Share

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

LEFT IS RIGHT: VERBAL Vs. NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION



Hello World,
I have quite a few things to share with you but before I could put things together my brain got ambushed by what I would like to term as “Left-Right Confusion.” This has been gently frying my cerebrum, sautéing my brain stem and blanching my spinal cord and serving the “Nervous System au Freak Sauce” to my thoughts. Before I begin my rant, click here to download the pdf version (rough draft) of this post.
I am documenting this 1 year and 3 month long observation of a very weird social behavior of the people of Chennai, otherwise known as “Chennaite” (by the rest of the world) and “MadrasKaaran” by the people of Chennai.  My observation does include individuals (all total strangers to me) of both the genders and people from about all walks of life. I would however make a mention that this observation of mine does not necessarily conclude that all Chennaites exhibit this weird behavior but in fact this observation would like to be documented as an indicator of potential city-wide damage of the friendly communication habits in the future, assuming this continues and spreads to everyone. I am a Chennaite myself and I love my city and it is that love of my city that has prompted me to document my observation of the phenomenon that I think is seriously detrimental to the long-term well being of my beloved city. My mental GPS always hits a technical snag or an experimental error while navigating through routes that involves more than 2 left turns or right turns. So I always stop during my travel and ask someone on the road about the route to my destination and make sure I am on the right heading. It is this habit of mine that gave me the fantastic opportunity to meet and talk to different individuals in Chennai among whom I noticed this weird element of communication that I would like to analyze today. Thanks to all those who were generous enough to help me with the directions during these instances.
It is an internationally known and followed yet unwritten code for telling directions that calls for using hand signals and gestures to explain the route to someone who asks for one. The idea is usually to help the traveler/commuter to understand and remember the route to his/her destination. For those who have trouble understanding this please look at the pictures given below and thrust your face into the palm of your hand for not understanding it before. ;)



I don’t own the images shown above and here are the reference links for these:
http://www.iheartjapan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/directions.jpg
http://media.makeadare.com/img/57fac2944/image_4e4e9bba81.jpg

Observation
When I stop and ask someone on the road about the way to get to a specific spot in the city, the person almost always used his/her right hand to point to the right and said “…take the left….” (When the actual direction was indeed the right turn, as the hand signal had conveyed). Non-Verbal Rocks!!! ;)

Boundary Conditions and Isometricity
Why on earth would anyone with everything working right use the right hand to point to the right and ask me to take that left?
If the intended subject of the communication is actually “The Right,” why is “Left” being used verbally?
From a communication standpoint, the non-verbal communication is substantiated with the verbal declaration of what is being conveyed non-verbally, except the fact that the non-verbal and verbal communication elements completely contradict each other, rendering the purpose of the communication deviate away from the otherwise presumed purpose of helping the receiver receive and process the information effectively.
Our scope right here would be limited to the “Why?” element alone and discuss the possible reasons that we may identify.

Possible Reasons
1.       The person may be suffering from a neuro-developmental disorder namely Gerstmann’s Syndrome which has left-right disorientation as an indicative symptom. There may be other neuro-developmental disorders which may cause left-right disorientation and therefore let’s just stick with “Neuro-Developmental Disorder” and maintain things in the simpler sense.
2.       The person is already occupied mentally with something else that he/she could not possibly make out the connection between what he/she is intending to say and what he/she is actually saying (let alone the hand gesture).
3.       The person is contradicting his/her non-verbal communication with his/her verbal explanation on purpose, where the intention is to confuse or challenge the listener and let the listener struggle to interpret the actual message being conveyed.
4.       All the other million possible reasons put together and royally ignored due to their state of insignificance with respect to this post. ;)

Interpretation
I am no psychologist and this post is not diagnostic in nature and therefore I just have to waive the possibility of the neuro-developmental disorder. Even if I were to possess such intellect, the seconds-long conversation about simple directions may not have served as a suitable and comprehensive diagnostic tool. I guess the concerned individuals can recall how frequently they confuse right with left and I sincerely hope it does not put them in an alarm situation.
As for the “occupied-with-something-else” reason, why would someone with real working senses choose to involve in a communication while they are mentally occupied with something else (I mean to an extent where one cannot realize that they are saying something that is contradicting what they enacting simultaneously)? Assuming the person is occupied with something else and then proceeds to speak to someone, it would only mean that their brain would have cordoned off a minute section of itself for the conversation. But we must consider the fact that we are, in the end, only human and it is normal to confuse the left with right. The question however is that, what are the chances that almost everyone that I asked for directions might have been mentally occupied with something else, over a period of 1 year and 3 months?  It has to be mentioned that there were a few instances where the generous minds correctly mentioned the route to my destination without confusing left with right but these are clearly outliers that have to be gently ignored. Irrespective of one’s state of being “mentally occupied with something else,” is it not normal brain function to analyze what has to be conveyed prior to actually conveying it in any form of communication? We cannot demand the analysis of the “correctness” of the message since that would mandate a philosophical bent entirely based on idealism. We can however demand the analysis of the “consistency” of the message conveyed in verbal and non-verbal formats. In other words, one can verify their words and actions to make them consistent with each other. When the right hand is used to point to the right, the logical verbal form of the message would include a “right” and definitely not a “left.” I am sure even a dead duck would nod in agreement to this idea.
The brain chooses to listen to a question, process an answer and deliver it non-verbally and verbally, except the verbal part would completely walk up and down the ass of the non-verbal part which by some mysterious ways is attributed to the fact that the brain was occupied with something else. How the friggety frat is this even plausible? More than that how come this happens almost every time I ask someone for directions? Honestly, this analysis just needs more information which, as for the moment, is unavailable to me because I have no freakin idea about it.
As for the reason of “purposefully distorting information” during any communication, I have to say it is a rather interesting one to look at, for this really tells a tale about “short-span communications” between complete strangers in the Big City Ecosystem. I go on long rides on my motorcycle and most of the spots I ride through are comparatively rural. I ask for directions the same way I do in my city and I never had anyone confuse left with right or just threw random directions at me and let me figure it out. In fact the rural folk had the generosity to explain the route to me very clearly and most of them asked me if I had got it right. I thank them for their generosity to spare their time for me and even more, their cultural dominance over the city-dwellers in the effective communications context. The city-folk too are generous but not as proficient as the country folk when it comes to effective communication.
Now why would someone deliberately distort information during a communication and let the listener struggle to interpret the right thing? Why would someone say “left” when they are actually meaning “right” just because they want to be discreet to the listener and impose a sense of “nothing-is-free” when the nature of the conversation is not argumentative? In fact it is a simple case of explaining the directions to some lost traveler who has asked for directions. The very intent of such distortion is an indication of an element of misanthropy in a person’s socio-psychological construct. In other words, if the person deliberately succumbs to a self-imposed question of “Why should I be very clear with my communication?” and eventually distorts the messages conveyed, then it indicates a possibility of dust and rust in the top deck. If this is not the case, then what kind of Marijuana dipped in salsa causes someone to point to the right with their right hand and deliberately say “Left”?????? I am sure such a person would be no stranger to blue elephants in baggy pants playing banjos.

Concluding this rant, I would like to mention that I sincerely hope the right-left confusion does not spread like an epidemic. Whatever may be the reason, communicating effectively is a symbol of civilization and a platform for portraying one’s culture in terms of social behavior. While we are human and are bound to be occasional victims of mal-functioning perceptual and motor skills, it is a positive thing to keep attempting to communicate effectively and at times, help lost travelers find their way to the destinations of their choice.
It is interesting to note that there has been considerable academic research in the Left-Right Orientation topic. Find below the link to an online experiment created by Dr. Eric H. Chudler, who is the Executive Director of Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering and a Research Associate Professor in the Dept. of Bio-Engineering at University of Washington:
Anyone can put themselves through this test to find out to what extent they confuse the directions in their mind. I put myself through it and the results show that I fall under the 11% of the total responders so far who show a difference of 4-6 seconds between the two tests. Not too shabby… ;)
For those of you who might love to indulge themselves in something additional related to this topic, here are the links:

Next time you tell directions to someone, please make sure you say what you think or intend to say and make sure the other person has understood it. If we decide to take the pain of helping someone, let’s just do it in a complete sense and let fundamental physics live in peace. It is always wonderful to let Verbal and Non-Verbal communications stay on the same team.

On a very different note [a shameless plug], if you are interested in unique tamil short films, feel free to visit https://www.summamovies.com/I couldn't tolerate the mass masala entertainers anymore and decided I will do my best to produce content with substance. I have a long a way to go as a producer and a start-up founder, but I am glad our journey has begun. I look forward to your support. Each film on our site costs INR 15. Thanks!!!


Regards,



Friday, March 15, 2013

IN THE WAKE OF LANKAN GENOCIDE



Hello World,

I have embedded YouTube videos that have content that might be disturbing to some due to the nature of its (violent) content. So watch the videos at your own discretion. You can click here to download the pdf version of this post which will not have the disturbing videos.

I would like to bring to your attention something that has in the recent times, caught the attention of media and public in this region of the world, the claims of war crimes in Sri Lanka during the military ambush executed by the Sri Lankan government to put an end to the Tamil rebel uprising. The Sri Lankan government succeeded in killing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the military ambush. However, several events during the ambush that got documented on photographs and videos seem to project the idea that the Sri Lankan military had violated international human rights laws. As per the videos and photographs that have been publicized by the international mass media, the Sri Lankan soldiers have methodically executed their prisoners of war and also abused and killed civilians in the process. Now for those who are not clear about the photographic/video documentation, please find below the documentary as telecast by Channel-4, a british public service television broadcaster:

 

 


These given below are some more links of similar video footages that have been released to substantiate the war crimes claim:




Before we begin, I would like to make it very clear that the issue has language-based-ethnicity as the root cause. I do not approve of the acts of human rights violation committed. However, the accused here is the Sri Lankan government, including the military agencies, operatives and heads of the Sri Lankan government. Just because there is a language-based-ethnicity in the system, it is absolutely foolish to consider all native Sinhalese speakers and Buddhists from Sri Lanka to be the potential perpetrators of the criminal acts. Those who are responsible for the inhuman acts are criminal suspects, irrespective of their native language or religion. The main reason I am trying to make this clear is because, I speak Tamil. Tamil is my native language. But I am Indian as I was born in India. Apparently, folks around my place here are agitated over the war crimes that were committed in Sri Lanka and are expressing their anger against the Sinhalese-Buddhist government of Sri Lanka. There is however, certain section of the population that has the clarity regarding their inferences and implications on the matter. The causes for the inhuman acts are ethnic identities and the need for establishment of ethnic superiority in the Sri Lankan society. That doesn’t mean all Sinhalese-Buddhists approve of what the Sri Lankan government has done. I have very good friends who are Sinhalese speaking Sri Lankans. I have enjoyed their company in my classroom, workspace and even on the cricket field. We never had any differences with respect to ethnicity. A very good Sinhalese friend of mine has even worked for a Tamil organization in Sri Lanka in the past. Just because certain sections of the local mass media here in India have been repeatedly referring to ethnic identities, the issue under scrutiny has been grossly misunderstood and the craving need for ethnic classification of the accused has taken over the objectivity. So, we will be attempting to analyze and interpret the incidents that took place in Sri Lanka with the perspective of human rights violations and the responsible perpetrators. Their native language and religion is of no use to us since we do not have the objective of spreading contempt and envious thoughts against the ethnicity of the perpetrators. A criminal is a criminal, irrespective of what language he/she speaks and what faith he/she follows.

The Tamil LTTE Cadres and civilians massacred in Sri Lanka are Sri Lankans by birth. The LTTE was formed to protect the Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans and they took to arms demanding a separate state of their own. This war has been going on for decades and after a series of cease-fire agreements and failed bi-lateral talks, the Sri Lankan government decided to put an end to the rebel uprising. Now from a democratic stand-point, any government cannot be blamed for attempting to curb internal military conflict due to a rebel uprising. The LTTE took to arms and they were met with arms by the Sri Lankan government. What sparks the debate is the fact that the Sri Lankan government has allowed its forces to go above and beyond the international laws to methodically execute prisoners of war and civilians. Adding fuel to fire is the sexual abuse and physical torture that the victims were subjected to. 

The videos and photographs show the dead bodies of victims naked and mutilated. The male victims were stripped naked, hands tied behind their backs and eyes tied before they were shot from point blank distance. The female victims were stripped naked, raped and hacked/shot to death. I remember that at one point in the Channel-4’s documentary, the Sri Lankan soldiers comment about one of the female victims still moaning while they were loading their bodies on to a truck. This is quite a repetition of the holocaust that devastated Germany in the past, except there were no sophisticated Gas Chambers and organized Ghettos. Additional claims against the Sri Lankan government point out that the international UN-backed organizations and journalists were not allowed to operate in the war-hit regions of Sri Lanka and meet the rehabilitation and emergency medical needs of the wounded and displaced. 

As per the report submitted by the Panel of Experts to the UN Secretary General on the Accountability in Sri Lanka, the panel approves of having identified “Credible Allegations” and has classified them into categories as given below in the excerpts from the report’s executive summary:

About the Sri Lankan Government:
“Thus in conclusion, the Panel found credible allegations that comprise five core categories of potential serious violations committed by government of Sri Lanka: (i) killing of civilians through widespread shelling; (ii) shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects; (iii) denial of humanitarian assistance; (iv) human rights violations suffered by victims and survivors, including both the IDP’s and suspected LTTE Cadre; and (v) human rights violations outside the conflict zone, including against the media and the critics of the government.”

About the LTTE:
“The Panel’s determination of credible allegations against the LTTE associated with the final stages of the war reveal six core categories of potential serious violations: (i) using civilians as human buffer; (ii) killing civilians attempting to flee LTTE control; (iii) using military equipment in the proximity of civilians; (iv) forced recruitment of children; (v) forced labour; and (vi) killing of civilians through suicide attacks.”


Now the question to be asked is that, in spite of the Panel identifying credible allegations with regards to serious violations why hasn’t the International Criminal Court initiated any legal action to ascertain the truth? In case of Germany, the government that did the war crimes fell and it was convenient for the next interim government to initiate legal action against the perpetrators. In Sri Lanka, unfortunately, the perpetrators are still under the shade of power. Therefore all the communications as documented in the report and the specifics of the recent resolution all beat around the bush of the Sri Lankan authorities to implement recommendations and ensure things are done right. Frankly, this is the biggest political joke of this decade. Asking an administration tainted with accusations of genocide and war crimes to make sure their planned rehabilitation efforts are executed in the appropriate manner is like asking the murderer to choose to apologize to the family of the victims whom he/she killed. 

The reality of the situation may be hard to digest but the simple fact is that innocents have died and those that are responsible for the death and displacement of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka are still walking free and most probably will continue to do so. The only way Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan government under his leadership can be tried for war crime is when the Sri Lankan government falls. In all the cases of tyrant leaders that were tried and convicted for war crimes in the past, with or without international intervention, the trials took place in the courts of the country that served as the origin for the war crime and/or the perpetrators of the war crimes. Given this predicament, even if by a remote chance, the current Sri Lankan government is tried at a court for war crimes, there are high chances that Rajapaksa and team would walk out free in the end. The moment an administration smells legal action against its leaders, they will either vanish to other countries or retire from the post. So during the trial they can easily declare that they are not in power anymore and they were not entirely responsible for what had happened. A few unlucky individuals may get convicted and they too would get an offer of political asylum from another country and accept respectful banishment from homeland as a consequence of their actions. 

The conclusion of the Internal Review Panel Report on Sri Lanka admits that the UN failed to adequately respond to the events that occurred in Sri Lanka. This is the indication that international organizations make compromises with their policies and procedures as long as they know they won’t be in trouble. The United Nations has all the resources and political authority to intervene and operate on issues related to genocide and war crimes but it failed to protect the innocent civilians of Sri Lanka and did not make any move to exert its policies with force. Only when the news got out in the media, they released the report admitting their failures. No point in playing the blame game now that the innocents are already dead but it has to be noted that even the policies and procedures of United Nations and its subsidiaries are not entirely self-sufficient and fail-safe. When things go wrong, there is United Nations but when the UN goes wrong, nobody knows about it until it writes a report on itself and releases it publicly. I would however appreciate the honesty of United Nations to acknowledge and admit its failure in Sri Lanka. Please click here to download the pdf version of the report. 

There is however a big lesson for all of us to learn from what has happened in Sri Lanka. As mankind progresses into a new dimension of civilization, the concept of ethnic identities has grown exponentially in the hearts of humans that goes way beyond the realms of spirit of nationalism. Man has started to learn the importance of his own ethnic identity in an effort to remember where he comes from and what makes him unique. Man has started taking his native language, religion and culture more seriously than before. But the alarming fact is that this has taken the grip of reality to fade away in many a mind and has distorted the way the inferences are made. Now in order to protect one’s own ethnic identity, man has learned to hate other ethnicity and similar identities. This type of “hating others to protect self” type of ideologies have been spreading fast in the past few decades and at times have resulted in large scale violence. The uprising or Tamil rebels, which is a case of separatist terrorism and the subsequent methodical execution of prisoners of war and Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka by its own government is just one example. How far can man go for the sake of his faith, language and ethnic identities? Since when did man create this element of civilization that calls for denouncement and damage of other cultures as an act of retaliation to protect one’s own culture? If hating another culture is justifiable in any sense, then what should we call the culture that teaches someone to hate other cultures? After all, personal choices are but a result of cultural impact on one’s thoughts, sparing the insane and ill-informed.

The Tamils of Sri Lanka have their origins in India. Even though there are claims that they are natives of Sri Lanka, history has it that a major portion of their ancestors were transported from India (from the state of Tamilnadu) to work in the farms and plantations in Sri Lanka. Over the years they settled in Sri Lanka. The cultural rift between the Sinhalese speaking Sri Lankans and Tamil speaking Sri Lankans, in my view, must have begun because of a non-existent or badly structured immigration policy in Sri Lanka. If the government had devised the immigration policies appropriately and officially accepted the naturalization of Tamils, then the opportunity for discriminating the Tamils would have been eliminated long back. We however cannot waive the possibilities of other social reasons that may have initiated the discrimination of Tamils, which resulted in the LTTE uprising and the sub-sequent war for separate state that consumed lives for decades before culminating in the methodical execution of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government. What we need now is speedy rehabilitation efforts to stabilize the displaced-and-luckily-alive Tamil civilians and legal reforms in Sri Lanka that may ensure equal rights to all citizens. An addition to it would be a revamp of UN procedures to deal with anomalies faced while implementing its policies around the world. At least the “We tried, failed and so they died” explanation may not be used again in response to a mass murder situation. What more can we expect in the wake of the Lankan Genocide?

On a very different note [a shameless plug], if you are interested in unique tamil short films, feel free to visit https://www.summamovies.com/I couldn't tolerate the mass masala entertainers anymore and decided I will do my best to produce content with substance. I have a long a way to go as a producer and a start-up founder, but I am glad our journey has begun. I look forward to your support. Each film on our site costs INR 15. Thanks!!!


Regards,



Friday, March 1, 2013

FLEXI-STAFFING IN THE UNITED STATES: FAKE RESUMES FOR SURVIVAL



Hello World,
Before I begin, this is by far the longest post I have written. In case you are not a big fan of scrolling to much in the browser please  click here to download the pdf version of this post. ;)

Here’s what I have been attempting to comprehend for over a year….I did take time off to share other opinions of mine…while I pondered over this topic in the back of my mind…I haven’t figured it out completely but I guess it is time to put it out there and hope, in the process, I would figure out the rest. However, what I am absolutely sure about is the fact that the topic we will discuss below is something that deals with an illegitimate employment system that adversely affects the wages and working conditions of US workers in the US who come from different walks of life. 

This piece of writing specifically concentrates on my observations, inferences, decisions and choices that I made during the short period of time I spent job-searching in the United States. It is my brief stint with the flexi-staffing fraternity in the United States that I am trying to describe, explore and possibly bring out the harsh realities that I think would keep you informed…….I am going to be as objective as possible and that would mean that we will be looking at the flexi-staffing funny games from a Structure-Mechanics-WorkFlow standpoint…we would however make an attempt to interpret the subliminal layers of the vicious system that I think is consuming mankind at a rapid rate globally. I had been through a system that calls for, advocates, supplies and implements fake resumes, with falsified information regarding one’s educational and professional qualifications and experience for the sake of obtaining employment. The cruelty of the system lies in the fact that the candidates are forced to compromise their integrity for the financial benefit and the short-cut to the paper-work that would help them stay in the United States.………………………..and we might as well begin….

Let’s Get There First
Now that we have begun, we must identify our position and point of view in the system so as to stay informed on what we would look at specifically. This topic we have in front of us is very vast and I do not know or understand it completely to give you the wholesome picture. Getting to the specifics, we would keep our observations to the IT-Industry in the United States that is catering to multiple industries in so many ways. All the large corporations do not carry out all their operations as an in-house effort and instead outsource them to various contractors who would do the work for them. From the IT stand-point, the companies would hire software service providers who would run the IT operations for them. These companies (Contractors) in turn would outsource part(s) of their work to smaller software firms (Sub-Contractors). These contracting and sub-contracting companies would have a skeleton work-force (permanent employees) and a floating work-force (temporary employees/consultants) who together would coordinate efforts to carry out the work outsourced by the Big Guy. We would be exploring into how these contractors and sub-contractors end up getting their “Floating Work Force,” more precisely, the modus operandi of “Consultancies” in the flexi-staffing services. Are you ready? Let’s Rock n Roll!!!

Game’s Got Structure 

 Figure 1
We begin with some Flexi-Staffing jargon, if I may call it so. The Big Corporation that outsources its IT/Operations would be the End-Client, the Contracting/Sub-Contracting companies would be the Mid-Clients, and the HR/Recruitment Partners of the Mid Clients would be the Consultancies who have the “Consultants” on payroll. Throw in a “Vendor”…Wonder what they are? They are recruitment agencies that receive the position requirements and forward them to their partner-consultancies…..kind of Consultancy of Consultancies…..confused? Well, I am… ;)    
Now going from the bottom up, referring to Figure 1 as given above, the consultants would be the “Please-get-Me-A-Job” desperate job-seekers who are ready to go as flexi-staff since their attempts to find full-time employment hasn’t been successful yet. I was one among them when I got into the system. The Marketers would be the recruitment professionals responsible for gathering position requirements from Mid-Clients, Vendors and Job Portals and forward them to the eager Consultants. The Consultancies would call themselves as a “…..fast growing provider of IT, ERP and Project Management solutions to leading clients in the commercial and government sectors…”  but all they would do is provide flexi-staff to IT clients in ways that are not very obviously known to everyone around.  I guess we have gone over the system structure from either direction. It is time we get to the Physics of the system….

The Game Begins
 The candidates who are desperate for a H1B Visa submit their resumes to the Consultancies and their recruiters respond with a call/email. The so-called interview goes on for about 15 minutes and the only thing that gets assessed is confidence in speech and openness to work in different domains. Little do the candidates know about the nightmares they are about to face. Finally an offer letter is sent to them through email.
I present to you some samples (click to download):
-         Payrate Document
-         Offer Letter
   F1 to H1B
The Payrate Document pretty much says how this game is played. The mid-client would charge the end-client a certain amount per hour for the consultant hired. Since he creates the opportunity for this consultant position, he would take a certain percentage of the hourly rate and would give the rest to the consultancy or the vendor. Now if it was the vendor that gave the requirement to the consultancy, he would take his share of the loot and give the rest to the consultancy. The consultancy would have an agreement with the consultant as described in the Payrate document and would pay the consultant accordingly. Now since many players are involved in this game, the financial component gets bigger. To accommodate the financial component, the mid-client would claim that he would require a 8 years experienced candidate for a temporary position and would require $120 per hour as the salary for the 8 years experienced candidate. The end-client has very little or no say in this because he just wants the work done and is willing to pay for it as per the agreement. Now the end-client however would sometimes demand to interview and assess the consultant prior to finalizing the temporary employment. So the mid client would take $40 from the $120 and give the remainder $80 to the vendor. The vendor would have an agreement with his partner consultancies as to how much per hour will be his share. It is usually around $30. So he would take his share and give the remaining $50 to the consultancy. Let’s say the consultant is a new guy and is within first 6 months of his employment with the consultancy. In that case as per the Payrate document given above, the consultant would get $25 per hour for the work he/she would execute at the mid-client’s or the end-client’s site during the course of the project. I have used $120 as an example figure and the pay rate may vary from position to position. The Figure.2 given below would explain this schematically:
 Figure 2
Now the twist in the screenplay is that this consultant will not be an actual 8 years experienced candidate. He/she would be a fresher just out of college with a master’s degree. Since the mid-client needs an 8-years experienced candidate, the requirement would be drafted accordingly and the forwarded down the line as shown in Figure.1. The consultancy would supply the consultant with fake resumes that would match the job/position requirement and ask him/her to update it with necessary contact information. We will get there as we progress. We still have to familiarize with the recruitment and induction of flexi-staff employees into the consultancies.
The candidates are asked to relocate to where the Consultancy is. Those who live nearby commute as usual but Out-of-Towners are offered accommodation by the Consultancy. It usually is a set of apartments shared by the Out-of-Towners. Now the picture gets slightly dark. A typical double bedroom apartment would have around 7 to 10 guys sharing the space. Some consultancies offer mattresses too. So each room would have 2 or 3 inmates. There is a hierarchy in such apartments. The Living-Room dwellers are newbies and they are yet to be inducted into the brotherhood. The Inmates of the Master Bedroom are the Big-Daddies of the Brotherhood, who are the supposed to lead the brotherhood and therefore get to lay the ground rules for the pack to follow. The Inmates of the Guest Bedroom are the Dukes who are eagerly waiting to become the future Big Daddies.
The first day of reporting is always the “First-Day-to-New School” experience…..New faces, new atmosphere and new territories. The candidates are briefed on how the flexi-staffing happens and a contract is given to all of them to sign. Trust me that contract is nothing more than a big joke. It definitely had a lot of legal jargon that went above my head at MACH 2 but when I was given one, I took a day to read through it, signed it and gave it to the manager. I was not given a copy of the signed contract. The contract signing formality is a scare tactic employed by the consultancy to send the message across to the candidate that in case someone wants out; he/she will be in deep trouble because of this contract. So the first thing that consultancies usually do is to instill a sense of insecurity in the minds of the new recruits that would motivate the employees to be willing to make any compromise, whatsoever, for the sake of survival and in the process become totally dependent on the consultancy. After all, it is the dire need for a piece of paper called H1B Visa that makes these individuals make all the compromises. I had been there and I decided to make those compromises for the same reasons. I just could not handle that truth within me and I never went on any project as a consultant.

Training to Lie
The consultancy I was with specialized in the Business Analyst/Quality Analyst/Systems Analyst positions in the IT industry. So the training I went through was specific to these positions. 

The training begins with the initial brainwashing of the new recruits that aims at cementing the opinion of faking the experience for financial benefit is nothing wrong and in fact it is the fastest way to grow professionally. Statements like “…why begin from level zero when you can begin from level 5 or 6?” and “…You follow my instructions…I will make sure you get your H1B and Green Card on time…Don’t worry….I am there….” are continuously repeated in front of the newly recruited consultants. The trainer and manager always try to get the answer “Yes” out of the consultants, rewarding them with the promise of better future in the United States. Most consultants fail to realize that such talks are the practical application of good old Socratic Method of Persuasion…..kind of Modern Day Dogma with the spiritual part being replaced by professional/survival needs.
The technical/core knowledge of the Business Analyst/Quality Analyst positions are condensed and rammed into the brains of the consultants within a time span of about 4 weeks. The primary objective is to enable the consultant defend his/her resume during the telephonic and face-to-face interviews. A handful of software related to software testing such as Load-Runner, QTP are introduced to the consultants so that they are familiarized with the software functionalities and interfaces that would help them survive the tough situations at the workplace and most importantly help them answer the questions correctly during the interviews. The consultancy’s primary aim would be to enable the consultant clear the interviews and secure a placement in any project. What the consultant wishes to do is absolutely immaterial because the consultant is a liability to the consultancy until placed in a project.  Once the consultant secures a placement, he/she becomes a source of revenue and therefore a completely different format of respect and camaraderie is offered to them from then on. It has to be noted that the batch of consultants getting trained on software development, testing and maintenance would be from a diverse set of educational backgrounds ranging from electrical engineering to marketing management. They make the compromise because they have been convinced by the consultancy to be “Open to options” so that they will do their best to get the consultants well settled in the United States. One can only imagine how a brain trained for years in one field gets all the new technology information and stacks it for a make-believe act of pretense that would help portray the consultant as a professional with years of experience in the IT industry.
During the training period, the newly recruited consultants are offered a set of fake resumes related to Business Analyst/Quality Analyst/Systems Analyst and are asked to go through them to get a “feel” of how their resumes are going to be while they are being marketed to mid-clients and end-clients as experienced professionals. The consultants are given a sample position and experience domain and are asked to prepare a sample fake resume that would meet the requirement. A mock interview/resume analysis is done as a class so that the entire batch gets to know what to do and what not to do while fabricating resumes for requirements. This training goes to the nuts and bolts of resume writing where the specifics are discussed elaborately such as the date/time lines of each project that is included in the resume. Depending on the level of intimacy and moral surrender of the consultant to the management, a specific set of resumes are forwarded to each consultant individually. The game layer in any consultancy is always a zero sum game where the consultants are made to believe that one’s gain will be loss to the others and every day they stay with the consultancy without securing a placement in a project, they are losing money. So the rat race begins right there. Consultants go to great lengths, trying to get a good impression in the minds of the consultancy’s senior personnel so that they get a “Good Set of Fake Resumes” that others don’t get. The want for a set of descriptions of interesting projects that may lure the vendor/mid-client to call for an interview grows exponentially at this stage of the training. There is a paradigm shift we need to note here. From accepting to defend fake resumes in the beginning, the consultants go to the far extreme of scrambling for good-looking fake resumes. The confidentiality that goes along with “Resume Preparation” would easily pass the confidentiality that the United States Government would implement for the sake of its National Security measures. The consultancy briefs each consultant separately and informs all of them individually that they are special than the rest of the lot and that they just need to follow management’s instructions and everything will fall in place. Again this Good Cop-Bad Cop routine is to ensure that the consultants have generated a state of fear believing the zero-sum-game that when others get into a project, they would be just there…losing everything. Therefore each consultant in his/her own way would make genuine efforts to get the confidence of the senior personnel of the consultancy and prepare hard to make…well FAKE RESUMES. The following are samples of fake resumes (that I came across during my time with the flexi-staffing system) for the positions of Business Analyst/Quality Analyst/Systems Analyst in various domains:
(Click the respective link given below to download)
Business Analyst with Experience of 5 years (Telecom/Finance/Healthcare)
Business Analyst with Experience of 5 years (Airlines/Telecom/Hospitality)
Business Analyst with Experience of 5 years (Insurance: Property/Casualty)
Business Analyst with Experience of 5 years (Healthcare: Medicaid/Medicare/Airlines)
Business Analyst with Experience of 5 years (Healthcare: Medicaid/Medicare/Commercial)
Quality Analyst with Experience of 5 years (VB Scripting/Mobile Handset testing/Telecom)
Quality Analyst with Experience of 5 years (Performance Testing/Finance/Banking)
Systems Analyst with Experience of 6 years (Healthcare/Claims Management/Technical Instruction)

The resumes shown above are just samples. You can imagine a position and there will be at least 10 suitable resumes for that imaginary position. These resumes have different grades of quality too!!! The ones given above are supposed to be “Vanilla Resumes” which means that these are the most exploited and most common, which in turn means that these would not attract as many calls as the other “Killer Resumes” that are available to a select clan of consultants namely the Brotherhood of Ass-Kissers. Those “Killer Resumes” apparently get so much attention of the recruiters that consultants who got and worked with those “Killer Resumes” got fantastic projects and amazing work opportunities. Vanilla or Killer, it really doesn’t matter because all of those resumes are absolutely unoriginal with falsified information of all kinds. Except for the consultant’s contact information, everything on these resumes is false and quite frankly way above my head. These resumes have a lot of IT-related technical information that I have never heard or read about anywhere. The consultants therefore get trained on how to create killer resumes that can attract calls from recruiters. Very few of the consultants end up working their domain or any domain that they have even heard of. 

Post Training Posing
After the training, the consultants are put in “Marketing” which means that from then on they would be receiving various requirements from the Consultancy’s marketers. It is common for consultancies to have a dedicated marketing team that would do the leg work of searching through job portals and network with vendors/clients to get the requirements that can be filled up by the consultants in “marketing.” Some consultancies even have dedicated marketing teams operating from overseas. That marketing team would work night shifts to cater to the consultants in the United States. 

This is how it happens. The individuals running the consultancy would compile all the email id’s of the newly brain-washed consultants and forward them to the marketing team. The marketers would start sending bulk emails to all the consultants with requirements as they start getting them. They would then call the consultants one by one and ask them to send a suitable resume. Anything to be added or edited is discussed over phone. Also the “Tao of fooling US Clients” with respect to what to say during interviews is imparted for free over those conversations. Sometimes a known vendor would ask for a very specific resume with mentions of specific terms. The marketer would immediately call the consultant and ask him/her to send such a resume. Once the consultant sends the resume, the marketer forwards it to the vendor and receives acknowledgement. The marketer then calls the consultant and discloses the key information regarding the areas of assessment during the telephone interview for the specific position. 

There is ample room for fun in this phase. Sometimes what happens is that the vendors and marketers, over time successfully place a whole bunch of consultants by pushing their fake resumes and eventually grow to be great friends or professional colleagues. The vendor would know that for a certain set of requirements, this marketer friend of his/her would definitely provide quality resumes and confident consultants who can beat Broadway Veterans in acting and dialogue delivery. The same way the marketers would know what areas the respective vendors specialize in. So it is a colluded cult of resume push fanatics. In the happy moments, sometimes the marketers prepare a resume on their own using a consultant’s contact information and submit it for consideration to a vendor. The consultant is then informed over phone that such a resume has been forwarded. This happened with me and it was a hilarious experience. I had no idea about what the position was and what resume was sent. Now in times like these the consultant would have like a few hours to prepare for telephone interview on something someone thought would be a perfect match for the consultant’s professional growth. ;)

The Call Handling Conspiracies
Now once the resumes get submitted, the mobiles start ringing. Consultants would sit the whole day at the consultancy, staring at the monitor and mobile phones, hoping to receive calls for the submissions made. Resumes for various positions and domains would get submitted. How would the consultant know which resume to speak about whenever someone calls? This is where organized planning is taught to the consultants. The consultants make Excel Resume Trackers that would be updated as soon as a resume is submitted. The fields of importance for a resume tracker are Position, Location, Client’s Name, Marketer, Years of experience (as per requirement/resume) and finally a link to the particular resume that was submitted against that requirement. When the consultant gets a call, he/she needs to get the position’s details from the caller before getting into the conversation, click open the corresponding resume and then proceed with the conversation. This is required because after about 10 days in marketing, the consultant would not remember what resume was submitted against what requirement. Now, once the resume is open in front of the consultant, it becomes easy for him/her to refer to it and deliver consistent replies with respect to work experience as mentioned in the resume. One has to be physically present to enjoy the humor of a consultant opening a wrong version of a resume midway through the interview and delivering contradictory answers sending signals of suspicions to the recruiter who’s calling. I have had many opportunities to witness similar incidents where the caller would ask something and the consultant would have never heard of it before. The rest of us would google it, write it on paper and flash it to the consultant and he/she would then pick up from there. We were experiencing our own Consultancy version of Les Miserables and still managed to laugh it out hard and loud. 

Sometimes the vendors would know very well about this system and would begin the telephone interview with “Can you google things out and survive in this job? I will tell you what the American mid-client and end-client would ask. Just prepare the answers and deliver with confidence. I will take care of the rest…” The consultant then has to convince the vendor that he/she is smart enough to act and would somehow manage to survive. If the vendor is convinced about the consultant’s acting capabilities, he/she would forward it to the mid/end-clients.

The real deal about telephone interviews is when substitute speakers are engaged. Sometimes when the consultant manages to convince the vendor and fool the mid-client with the fake resume submitted, the end-client interview gets scheduled. The consultant’s unlucky if it is a face-to-face interview because impersonation is impossible. But in the case of end-client interviews scheduled to be carried out over telephone, it’s a whole different ball game. As an act of courtesy, the consultants who managed to get placements in projects would offer to help the next batch by taking telephonic interviews on their behalf, posing as the consultants for whom the interviews are scheduled. The timings are confirmed over emails. The senior personnel of the consultancy would choose the experienced consultant to attend the call as scheduled. Again the consultant needs to be part of the Brotherhood of Ass-Kissers to be offered this coveted privilege of letting some random guy talk as the consultant. Once the timings are frozen, the “Call-Taker” is forwarded with a copy of the fake resume submitted and the consultant is asked to speak to the “Call-Taker” to discuss about the position and the interview. Exactly 15 minutes before the interview’s scheduled time, the consultant enables call-divert in his/her mobile and marks the Call-Taker’s mobile number. So when the end-client (mostly an American in charge of the project) calls, he or she would not know that they would be talking to someone else who is posing as the consultant as mentioned in the faked out resume that has been submitted. If the Call-Taker does the magic, then everyone celebrates. I have tried so many times to identify what they can possibly celebrate about this and I never found anything. 

Living off People’s Misery
Now that we have observed the dark side of flexi-staffing in the United States of America, especially in the IT industry, it is time we make an attempt to understand the underlying implications of the same. These consultancies, for the most part, are operating on the basis of greed and are misusing the fire and enthusiasm of individuals who travel all the way to America with the hopes of living their share of the American dream. Young men and women say yes to all the compromising conditions laid out by the consultancies only because they are ready to do everything to survive, get a job, earn some money and live happily. Now just because the consultancies have the means to obtain temporary employment, they get to handle people as their slaves. The consultants have no other choice but to lie and defend their fake resumes so they can have a job and eventually survive. Now defending an 8 years resume is one thing but working according to the experience submitted is a whole different thing. Consultants go through verbal abuse and mockery on a daily basis just because they do not know the work they are doing. They have to learn as they work and perform in the job. Most importantly, after getting placed in a project, the consultant has to memorize his/her fake resume so they don’t give contradicting replies to their colleagues while engaging in friendly conversations. Consultancies would instruct the consultants not to make friends with fellow workers soon after joining since the risk of getting identified as a faker is high and that would jeopardize the employment. There had been occasions when the bosses had asked the consultant about why their working is very slow and with silly mistakes while they have been working the same domain for over 8 years. There have been cases when the client companies find out about the fake resumes and fire the consultant. The consultancies in those cases would only say that it is not an issue since they can get the consultant another better project. The consultant compromises his/her integrity, prepares to lie and fake professional experience, struggles on the job with no help whatsoever, works like a dog and bears all the embarrassment he/she is showered with at the workplace…..only to survive in the United States…and the consultancies, vendors and mid-clients just eat away the bulk of the money that they earn at the cost of the consultant. 

There are cases where everyone including the end-client knows that the resume submitted is fake and still things roll this way in the United States. The way I understand it, those bosses have a feeling that if some consultant is smart enough to defend a fake resume, then he/she is fit enough to work with them. We cannot exclude the possibilities of scenarios where the actual clients have no idea about the fake resume and the inexperienced yet enthusiastic consultant. Companies don’t have to pay benefits (health insurance/pension) when they hire temporary/contract employees since the consultancies would be the employers of those consultants. Companies like such employees because they can hire just when they need and downsize easily when the demand falls. This corporate mentality of manipulating manpower cost for profits has given birth to a great industry in the United States that has been vandalized over time and its current state is beneficial to the hiring companies and consultancies but not to the workers/employees. The industry is so widely spread that each consultancy would have multiple companies registered as partner firms or stand-alone companies in order to compensate for the H1B limit laid out by the United States government. Consultancies exploiting the regulations laid out by the United States government and the increasing state of unemployment does affect the workers adversely in certain cases. The workers are exploited and used up for financial benefit. Also this state puts international communities in the United States in bad light. This has to be controlled through effective implementation of necessary preventive controls through appropriate regulations. Here’s a link to another article that adds to this discussion:


Why should people be forced to defend lies only to survive? All the education gained through hard work is rendered useless when smart individuals defend fake resumes and take up jobs that they have never done before. This state of flexi-staffing in the IT industry in United States may be quite similar to those in other countries across the globe but that doesn’t make it right. I feel that smart and hard-working individuals being forced to defend fake resumes is a kind of intellectual human trafficking. A whole industry surviving on the misery of innocent individuals is highly disheartening. The struggling economy just adds to this. All murderers killed because at the time of the murder, that was their only choice of survival. All pimps who run brothels sell women for their livelihood because that is how they survive in a brothel. Need for survival does not necessarily emancipate any act of crime. Businesses need flexible workers and consultancies provide it but the workers do not want it……they have no other choice but to accept it in place of a permanent employment. I am not opposed to temporary employment. I am opposed to individuals being forced/brain-washed to defend fake resumes. When Americans in the United States have the privilege of taking pride in honor/respect/integrity and so on, the status of considerable number of internationals in the United States is quite the opposite due to various regulatory and commercial reasons and that is exactly what I wish to point at.

I know a lot of people who were/are in the flexi-staffing system I have described above. I don’t mean any disrespect to them or their professional abilities in any way. I wrote this post because I wanted to document this state of Flexi-Staffing (IT industry) in the United States and make the facts as I had observed available to you. 
Update as of May, 2014:
This has been one of the most-read posts on my blog so far. In fact, until a month back, this was at the top. I would like to thank them all for their time, comments and emails. I am glad my blog has helped you in ways that I wished someone had helped me with. That is the objective of this post.

Key Trends Noticed
I noticed is that there are so many of us out there, not knowing how to cope with this consultancy-scam, fearing ridicule and a 'Not-So-Happening' legal action. Let me put it in simple terms. You don't have to fear. Nobody is going to get you caught in legal action. The contract you signed is as fake as the resume they make for you.

Another distinct trend that I noticed is that, there is either 'No' or 'Not-So-Much' information flow across the demographics that are in the 'Consultancy-Shit.' Everyone with a fake resume fears the other person will do them some harm or just keep everything they know to themselves assuming that is going to give them some sort of competitive advantage. Stop believing that shit!!! Get it out of your system!!! It is true, the consultancies tend to keep you believing the 'Fake-Zero-Sum-Game' so you will rat on your colleagues for 'Extra Benefits.' Don't let those scammers play the Divide-and-Rule game. Talk to people. Let them know what you know and ask questions. There are going to be people who tend to rat on their fellow workers. Don't bother their behavior for they fear the system in ways you can never imagine. There are so many of you out there fielding fake resumes and all you wish to do is an anonymous comment on my blog or a secret email to me. I appreciate the trust you have on me. I will be grateful for that until the end of time and I will do my best to help you with my suggestions. But you've got to connect with your kind!!! So talk to your fellow Fake-Resume-Consultants. Just send them the link to this page and this can get them talking. They may sound like superman but they are as scared as you are.

The rare-yet-significant trend that I noticed is that, consultancies that filed candidates with fake resumes have started convincing their candidates that they don't hire every 'Tom, Dick and Harry' and therefore what they do will never make it out. Some even have gone to the extent of convincing candidates that they are the first Indian or 'Desi' they have hired and the rest of them are Caucasian or 'Gora.' My apologies for using racist terms here. Please be informed that consultancies are paper companies who lease office space from building on different names and have multiple registrations in many cities as there is a H1-B limit for every registered business (per year and overall basis). So when one registration titled 'InfoTechnoNonsense' (for example) reaches the threshold limit of H1B's, they register another company and start filing in that name. They know the tricks of the trade and they will keep their company out of the radar. But you fielding the fake resume will be out in plain view my dear friends. Not getting caught does not confirm invisibility. So don't trust a consultancy that boasts of fool-proof faking methods and how they are best-friends of clients and how YOU are the only Indian/Asian there. The office you go to may be an exception. These consultancies run like chain of chicken farms. You may be the first chicken there but definitely not the first the consultancy ever had. Watch out. This trend to me indicates that the consultancies have evolved over time and they are now trying to work against the popular opinions among candidates. They have transformed from money-making firms to safe-firms so that they can get the scared candidate accept to their cheating methods. They don't have anything to lose there. really, they don't/ The one with the fake resume does.

Lastly, many THANKS to those of you who decided to quit the Fake-Resume-Consultancy-Scam and get back to work with their original resumes like normal people with integrity. I am more than happy to realize that at one point of time in your struggle, my scribblings here on my blog, has helped you with information and insights. I have no words to describe your happy emails after quitting Fake-Resume-Consultancies in US.

Here is one that sends across a strong message to me, you and everyone that integrity matters:

".....Finally quit the desi consultancy today. Feeling great."

Do share your experiences in the comments below and let others know what you have been through or are going through.

Update[6th July, 2015]

If you go through the comments section, you will notice that we have received comments from individuals who have or are using fake-resume and working as consultant/contractor in the US. While they are clearly interested in proving the idea that fake-resume jobs only help and don't cause any trouble whatsoever, they refuse to share their fake resume, fake experience, their current job they got with their fake resume on this forum. Some of them even brand me or my attitude for writing this blog post. One comment claims I am trying to present falsified information and what I describe may not be true.

While I don't accept those claims, I respect those viewpoints. I think we need to get an honest viewpoint from someone who is/was working on a fake resume where they can share the fake experience they used  and how they got back to the original experience resume and nothing ever happened. Unless we get someone who can present their fake resume and the details of the employment they gained using it, we cannot rule out the fact that there will be damage and that will cost the fake-resume joker very dearly.

My claim is, they are afraid to reveal their identity, fake experience, fake resume and the contractor position they gained using the fake details. The reason may be anything but it definitely includes the Fear of Embarrassment and potential Professional Loss such as Losing Credibility. I am willing to post the fake resume and employment details here on this post. I will however verify the fake resume with the company [end-client/mid-client] to make sure this individual worked there with fake credentials and also will get their views on this subject. That's the only way out of this confusion. Again, I am receiving emails to this day about what will happen when people quit fake resume consultancies. There are so many out there who want out but are afraid. 

So, on behalf of those who are stuck with Fake-Resume-Jobs, those who are afraid to move out of shady consulting companies in the United States and those who are just unclear on how their fake resume at one point in time can hurt their career later:

[going Optimus Prime here] 

We are here. We are waiting......
[ Played in the background: Linkin Park's What I've Done]

Update as of 7th March, 2017:
Please look at the image below. This is the case of a fake resume-proxy-interview candidate and his alibi who got busted by the HR specialist who handled the recruitment process. If someone is telling you everyone knows the fact and they are fine with it, think 3500 times. What they say so confidently is hardly closer to reality. If everyone knows fake resumes and proxy interviews and they are fine with it, why does this image get published on LinkedIn? [click here to have a look at the LinkedIn post first hand]

Please watch out people. The consultancies might as well be flogging your kidneys with you going as free with them.

Remember, nobody in the comment/post/image shared on LinkedIn mentioned the Desi Consultancy's name. Nobody mentioned the Mid-Client's name. Nobody mentioned the end-client's name. Nobody mentioned the vendor's name. All that came out was the fake resume candidates' images indicating who took the interview and who showed up for work. Look up the LinkedIn post to confirm this first hand. 

For the sake of brainwashed individuals in the fake resume racket, your consultancy will not be in the frame when you get caught like this. Your mid-client or vendor won't bail you out when you get exposed like this. Imagine the future impact on your career. 

If this cannot convince you about the fact of the situation, nothing will.

On a very different note [a shameless plug], if you are interested in unique tamil short films, feel free to visit https://www.summamovies.com/. I couldn't tolerate the mass masala entertainers anymore and decided I will do my best to produce content with substance. I have a long a way to go as a producer and a start-up founder, but I am glad our journey has begun. I look forward to your support. Each film on our site costs INR 15. Thanks!!!

Regards,