Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Joys of Globalization

Globe Terrestre
Photo credit: BiblioArchives/LibraryArchives
Thanks to the internets, I can do my freelance writing and editing for people all over the world. A lot of writers lament that this means working for third world wages because you're bidding for jobs against people in India and the Philippines who can afford to work for $3 an hour. 

The problem with this line of thinking is that you get what you pay for. I know this because I have edited some things written by third world "English" writers. (I get that "food and swill" means "food and drinks," but I have no clue what "mauve and bear" was supposed to mean. "Wine and beer" maybe, but I'm not going to bet on that one.)

So there's plenty of work cleaning up other people's messes and working for people who have learned not to hire people who don't really speak English that well after all. My years as a techie also come in handy here - I insist on a wage that I can live on. I stayed employed during the dot com crash - you can't scare me into taking a pitiful salary.

My big complaint about globalization is that I'm always running behind. Because no matter when it is, it's already tomorrow in Australia. If I take the weekend off and start work on Monday, it's already Tuesday in Australia! If I get things done on Friday, who cares? It's already Saturday, and they won't get it until Monday, which is Sunday here, but still...

For someone who is perpetually buried under too much to do thanks to the backlog generated by migraines, this does not help my state of mind. I don't have clients nagging me to get a move on already. But it's already tomorrow in Australia, so I'm going to freak out anyway.

It's not like this is a completely new concept for me. In my techie days, I had noon conference calls with colleagues in the UK who were about to knock off for the day. Hell, I worked for Sony and it was always tomorrow in Japan and no one was upset about it. Possibly because my division had nothing to do with the head office in Japan. But still. 

Maybe it's being my own boss that adds to the pressure. Or maybe it's that the bar is set lower now, so I should be hitting it like crazy - writing or editing a blog post takes a LOT less time than designing a software system, and documenting the whole thing in a 1500 page document. Singlehandedly. (Oh yes, I used to be a total badass. As far as systems analysts go.)

Or maybe I'm just getting soft now that there are a lot more gray hairs in my roots than brown. 

I imagine that if I have a nervous breakdown, this is what it will be about. They'll find me running down the street (dressed in glorified pajamas, the freelancer's uniform), grabbing random strangers and telling them that it's tomorrow in Australia and why isn't anyone else more freaked out by this fact.

Seriously, why aren't you more freaked out by this?

What do you love/hate about the global marketplace?

3 comments:

  1. This made me think about what I had just posted about... modern technology. I groan inwardly about the fact that everyone is on-line all the time, and I am always thinking about how much I need to share 'immediately' but the truth is, that it is all about moderation. Without the Internet I would not be able to work from home, on the road, in different countries and for that, I am very glad! (and for the option to work in my PJs with greasy hair).

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  2. Not on par with what you were talking about but I love that I can get the food I ate in Japan at the local shops that cater to that market. It means I don't have to pay enormous shipping on buying a case because I only want one.

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  3. I love the fact that I could hire a reasonably-competent "second shift" managed by an agency in Mumbai so that I can leave a pile of work in my outbox and it's like the elves came in at night and did it all for me.

    But I hate that doing so would take the jobs and tax revenue out of my local economy.

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