This is, I think, my longest-running WIP ever.
I met a woman last night who was described as having computer skills and wanting to freelance. I had a moment of wild hope that she would be someone who could do little coding things for me. For example, I have a client right now who needs PDF file links moved from a subtle little link on an inside page to a bold award-like starburst sort of thing on the homepage. I could do that myself, but it would take me too long to be worth asking the client to pay for, compared with a skillful person. This kind of thing often happens. So I get involved in pleadings with the webmasters.
Let me end the suspense by informing you that my hopes were dashed. I had to come home and beg The Computer Guy to do it. He agreed to have a look and consider it, saying, “Usually there is a ‘reason’ that a webmaster is slow to act on maintenance requests.” Whether this was a scolding about my frequent whining about webmasters’ unresponsiveness, following the current custom of using quotation marks for emphasis or something, or an agreement that those “reasons” are a disguise for bloody-mindedness, I cannot say.
In any case, this woman has been unemployed for two months. She wants to work on a freelance basis from her home with her computer skills, and of course I can attest to the fact that it is possible to make a living that way. I asked what she had done in the way of work toward this goal. I prodded a bit, actually. At one point, she shed a few tears. I wasn’t trying to be mean. I just couldn’t tell from what she was saying either what her skills were, exactly, or what she had done to try to find work with them.
What it boiled down to was that she had done two online applications. That’s all. She hadn’t gotten a website up, made business cards, walked her portfolio around, or indeed done anything besides visiting websites and yearning.
Now, in this woman’s mind, she had been looking for work for two months, and hadn’t been able to find anything. To my mind, she hadn’t started yet. Chanthaboune has done 50 applications, and has set herself a goal of making 10 more contacts a day until she finds work. I bet that many of the people who stay out of work for a long time are making that error. Not all of them, I’m sure. There are lots of factors. But it seems as though maybe someone needs to say to jobhunters, “See, you have to apply for lots of stuff, and ask everyone you know if they have heard of any job openings.”
The woman sighed, when we finished our conversation, “Oh, well, I had hoped you’d have some magic words.”
“Get yourself a website, go to Brainbench and get certification for your skills, and apply for lots of stuff,” I said briskly. “Those are my magic words.”
It is possible that my disappointment over her not being good with code made me be brisker than I should have been.
I have a meeting with a new client today, and possibly volunteer work and lunch with Janalisa, if I can get the plans firmed up. Grading of papers and a rehearsal, too. I’ve already done my oDesk hours this morning — though unfortunately the oDesk monitor thingie froze after 50 minutes. I didn’t know that till I went, at the end of my two hours, to check the work diary. This is somewhat distressing. I may just add the time in as offline time and send an explanation to the client — they can see that I did more than 50 minutes of work. However, the rule is that they only have to pay for what’s monitored, and I should have paid attention to it myself. Speaking of which, I must also get my invoices out. And I have blogs to write. All in all, a frolicsome day.