One of the craziest outsourcing stories ever came out two years ago on the Verizon security blog. Aside from being simply crazy, this story illustrates two important points we can apply in our businesses and lives.

Verizon received a request from a customer whose VPN logs showed an open and live connection from Shenyang, China. Even more bewildering was that the company used two-factor authentication with the second factor being a rotating key that was prompted by a digital key card.
As it turns out, one of the developers at this company had outsourced his day job to China. The developer spent less than a fifth of his six figure salary to pay for the outsourced work, while he spent his a small percentage of the day reviewing code and the rest surfing the web. Verizon reports that the employees average daily schedule consisted of:

9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos

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

Even more intriguing, this developer was proven to have the same scam going at multiple other companies and was pulling in several hundred thousand dollars per year while paying an outsourced software firm about $50,000 per year.  Impressively, the employee had been consistently receiving high performance reviews with comments about how clean his code was and how productive he was.

This is obviously unethical. The developer’s company trusted him to be working on sensitive high-security projects and this developer didn’t keep that trust. He also didn’t deliver on his promise of value to the company.

So there are two important morals for this story. First, if someone pays you to do work for them you should give it your all and be honest and ethical.

But the second and more important point for those reading this blog (since I am sure that the readers of this blog are honest, hardworking employees) is that in our businesses we are spending time on activities that aren’t of the greatest value. Whether delegated or outsourced, we all do things that can be done by others at a lesser cost to our companies. By identifying and handing off these other tasks we will save our companies money and free ourselves up to do more important things… like watch cat videos.