The Personal Identity of Unemployed American IT Labor Force
Most people endure adversity through the adjustment of their acceptable standards. The new set standards allow individuals to accomplish satisfaction with the available assets. When a person has an occupation that is satisfying, and whose conditions get progressively better, they tend to raise their standards of life to a level that they consider satisfactory.
These standards have a baseline, which is the minimum level of satisfaction acceptable to the individuals. Losing a job marks the beginning of various hardships as an individual struggles to maintain the standard of life and self-perception above the baseline level. With time, the individual sets a lower financial performance bar to achieve satisfaction, and this lowers the baseline satisfaction level. The attainment of the new level makes it difficult for an individual to attain the former status even after re-employment.
This is due to the long-term psychological effects after suffering from unemployment. People who have been compelled to lower their satisfaction levels due to unemployment hardly raise the levels after re-employment. The experience of the continued failure to obtain a job affects one’s sense of identity.
Moreover, this kind of depression is more severe when it is a post replacement. This induces a feeling of inferiority in the former employee to feel inferior. The employee feels that his or her contribution to the organization is unappreciated. This form of mild inferiority complex persists for long even after the current hardship. In this way, the experience of being unemployed considerably affects the bearing of an individual’s life (Johnson 18).
The information technology sector is also getting absorbed into the vortex of mass unemployment. Jobs that require high intellect and skill were considered as a reserve for the Americans, particularly the IT sector whose development begun in the country. However, IT skills have spread to the rest of the world and, with intellectuals mastering them worldwide.
The cost of hiring the local IT services is much higher than utilizing outsourced services from the rest of the world. This has made companies that would have employed the ever-increasing number of IT specialists turn to outsourced labor. This has resulted in raised unemployment levels (International Labor Office, International Labor Office 3).
The ability to contribute to the labor force is considerably valued in American. Furthermore, the fact that an employer considers one a viable investment positively affects one self-esteem and self-perception. When people lose jobs to others, the immediate interpretation is that the other person is better concerning the task in question. This perception progresses into a deep-seated psychological problem if the unemployment persists. Many of the national doctrines emphasize on the importance of contributing to the growth and the strength of the nation. When one fails to achieve the perceived minimum contribution to the nation, a feeling of loss of identity takes over. A person who has lost a sense of identity regards himself or herself a liability to the American society (Hira et al 175).
The current IT labor force may have previously believed that since the United States is the leading pioneer in the IT industry, they are entitled to the first priority in terms of job opportunities in the American IT market. When the American industry opts for foreign labor, a feeling of disownment by their country takes over.
In addition, individual IT experts feel that they do not fit the description of a competent IT professional. Most people cannot identify the recent spate of IT services outsourcing because of the market forces and the need to survive in the market filled with cheap products from economically weaker countries (International Trade Commission 3). The common line of thought among the unemployed IT professionals is that the American industry prefers the services of outsourced labor.
Unemployment caused by the replacement of local labor by expatriate labor impairs the IT professionals’ confidence (Lucas 3). The affected parties feel that they are not fully equipped to qualify as professional authorities in their field of specialization. The unemployed IT labor force feels that it is losing the race to provide expert services to the industries in their own country.
Additionally, IT professionals feel that the economic system has neglected them. Thus, these individuals feel they have not achieved the minimum requirements for consideration as Americans with equal rights as the rest. This affects them psychologically and wakens their confidence in their profession.
The combined feeling of inadequacy and experience of hardship finally culminates in depression and permanent adverse effect on the psychological state of the individuals. The individuals’ re-employment may not serve to ease the feeling of insecurity. The perceived loyalty of the local economic system to the citizen is eroded. Furthermore, the unemployed IT professionals disadvantaged by the availability of foreign labor do not identify with the local it industries (Casselman 4).
The lack of financial status for the individuals characterizes the result of the current spate of unemployment due to IT services outsourcing. Also, the unemployed person feels excluded from the collective effort by the organization due to the lack of any meaningful contribution. Anxiety and general depression are common symptoms that indicate the more permanent mental state that is likely to succeed in the unemployment period.
This perception and chronic mental status affect the individual’s performance in the future. Even with the employment in the future, he or she is unable to reconcile the self-perception and spirit of teamwork required in most workplaces across America. The inability to work as a team is because of the lack of identity, where the employee fails to identify as an important part of the organization. Moreover, the individual feels that the workplace is just a necessary situation for survival rather than a place for joint effort towards achievement.
While the IT fraternity is an important factor in the general economic wellbeing of the country, the existing information services market is favoring outsourced labor. The outsourced labor is not only taking up places regarded as the reserve of the local IT experts, but it is also taking up the existing hired labor posts. The industry considers the American IT services expensive and thus replaces it with cheap foreign labor.
The gravity of the psychological damage to the laid-off American IT experts worsens because their place has been taken over by foreigners. This creates confusion as to who is entitled to better treatment in the homeland. Companies that are substituting American labor with cheap foreign labor to widen the profit margin breach the ethics of trade (Bryant 2). Also, confusion arises over whether the financial success of these companies comes before the American IT experts’ welfare.
On the other hand, American companies argue that it does not make sense to hire expensive and unsustainable labor for loyalty purposes. The foreign workers have the right to employment by these companies if they offer similar services at a better price. Affordable labor is a necessary ingredient in the achievement of high profits and ensuring survival for the companies (Heldrich 25). It is important for the American workers to realize that they have to be competitive to succeed in keeping the foreign labor out of their turf.
The unemployed American IT experts identify as Americans rather than as information technology professionals. This makes the issue of employment and the sharing of jobs in the local companies an issue of nationality. Consequently, they mistake the layoffs as acts of disloyalty by the domestic industry.
This phenomenon is analogous to the perception of a child during early development. The child tends to identify with the observable features on the body. Color and texture, and the curl of the hair on the head are important characteristics to a child’s identity. However, later, for proper psychological functionality, the child must realize that the more important aspect of success is productivity. The value of the commodities offered by an individual is the greatest asset that keeps the particular person relevant in the industry (Tatum 37)
To strike a fair balance, the companies must consider the psychological and the physical trauma caused to the worker. Lying off productive labor simply because of the need to expand an already existing and healthy profit margin is distasteful. In conclusion, the outsourcing of IT specialists’ services is causing identity loss among unemployed information technology specialists.
Bryant, Bill. “Offshore outsourcing affects American workers.” WTN News 1.February (2004): 2. Print.
Casselman , Ben. “Unemployment Scars Likely to Last for Years.” Wall Street Journal 1.January (2012): 1. Print.
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Hira, Ron, and Anil Hira. Outsourcing America: what’s behind our national crisis and how we can reclaim American jobs. New York: American Management Association, 2005. Print.
International Labor Office, International Labor Office. “Changing patterns in the World of Work.” Report of the Director General 1.February (2012): 1. Print.
Johnson, Mary ffran. “Amex Offfshore.” Unspeakable Candor 1.January (2004): 18. Print.
Lieberman, Joseph. “Loosing out in the High technology and services sector.” Offshore outsourcing and america’s edge 1.May (2004): 1. Print.
Lucas, Richard. “Unemployment Alters the Set Point of Life.” Psychological Science 1.April (2012): 1-3. Print.
RECENT TRENDS IN U.S. SERVICES TRADE… 1997 ANNUAL REPORT… INVESTIGATION NO. 332-345… U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMI. S.l.: s.n., 1998. Print.
Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?” and other conversations about race. New York: BasicBooks, 1997. Print.
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