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Self-interview: What do I like most about web working? January 11, 2007

Posted by shahan in random.

Having been a contract web programmer during and outside of my time as a student, I’ve provided a brief self interview to answer the questions from the hip Web Worker Daily blog including downsides as well. I’ve considered these questions in the light of contract work as opposed to web workers within a corporate environment. Hopefully, this will be helpful for those considering entering the industry or reassuring for those already enrolled in online web design courses and programs.

What do you like most about being a web worker?

The original article.

Is it the freedom to work when you want to work?

Pro: This is the best feature in my opinion. I am a night owl and have no problems working the 9pm to 5am shift. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how night-shift workers have poorer health regimes and such but I believe I’ve done well against this through my regular squash games, biking and workout regimen. The ability to take breaks as desired and figure out my own schedule

Con: Lack of a regular schedule can encourage laziness, extended vacations, and easy distraction.

The possibilities to work from anywhere?

Pro: At Work, school, home, or friend’s house, emergencies, updates, or quick fixes are easily taken care of. Since most of the work I did was not processor or bandwidth intensive, I was not hindered by the tech environment. It was cool to work in between classes to take care of the little things.

Con: Something that is difficult to do is controlling the environment which allows you to be most creative. As described in Scott Berkun’s Art of Project Management, it’s essential to notice the things that encourage and fit these moments into the lifestyle because creative work is not sudden, it takes effort.

The culture?

Pro: The culture is definitely much more different than in a corporate environment. It is more liberal and expressive while at the same time quicker feedback is obtained on ideas which can then influence the project. I’ve often felt that the people are interesting because it’s not simply a day job, and since they also have the freedom of different schedules, their personal activities are more diverse.

Con: Because it’s not a day job, if performance is not up to par it will be noticed. Diverse schedules also means that you may not be in constant interaction with people who influence you in a positive way. It takes a lot of strong will power to continue on your own path and not be misguided by the frivolities life throws in the way.

Doing things effectively and your way?

Pro: While politics still exists and is essential to attain goals, you know that you are working with others who have an independent mindset and it’s not simply your word against theirs, everyone is working towards the success of the end result and if someone falters along the way, it will be recognized. Recognition of talent and skill is more appreciated with the rewards of positive encouragement.

Con: There are lots of people smarter than I and sometimes it’s good to be told, even if the remarks are negative on an internally inspired brilliant idea. These learning experiences are essential to what make things more effective through time.

Working in your own space?

Pro: Can make myself as comfortable as I want, put music on, wear those big fluffy bunny slippers (with nothing else on).

Con: My bed is right next to my table and the kitchen not far off. It may seem sometimes like the family should just disappear.

To summarize, web working as a contract worker takes a lot of will power, self-motivation, and strong internal direction. Meeting others of this same kind is encouraging to be good, stay up-to-date, and keep yourself interesting enough for the next project.

I do have some feedback for the article referenced though, it mentions that 2007 is the year of the web worker, I completely disagree as I considered myself a web worker when I started. The term ‘agile worker’ has been around for a while such as in this article. Aside from the common understanding of the overvalued tech companies that contributed to the bust, I believe that the understanding of the lack of requirement for localization of tech knowledge and the current trend to contract out technical functions contributes to the ever increasing wave of web workers.



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