Nick Theccanat

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