Friday, 18 January 2013
11:30 a.m. – Take lunch
1:00 p.m. – Ebay time.
2:00 – ish p.m Facebook updates – LinkedIn
4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management.
5:00 p.m. – Go home
A typical workday for "Bob", a software worker who outsourced his own job to China and spent his days dicking about on the internet.
You probably saw this yesterday, it went viral and was picked up by the media worldwide - Google News currently lists almost 450 articles.
Here's The Guardian's take; Software developer Bob outsources own job and whiles away shifts on cat videos.
They presented it as (unchecked) fact - well, it just could possibly be true.
But it's nigh on impossible to verify.
"Bob" is not named, nor is the firm he supposedly worked for.
But hey, why not just print the legend?
It's a funny story, nobody died, fills a space, beats working...
The story comes from the Security Blog - Verizon Business, a company that a cynic might suggest has more than a little vested interested in wanting bosses to increase surveillance of their workers.
Though some have suggested the real source for it was probably this skit on the American satirical website The Onion; More Americans Outsourcing Own Jobs Overseas: A new Department of Labor report finds personal outsourcing is revolutionizing how Americans don't do their own work.
When I tell people I do a blog that's about how gay men are mis/represented in the media, the usual reply is a jocular; "Blimey! Must be lots to write about there."
Yet often the very same people will believe any old silly fairy story they've see somewhere.
Often arguing in their defence; "But I read it in the paper!"
But if journalists like the above - and 100s of others - can be so credulous, who can blame their readers for falling for things hook, line and LinkedIn?
Whenever you read anything by a journalist please bear in mind the advice of Louis Heren; "Always ask yourself, 'Why is this lying bastard lying to me?'"
PS Even Steven Poole - author of Unspeak, a great guide to critical/sceptical reading - ran with this without questioning it; Programmer Bob who outsourced his job was a model modern employee.