This last few weeks has been strange for me. Interesting, but at the same time rather worrying.
It’s by now no secret that Citigroup is laying off a lot of their IT people. This is part of Mitchell Habib’s “NAIT” initiative. While I agree and sympathize with the stated objectives of the whole initiative, I have to admit that I find myself philosophically opposed to the methods he’s using.
Basically, the idea is to remove the existing staff and replace them all with contractors. OK, that’s a gross oversimplification that doesn’t really do the idea justice.
The idea is at least reasonable; to reduce our reliance on full time employees so that we may leverage contracting resources when work needs to be done but allow them to go when work is slow. The stated goal of NAIT is 60% full time employees, 40% contractors.
From a purely business perspective I find myself agreeing with the idea. It does allow the IT department to be more flexible; to allow us to staff up when needed and let them go when not. What I don’t agree with is the shunning of locally available resources in favor of purely Indian-based contracting firms. I am even more opposed to it because I can’t get people; every time I try to get contractors from either of the two firms that are available to us (Satyam and TCS), they inevitably fail to deliver because they can’t provide local resources. When they can, it takes them weeks or months. Wheres the problem here? I could call up Teksystems and have five resumes of local experienced candidates in my inbox by the afternoon. There’s a real problem here that needs fixing. We’re not making ourselves more dynamic; we’re burying ourselves in more concrete in order to meet a perceived goal that we are inevitably going to miss.
What hurts most of all is that once perceived goal is missed, who are the management going to look to? The full time employees of course. We’re responsible; we’ve made it too difficult to find local resources because we’re opposed to the entire process.
As a people manager this has to be frustrating. I am a team lead, so I’m not directly responsible for hiring or firing except to advise my manager that we need it. As a result, I know the pain we encounter, and I find it frustrating.
So what am I going to do about it? Don’t know yet. I’ve decided to keep my options open for other opportunities. That doesn’t mean I’m leaving, it just means that I’m ready to leave if the right opportunity comes along at this point. If it doesn’t, well who knows? Maybe I’ll go into business for myself.
It’s late on a Sunday night… so I’ll post more about this as soon as a get a chance. For now, ciao.