Each person's story in "Into Thin Air" (April) brought home the pain of today's working world. American businesses should stop focusing on the minute-to-minute value of their stocks and begin to direct their efforts toward the long-term growth and intellectual progress of their workers and their businesses in the United States. Just like the Vietnam memorial, your story highlighted the individual impact of cost-only analysis.
I was struck by how often workers were forced to train their replacements. As a worker, you owe your employer no more loyalty than they have shown you. In the long run, that extra pay isn't worth it. Refuse to train your replacement. You owe it to yourself and to every other IT worker in America to make the cost of replacing you as high as possible. What are they going to do, fire you?
Here's a thought: Let's offshore the jobs of the CEOs who support offshoring. The replacements will have no problem working strange shifts to accommodate U.S. time zones, and their companies will save a bundle on salaries and perks.
Helen R. Hastings
Senior manager, training development
Quit Your Whining
I must have missed the day when my American history teacher said that everyone was guaranteed a job in America. I am sorry that people lost their jobs, but that is progress, and people in the technology field should understand that better than anyone else. Two hundred years ago, we were an agrarian economy; 100 years ago, we were a manufacturing one; now in the information age, we have to adapt, too. How many of the people interviewed thought about starting their own businesses? Or gaining new skills?
Director of sales and operations
e-Practical Solutions Inc.
Fast Company is meant to be a magazine for those with an appetite for change—creative, dynamic, and fearless participants in an integrated, and yes, competitive global economy. It can't at the same time be a protectionist, fearmongering, crybaby magazine the moment competition arises from outside the United States. Your April 2004 cover story reads more like an AFL-CIO newsletter. What gives?
Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth
Hanover, New Hampshire
While timely and emotionally charged, your article on offshoring was severely unbalanced. No one really knows what the long-term impact of outsourcing will be, but your article did not present much of a view from those who support it. Perhaps you'll do a follow-up article focusing on the positive impact in a future issue?
Captain Greg Lowe
U.S. Air Force
Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
Only social activists care about overseas workers. Only unions care about American steelworkers. But now that the latte-sipping, TV-in-my-minivan crowd is being laid off, the offshoring issue threatens the American dream. There is a price to be paid for high-availability, low-cost goods. Software, call centers, and telecommunications are all commodities, just like sneakers, auto parts, and Louis Vuitton purses.
Randall C. Willis
Senior associate editor
Modern Drug Discovery magazine
Market Research Doesn't Always Add Up
Regarding "Every Move You Make" (April): As a market researcher who has used many techniques to delve into consumer behavior, I was pleased to read your article. But I was also concerned about the agency's inability to translate the research into a meaningful campaign that drives sales—in spite of the "fact" that the ads were considered "entertaining"! If market research does not help drive your bottom line, then what is the point in doing it? As I sit here watching entertaining commercials on TV, drinking my Bud Light, I can't help but muse what a shame it is that the marketers at Ogilvy and Miller Lite weren't able to translate their consumer learning into business- building insights.
Connell Associates Market Research
Glen Rock, New Jersey
In "Smart Strategies" (April), the name and title of REI's COO, Sally Jewell, were printed incorrectly. Also, sales for the PlayStation 2 in 2003 were 80 million units, not $80 million.
Though the U.S. income tax largely funded the nation's involvement in World War I, the tax was initiated in response to a reduction in tariffs, not as a means of paying for the war. ("Artifact," April)
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A version of this article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.