It's a worst-case scenario for most employees: There's someone in China who can do your job quickly, efficiently and for about one-fifth of your salary, and your boss absolutely loves his work.
But one U.S. software developer turned this nightmare on its head and actually benefited from outsourcing, a report says. That's because, unknown to his bosses, he hired a Chinese developer to do his job, allowing him to take home impeccable performance reviews while spending the day watching cat videos and shopping on eBay.
According to Andrew Valentine, who works on the Verizon Risk Team investigating data breaches, the employee, whom Valentine calls "Bob," had pulled off the stunt for some time, allowing him to relax and earn a good salary while someone in China did his job for him.
Valentine was hired to investigate when the company, a Verizon client, saw that someone from Shenyang, China, was logging in to its computer network during every workday. The breach was traced to Bob's workstation, but he had to be innocent, perhaps the victim of some kind of hacking, the company figured. He was a quiet family man, "someone you wouldn't look at twice in an elevator," Valentine writes. And Bob was sitting there, working at his desk, every day. But when Valentine's staff looked more closely at Bob's computer, they ultimately found the smoking gun.
Bob's computer had stored hundreds of invoices from a third-party contractor in Shenyang for developer services. Bob had been paying the contractor $50,000 a year, while he himself made hundreds of thousands.
While the developer was working 9-to-5, Bob surfed the Web. At 9, he'd roll in and surf the social news site Reddit, watching cat videos. At 11:30 he'd grab some lunch. After lunch it was time for eBay for about an hour, after which Bob migrated to Facebook. At 4:30, he'd email management, telling them what he had "done" during the day, and at 5, he'd go home.
"Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area. All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about 50 grand annually," Valentine writes.
Verizon spokeswoman Janet Brumfield confirms the story.
Suffice it to say, Bob no longer works for the company.