Posted On: 2006-09-12
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Ok. So you want to work from home and avoid the long commutes. Get out of the rat race, find work over the Internet. Have you ever had this dream? I know I have, in fact I'm living the dream. Our guest today is Michael Haaren, cofounder of Staffcentrix and editor of the "Rat Race Rebellion." Michael and Staffcentrix CEO Christine Durst design and deliver virtual career training programs for the U.S. Armed Forces, and the U.S. State Department. He and Chris also publish the Rat Race Rebellion, a weekly bulletin of screened home-based, freelance projects and jobs. Welcome to the show, Michael! What kind of freelance jobs or projects are out there now, and what kind of trends are you seeing in virtual freelancing?
Well Anita, thanks for having me. There are, I guess the freelance jobs we're seeing really run the gamut. Everything from oh, basic data entry jobs to some rather arcane positions like theater confirmation coordinators which I can explain in just a second. Merchandisers, onsite merchandisers, folks who go out and look at snack displays in stores and that is, that is kind of a hybrid, it's home-based and also you're using your car to go to the local store and check on Kellogg's snacks. What else have we seen? Oh, we're seeing a lot of HR related positions, marketing support positions, and most recently in the Rat Race Rebellion, we featured a lead on U.S. Census Bureau survey takers, people who would be going door-to-door and taking U.S. Census Bureau surveys. So it really does run the gamut.
Go ahead, Michael.
I was going to say, as far as trends are concerned, I think that with the penetration of broadband Internet and continuing trends in outsourcing, and homesourcing, that is where outsourcing is done within the United States, the range of freelance work is really growing exponentially. Since we started publishing the Rat Race Rebellion a couple years ago, we've just seen the breadth, the spectrum of jobs and freelance project growing almost by the month.
Well tell us how you got involved in this whole area. It seems like a very unusual area, and it's very new, this whole virtual career movement, isn't it?
Well, that's true, Anita. I guess, a friend of mine said that her favorite period when she's watching movies is the Jurassic period. And I guess if you're taking a long-term view, it is extremely new. But in terms of the Internet, it's not that new, I would say, because my business partner, Christine Durst is credited with having founded the virtual assistant industry in 1995, which would make the virtual assistant niche itself oh, approximately 11 years old. But I would say that things really began to take off probably in the dot com boom in the hey-day years of 99 and 2000. And then with the spread of broadband, things really started to pick up...