By Ara C. Trembly
I heard somewhere recently that it will cost the average U.S. family in the neighborhood of $700,000 to raise a child from birth to adulthood.
Assuming thats true, I wonder what some parents would say if someone were to offer to do the entire job of child-rearing for significantly less, say $400,000.
Lets suppose a company approaches a parent and pitches its core of child-rearing experts, certified teachers and counselors, short order cooks, impromptu chauffeurs and just about any other specialty needed to rear the average American kid.
“Thats right, Mrs. Smith,” the slick sales rep would intone, “we here at Take-in Village can give little Billy here just the kind of upbringing you yourself would give him. But theres one big difference–we do it for much less than it would cost you! Of course, we invite you to visit our facilities any time to ensure that Billy is receiving all that we promise.
“Youve given birth to this child, now let us do the hard part by raising him,” the salesman importunes. “Believe me, we can do a better job of it than you can.”
“Hmmmmaybe theres something to that,” thinks Mrs. Smith. “Billy has been more than I can handle ever since he turned two. Who knows how much worse it could get? These people sound like theyre prepared for anything.”
Then the rep closes in for the kill.
“Why, with all that extra cash, just think of the great vacations you could take, the cars you could buy, the exotic beauty treatments you could now afford–the book you could write! The time and money savings are tremendous. And you could always keep in touch with little Billy by e-mail, maybe send him a postcard.”
Delirious visions–of Ibiza, a Porsche, daily facials and a brutally handsome, yet achingly sensitive, massage therapist named Sergio–dance in the bedazzled Mrs. Smiths head. And once she dumps her reprobate husband, oh, the stirring autobiography shell turn out while sipping pina coladas at poolside!
On the face of it, this proposal might seem attractive, especially to a mom or dad whose kids are misbehaving. But I daresay most parents would blanche at the thought of allowing some outside company to take over the entire job of raising their children. Mercifully, in our society, its unlikely that a business-like Take-in Village could thrive.
In the world of information technology, however, the story is a bit different. Increasingly, all kinds of corporations, including insurers, are shipping all or parts of their critical IT operations out to third parties, often overseas to India, Pakistan, Ireland and other far-flung locales. Its called outsourcing.
Typically, outsourcers will deliver services at (seemingly) very attractive rates, and they may very well have expertise beyond the in-house capabilities of client companies, especially smaller firms with smaller IT shops. Theyll also sell the fact that using their services will free your IT personnel to concentrate on other, more important tasks.
Or, if youre outsourcing your entire IT operation, it could “free” those personnel to look for new jobs. But more on that later.