Tunnel Rat posted on February 2, 2009 09:07

State Farm is one of the many high profile companies exploiting H-1Bs and getting exploited by their pimps:

Overseas companies are accused of underpaying foreigners on work visas—and hurting U.S. wages

Corruption and Greed - Serious Issues with H-1Bs and L1s in Technology Today

In Bloomington at an apartment I was renting was a group of Indians living next door. I spoke with one of the occupants seen on occasion at State Farm, an IT Analyst. As he spoke in broken English he explained there are four of them living in a one bedroom apartment all working for the same Indian outsourcing firm Satyam. It was out of necessity for them to pool their money in order to afford housing. The prevailing wages for a typical IT Analyst in Bloomington, Illinois (2002-2004) averaged in the $40-50 per hour range and he stated he was making $18 per hour less than half of what the going rate was for an American worker (4). Digging deeper I discovered an ugliness where multiple Indian people were living in squalor, in cramped small apartments unable to afford decent affordable housing. It was kept quiet among the H-1Bs one saying the living conditions were far better with four living in a small apartment than they were back home in India.

So time for me to tell State Farm to curl itself in a little ball and go fuck its self:

State Farm had better fire every single H-1B programmer working for them, or I will cancel all my Home Insurance policies.

I am an AMERICAN programmer and having great difficulties finding a job because companies like your are hiring cheap programmers from India.

After the Mastec and Satyam scandals that State Farm has been involved with, isn't it time for State Farm to send the Indians home and start hiring Americans?

If I don't get a response within a few days, I am cancelling my policies.

Feel free to copy and paste, here's their link

We'll see if they respond.

Gotta go...just heard the factory wistle blow and I have to go in the curry den for another week of life as a galley slave.

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Tunnel Rat posted on February 1, 2009 23:23

So I start week two in the curry den, a little hung-over from Super Bowl weekend. BTW, any other place I would be working at would have a pool going around the week before the big game, but not at CLS. Like I said, it’s a concentration camp.

Walking back from the break room, I get the stink-eye from the Sikh PM. Shit, if looks could kill…

I start to freak.

I had spent a lot of time this weekend trolling on www.ImmigrationVoice.org, and I pissed many a Desi off. But it got a little creepy. Too many of the Desis wanted to know who I was. One even invited me to have coffee in the D.C. area and talk. Why? What is wrong with a little flame war with an anonymous identity?

Maybe they wanted to burn my house down. After all, that’s how they settle things in India.

Or they just wanted to out me at the curry den (which is more likely).

So I was more than a little paranoid when the architect comes in my cube.

“So, what are you working on?” he asks.

“I’ve created the database objects and the middle-tier classes for those modules we talked about last week. Ready to move on to the insert, delete, and update procs.”

“Okay, so how much more time on those business objects?”

“Uh, five, ten minutes,” I tell him.

“Ok, wrap it up, check it in and move on the next module. Dikshit [not his real name, but it could be] will finish that code.”

This is getting weird. We had agreed that I would work on the middle-tier and back-end for about eight pages that had similar functionality, and the farm boy H-1B from Delhi would do the front end.

Nothing freaks a contractor out more than the words “wrap it up and check in your code so the other guy can finish it.” That or “start documenting everything you’ve done in the last six months.” That is the kiss of death – your gig is up and it is time to move on.

But this had been only a week, and I had been kicking ass.

That’s it, I thought. Some CEWP at IV had sent some emails, maybe even got hold of some corrupt Indian CTO at Google to reveal my Blogger identity, and had dropped a dime on me at CLS. Shit.

But the architect went on to the next module, explaining what code I could re-use and the plan of attack. Ok, maybe I was just being paranoid.

So he leaves and I get busy. I try to log into the database, and no dice. Shit. I am SO fucked. Ok, maybe I fat-fingered the pass word. I am shaking by now.


Finally, I get logged in. My heart is doing the “I just took a hit of crack” drill. Man, this is creepy.

All right, so far so good. But what if some Desi did out me? What the fuck is CLS going to do? The PM is Asian, an American citizen. The VP of software dev is a honkey, and he likes me.

Does CLS really want to fuck with me, a middle-aged white guy with four mortgages, a Marine Corps vet to boot, and one who would make a huge scene in the curry den? It would take half the police department to drag me out of there, kicking and screaming. Of course, I would alert the media first, and it would be like a major international incident that would put a face on the plight of victims of the H-1B scam.

I could see it now, camera crews filming the pissed of cracker getting arrested, as literally dozens of Indians stand around, smoking and calling their friends in Bangalore...

I go to get another cup of espresso from the break room, and see this import that looked familiar. Damn, I know this guy, I thought. So I texted my buddy, the honkey that got passed up for the other contractor slot:

ME: Hey what was that paki’s name at [insert name of company that I walked out of after getting into verbal altercation with clueless manager here]? I think I just saw him here

HIM: Farhan. He is supposedly working in [yadayadayada]. Does it look like they are doing more interviews? That would mean they have no intention of bringing me in.

ME: No interviews. No sign of the new guy. Pc tech told me they expect new contractor

HIM: Ok, so I still have a shot. [Asian PM] told my rep that he would like to bring me in but would probably have to wait till Tue or Wed for the “specs” to be evaled. Any mention of you working weekends? Is anyone even coding yet?

ME: I think they are trying to cut scope. I worked a little ot Friday. Yes coding with a vengeance. Are you still at [yadayadayada]? its freakin weird here. Very high stress. No headphones or web surfing either.

HIM: No headphones allowed? That is weird. Really weird. And high stress does not translate into a productive environment.

ME: Yeah all the bickering in broken English gets distracting

HIM: Ah, stress AND unprofessional behavior. All you need now is a broken AC unit to ripen the air.

I ran into the import again in the hallway later. “That guy I worked with was named Farhan, looked just like you.”

“No, not me, “ he said, giving me the stink-eye. Indians HATE getting confused with Pakis.

But I was still pissed. The whole State Farm shit has getting me wound up, and there is a little retail State Farm office across the parking lot from CLS.

So I print a copy the page from the web site detailing State Farm’s H-1B scandals, and staple my business card to it. I walk over to the agency and tell the receptionist that I have two policies and need to talk to my agent.

“Let me see if he is off the phone.” It’s a small office and she ducks her hid into her boss’s office. She waves me in.

The guy is in a T-Shirt, sitting behind a huge desk. Sports memorabilia covers the walls.

We shake hands. “What can I do for you?” he asks.

“I have two houses insured with State Farm and want to cancel my policies.”

“Uh, really? Uh, how come?”

“Well you see,” I tell him, “I am a computer programmer. And although I have a ton of experience, I have a hard time finding work because companies like State Farm import foreign programmers under a so-called H-1B program, exploit them, and fire people like me.”

“Huh? I never heard anything like that.”

“Yeah, well, I can’t do business with a company like yours. See, I joined a union, WashTech, which is part of the Communication Workers of America, which in turn is tied to the AFL-CIO. And we can boycott State Farm if it doesn’t replace those H-1Bs with Americans.”

“But, uh, you’re, uh, a computer programmer?” he mumbles.

“Yeah, I am. “ I threw the printout detailing State Farm’s Patni and Satyam scandals and stood up. “Maybe you should let the big shots in Bloomington know that WashTech is boycotting State Farm and you are losing business. I don’t think all those Indians they hire can make up the difference – they live 10 to a room in some dumpy apartment. Not much need for home insurance from those guys.”

“Well, this is the first I’ve heard of this, uh--”

“-- But not that last,” I told him as I walked out.

To be continued…

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Tunnel Rat posted on February 1, 2009 09:20

I survived the first week at CLS without going postal.

It's not that bad. Just odd. But they leave me alone and let me code. There are way too many deliverables to get done, and the usual geek pissing contests just aren't going to happen on a project like this.

I like the fact that there is one architect, and what he says goes. The hierachical Indian culture has not been corrupted by the American concepts of flat teams, where anybody's idea is just as good as someone else's. I have seen so much of this self esteem crap in I.T., where the lame-ass project manager has to give equal weight to the junior hack or the primadona developer, it just makes me want to puke.

At CLS, they just huddle around a workstation or whiteboard, throw up some ideas, and the architect makes the call.

So I come in early Friday because I had to drop the wife off at the airport. Who do I see standing outside smoking a cigarette but the team lead, one of the guys that interviewed me. Very Westernized, but timid. I think I've said two words to him all week. I don't know if he is a technical lead or a paper pusher.

We say our good mornings and I try to open the front door. Locked.

"Oh, you don't have a fob?" he asks. I shake my head and he lets me in.

Isn't the team lead supposed to give me a fob? Or does he not expect me to be around for long? Shit like this just makes the token honkey paranoid.

I get to my cube and get busy. No sign of life except for the cleaning crew and a couple of "debelopers." BTW, the cleaning people are the only Mexican's you'll ever see in a curry shop. I walk around the building in case there are any management types around, so they can see that Casper gets in early and works hard.

The rest of the team straggles in around nine-ish. I go to get my third cup of espresso (they have a very cool coffee machine), and what do I see in the tiny break room but my whole fucking team, munching on pastries. OMG, it was like I had walked in on a circle jerk, uninvited. Eight "debelopers" and a Sikh PM, staring at me like I was a freak.

The Sikh PM finally speaks up. "We have pastries brought in every Friday," he says, smiling. Sikhs are cool Indians, for the most part. But I guess you don't want to piss them off, or they will have you killed, like this Canadian towel head did when his daughter married the wrong dude:

Forbidden Love

And they carry knives -- it is part of their religion. I suppose they come in handy when you want to stab some cracker programmer in the back, hahaha. Just kidding. Please don't burn my house down, all you Sikh activists out there. This ain't India, and we don't burn people's houses down just because they say something we don't like.

I smile, make some small talk, and get my coffee.

It was just weird. Very awkward.

Sometime in mid-morning, I get an email from the lead, the guy that let me in. It went something like this (I paraphrase):

Subject: Friday Outing


I know we have all been working hard lately to deliver this application. Let's take a breather, knock off early and meet for dinner and drinks at 4 today. I urge all of you to make it.

I so fucking freaked. I text my wifey, and a few friends:

ME: The team is going out for drinks and dinner
after work. I'll be the only honkey. Should I go?

WIFE: You have to go.

ME: What if I get drunk and start talking
about my blog?


(Wifey is a little freaked out, with the economy the way it is, and her husband's career getting decimated by the waves of cheap labor scamming the H-1B system and driving down his wages.)

So I decide I have to go. No biggy -- I am man of the world and have been around many strange and exotic peoples in the course of my Marine Corps adventures. Mostly having sex with their prostitute daughters, but let's not get picky.

I figure they'll go to the one of the bars at the nearby mall, I'll have a couple of drinks, and bail early to pick up wifey at the airport. Around 4-ish, the team starts knocking off work and bullshitting in Hindi. I know the moment I am dreading is coming -- the invite to happy hour.

Sure enough, the team lead comes by, with the architect by his side.

"Care to join us?" he asks.

"Sure!" I started gathering my stuff. "Where are you guys headed?"

"Probably [insert name of seaside Mexican restaurant in hip coastal town here], " he says.


That place? The one full of trendy yuppies, and hot chicks with fake tits? You gotta be kidding me. I am SO not walking into that bar with a gang of geeky Indians, I think to myself. I have to think quick to extricate myself.

"Ah, bummer, that's the opposite way, and I have to pick up my wife at the airport tonight," I tell him.

"Next time, then," he says, relieved.

"For sure!" I tell him.

Man, that was close.


To be continued....

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 31, 2009 23:17

I got banned from that Immigration Voice site after a flame war, so now not only can I not post, I can't even read their forums. What kind of commie crap is that? Typical Desi bullshit. Let's see if this message to their webmaster gets me anywhere:

Hey Desis, ever since you banned me, I can't even read any posts.

Isn't that going a little too far? Come on, this isn't India, we don't ban "untoucables" from our sites just because they disagree with us.

You should at least give me read-only access, or I will just get an anonymizer and get to your forums. And then I will copy all those nasty posts over to my blog (www.itgrunt.com).

You know, those ones where you people write about the lazy Mexicans, the nasty Pakis, and the dumb Americans...even the ones where your "senior members" call me a "homo."

I especially want to get to the ones where you Desis bicker with each other on how to game the system.

I get a lot of traffic on my blog, so it may not look good for an "Advocacy Group" trying to abuse the H-1B system to be exposed as a festering honeypot for anti-American rants and tips on how to break the law.

So get with the program -- it's a free country. Your bannings of non-Hindus are only reinforcing the stereotype of Indians as insular, arrogrant, unethical creeps.

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 31, 2009 21:40

More to come about my first week at the Curry Den, but I got into a flame war over at IV and stumbled across this gem from one of my favorite tech writers, John C. Dvorak:

The curious case of Rajendrasinh B. Makwana

Here's a tidbit:

Why was Makwana working at Fannie Mae in the first place? Are you telling me no American citizen could have done his job?

This is not a new concern. It has long been believed that in most cases H1B visas in technology have been exploited by companies such as Fannie Mae only because programmers coming from India work cheaper. But there is no way of knowing much about any of these folks, and that immediately becomes a homeland-security issue.

Over the years, companies like Fannie Mae have been begging for more and more H1B visas. That means more people working cheaper than the going rate. You get what you pay for.

Of course, the H-1B pimps and their indentured servants here with bogus visas are screaming racism...

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 31, 2009 14:42

Having survived the first week at my new gig, I have come to a conclusion.


Somewhat like the Allied prisoners in the “Bridge Over the River Kwai,” I am held captive by foreigners and forced to complete an impossible task. I say “forced,” because there is not really any .NET contract work out there.

But the true reason I feel that I work in a concentration camp is that there is an air of fear and desperation among the workers. I came to this conclusion after making a few observations.

For one, nobody surfs the internet. I’ve never seen Yahoo, Slashdot, or even MSDN open on anybody’s computer. That is odd, because in such a big I.T. shop, developers normally take frequent mental breaks and catch up on what is going on outside.

Me in DesivilleI actually heard a manager yell at a guy the other day, telling him to stop “reading the internet.” I thought he was teasing, but the manager did it again yesterday, saying “there you are again, on the internet. I’ll have to block your web access!” The boss must be from an upper caste and gets to treat his people like shit.

And nobody works with headphones on, listening to iTunes or Pandora. Nothing. The Indian on the other side of my cube chants all day. I thought it was Muslim prayers, but I think it is the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionare or a Bollywood movie.

BTW, I will never see that absurd Slumdog movie. Like I really care if some kid from the ghetto of Calcutta gets rich in falls in love. At least he doesn’t move to America and take a programmer’s job. And “Gran Torino” should be up for an Oscar, not that piece of shit Desi movie. But as usual, Hollywood loves all things non-white and if they have a choice, the Academy will go with the dark meat, so Clint is getting hosed.

Finally, there are no women, blacks, or Mexicans on the floor of 50 or so people. All men, mostly Indians. Usually you see a token brother or a female DBA or two, and most places even had a Latino boy that worked the help desk.

Not in Desi-land. No fucking way. Too much work to do. All I hear all day is bickering in broken English, or more often than not, Hindi. That and the sound of clacking keyboards.

More to come…

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 31, 2009 13:29

More to come about my first week at the Curry Den, but I got into a flame war over at IV and stumbled across this gem from one of my favorite tech writers, John C. Dvorak:

The curious case of Rajendrasinh B. Makwana

Here's a tidbit:

Why was Makwana working at Fannie Mae in the first place? Are you telling me no American citizen could have done his job?

This is not a new concern. It has long been believed that in most cases H1B visas in technology have been exploited by companies such as Fannie Mae only because programmers coming from India work cheaper. But there is no way of knowing much about any of these folks, and that immediately becomes a homeland-security issue.

Over the years, companies like Fannie Mae have been begging for more and more H1B visas. That means more people working cheaper than the going rate. You get what you pay for.

Of course, the H-1B pimps and their indentured servants here with bogus visas are screaming racism...

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 29, 2009 21:26

Man, I got a ton of hits after publishing a post on Dice about the rampant anti-American discrimination going on at my new gig. My post was copied to a site that is dedicated to “'fixing Employment based green card delays” (which means 'We need more exotic non-whites here to make life miserable for the pale oppressors') and the responses are hilarious! They actually posted my “Real Resume” a dozen times to make the case that I am some sort of bigoted wacko who can’t hold a job.

Nope, I have no problems getting and holding a job, and when I encounter some fuckup in my line of work, I refuse to put my tail between my legs and take the abuse. THAT is what people hate – the fact that I don’t take shit, and I have the skills and balls to tell people what I think and move on.

As for life at CLS, things are good. I am creaming the junior H-1B developers and cranking out more solid code than my Indian team lead can keep up with. At the same time, I am tactfully pointing out that “Transaction” is spelled “TRANSACTION” and not “TRANSATION” – which is exactly the way the Hindi hack on my team spelled it when naming numerous classes and namespaces in our project solution.

I got in a little bit late today -- I had told my lead that I sometimes have to drop my adorable daughter off at school – and there he was, standing in my cube, waiting. WTF? I think he was admiring my wallpaper of screenshots. He was really pleasant, telling me that I could just print out the SRS instead of running to the copier all day. I actually like and respect the guy – he has his hands full.

So we chatted about the code, and I pointed out some deviations from the design patterns, explained my plan of attack, and made geek small talk. He is fully aware that I know my shit, and this is all that matters.

Like I said, I will try to bond as much as I can with the imports, just so they don’t cut my balls off when the wheels fall off of this over-scoped project. So after taking a little break this afternoon, I made eye-contact with an Indian smoking outside. BTW, Desi-boys, is it OK for an Anglo to look an Indian in the eye, or is it some sort of cultural act of disrespect? Just wondering.

So the guy says something about the weather, and I bum a smoke.

“I think I know you,” he says.

“Really?” I rattled off a bunch of names of the big local companies I had worked for, and one registered with him, a place I had contracted at about ten years ago.

But that was it. His name is Raj and he does “validation.” Sits caddy-corner from me. And he didn’t have much else to say. Oh well. Maybe he just hates white people.

The few honkeys at the place keep to themselves. We should all be hanging out together in the parking lot like the Aryan Brotherhood does at Folsom, but that might piss off the CEWPS.

The one really cool white guy is the cracker that sets up the PCs. He’s loud, throws around the F-Bomb, and knows his shit. I overheard him today saying that he has to set up four new workstations for the new QA folks coming from India, and two or three more for contractors being added to work on my team. Maybe my Anglo buddy still has a shot.

But four QA types have to be imported? WTF? Isn’t QA, like, banging away at an app and logging all the bugs? What, no American can do that “skilled” job? That is just wrong on so many levels.

Other than that, I am on my best behavior. No headphones, no web-surfing, no reading the Wall Street Journal with my feet propped up on the desk, which is my normal MO. I’ve only gotten the stink eye from a couple of CEWPS, and the honkeys, for the most part, go out of their way to introduce themselves and hold doors open for me.

The cube next to me is still open, and no sign of the second contractor that was supposed start when I did. The project is slipping, and the spec isn’t even final yet. And still my contractor buddies are begging me for leads. You gotta love that whole H-1B thing. I myself had to spend six months in an Italian refugee camp until my political dissident father got a sponsor in the USA, but the “best and brightest” from India get to fly in and take the job of an American in the worst economy in 30 years, no questions asked.

To be continued….

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 28, 2009 21:33

Notes from the front, and then off to bed -- busy day of coding tomorrow.

1. Dikshit is a common Indian name

2. H-1Bs wear very odd looking shoes

3. Junior Indian coders are as bad as Junior American coders

4. Indian software firms don't let women near the code. Maybe QA, but you'll never see one doing C# or SQL.

5. A good architect is a good architect. Period. I don't care where they're from. If a guy quotes "Martin Fowler" and knows all about NHibernate, Rails, and persistance, he knows his shit. I don't give a shit if his name is Abhishek. Right now, I am like the guy in "The English Patient" and if the Sikh can defuse the landmine, I am his buddy. Google those terms, retards. You'll get the idea.

6. I keep a post-it note with my team members names stuck to my wallet, and I am thinking about getting an arm-band -- like the football players use, with a laminated list of plays, but mine will have the names of my team members.

7. I spent the morning printing out screenshots of the app and pinning them on the walls of my cube. I must have covered about 80 square feet of cube, and when my lead and another "debeloper" saw that, it blew their mind. Plus I had sequence-diagramed all the code and laid it out on my desk (I hadn't even gotten the Gant chart yet). Just to let them know I wasn't fuckin' around.

8. Before the end of the day, I was cranking out classes in the business object, because I knew the Service/Entity pattern after working with NetTiers and other ORMs. BTW, since this was a C# project, it was very OO, and I dig that. As a former VB hack, I know what bad code looks like, and these guys had laid down a good foundation. And VB.NET programmers suck -- they will write a 10000 line method like it is cool -- the design guidelines on my project say each method should be 250 lines, max. You VB guys suck. Learn C#, for Christ's sake.

9. No word from my honky contractor buddy who is trying to get on the gig. I asked my lead when the other contractor is supposed to start, and he said he thought he was supposed to start when I did. So they passed on my homeboy, and now will lose a week while the new local guy gets up to speed. In the meantime, I will (with a little OT) probably crank out his deliverables and make him look worthless. Dumbass PM should have hired my Whitey friend, even if he did have to take care of his kids on Sundays. BUT NOOOOOOO -- Mr. PM has got three curry-boys cranking out code day and night for a cheaper rate, and sending all their money back to Dehli.

To be continued...

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Tunnel Rat posted on January 27, 2009 21:46

I am going to have to go into Twitter-ish mode and suspend the long rants.

My new contract has a 250 page spec and the project has to be done by May 1. Balls-to-the-Walls coding.

But at least the curryboys have implemented Enterprise Library and Teleric. So far, they all seem nice, with decent communication skills. A lot of them smoke -- I may pick up the habit again in order to bond with them. Maybe then they will resist their urge to throw the token Anglo under the bus when the project schedule slips.

The place is 75% Hindi. I don't get it. If the pot-head white boys would get off WOW and learn some math, we probably wouldn't need to import so many H-1Bs.

But maybe the Americans are stupid and lazy, as the CEWPS like to say (trust me, I read their posts on their Desi forums).

For example, the scumbag teenager down the street built his own Linux box, could probably hack some code, and become a decent developer. But instead he joined the Amnesty Internation Club in his high school, started wearing Che-Guevara shirts, and smoking dope.

Now (when he is not playing WOW) he humps his anorexic girlfriend in the loft of his parent's house, and he can't even get a $17/hr summer job at his old man's concrete company because he wouldn't be able to pass a piss test. So the douchebag, like most lefty potheads, will live at home for years, never finish college, and bitch about the evil right-wing.

That is why H-1Bs are flooding the market. For the same price as an American, you can get a mediocre developer who doesn't surf porn constantly, get high, play video games, or live with his parents.

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