Running a website isn’t always fun or easy. And for me, it has never been profitable. But it wasn’t really about profit; it was about offering content to people interested in said content. That is, until recently.
Until recently, this site’s (admittedly very cheap and quite reliable) hosting and Domain were paid for out of pocket from earnings from my “normal” job, which was a crappy retail thing whose details are both embarassing and irrelevant. In any case, I recently quit/got fired (depends who you ask), and as a result I am trying several things.
First, I want something involving computers; or at least something that will leverage my abilities with regard to their hardware and software. I am sick and tired of jobs that are “work”; now, don’t take that the wrong way. I am willing to work, but I don’t want work that doesn’t adequately make use, and even aim to expand, my skillset. My previous job was a brainless activity, and it’s intellectual demands could probably be met by small mammals. It didn’t use any of my computer related expertise that I’ve developed over the years. they are hardly professional level abilities but they still exist and I want them to be used in a manner that I can both live off of, find enjoyable and most importantly develop those abilities further. As a result of this, I have been scouring for such locations in my area (relocation at this juncture is not a financially able decision). I have found a few, but they appear to be small shops unlikely to need additional personnel and possibly even struggling to keep out of the red as it is (and thus unlikely to risk the hiring of more employees). I have contacted a few, but none have gotten back to me, and that is rather discouraging (if not a bit unsurprising). Barring those possibilities, which I will admit feel rather far-fetched (even if my skillset would still be a superset of what is needed for those occupations), there is only one other chance. And it’s hypocritical because I ranted about it before in a post I have since hidden since I applied to these places.
Brick & Mortar electronics retailers. Now, I’ll be honest; I’ve personally not had issues with them myself; my own laptop was purchased from Future Shop, and the people there didn’t fit the stereotype often prescribed of them. They do have a bit of an aura, particularly on the support forums I visit, although I suspect there is a bit of a correlation since the only times somebody generally posts on a computer help forum would be after they have problems with the support and guidance provided by a Brick & mortar store, so in many ways we only hear the bad stories. I imagine this is not atypical; you really only hear the bad news a lot of the time.
My reasoning on this is simple. It would be better than what I was working at before. At the very least, there will be electronics involved and I can apply my actual knowledge, rather then having it go to waste aside from my personal endeavours.
Ironically, the most promising (in terms of fit) out of these that I visited was the most unexpected; London Drugs. This is obviously not primarily about computers and electronics, however they do have a relatively large electronics section, and from what I heard while there they truly do know what they are talking about; the staff I overheard knew the specification limit for USB cables I have to say that was pretty impressive, given the common stereotype behind computer retail. And it was much better than Best Buy, which was a bit sour; as one may know, all these locations generally only allow applications on-line (which if you ask me is kind of stupid); as such I was merely given a card or paper thing that had a URL on it, but that URL is dead. Which makes sense since the paper was printed in 2003. Not a good impression.
Now that said that is also a good thing because I rather enjoy the self-indulgent honour of knowing I am smarter than my colleagues, even if I don’t express that too loudly. Careful posturing could mean quick promotions, but, there is the additional problem that I think much of that is commission and if that is the case I would probably be screwed. I’m not a salesman, I can lie, but not to intentionally deceive somebody in a way that only serves to benefit me. I couldn’t in good conscience recommend say Monster Cables over more expensive cables because I have yet to see any verifiable third party data justifying that extra cost. This goes for much of the other stores that would have this as well. The only saving grace might be that much of these places have service centers where techs repair the machines; I can say with some conviction that I would be, if anything, over-qualified for such a position, given my experience dealing with hardware, software, and a multitude of Operating Systems. It might not leverage my abilities with Programming languages, but that is something I can still develop on my own; eventually and with some luck I may find a position that fits with those skills as well, but right now it’s more or less me trying to desperately claw at least one more rung up the ladder to try to leverage the unique skills that I do have, rather then sitting at the bottom of the food chain. (metaphorically speaking).
The other alternative would be to try to leverage what I already have- this website, to be precise. it’s paid for the next several months, and I have had adsense on it for a while but that’s generated a grand total of I think 20 dollars over the last two years, which isn’t close to the money I spent on the site and it’s maintenance. I also added a donation button to the main page, but nobody has used it. Maybe it’s broken. I like to think my tools and applications are useful to somebody- aside (from myself, I use BCSearch rather frequently), but it’s starting to appear that that is not the case, and it’s rather discouraging. I don’t feel their quality would fetch a price tag even if I wanted it to, given the improvements to BASeBlock, I might be able to charge a reasonable price, but as a game it’s value is much diminished because plenty of other, much higher-quality games can be found via other distribution methods. Additionally, it would counter my previous assertions that I “would never charge” for it, making me something of a hypocrite, which to be fair I don’t care about. It’s that, or other ad networks, and I’m trying them but
The fact is, I’ve spent a fair lot of time working on all these applications, and While I can’t deny or dislike the fact that there is a measurable gain in aptitudes for development with each new project, the fact that none of them gives anything else back- neither in the form of a income nor in the manner of a simple “hey, thanks for this tool”, is extremely discouraging. The market for software is simply not the same as it once was, especially for games. I have tried to offer my abilities for software development and website design for freelance work, and I am cautiously hopeful that I may be able to offer my skills to those in need of them.
The basic problem, as my title ascertains, is that it can be difficult to properly get one’s foot in the door; How do you distinguish yourself and your skills from the multitude of others who are vying for the same positions but might not be as good a fit? Especially when your only interaction with a prospective employer is by way of online communication?
530 total views, 4 views today