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BPO jokes dominate web, cell space

These BPO jokes are the cool things doing round on the Internet and mobile space these days.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 13:57 IST

As India continues to be outsourcing hub, its BPO industry is also topping the charts of humour forums, joke websites and witty blogs.

Sample these: the US Congress has outsourced the office of the American President to India. An economist at Bangalore University is going to take over as chairman of US Council of Economic Advisers. And in a move to outsource obesity, US plans to shed three million pounds of cellulite annually!.

These BPO jokes are the cool things doing round on the Internet and mobile space these days.

"Jokes are a form of expression. When something is being joked about or parodied, it signifies that it has gone from niche to mainstream. I believe that is what has happened to outsourcing and offshoring," says Atul Vashistha, CEO, neoIT, a Bangalore-based global offshoring advisory company.

"Outsourcing and offshoring are no longer just the domains of corporates. They are touching a much larger population and so you see these jokes on both sides of the world," Vashishta said.

"The Internet is a resource for the circulation of humorous ideas and jokes. Countless websites are devoted to the collection of Internet humour, and every day e-mail crosses the world, containing the text of humorous articles, or jokes about current events. Outsourcing is just one of the categories... Osama, Saddam and even Bush jokes are very popular," says Anju Solanki, who handles humour content on a website.

"There are two categories of jokes on the net - generic and seasonal. While the latter depend on particular event like the cricket series, generic are those doing the round all throughout the year and include jokes on Osama and outsourcing," explains Vivek K, marketing head of a website, which has jokes as one of the category.

"This category is very popular with the people... We receive more than 24,000 hits per month in this one section," he says.

Says Solanki, "They are extremely powerful statements, but made in a funny way... Humour is being used as a forum to let out anger, whether against Bush, Osama or Indian BPO industry."

Says one website on Internet humour: "Imagine a situation where India is begging the US to stop outsourcing! The joke quotes former Prime Minister Vajpayee: "They (Indian BPO workers) are rude, they are suing everyone in sight, they are watching the Fox network via satellite TV... Their health has also declined and they no longer fit into most chairs. Please, please stop doing this to us."

It is not just that the head of governments or big names are targetted, there is no end to jokes on call centre employees and other tech workers, says Robin Joseph, a call centre employee. He cites the case of an office memo: "We will no longer accept a doctor statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.  

"Surgical Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee here, you need all your organs. You should not consider removing anything. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a breach of employment; Bereavement leave is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers."

"Your own death will be accepted as an excuse. However, we require at least two weeks notice as it is your duty to train your own replacement," says the joke.

"These jokes are very common in the call centre also. However, the frequency of such 'jokes' might differ from BPO to BPO... We just have to swallow our pride and listen to the fellow," says Joseph noting, "If the caller gets rude, we may just 'politely' hang up."

"As for the Americans 'Bangalored' and other jokes going around, we simply laugh it off," he says.

"Jokes are healthy way for people to express themselves. People should treat it in jest, it is a joke after all," says Vashishtha.