If you are a RentACoder.com client or service provider, you will notice a ‘site wide message’ on most of the RAC pages today warning its users about Pakistan and Pakistanis:
Site Wide Message: (current site time 10/24/2008 8:22:02 AM EDT)
Are you working with a Pakistani? If so, you need to know that most parts of Pakistan are experiencing severe electricity rationing, and electricity is unavailable more often than not. Click here for more important information.
While it is totally fair for the company to inform their customers about the potential pitfalls of ‘renting’ Pakistanis, I was disturbed by RAC’s choice of words and the potential negativity (pun intended) that such words usually generate against Pakistan and Pakistanis. IMHO RAC should try to be politically correct and more sensitive towards its service providers. Some would call this nitpicking, but the news is wrong on more than one levels.
First of all, a Pakistani may be a non-resident Pakistani, and lots of people abroad are “working with Pakistanis”, so it is infact the brand perception of Pakistan that is affected here.
Secondly, though we are facing electricity rationing, electricity is still available at least 14 hours a day from the standard providers (the *ESCOs) contrary to the RAC claim of “more often than not”. Now 14 hours a day may seem like hell to a CA resident, but it is plenty of time to get things done (GTD), if scheduled properly.
Thirdly, if a RAC client is already “working with a Pakistani”, I would expect that client to be aware of this constraint already, after all, you can’t fail to notice if your service provider is unavailable more often than not – I think what RAC meant to say was “Are you considering working with a Pakistani?”.
Most importantly though, I think that a “Pakistani” whose primary source of income is RentACoder (and there are hundreds of such Pakistanis) already know about the power crisis through first-hand knowledge, and he how to deal with it! – after all, load shedding is virtually a part of his Pakistani culture by now! The ‘Pakistani’ in question probably owns a Japanese UPS, a desi UPS (A very cheap UPS developed in Pakistan that uses wet batteries originally meant for LTVs) or a gas generator. Our powerless Pakistani has solved this energy crisis one way or another before attempting to earn his bread on RAC!
I don’t know if RAC realizes or cares about the effects that such deterring official messages can have on Pakistani coders earning their income on RAC, but I do sincerely hope that there is a vigilante Ministry of IT somewhere out there who is keeping an eye on the buzz, who realizes the consequences of such irresponsible news, and who works officially with entities like RAC to make sure that Pakistan is being marketed properly, despite it being the “Most dangerous country of the world”.
PS. I do not have a RAC account. Credit goes to Sohail Abid, a “Happy Freelancer”, who shared this news with me on Twitter. The post was written on my laptop, the one that has a functional battery but is still hooked up to my Pakistani UPS, during the 6th load-shedding spell of the day.