Tuesday, October 30, 2012

...The Worst They Can Do Is Say No.

My work experience the last 12 years has leaned toward customer service and technical support. So my job search had been centered around those skills. The problem with that is the companies that hire for this skill are ones that I've already applied to or have worked for and won't get hired back to.

I have other skills, of course. Writing comes to mind. So I've expanded my job search to include writing, proofreading, editing and the like. I've even reached into Technical Writing, even though I haven't done that - much. I did a little bit of documenting while working for US West, but since they don't exist any more (eaten by Qwest, and God knows who else), I don't have any real references for it. I'm tempted to take a manual I find online, poorly written, and make into a fine example of Technical Writing, just so I can prove I have the skills. Maybe I'll even post it on this blog. Rants and Ravings of a Technical Writer. :-)

But I'd be worried about copyright infringement, not that I'm worried about getting sued. I'm so far in debt just for medical expenses that one more lawsuit won't hurt my credit. But from the perspective of a writer, it would bother me. Would I want someone else taking my work and correcting errors in it? No, I would not. Because everything I've ever written since time began is perfect. ;-)

Today I applied for a Technical Writer job at Red Hat. It was the only position in the Raleigh area I was even remotely qualified for. And, as the title goes, the worst they can do is say no. Many companies have said no so far.

Still, I'm offering my services on a web site called fiverr.com, where anyone can offer a service as long as the price is $5. Anything to make a buck at this point.

Last year, I tried to work with a company called Odesk, which is a third party site that brings together people looking for work and people looking for work to be done. The problem with that site is you have to bid for the services. It's an international company, so you have people from all over the world bidding on the same projects you do. Things like customer service, technical support, etc. The problem comes when you try to bid a livable wage. You get undercut by someone who is offering to do the job for half or even less than half of what you might consider a livable wage.

Say you wanted a customer service position, working from home, and you were willing to work 40 hours for $7/hour. Here, that's below minimum wage, but in places like India, that's top notch pay. And that's the competition I'm facing there. I saw bids as low as a dollar an hour. And I'm tempted to try that, just to get a reputation, but somehow I don't think I'd get very far in the long run if I had to keep that up.

So life goes on.

Sandy is still in my area, sort of. We're getting wind and rain, but nothing like they are further north. By tomorrow it will have moved north of where I am and we'll have blue skies again. I hope everyone in the affected area stays safe.

That is all!