Saturday, August 10, 2013

Outsourcing YOU. A Girl's Tale

Abuzz we wuz when young Katie Glass dropped by. We don't usually get many feminists in here, but some we actually enjoy talking to and even giving a drink to when they deserve one. She had some spare time because she has a servant girl or two at her beck and call.

In my old days as a King I had flunkies galore. No problems at all with the washing of glasses or changing the barrels, and the sweeping was always done before I rose of a morning.

And they did nearly eat me out of Castle and home. Thank goodness for the Cornucopia in the cupboard.

Mind you it isn't that I was an idle old King. I had a Grail to guard and a nasty wound which laid me low.

But today almost anyone can have an inexpensive flunky at hand to do many of the daily er.... let me say 'intellectual' functions. We are all so busy!  It saves a lot of time if you get someone else to do your thinking for you. And we all know that your average feminist doesn't get much time to think for herself.

Fine gal, Katie, with a fine turn of phrase coming from an otherwise fresh, almost unused brain. (pictured above). I am led to understand that she rents space in it to all and sundry to just leave useless feminist agitprop there. Her blog seems to show that. But I will let her speak:

It began with a story floating around the internet about a guy called “Bob”. A high-flying software developer in a big American firm, Bob was raking in several hundred thousand dollars a year. His performance reviews were always excellent. “The best developer in the building,” they said, praising his accurate, timely work. Then one day a random investigation of Bob’s department threw up something weird about him.
For years he’d been outsourcing his work to a Chinese consulting firm, spending his days in the office watching cat videos on YouTube.

“Bob spent less than one-fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him,” explained Andrew Valentine, a senior investigator at an American telecoms firm, Verizon, who uncovered the story. Bob, shrugged Andrew, was just a family guy in his forties. Inoffensive, quiet. “Someone you wouldn’t look twice at in an elevator.”
But I recognised who Bob was right away:  
he was my hero. 
You know, being a freelance journalist isn’t as effortless as it looks. Whole hours can be wrestled away, struggling to think up an original metaphor. There are all these words to find. Sentences. Paragraphs.  
Long articles can take days, tripping back and forth to the kitchen devouring packets of chocolate HobNobs, waiting for your muse to arrive. Then there are the mountains of research that the editorial assistant is always too busy booking a restaurant for AA Gill to help out with. Sometimes, I run out of teabags, and am forced to change out of my pyjamas and schlep to the shops for supplies.
It’s a wretched, daily grind at the coalface. But Bob had shone a light on my misery: if he’d managed to outsource his whole workload abroad — why couldn’t I?
Yes, the modern woman can do anything. She is 'Empowered'. But evidently it is not enough.  She needs some other empowered girls to do whatever it is she does, for her. Not that I am knocking the idea though.

At $6.98 an hour or $195 for a month which gives you 20 hours of a young girl's undivided attention and application to your minutia, well, I could use some in the music room.

(But as with Katie, I doubt I could rely on them to do any heavy lifting or wipe the bar top with a damp cloth)
Within two clicks I found two Indian outsourcing companies: EveryDay, based in Mumbai, and GetFriday, working from Bangalore — both begging to assign me virtual assistants (VAs) to help me live a more docile life.  
Bhakti Sakpal, my VA from Tasks EveryDay, welcomed me with an email, photo attached: she’s all glossy brown hair, liquid eyes, grinning up at me from my screen, waiting to be piled with work.  
NOT Bhakti, but you get the idea.

Oooo. Glossy brown hair, liquid eyes, eh. Deep, brown, pools to dive in.  It is a good job it is Katie mentioning liquid eyes. If a chap had written that, young Katie would be beating him with a copy of Kate Millett or Germaine Greer. But I digress.
The first job is obvious: Hi Bhakti, I email, could you research this article for me? Then I call my friend Joy for lunch. 
The assistant GetFriday gift me is called Divya. She comes on even friendlier than Bhakti and is crazily enthusiastic about doing my work.

NOT Divya either, but do you see me complaining?

“I’m so excited to start working with you and I would be waiting for your first task. Regards, Divya :) ” she emails, telling me she’ll be available 8am-5pm, Monday to Friday, by email, phone, IM Gmail, Skype, “and any other thing where you just ping me and I am all there to work for you! How would you like to be addressed?”  
I think we’re going to get on.  
Divya attaches a copy of her CV. She has a diploma in electronics and communication engineering from Acharya Institutes, Bangalore. Her skills include research, multitasking, PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Her hobbies include badminton, chess, and music. She is only 24.
Well of course her skills include multi-tasking. You see, you can always get surprised by a feminist. This one didn't realize that to a woman 'multi-tasking' is like having fingernails.
I wonder what I should get Divya to do. Unlike Bob, I’m not a high-flying program developer, or a CEO juggling billion-dollar contracts and international staff. In truth, I spend most of the working week at home in my PJ’s, looking at my ex-boyfriend’s profile on Facebook, trying to stick to under one pack of HobNobs a day.
Still, I rushed home immediately to start doing less with my life.
Every girl's dream.
I send Divya a tentative email. “Hi Divya, I’m planning a trip to New York — I wondered if you could help?”  
The following day I wake up to two emails from Divya with spreadsheets attached. There are details of three central Manhattan apartments with prices, addresses, photos, and links to a website where I can book. There are flight details with dates, times, airlines, flight numbers, duration and fares. “Let me know your views on this. Have a great evening!” Divya adds.  
“This is brilliant,” I email back from under my duvet, and look around my bedroom wondering what else I need done.
“I need a cleaner for my flat,” I email Divya, “Also, I really want to go and see Eminem. Oh, and my friend Nick’s birthday is coming up. He is a 36-year-old waiter who likes drinking, horror films and Japan… I need to get him a really cool birthday present. Maybe you could help?” Of course she can! “Have a great day! Regards, Divya :) ” she emails, as I set about watching old episodes of Peep Show.
Read the full article here:

Well what can I say. She might be on to something. It takes a woman to make a servant, but it is something chaps can do as well. Think about it.

Katie may have just shown the tip of a quite useful and productive iceberg.

Once upon a time most middle-class women had servants. Female ones.

And male ones.

In fact a 'lady' could not hold her head up if she could not boast servants for upstairs and for downstairs. 

Well, the poor lady of the house didn't have a washing machine, did she!

The 'Man' of the house, the Husband, worked all day to pay for them all as well as his wife. Of course this was back in the days when women were oppressed.

What oppressive bastards those Patriarchals were.  

But since the Suffragette triumph and the Feminist Liberation, servants have fallen out of fashion.

Times change and worms turn. Now we can all employ liquid-eyed brown girls in the old Raj to do all of the new chores for us. Cheap.

Men, catch up!


  1. Amfortas, you were thinking about me. MISSY-A!!!! Where did you get these pictures from!?!?

  2. Well, as you know AM isn't allowing posts from me but I'm glad you have a site that allows comments. They can't censor me here. :)

  3. Is that really Missy? How about a Skype call. I think of you often, and who would not love to look deep into liquid eyes.


  4. "If a chap had written that, young Katie would be beating him with a copy of Kate Millett or Germaine Greer. But I digress."hahahahahaha I laughed my head off at that!
    Wow! My mum was a forerunner. I have been doing her bidding, writing her letters, making her phone calls and pretending to be her since I was about 14! :) Where do I get me one who will work for me now that I have a bad knee?

    Great article. Very funny. :)

  5. :) The names of two of the companies are there to look up. I did.

    Now, perhaps you might think about Mum's birthday. For a modest sum (don't be over generous) you could provide her with an Executive Assistant for a month. They do have fine looking young men on hand too.

    Tell them Amfortas sent you. (and that he wants a commission ).


  6. Yeah,but I'd still have to be the one to email them the instructions as she does not invest enough time to learn the p.c instead telling me to do it. :)

    D:]on't spend your commission just yet. :)


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