OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - Outsourcing: One Step Beyond


By Tony Russell

... Read more at tonyrussell.blogspot.com

"Patty!" I yelled. "Have you seen my cufflinks?"

"For Pete's sake, Ace," she yelled back, "you know I don't keep track of where your stuff is now. Since I outsourced housecleaning to Imelda, she's the only one who knows where anything is."

"Do you suppose Kevin borrowed them?"

"He might have. Why don't you check with him?"

"Okay. Where is he?"

"Well I'm sure I don't know, Ace," she said. You know darned well I outsourced childcare to Fantasia months ago."

"Holy smokes!" I said, glancing at my watch, "I've got to get going. I have to be at the lodge in forty-five minutes. Is supper ready?"

"Why are you bothering me with all these things?" Patty complained. "I outsourced meals to Innocentia in January, and this is her night off. Just grab something at the drive-thru on your way."

"Patty," I said, could you remind me again why we're outsourcing all this work?"

"Ace, we've already discussed this," she said sharply. "I've been studying the administration's management approach, and this is the way they do things. They say it saves money, is more efficient, and downsizes government."

"And in our case?"

"You know as well as I do, Ace, that outsourcing has enabled me to work thirty hours a week at Wal-Mart and have time for my aerobics class as well."

"So how much are we saving?"

"I haven't sat down to add it all up yet."

"Just give me a ballpark figure, so I know it's all worthwhile." "Okay. Let's see. At thirty hours a week and $7.15 an hour, I've been bringing home about, uh, $150 a week, after taxes and such."

"And the outsourcing?"

Patty took a pencil and paper, and talked her way through the computations as she did the numbers. "Imelda comes in three days a week, five hours at a time, for $10 an hour, so that's $150 there. Fantasia just works after school and on Saturdays; twenty hours a week, $10 an hour, so that's only $200. And then Innocentia, by the time she finishes the dishes and cleans up the kitchen, gets four hours a night, five nights a week, at $10 an hour, so that's just $200 there. We must be saving a ton! When you add all those up they only come to… $550."

"Lemme see," I said. "We're spending $550 to free you up to earn $150. Is that about it?"

She double-checked her figures. "Yep. That's what it looks like."

"It's not all about money, Patty," I reminded her. "You're a better cook than Innocentia, and you took better care of Kevin than a part-time sitter."

"Why thank you, Ace," she said. "You never told me you appreciated the things I did before."

"Patty," I said with feeling. "We don't seem to be as close as we once were. It feels as if our life's not our own anymore, as if there are all these layers of people between us. Suppose I leave the lodge meeting early, we have a cup of cocoa, take a shower, and cuddle in bed, the way we used to."

"Oh, that reminds me," she said. "I just outsourced something else that I forgot to mention. I'm sure you'll like her just fine. She says she's had a lot of experience."

© Tony Russell, 2007

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