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Have you got a telecommuting job?

by Anonymous Monk
on Mar 30, 2003 at 15:56 UTC ( #246739=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is not a Perl question - but it concerns being a Perl programmer. Have any of you Perl Monks got a telecommute job - I mean something completly virtual. I thought it might be a big chance for me - but instead of sending more than a hunderd offers to job posissions advertised on and I did not got any reply, I was not even given a chance to display my programming abillities. I am an experienced Perl programmer, with a few years of practice, used to be a team leader - and it all is in my CV. The job advertisements were clearly well matching my knowlege area. I did it for a year - and now I wonder what did I do wrong.

Comment on Have you got a telecommuting job?
Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by iguanodon (Curate) on Mar 30, 2003 at 20:05 UTC
    My experience is very similar to yours. I haven't responded to as many postings as you, I'd guess around 25 or so. Like you, my qualifications were a good match for the requirements, in some cases an exact match. Number of replies I've received: zero. By replies I don't mean job offers, I mean requests for more information, "we'll get back to you", or even "Thanks but no thanks".

    I assume this is because the pool of qualified applicants is so large, but I also wonder whether all of the postings on are really seriously looking to fill an existing position.

    I'm convinced, however, that job postings on remain long after the position is filled. IMO they should expire within a set period like two weeks unless 'renewed' by the person or company advertising the position.

    I hope to hear from more monks about their experience with

Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by zby (Vicar) on Mar 30, 2003 at 20:28 UTC
    My experience is quite similar. Here I post a feed back I've got once from the advertiser (and that job was posted for quite short time - I can't say exactly how long, but certainly shorter than most of the offers):
    Here are all the responses. The first column is USD, the second column
    is Months. The "x" indicates no information, but the person did offer
    helpful advice. 
    5500    3
    1200    0.5
    9200    ?
    4500    4
    1920    1
    3500    1.2
    2500    1.2
    15000   6
    x       x
    x       x
    9000    1.2
    x       x
    x       x
    1000    0.5
    3500    1
    2500    0.5
    1000    1
    12000   1
    5000    1
    2500    1
    1000    1.2
    4000    2
    7000    1.2
    x       x
    3000    3
    x       x
    4000    x
    4000    x
    7800    1
    2700    1
    x       x
    3500    2
    15000   2.5
    2100    1
    2500    2
    x       x
    8000    2
    4350    1
    x       x
    5635    1
    x       2.2
    5000    2
    2500    2
    15000   x
    5000    2.5
    4000    1       
    1500    1
    1000    1
    7500    0.75
    8000    1
    6800    2
    2250    1
    20000   3
    2500    3
    900     0.75
    Mine bid was the last one. It is possible that it was rejected because it was to low and did not look serious. Actually being rejected so many times I bided much lower - just to test if there can be any possibillity of geting such a contract.

      I can't say for certain why your bid was rejected, but I think you are partially right (I saw the spec that the job poster was asking for bids on). I see you live in Poland, so US $900 might actually be a reasonable rate. You should make a point of saying that in future bids, because if you were living in the US that rate would be a joke, and would make you look unprofessional.

      More importantly though, your time estimate is ridiculous. There is no way anyone, even a very experienced developer, could do what the poster wanted in 3/4 of a month. It might, theoretically, be possible with a team of very experienced developers, all of whom were used to working with each other. Maybe.

      The spec itself was not nearly complete enough to give a good time estimate for it, but it's about a 1.5-4 month job for one reasonably experienced person. Anyone who was way outside of that range (<1 month, >4 months) probably does not have enough experience to be doing these sorts of bids.

      FWIW, I responded to the poster and told them I couldn't offer a bid because the spec was not sufficient, but that I'd like to offer my services in helping them write a better spec so they could ask for better bids.

        Actually I was going to work in pair. This makes the money estimate even more ridiculous, even for Poland - I admit (actually a manmonth for an experienced programmer here is a little less than 2000$). Perhaps I did a bad job here - but after so many unreplyied offers I just treated it as an experiment and lowerd it to the least amount that I could work for and don't starve.

        As to the spec it was the most detailed spec I've ever had in my career, and most of the functionallity you would get from a good library with no work. I believe we could have it working in 3 weeks as we offered (actually we have started some not coding, but designing the app just on the spot when we got the spec - so you could add a week to the estimate thus you have a month and two programmers which is just inside your estimate). But once again I agree with you that my offer was not that serious - it was an experiment, and apparently that was spotted by the advertiser.

        Sorry if I did a bad job there for you fellow programmers, I promise to not do it in the future.

Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by hv (Parson) on Mar 30, 2003 at 22:14 UTC

    I think the bar is raised much higher for telecommuting, because of the need for trust - a virtue not normally associated with successful businesses.

    I've had several jobs where I started off working in the office, and when negotiating contract renewal after an initial six months was able to get telecommuting considered as part of the package. I think that the initial period was important for several reasons: on the one hand to show that I was inclined to work all the hours I billed, that I tended to complete projects within time and budget, that the finished code was usually easy to deploy and rarely caused later problems due to bugs or to grey areas in the specification; and on the other hand to get an understanding of the day to day business of the company and of my colleagues - what sort of people they were, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to communicate with them.

    The only job I've had in which I worked at home from the start is my current one, and there I had the advantage of word of mouth: the director of technology is someone I've worked with several times in the past (indeed I gave him some initial perl lessons, way back when) and a close personal friend. And in this job, more than in any previous one, I feel occasionally isolated from the rest of the team, and more likely to have problems with communication, because I have never worked with them cheek by jowl and learnt their peccadillos (and given them a chance to learn mine).

    As far as applying for jobs is concerned, I would never send a CV in isolation: I'd always contact the company or recruiters directly first (by phone if at all possible) to ask some more details and warn them my CV was on the way, and then follow up with regular additional calls to check that they had received it and find out what else was happening. Indeed, many of the contracts I've taken were not what I originally contacted a recruiter to apply for but arose thereafter because I kept in touch with them. Don't get me wrong, most recruiters in IT are quite terrible, and will try to push you in inappropriate directions unless you are firm with them (to the extent of modifying your CV to be a complete lie without informing you), but I've found them to be a necessary (or at least useful) evil.

    Hope some of that helps,

Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 30, 2003 at 22:50 UTC

    Telecommuting jobs are hard to come by. Jobs on are going to have hundreds of applicants. Check other places, make opportunities for yourself, don't wait for them. Find a company you'd really, really like to work for and make it known to them.

    Think about it from the company's position. Would you just hire some guy who needs a job and works from his home, or would you hire someone who really wants to work specifically for you and is ready to take extra steps to do so?

Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by zentara (Archbishop) on Mar 31, 2003 at 14:00 UTC
    It's been the same for have to marry the boss's daughter. :-)
Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by scain (Curate) on Mar 31, 2003 at 14:07 UTC
    I have a telecommuting job, but I didn't actually go looking for it, it found me. I should state up front that it is with an academic institution, so my experience may not apply to industry (in fact, it almost certainly doesn't).

    I was looking to move to North Carolina, so I emailed someone I knew at Duke, to see if he knew of any industry jobs in the RTP area. Unbeknownst to me, he was doing a summer internship with someone well known in the Bioinformatics/Perl world, so my friend handed him my resume. He offered me a job before he even posted an opening (talk about luck...). The problem was this was at an institution in an area of very high cost of living (Long Island, NY). I couldn't survive on an academic salary, so my new boss suggested that I could telecommute. That was 6 months ago, and things are going very well.

    It seems that academics may be more willing to let people telecommute, because in my relatively small circle, I know of two other people who do it. I think that is because of a recognized trade off--they can't pay much, so they offer flexibility. Unfortunately, I can offer any direct help--I don't know of anybody hiring right now, nevertheless, you may want to look in academia.

    Good luck
    Project coordinator of the Generic Model Organism Database Project

Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by autarch (Hermit) on Apr 02, 2003 at 09:07 UTC

    Like other people have said, getting a telecommuting job is not easy. That being said, over the past several years I've done several large contract jobs via telecommuting. Of my telecommuting gigs, one of them is for my previous employer, of whom I used to be a salaried employee, so they know my abilities quite well, and they trust me.

    The others came about primarily through other Perl folks I know, because of my reputation in the Perl community for my work on free software projects like Mason, Alzabo, and others. Word of mouth and networking is a huge factor in getting jobs in general, and is doubly important when you're asking an employer you don't know directly to hire you as a telecommuter.

    So I think the answer is this. Either get a regular office job, and then renegotiate, or alternately, try to build up a reputation for technical excellence in the Perl community by participating in FS/OS projects. The latter is a great way to build your skills and you reputation at the same time.

Re: Have you got a telecommuting job?
by sigzero (Novice) on Oct 15, 2007 at 21:01 UTC
    I had a part-time job but I blew it. The hours were more than I could handle coupled with a full-time job. Sig
      lol! Sounds like it was for the same company I had a part-time job for. However, in my defence, they supplied a 800 page manual, no access to the senior developer and when I couldn't understand their organically-grown multi-language server within 3 weeks, sacked me. My pay? Zero for a months work.

      Once bitten, twice-eager to try again... I live in a very rural area and tele-commuting is virtually my only chance of employment in perl without moving to a more populated area - which is a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.

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