My sister recently lost her job. This sort of personal crisis is usually a bad thing. But she hated her job. And try as she might, could not get upset about losing it.
She called me, ecstatic. “I should be scared!” She nearly sang into the phone. “I should feel rejected. I should feel bad. But I feel great! I feel free! The world just went from endless drudgery to full of opportunity.”
I thought it was good news, too. I believe strongly that work is important. It’s more important than the money it pays. If you love it, it’s never work. If you hate it, life is too short.
(Also check out my previous post Find Work You Love and You’ll Never Work a Day.)
High on my sister’s list of priorities for her next job was that she be able to work primarily from home. That’s a common wish among women. For many of us, it’s about being there for our kids.
These days, I like to work from home so I can keep an eye on my teens. But I started when my daughter (now 14) was a baby. It was harder then to get an employer to agree to letting anyone out of the cubicle. But now many employers realize that people have legitimate reasons to keep an eye on their home life and that being able to do so can make them more productive at work. Even though some very high-profile companies (Yahoo!, Best Buy) recently ended their telecommuting programs, there are still many that get this. If it’s what you need, you should search for work that fits your life instead of breaking your life to suit your work.
I got a call recently from Noelle Frieson of JobProsper.com, a job site that starts with the assumption you wantÂ Â professional, skilled, legitimate, and well paid work you can do at home and helps you find a job where you can do just that. I told Noelle that my sister was looking upon her recent jobÂ loss as an opportunity to find work she loved that she could do from home. “Sometimes,” she agreed. “That kind of crisis can be the beginning of something great.”
So Noelle offered up these two lists of advice for my sister or anyone else who is looking for legitimate at-home work.
The Top Careers for Telecommuting are…
- Registered Nurse.Â Â Many insurance companies, hospitals, and health care companies use registered nurses to field their help lines.Â They also use nurses to supervise virtual health care staff and complete appropriate administrative tasks.
- Accountants / Bookkeepers.Â Accounting firms often hire freelance accountants to help with overflow client work.Â And many small to medium size businesses use accountants and bookkeepers on a freelance basis to maintain their monthly expenditures.
- Programmer.Â The demand for software and web programmers is on the rise.Â Many companies are looking for those who have earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in computer science or information systems.Â But you may also find work with an associateâ€™s degree or certificate.Â Most companies are looking for programmers with skills in Java, C#, SQL and other Web and software development scripts.
- Public Relations.Â Â This job usually requires creating and carrying out public awareness initiatives, drafting news releases, writing speeches for company executives, executing social media strategies and handling the requests of reporters — and can encompass many other aspects of communication between a client and the public.Â Many PR Professionals freelance or are able to negotiate a telecommuting schedule with their employers.
- Freelance Writing / Editing.Â Â Many large newspapers and magazines utilize freelancers.Â And Web content is in high demand. For editors, there are opportunities to manage teams of freelancers, edit niche magazines or e-zines or do freelance editing for fiction and nonfiction authors.
- Virtual Assistant.Â These professionals provide administrative services to businesses, but should also be willing and able to step in when other tasks are requested.Â There are companies such as VIPDesk, Arise and Alpine Access that are known for hiring virtual assistants for large well-known companies.Â You can also visit International Virtual Assistants Association to find out more about the career option.
But Watch Out for Scams…
- Go to JobProsper.com.Â We do all the work for you.Â Â We vet companies and filter out scams, we save the jobseeker on average 10-15 hours a week on their telecommuting job search, and we work for the job seekers â€“ not the employers.Â Â No employer can buy their way on to the site.
- Beware of anonymous postings.Â Yes, Craigslist is a great resource for finding jobs.Â Most employers will list their jobs on craigslist anonymously as well as on other job sites.Â However, when looking for a telecommuting position the company name is an important part of the vetting process.
- Is the compensation structure clear?Â Are they paying by the hour?Â Project?Â Annually?Â Are they paying a base plus a commission?Â If the job is not a sales position then you should expect a clear process in which you are paid.
- Contact Information.Â Visit the website and make sure the business has a telephone number and physical address.Â Call the number â€“ speak to the receptionist and ask about the company.Â You want to know that there is a straight forward way to get in touch with the company if necessary.
- Go to the Better Business Bureau.Â Verify the company on third party sites like Yelp, LinkedIn and the Better Business Bureau.Â Â Many times others will share if they have been burnt in the past by the company your applying to.
- Do Not Give Your Financial Information!Â Most importantly â€“ do not pay for a job, give your personal financial information to a company or cash checks/money orders that are not for the right amount.Â Scammers will send you a pay check or money order for more than you are actually owed. Youâ€™ll be asked to deposit the check or money order in your own bank account and then send the balance to another account. Unfortunately, the check or money order is always fake. Your bank will eventually identify this problem and will deduct the full amount of the fake check from your account. Youâ€™ll be out the money that you sent to the scammers as well as any insufficient funds fees caused by the bank taking the money out of your account.
- Hint:Â Look out for job ads that specify that you must have a U.S. bank account to qualify for the job; they are likely posted by money order scammers. You donâ€™t need a bank account to work or even to get paid (there are debit cards that allow for direct deposit).