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How I Joined the Outsourcing Revolution
Mention "outsourcing" to a programmer and you may as well be uttering profanity. The word suggests all the evils that have befallen the Information Technology sector since the Internet bubble burst a few years ago. We've been endlessly regaled with tragic tales of American companies who have closed up shop for many of their I.T. positions, only to "offshore" those same jobs to programmers overseas working for less pay than their American counterparts. A brain drain is taking place in the once highly secure computer programming profession.
Rather than cursing the darkness, however, I found myself recently lighting a candle (or making the problem worse, depending on your perspective). You see, just over six months ago, I joined the outsourcing revolution. I am therefore writing this article partly as a confession, my own personal "mea culpa" of complicity.
No, I haven't put myself up on the auction block to work for Indian rupees.
What I did was stumble upon several "reverse auction" web sites for outsourcing talent. If you haven't heard of them, they go by the name of Elance.com (the largest site to date) or Guru.com. Both of these sites give companies an opportunity to outsource their projects to freelance workers like programmers, graphic artists and writers. Freelancers from all over the world compete for open bid requests, offering to do these contract jobs for a fixed price.
I happened upon a site called Rentacoder. Unlike the two sites mentioned above, Rentacoder didn't require a subscription fee. Their take was a straightforward commission out of each project cost. Within minutes I posted my resume and profile. Then I had a choice to make. Which projects to bid on? In addition to programming projects, they also listed writing jobs as well. I decided to bid on some of the writing jobs first, just to see how it went, and because I had always wanted to do some freelance writing on the side.
Within my first week, I won a bid to write a document on Policies and Procedures. I completed that assignment, got paid, and then won another bid-a series of articles on stock market investing. Very soon I was addicted. I kept doing more writing?a technical white paper?web site content?economics articles?sales letters?a chapter in a novel?on and on. My payments were electronically transferred to my bank account, in New Economy style.
This addiction has grown into a decent part-time income for the past six months. I've worked for clients as far away as Australia and Turkey, in addition to clients in the East and West coasts in the United States. I became fixated with how easy it was to do business this way over the Internet, where the whole world became my market. Then I got hold of a book called Free Agent Nation, by a fellow named Daniel Pink. It was about how "teleworkers" such as myself are transforming America by doing business this new-fangled way, working for "gigs" instead of permanent commitments to one employer. I was part of another Big Thing.
Don't misunderstand, I haven't quit my day job just yet.
Am I getting rich?
Hardly. I make a few hundred extra dollars a month, and yes, I do get competition from workers in India. But now I am competing with them. The winning bid, in this case, doesn't always go to the lowest bidder. Writers from America have an edge in this arena. Some buyers of writing services prefer native English speakers.
As I said, however, there are programming jobs posted on most of these sites too. Can programmers from the United States make a living strictly off these sites? Probably not. But programmers who choose to freelance can use these sites to supplement their income while contracting through normal staffing channels. They might make some meaningful connections in the process.
So there it is. I got it off my chest.
"My name is Nader Ghali, and I joined the outsourcing revolution."
I feel much better. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make some more bids.
Nader Ghali is a programmer living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he writes on a variety of issues. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and a sample of his writing portfolio can be seen at http://www.topwrite.net
Children At Work: Looking at Child Labor in the Victorian Age
Today, it isn't that uncommon for some children and teenagers to work. They may earn extra money by baby-sitting, doing yard work, or maybe even walking dogs. Others, once they go on to high school, may go to work in their local grocery store, malls, or food chains. However, in the Victorian Age, it wouldn't seem at all strange to see children as young as five or six, go to work full-time (sometimes sixteen hours a day!) in often dangerous conditions.
Cover Letter Sample -- For the Corporate Flight Attendant
Writing a cover letter to send with your résumé can be both confusing and frustrating. What exactly should you say? Are you saying too much? Are you only speaking about your needs vs. the company's needs? Oh, what to do! In this "short" piece, I will list some ideas on how to craft your cover letter. I have also provided some important links -- for additional assistance -- particularly if you find yourself still needing outside help.
De-Bunking The ?Follow Your Bliss? Myth
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Wonder Woman makes it looks so easy. She gets up every morning, fights the good fight, calls it a day, and starts the whole process all over again. This is the way most of us begin our workday. We work hard, accomplish lots, and get up in the morning for an encore presentation.
Career Success Through Self-Marketing
Marketing shouldn't be limited to advertising companies. Finding a job or enhancing your current position requires good self-marketing skills. What is self-marketing? Basically, self-marketing is communicating your benefits to potential or current employers. Think of yourself as a "product" and explain to employers what differentiates you from other "products."
Wishing and Hoping
Years after Disneyland was built, after the completion of Walt Disney World, the story goes that someone went up to Mike Vance, Creative Director for Walt Disney Studios and said, "Isn't it too bad Walt Disney didn't live to see this?" Without pausing, he replied, "But he did see it, that's why it's here."
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Do What You Love, Love What You Do
Everyone dreams of a life full of love and adventure. But we fill ourselves with reasons not to follow our dreams. Instead of protecting us, they imprison and hold us back. Life will be over before we know it, so now is the time to really live life and love.
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Job Interviews: Ill File a Grievance!
I recently went to a retirement party with my husband for one of his co-workers. I worked at this same place six years ago (that's where I met my husband, but that's another story), so I knew most of the people at the party.
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Chicken Soup for Job Seekers
Do you want to change your job but don't know the right way to go about it? Are you vacillating between waiting for your dream job or accepting the first one that comes your way? Or are you a fresher falling in line with what your parents wish you to be rather than what you wish to be? If this is the kind of situation you find yourself in, then the next few minutes will help you get a clearer picture. Here is our bowl of chicken soup for the job seeker's soul. Read on?
Interview Thank-You Letters
The number one etiquette tip for interviews is writing a thank-you letter. This is not a tool commonly used by job seekers right now. If you are looking for an advantage and a way to stick out above the other job applicants then follow up your interview by showing appreciation and courtesy.
Reinvent Your Career In Five Simple Steps
The phrase "reinventing yourself" seems to be popping up all over lately. Just a few days ago a friend asked me how he could do it without starting completely over. His concern was, "How do I move in a new career direction without sacrificing all the skills and experience I've worked so hard to achieve?" The underlying question is, "Is this even possible?"
Need a Job? Put a Gun to Your Head
A legendary marketing genius once said that, if he had to write a killer sales letter, he would imagine he had a gun pointed at his head and that he would be shot if his advertising didn't deliver.
Interview Tips, How to Get the Job You Want
Enter into a state of relaxed concentration. This is the state from which great basketball players or Olympic skaters operate. You'll need to quiet the negative self chatter in your head through meditation or visualization prior to sitting down in the meeting. You'll focus on the present moment and will be less apt to experience lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation.
Cracking the Connection Code: Networking for the Introverted
We've all heard it before: "Just get out there and network!" If it was that easy, we would already be doing it. So why is it so hard? Well, you're an introvert, aren't you? Enough said.
Your First Summer Work in the UK - Picking Strawberries The Right Way
Most jobs on farms in the UK involve picking strawberries or berries in general, raspberries and possibly other berries with which I have not have the lucky chance to pick.
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