Thursday, September 04, 2008

Filling my checkbook by filling a niche

First of all…you guys are so awesome for my ego! I’d love to be selling stuff on Etsy, and the thought that you think I’m good enough to actually do it makes my knitterly pride go all poofy!

Of course, first, I’d have to start making things that weren’t copyrighted and all…I am not a designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I suppose if I focused I might be able to come up with something…and it’s an awesome idea. Knitting being my best form of therapy and all, whumping together some “inventory” would be an excellent use of any idle time.

But I’ve also got another ace up my sleeve, and it is called short term contracts.

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the dark underworld of the IT Contractor, so here’s a brief overview of how it works. I contact some agencies, provide my current resume and tell them what kind of work I’m looking for, where I’m willing to work, and when I’m available.

They (hopefully) come back with a variety of available assignments. Unlike the average “temp” job, there is a contract involved. The language usually lays out the basic agreement between myself and the client of the agency – things like what work is expected, how much I will be paid, in some cases days and hours needed by the client will be laid out (for example, I had a contract once where my hours were very specifically 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – from half an hour before the stock market opened to half an hour after it closed, California time).

There is also generally an expected duration specified, anywhere from one week to “open” – meaning settle in, kid, we’re keeping you until we’re forced to give you up.

Most go by threes, though. Three, six, nine or twelve months. Frequently a “three month” contract is actually one that has no expected end date – the three months gives both the client and the contractor the ability to call it quits after 90 days with no hard feelings on either side.

The longer-term contracts are more desirable, the shorter-term ones are really hard to fill. After all, who wants to take a job that only lasts a week or two, for Pete’s sake?

Um…{raises hand} It’d be about perfect for me, thank you. Get in, get out, get paid. Got the cash I need in the bank, and I can get back home before things start falling apart around here.

Without months and months of endless grinding commutes and Monday through Friday obligatory appearances.

And the sad fact is, I need the cash. We just can’t quite make it on my husband’s income alone…we’re from a couple hundred to a thousand bucks short each month, depending on what-all we get hit with during it.

One trip to the dentist for the four kids is $660. Eldest needs braces soon-ish, Danger Mouse will need them later-ish, and Boo Bug has two teeth that are growing in not merely sideways like her sisters, but jutting straight out from her gum.

Um, Mr. Teeth? Yeah, the food would be down. You need to point down, not out

…stupid teeth, can’t even find the food

Captain Adventure has an endless list of “useful” tools and therapies we ‘should’ be buying for him. Special picture cards to help him communicate when words fail, adaptive therapy devices like ‘grabbers’, hard plastic whatnots he can bite on instead of inappropriate things like toys and siblings, private assessments by highly regarded (read as: expensive) specialists…

Oh, and then there’s Boo Bug allergy season, coming around Thanksgiving. We’ll be paying just shy of $300 a month for her allergy medications, from mid-November until early March.

Don’t have it now, won’t have it then…unless I’m pulling it in.

With luck and a tailwind, all my machinations around here will start paying off soon and I will be able to pull in the roughly $600 we’re short in the average month without actually leaving the house all that much…but until we get there, I think contracting will once again be saving our bacon.

Or buying it, is probably more accurate.

So I contacted a few agencies today and now…we see what happens.

Now watch. Because I have thrown out the net, suddenly all the other lines in the water will start jumping…right when I started thinking fond thoughts about selling socks and hats and afghans on Etsy, too…


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. Somehow we squeak by, but it's not easy. Wouldn't it be great if someone would just pay us for being wonderful? (Hey, a girl can dream!)

Tola said...

i know what IT contracts are. i finally convinced my husband that he needed something permanent for awhile though, because we have got to get on top of the debt mountain and get it all shovelled flat before he can go do the more fun contract jobs again. good luck to you!

21stCenturyMom said...

Glad you found a solution that works. I have not had much luck with these agencies but that's because I no longer do useful work - I just manage.

Nicole said...

i wish i could smuggle you some canadiandrugs for allergies.
seriously, i used to be allergic to everything. and im not exagerating. i was allergic to about 40 different foods, vitamin C, calcium, iron, copper, nickel, i had issues with nearly every kind of pollen under the sun, and rodents (like their dander or whatever). not cats, lactose or peanuts like everyone else, though.
i eventually got a fantastic new treatment that eliminated my allergies. expensive as all hell, and i went weekly for a year (my parents could report it on their income tax as a medical expense, though). but i'm allergy free. is what I got done. if you could find a local clinic that does it, you could get some of her seasonal allergies eliminated, leave the trivial "barely there" allergies, and that would nearly, if not, completly eliminate the need for allergy meds.
have you thought of selling ad space on your blog? i jsut signed up with and for about a half hour of work, i've made about 30 cents (i advertise on there for free which brings traffic to my blog, which i advertise on) and it's something I'm doing anyway. PW let's you request a payout for anything over 10$. it's a suggestion that could help out a little
good luck with everything!

Science PhD Mom said...

I so hear you! Well, we are squeaking by, but getting our debt paid off is in a serious standstill until the mammoth car payment goes buy-bye in December. I had hoped for this month, but alas, no such luck. Too many pop-up bills, and they just keep coming. Hang in there, I hope you get something soon to plug the gap!