Last July, I wrote about a state-government announcement that suggested Maine officials were trying to get companies to replace their inept, formulaic, and unhelpful customer call centers in India with inept, formulaic, and unhelpful call centers here in Maine.
Turns out, I learn from a post citing my 2009 note, Maine's still trying to do that.
But the writer of that posting seems to misunderstand my position. I'm not knocking the workers in India for their poor service - it's entirely the fault of their employers, who give them only basic training, no individual authority, and computer-generated scripts to read from screens written by engineers who (often wrongly) anticipated what problems people would have with their devices.
Those employers also pay low wages and offer little room for advancement.
It's unclear to me why that qualifies as economic development in Maine. I mean yes, it might offer crappy jobs to people who have no jobs, and I guess there's something to that. But should our state officials really be racing about chasing after crappy jobs? Is that all Maine can hope for - the slops of other people's leavings?
I say those state officials are neglecting their jobs, their duties, and the real goal - to help people in Maine get and keep decent jobs that offer good pay and benefits and opportunities for advancement. Boot-licking call-center companies is hardly a way to do that.