Friday, 22 May 2009

This will piss people off

There was a study conducted recently that found that employers in Canada are bias against people with Canadian names than foreign names. The study found that when two people with identical resumes compete for a job, in the majority of cases the one with the English names will win out over the person with the foreign name. I saw the study on the news somewhere, a quick tidbit and now I can't find it to reference it, so you'll just have to trust me.

Essentially this says that employers are turning inwards to hire people. Do foreign names reduce the person's ability to do the job? Absolutely not. The skills are what matters, not the origin of the person. BUT...

I completely agree with the results. There, I said it, now you're pissed off because I now sound like a racist, but really I'm not. I think anyone should be eligible for a position if you meet the following criteria:

1 - You qualify based on education and experience
2 - You have the personality and disposition to perform the task at hand

The third one is the reason employers are turning away from foreign names. People that work in this country need to be able to communicate with others in this country. Does that sound weird or racist? Is that a concept that is new?

This past week at work, our trist with Bell Canada continued. It's well known now that Bell contracts their service and support departments to India. The call centre for tech support and sales in in Mumbai. The first thing that should worry you when you call a place like this is that they ask you if you have a problem understanding them.


I speak english, I live in Canada, I'm calling a Canadian company in reference to a local issue, on a street in a small Canadian town where everyone walking down it speaks english or french. This idiot on the phone wants me to let him know if I have a problem with his Indian accent. Well, yes; I say, I have a problem because like so many times before, you WILL mess something up due to the language barrier. You will do something stupid that will cost our small company money.

They didn't disappoint.

This past Tuesday, production deadline for three of our publications, Bell Canada shut off our service. They had a cancellation order for our new building. Here's the funny thing - the order was dated April 1, 2009. We moved into the building on April 23, 2009. So this idiot in India had our service shut off three weeks before we had it turned on.

Pause for a second while you digest that.

When we blew up at them they calmly and with a heavy accent informed us that it would be two days before it's turned back on. Did I mention it was deadline day for three pubs? They didn't care that their incompetent error is about to cause us thousands in lost revenue. I had my boss call them, I was getting nowhere. For the next two hours he was passed from one service idiot to the next service idiot. All of them telling my boss they sympathize with our plight but there is nothing they can do. Now, after dealing with Bell for all this time I can tell you that they never vary from the script. If they are thrown a curve ball they simply apologize and hand it off to someone else. They have no language skills beyond that stupid script. They didn't care about us, they only care about the Bell overlords standing behind them telling them what to say.

The boss managed to get us turned back on two hours later. We were back to work with yet another episode from this moronic company behind us. We then made the call to a local provider, who's employees live and work in Windsor, and who speak english. Hopefully they will take over in the coming weeks and we can finally ditch Bell Canada.

I don't care where you're from. I don't care what colour your skin is, or who you pray to. I don't care about your local customs or what kind of weird food you grew up eating. But I do care that if you live in Canada, a country who's official languages are English and French (or vice versa in Quebec), you should either speak the damn language in the workforce, or hire people who do. Bell Canada should be hiring Canadians to do these jobs instead of turning to a third world country where the call centre employees can be paid a dollar a day for doing nothing but fucking up people's businesses. Those jobs should be here, putting Canadians to work. There should be a protest about this - everyone should protest Bell. They have a monopoly, so they can literally do whatever they want. There is no recourse. Nadda.

So you wonder why that study found that people with foreign names are not hired as often? How about fear. How about the fact that this call centre fiasco is so commonplace with most companies anymore, how about the fact that everyone who reads this will have a some point experienced the same issue. I feel sorry for people with perfect english and a good skill set, will get screwed because of their name. Sorry. But blame big business. Blame bean counters.

Quite frankly, if you go see a doctor wouldn't you want him or her to speak your language? You wouldn't want the diagnosis mistranslated would you?

In case you're curious, here's what Bell fucked up - When we moved our three offices into one main location, we discontinued our internet service in the two that were being shut down, and we created new service in our new building. Nothing was moved, the service was cancelled and restarted. The service is now still on in one empty building. Bell mis-read the order number and shut off the wrong building. With all the hell this company has put us through this really isn't a surprise. Read this or this, if you want to remind yourself why you should boycott Bell. These are just the recent problems. There are more posts back a year ago, same shit, it just doesn't stop.

Bell sucks.
People that won't communicate suck.

We are indeed a multicultural society and a world economy, but come on now, let's get real. None of this shit would have happened if the language barrier was not an issue. You live in this country, work in the language.



  1. This is why I recommend to clients that if there's a North American Support option (like Dell has) to get it. Yes, it's more, and yes, it's still people reading from a script, but you (should) be able to understand them.

    I have had good, understandable tech people from India. I have had people I finally hung up on because I couldn't understand them. On my HP computer, I had a person insist my computer had stuff it didn't have. I finally let the person do is own thing, then after it was done, did my own troubleshooting and fix it myself.

    With Dell tech support, I normally try the chat support before calling.

    I also get frustrated when, like you, low level support can't fix a screw-up and can't seem to pass you to someone who can. I've had this happen with North American support as well.

    I wonder if this happens in non-English speaking countries as well?

  2. i would just like to point out that tech support person you talk to should have enough knowledge that when you say "hey my internet died an hour and no longer exists" and you get a response of "well do you have an active phone line, and is that working?" like really? i'm a bell subscriber for both phone and net, maybe you dont know that but im clearly talking to you and i sure as hell am not running my cell bill up while i fight with language barriers. not to mention how the hell would i have dsl without an active phone line?

  3. But it's on the script to ask! Yeah it sounds fucking stupid, but blame the idiots who wrote the crap. You're right, and in the end, we still can't get anywhere.


Yell at me...