Third World, Here We Come

Port-to-Port Consulting spent several years after the dot-com bubble burst trying to figure out why we should stay in business: What, in MBA-speak, is our “Unique Selling Proposition?” We found it. And we believe in it so much that we named it Pertingo®. Thru Pertingo, we bring the full IT department function to our small business clients. It turns out that’s exactly what I had in mind when Bob Beaty and I started the company in 1991. It took the threat of financial ruin to remind me of that.

Now we are in our third full year as central Indiana’s exclusive provider of Pertingo Computer Support Services, and we’ve been successful at building an internal structure that allows us to provide these services at affordable prices. Our new problem is that now we need to grow our staff. As we made the transition to Pertingo, we lost several technically competent people who just weren’t interested in the idea of customer service. They still believed that if it weren’t for the “users” they’d have a great job. To combat that mismatch, we changed our hiring process to help identify the people who weren’t going to enjoy our customer focused approach. We also threw in some aptitude testing and more telephone and face-to-face interviews. The result has been to get introduced to what our Indiana leaders call the Brain Drain. There aren’t enough good people in Indiana to fill the positions we want to fill. Resultingly, we have had to slow our growth.

We hired a new technician at the beginning of February after more than two months of interviewing and testing. He seemed to have everything we needed. He started out on his very first day helping out with things that needed doing. He didn’t come to work on his fourth day. Then he didn’t show up on his seventh day, or his eighth day. I didn’t think we should allow him a ninth day.

What has happened to the American work ethic. I would never have considered missing a day of work during my first week unless I was hospitalized! I would have dragged my sorry butt into the office looking like death warmed over and hoping my boss would have the compassion to send me home to rest. If he didn’t, would have worked as much as possible and then gone home to drug up for the night in hope that I’d be able to contribute better the next day.

And you’d better believe that’s what today’s workers do in India and China.