Friday, July 15, 2011

At The End Of My (Electronic) Tether

After hearing the story of my so-far fruitless job search, a friend of mine in real estate has hired me for a temporary website maintenance job.  She has a number of domains plus a blog, and she's unhappy with the person who was handling the design and update work.  I'm thrilled because for a while at least it will be a lot of work for a decent price.  The only drawback?  Skype.  She loves Skype, and she wants her designer to be at her Skyply beck and call pretty much all day long and possibly into the evening.

I have a plethora of email accounts for various reasons, all of them linked, and I regularly use Yahoo! IM to communicate with others.  These technologies don't seem to me to be the electronic equivalent of a choke chain collar and leash; Skype does.  Why?  I'm not really sure.  Maybe it's because of the real-time video.  I can be working in my jammies with my hair standing on end and communicate with clients via IM without anyone knowing, but if I have to be available on live video immediately after breakfast some of the pleasure and convenience of working at home will definitely be lost.  I'm also used to arranging my own schedule; if I need to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day I will, and then make up the time at night.  If I do that in the future I will be temporarily AWOL from Skype, which could be a problem.  I need to discuss these issues with her to be sure that I retain at least some flexibility - the main reason I became an independent contractor in the first place.

I'm a little ashamed to be carping about this when two days ago I would have been grovelingly  grateful for a job washing dogs at PetSmart, but the sale of our house closed today and I am temporarily flush with cash.  I keep reminding myself that most of the money will drain out of my account again next Friday when (I hope) I buy my replacement home.  I need to knuckle down and get to work, Skype or no Skype.  If it gets too annoying, maybe I can claim that my laptop camera isn't working, or adopt Dilbert's strategy of holding a hand puppet of my professional self in front of my bleary early-morning face.

"On my fourth day of telecommuting I realize that clothes are totally unnecessary." ~Dilbert

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