By Arthur J. Byrnes
So, you want one of those Telecommute jobs that you keep hearing about. Well, if you have been reading my articles you know that I try to be accurate and correct. Your email has been supportive and encouraging, letting me know what a good job you think I’m doing. This article is a little different. My hope is to get lots of comments telling me how wrong I am and pointing out what I missed, because what I am going to tell you is that finding a telecommuting job is a myth! There are some people who telecommute, and many more who partially telecommute but none of those people “Found” the job, they all made the job.
Now, before you fire up that email program to send me a note, please read on.
There are lots of statistics that talk about telecommuting. Depending on who’s statistics you use, there are millions, or tens of millions of people who telecommute every day. Yet, these statistics are flawed, since most include people who don’t really have a telecommute job. What most of these people are doing, is the high tech version of “Taking work home”. If you log into a computer at work, using a computer at home, some of these bean counters place you in the telecommute category. None of the statistics talk about true telecommute jobs, where you work for a company, but never go to an office, or leave your home office.
There are many people who “work at home” or “work out of their home”, such as Real Estate, and Insurance, sales people. These people often get lumped into the telecommute statistics because they log into a company computer for a short time every day. Very few of these people actually do their work at home, they do their work in the field, and do the paper work at home. In the past, these folks would have mailed a typed or written report to the main office.
If you go searching the net for a telecommute job, what you will find are a lot of scams, a few partial telecommute jobs, and a lot of sites trying to sell you reports and books. Just like in the off-line world, any job offering that makes you pay for the details, is probably a scam. The envelope stuffing, e-mail processing jobs are not jobs but are scams. Printing machines can fold stuff and stamp envelopes with no human intervention, and e-mail can be processed by simple scripts. There are a few requests for writers, but writers don’t telecommute, they just work at home.
There are several telecommuting sites on the net, but these sites don’t list jobs that you can get and be telecommuting the next day. Some of the jobs listed allow you to work at home 1-2 days a week, but you still have to live close enough to do the real commute the other 3-4 days. The site that some folks recommended as one of the best resource for telecommute jobs actually spends most of its main page talking about how to turn your present job into a telecommute job!
Maybe my definition it just too tough, but I have yet to meet a person who has gone out and found a telecommute job. There are lots of persons who have made telecommute jobs, like a coworker of mine who moved to the Carolinas, but the Florida company felt she was so important, that they allow her to telecommute. She like most telecommuters had already worked for the company, and had a long track record of good performance. There are also a lot of folks who perform telecommute tasks for companies, but are not really employees. Contract programmers and auditors fall into this category, they finish a task then rent themselves to another company.
So, please, prove me wrong. Send me the job listings where a company wants to hire telecommuters. Here are my rules. It must be a full time employee position, not a “1099”, contract position, piece work, or commission sales. It can’t be a field position, it must be a job where the person can sit in front of the computer at home all day and be paid. Any listing requiring fees or investments is excluded. Email the URL (web site address) of the job listing.
The first few folks who prove me wrong using my rules, will receive a free mouse pad from my personal collection.
This article was written in 2001 and still holds true. No one has yet to claim the prize, although a few have been close. Either the jobs have been 1099 or required a fee, or were a scam…
Arthur J. Byrnes, regularly scans the net looking for telecommute jobs, but only finds scams, and book sales.
On-line he runs Arthur’s Job Blog.