Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A shaggy dog ate my homeworking

Tools of the trade by Pants

I keep hearing that teleworking, i.e. working from home by receiving, interacting with and returning documents, is the way we will all be earning a white-collar crust in a few years time. Apparently 25% of Californians have ditched the commute for the compute already. I'm thinking 1) I live in a remote area, 2) I need to earn some money, 3) I have a computer. 4) I'm all for saving the planet, especially if it means I don't have to go anywhere. What better solution to my financial woes than to set myself up a little office in lapland, as Mr T cleverly calls it.

Problem. I have looked and looked and looked but I cannot find any real teleworking opportunities anywhere on the internet. Perhaps they're advertised in newspapers or people hear about them down the pub. Perhaps you have to go to the docks at dawn with one of those great big hooks and stand outside a fence. Perhaps a foreman will come over and say, 'sorry, no stevedores needed today but is anyone interested in a spot of teleworking?'

There may not be any actual teleworking positions to be had but there is no shortage of consultants willing to advise employers on the benefits, like Telework Australia. Here's some of their illuminating advice,

Telework is about resilience and getting the most out of available resources. It provides better ways of working and better responses to modern challenges. It provides an alternative to traffic congestion, an alternative to office distractions and an alternative to tying up capital in expensive office space or car parks.

Dawn broke. I realised that the only genuine job vacancies are in call centres in India or China or The Philippines. This is offshore work but it comes up on searches for 'working from home'. This is the way of the internet. I tried Gumtree - nothing. Surely someone must have a little editing work or manual authoring they'd like done. No. The possibilities are confined filling in online surveys. Everyone knows these are a hoax.

There is also no shortage of people lining up to fleece you with the tantalisation that they will reveal to you all the secrets of successfully starting your own online business. These turn out to be pyramid schemes where you learn 'the method' and then find other people to fleece. A bit like those 'Women's Empowerment' ponzis that did the rounds in the 90s, except with stuff to remember. You still lose all your friends though.

In desperation a few months ago I joined an organisation called the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women. Sounds rather august and traditional. It came up fairly high on my initial search list because of these recommendations it made to Government some five years ago which included setting up an employment agency to link women in rural areas with teleworking opportunities. All very insightful. Being bang on the money, you'd expect great strides have been made in setting up networks of gainfully employed country women. They'd obviously be pushing at an open door. It's a classic case of good preparation meeting timely opportunity.

Well, no. Actually what the FAAW do is bombard rural women with emails urging them to take up an Oprah-style online mentoring course from one Sarah Cornally, Strategic Leadership Advisor. These cost AUS$59 a session or AUS$269 for the course.

Here's a taste,

Imagine getting to the end of your life and being able to say;

'I have created what really mattered to me. I have achieved all the things that were important to me. I can see what was not so important and why I didn't pursue it. I have no regrets: I am well pleased with how I have treasured the gift of life I was given.'

Many people go through their lives unaware of how much what happens throughout their life, they have the power to influence. The story of their life will reflect on who they became and what they achieved due to the choices they made and actions they took.

Oh sure. Rural women in Australia have the power over, say, drought and bushfires, falling produce prices, disease and blight. They'll be really pleased to have that one confirmed Sarah, you can be sure. That's just the entree. Here's the main course,

Becoming Your Own Author - The Power To Create Your Own Life
Having the mental models, mindsets and perspectives that support you writing your own story are essential. We will examine the framework required to be successful in your quest.

Ah! Become a bestselling author of memoir. Why didn't I think of that? Lovely Sarah. Would you like someone to reword that for you so it makes grammatical sense? I'm not sure I could help with the actual philosophy though. Or maybe I could. Sod off.