Who Needs American Workers?

Maybe you're one of the two million Americans who've recently had their jobs offshored to India, Pakistan, and elsewhere, or one of the millions more expected to have your jobs shipped abroad in the next few years.

If so, don't worry, Bucko, for a new growth industry has arisen that offers exciting job opportunities for you discarded Americans. You, too, could become an "American accent and culture trainer." It seems that while such corporations as Citibank, Dell, GE, and Microsoft are eager to abandon the U.S. and move their telephone service jobs to low-wage workers abroad, these English-speaking foreign workers are ... well, foreign, so their accents and cultural references can be jarring to U.S. customers placing orders or seeking help.

Thus, offshoring companies are hiring Americans to teach foreign replacement workers to sound and behave like Americans. Yes, this means you could end up teaching the Indian or Pakistani or Russian who was given your job how to sound like you!

Courses in American Culture 101 includes U.S. history memorization, American slang, basic sports knowledge, and pop culture. Quick: What's the Lone Star State? Who are the Florida Marlins? Can you name one talent that Brittany Spears has? What's a burrito? The lesson plans for these courses include having to watch episodes of "Friends" and screening such films as "Bruce Almighty."

As for accents, there are voice exercises for Indians, for example, to help them lower their natural high-pitched and clipped pronunciation of English. And if the exercises are not enough, the corporate call centers use technology to filter the telephone voices of the foreign service reps, making them sound lower than they are.

Of course, it won't be long before the corporations train low-paid foreigners to teach American accents and culture to foreign workers – then there'll be no need for American workers at all.

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