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What Types of Jobs are Best Suited for Telecommuters?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the uprooted-and-on-the-go dept.

Linux Business 226

upwardlyAndconstantly-Mobile asks: "I'm a systems engineer in the IT department of a bank. My wife is a PhD candidate looking to graduate in 4 years or so. Due to the nature of academia, she may need to move several times for post-docs and professor jobs once she gets her credentials. Her job opportunities may come from any number of cities or towns in the US or around the world. My current skill set ties me to only a handful of major cities, so I am trying to figure out the best path to prepare myself for being uprooted. Besides running something like Slashdot, what are the best tech jobs that are mobile? How many people have jobs that can actually be done from anywhere they can get email and web access? What's the best way to prepare for something like this? I have time to prepare, but what should I be doing? (I write this anonymously because I don't want my current employer reading it!)"

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RIAA against music sharing? not anymore! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176119)

seriously... go see it right now, while it's still up... here []

Hacked again !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176154)

yay for the blackhats !

Your best options are ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176120)

Law or business school.

Re:Your best options are ... (1)

PizzaFace (593587) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176268)

I guess that was a joke, but let's make sure everyone understands that attorney licensure isn't easily transportable across state lines.

Re:Your best options are ... (2, Funny)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176307)

I guess that was a joke, but let's make sure everyone understands that attorney licensure isn't easily transportable across state lines.

In fact, I think there are regulations governing the transport of most toxic substances across state lines...

Re:Your best options are ... (0)

slashuzer (580287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176455)

Genuinely funny comment. Thanks mikeplokta for making me laugh!

Commuter Marriage (Wrong Question?) (4, Interesting)

jzoetewey (200538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176292)

Another possibility might be staying with your job. I'm not suggesting that you divorce, but you might want to try a commuter marriage for a short time.

Despite what you might expect, statistics show that people in commuter marriages are actually less likely to divorce than married people who are actually living together. At least according to the textbook of my sociology of the family class...

There are obvious problems (like not being anywhere near each other), but you can arrange things such that you see each other on weekends.

My Dad's a college professor and spends a semester in Washington D.C. every 2-4 years. My Mom stays home (she's an elementary school teacher). So far (some 20 years into this arrangement) it goes okay.

Granted it's not the same thing as staying home while your significant other begins her career, but at least for a couple years, it might be a worth considering.

At any rate it's better than heading off to get another degree (as suggested above...).

what are the best tech jobs that are mobile? (3, Funny)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176121)

Technology journalist

Everything else requires a modicum of face to face interaction.

Re:what are the best tech jobs that are mobile? (1, Offtopic)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176140)

Speaking of which... whatever happened to Jon Katz?

Re:what are the best tech jobs that are mobile? (2, Funny)

Pathetic Coward (33033) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176145)

Probably out of work, like other (former) tech journalists I know. The only story these days is the economy.

Re:what are the best tech jobs that are mobile? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176293)

Freelance journalist, researcher, analyst, some coder jobs,a lot of specific consultant positions where the main name of the game is analysing and interpreting external information.

I cut a heap of code from home, and was an IT journalist for years working from home ... and found mysefl to be very productive.


Prostitute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176334)

Street corners are everywhere.

Born millionaire dilletante. Look what Esther Dyson has parlayed this into.

Cultural huckster with a magazine. Mark Potok of
SPLC comes to mind.

Free lance writer of feature articles. Wired always needs them, last month they did one on water shortages in Uzbekistan.

Tech writer. And you don't even need to be accurate, look at Jesse Berst and John Dvorak.

Showering in school (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176130)

Do slashdotters enjoy showering with their classmates in school after gym class, and exposing their privates?

Re:Showering in school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176188)

Yeah, but I've been banned from the girl's locker room after the X10 incident.

Consulting (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176131)

Join a consulting firm or go out on your own. Work anywhere in the country/world during the week and fly back home to whereever your home is at the end of the week. Did this for years.

Re:Consulting (5, Insightful)

lrichardson (220639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176448)

Flip side of the coin is that MANAGERS don't like telecommuting ... kinda shows that they're not as necessary as they'd like the upper levels (not to mention the workers) to believe.

And, to be perfectly honest, given the 'immediacy' trend currently sweeping through the business world - (i.e. being able to get hold of people immediately - cell phones, pagers, e-mail, v-mail, etc - to make up for poor planning) - most of the time your physical presence is required.

Flying back at the weekend is kinda going out of fashion. Money is _the_ issue. I had the other route, three hour drive Friday evening/Sunday night for a couple of years. It works, but it also takes a chunk out of my life that could of been used more productively (1. It's unsafe to play Quake at ~77 mph, 2. There's large zones where there's no phone service, let alone wireless, in the midwest ;)

Support works remotely, and has done for years, but, again, biz types feel the need to see your face in the office (which looks like an extra from any ED flick after fixing problems throughout the night. Did work at one place that had a dedicated support group ... which worked very well, apart from the detail most people hate working midnight till 8 ... but, again, cancelled due to management concerns.

The value of actually sitting with someone cannot be underestimated. There's a gazillion cues in face to face, of which teleconferencing (assuming you'd have such a thing at your home) captures only a fraction. A quick sketch on a napkin can convey more than pages of e-mail.

Been at a couple of places that do use telecommuting for help desks. Then again, helpdesks have pretty much completed the transformation into helpless desks, a source of infinite frustration to be used after everything else has failed.

And, one option that works to varying degrees, is partial telecommuting. I.e. you show your face at the office once a week, or go in for a week once a month. _Some_ companies have pulled this off to the point where they have double the number of programmers than desks.

Translation work functions fine for telecommuting. Know of several people and places that do this. Not quite your line, but anyway ...

And you mentioned working at a bank. There's another issue working against you there ... managers don't like the 'security risk' of people dialing in remotely. Place I was at just tossed Citrix (128 bit SSL) for MickeySloth's 'more secure' version. Technical reality is not the same as managerial decision making reality ... what is technically best (including telecommuting) does not include all the other factors (cost, perception, fitting in with the corporate image) that managers also use.

In short, I'd say, if you can get it, go for a place that offers telecommuting, but the odds are still against never having to don a suit again.

Hmm (2, Funny)

zapfie (560589) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176133)



Re:Hmm (2, Funny)

k_stamour (544142) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176153)

* Swings Again *

Re:Hmm (1)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176180)

Actually, there is a niche market. Not mass dialing, but you could do telemarketing work for a big iron company, or a very specialised services company. Some major corporations are actually open to pitches that way

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176313)

Such as insurance billing... You set yourself up with the local doctors, and help them out by billing the insurance companies for them.

Systems security consultant (5, Funny)

KILNA (536949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176135)

Systems security consultant: You don't even have to be given access to the systems you need to remotely access!

Re:Systems security consultant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176232)

Sure, but you will be in a world of shit when they find out you just pretended to remotely access it for years.

Government work! (3, Funny)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176139)

I am a contractor a military agency and we actually have dedicated telecommuting offices set up. Plus you have to murder someone to get fired from a government job. Serendipity!

Re:Government work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176254)

Isn't the purpose of the military to murder people? You'll have to form a union if they think they can fire you for doing your job.

Well (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176142)

Massage therapist is probably right out. Commercial airline pilot, on the other hand, is probably just a matter of time.


Do what I do and fly (3, Informative)

CresentCityRon (2570) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176146)

I'm a software engineer and I fly to client sites for my job. Since I don't work at home I can live anywhere. Its reverse logic to what you're currently looking at. It might work for you.

Most very large companies have a Professional Services or Enterprisee Consultants. It might be a slight switch from what you're currently doing but it will keep you employed in interesting work while your wife establishes her career.

Time to burn some karma (0, Offtopic)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176148)

I just saw an ad for tigerdirect on Slashdot. Yes, the scam artist company with the horrible BBB rating and the FTC investigation against them. It is highly irresponsible for Slashdot to show these ads. I warn all Slashdotters, do not order from tigerdirect

A quick google search []

One of the worst ratings on []

Tigerdirect also is apparently a frequent user of spam marketing.

So what's next Slashdot? Alex Chiu life rings?

Re:Time to burn some karma (1)

Pathetic Coward (33033) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176164)

So what's next Slashdot? Alex Chiu life rings?/I?

Microsoft ads.

Re:Time to burn some karma (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176218)

Fuck dude, they let you post here.
How could they justify rejecting Tiger when they
let you run off at the mouth all you want?

Medical Transcriptionist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176151)

Most people don't realize this, but the majority of medical transcriptionists actually work from home as telecommuters. Sometimes, transcriptionists can work on the other side of the globe from their employer. There's a quite a but of technology involved, if you don't mind typing and like medical terminology!

Research Programmer at a University (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176155)

I commute once a month to NYC for meetings, use Net2Phone for phone calls and broadband internet to get the work done. End result: on the crappy pay, I can afford the mortgage on a nice home in the sticks, food, clothing, the whole deal...

Porn (3, Funny)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176165)

You can always publish online porn!

Last I checked the industry was worth 9 billion USD, plenty of upward mobility, you might say.

How to tell punny jokes on Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176220)

The key to using a pun in a humorous manner is to let the reader catch it at their own pace. You can't worry that someone isn't going to get your joke. There are thousands of readers here, a few of them will get it, and those few are the ones you are trying to get to laugh.

When you use a pun, just lay it out there. A couple days ago there was a story about employers spying on Hotmail. Someone asked whether the next step would be employers spying in the bathrooms. The response that got modded up the highest said that employers aren't going to keep logs. Did you get the pun? Great! Trust that your audience will get yours.

This goes with any joke. The key is to downplay the punchline.

Let's try another one.

I heard that Jeff Bezos and Michael Jackson are related.

Yeah, one peddles to bibliophiles. The other owns the copyright to all the Beatles music.

Re:How to tell punny jokes on Slashdot (1)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176249)

Lay off, Slash-dot-nazi!

Re:Porn (2)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176248)

Or you could be a phone sex operator - or has that industry disappeared due to online porn?

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176173)

I do programming and system administration work. There's nothing I do at work (other than sit through long, boring meetings) that I couldn't do from anywhere with net access. My employer doesn't like that though, so I spend at least 2.5 hours a day on the road.

It's the organization not the job (5, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176174)

Find and organization that encourages Telecommuting and it won't matter what job you have. My org does this and everyone from developers to project managers to secretaries can be remote if they desire. I am not only remote but I have a very nonstandard workday; pretty much whatever I want whether it's 2am or 9-5. I have never met most of the people in my department and many of them are remote as well.

Re:It's the organization not the job (1)

in.johnnyd (534394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176252)

Mod parent up. You can easily have a job that is condusive to telecommuting, but if you work for a bunch of morons, they'll say "Your start time is at 7... I want to see you at your desk!"

I write for my org, but if that need died out, I'd probably try sales or consulting since the company itself is pro-telecommuting.

4 years? (2)

los furtive (232491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176176)

A lot of things change in 4 years. What languages should I be coding in? What kind of certifications will employers be looking for in 4 years?

Yes this may sound like a troll, but ask the question when you're a big closer to your deadline. Who knows, four years from now maybe you could be running a laundry-mat from your home. []

Re:4 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176250)

I agree, this guy just wants to brag that he has a girlfriend, and that she is STARTING her PhD. WoW!!! Get a fuckin' life

Re:4 years? (1)

PoiBoy (525770) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176323)

The real question is, if your wife is already a PhD candidate, why does she need four more years to write a dissertation. Most people I know slacked off and did it in two years. A few people, myself included, did it in one year. Tell your wife to hurry up!

Work at Home Opportunities (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176177)

People e-mail me tips every day about how I can work at home. I've never looked into it, but it sounds like there are dozens of ways that you can be self-employed and make thousands of dollars per week, with little or no investment required. I'm surprised you haven't seen these tips, everybody I know seems to get them. I'll forward them to you if you want.

Joking aside... (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176203)

Starting up is an option. There are all sorts of things you can do with email and web access.

Freelance web design is the obvious option, but there are others.

Trouble is, even Google can't differentiate the good opportunities from the trash.


Re:Joking aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176284)

Every opportunities are trash. If you want to get rich, you'll have to fight on your own. There is no easy way to get up there.

Re:Joking aside... (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176412)

We ain't talking about "Getting Up There", we're talking about making a living. Big difference.

Take a look at what's available (2, Informative)

Peachy (21944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176182)

This link [] shows all the telecommuting jobs on Lot of telesales and technology recruiter type jobs, but not many real jobs.

Re:Take a look at what's available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176330)

I've sent resumes in response to several postings on Dice (most of which I was well-suited for, or at least my experience matched their requirements), and have NEVER gotten a reply, not even when I requested return receipt. Forget "real", I don't think any of them are ACTUAL jobs.

Re:Take a look at what's available (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176464)

The thing about job ads is they always represent the worst job offers out there.

If a job offer is reasonable, it will be filled from internal personnel, or from personal networks. The only reason a job hits sites like in a market like this is because they are being unreasonable in their request.

"My current skill set ties me to only a handful... (5, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176184)

You don't give us any idea of what your current skill set is, so it is hard to offer meaningful advice.

Question: is your skill set rare enough that your current employer might be conviced to allow you to work remotely most of the time? Perhaps you can offer to telecommute 3 out of 4 weeks, and be on site for the 4th week. True, if there are more people with your skill set than there are jobs you are screwed, but the fact that you are currently employed suggests that may not be the case.

You may also be able to start consulting in your current work area, and thus travel to the customers' sites. You might be away from your wife for much of the time, but if you are bringing in enough money you can consult 9 months out of the year, and coast the other 3. That may even work out better depending upon your wife's schedule - you may find you can take a nice vacation over the summer months.

Otherwise, you will have problems - if a job can be outsourced to Joe Bloggs in the USA over the phone, it can be outsourced to Miguel Jloggs in Mexico, Chackra Coggs in India, etc. If your skill set isn't rare enough, you can be replaced, so you will have problems.

Can you give us a hint as to what area you are in?

fuck @|-_-| (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176186)

@|-_-| is a moron. He should fuck off and die.


Please kill him thank you.

Which country (1)

dazdaz (77833) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176190)

You can do many jobs or even re-train yourself to do coding from remote. System Administration is often conducted from home so no real problems there unless it's a small company because you need somethere there to do physical systems work.

So your looking for a SME to a large company, very likely global, that will allow you to work remotely. Hmmm this is'nt going to happen. You need to define what country your wife is going to work in and then do something about it.

You could of course run an Internet business, however many people forget that even that cannot be run completely from remote, there is still paperwork, meetings, bills, landlords, and other physicalo necessities that you'll need. I'm sure some college kid on here will disagree with that, but then they probably hav'nt clocked up 1 real day of work in their life.

So in short, you both need to define what countru your going to end up in, before doing any more planning. Also bear in mind the differences in infrastructure between country's, you may not have access to ADSL/Cable modem/leased line in that region/country.

Good luck.

Re:Which country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176318)

well, I'm such a college student, and I'm AT work right now. All of my job could be done at home, with some rare exceptions. I do phone support/system admin work/programming, basically a general purpose techie. About the only thing you HAVE to do if you start a business is fill out those damn tax forms, just about everything else can be done remotely. Hell, my bank allows me to pay bills online, and most bills can go through bank draft.

And some large companies do let you work remotely. I can think of one fortune 500 that let(they've since outsourced most of these jobs) their admin staff do that, most of them still came in, but it was optional. So long as they could get email and do their job it didn't matter where they were.

Just had to go about disagreeing with you.

Online Tech Support (2, Informative)

c0enzyme (221872) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176195)

If you have a robust spirit (patience),
then you may enjoy an exciting carreer in tech support.

Many web hosting companies have online help desks that are ran 24/7. You are a smart fellow, so you might qualify to be at the top rung of tech support, getting all the truly interesting problems.

it can be done (2, Informative)

icedivr (168266) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176197)

I have a few friends who do infrastructure consulting for a multinational chemical company. I think only one of them has ever met the client face to face. They all work out of their houses and dial into one of the company's RAS servers. From there, they go across the globe managing 3,000+ network nodes. In a company that big, physical location is meaningless.

Offshore development firms prove it too.

Too hard to answer, but... (5, Informative)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176201)

I'm very happy with my job as a Systems Administrator for a major IT outsourcing company. Because there is an on-site hardware group, there is no reason for us to be in the office at all. My coworkers and I work from home (with new management having just created a less nazi-like policy than my former management) under very reasonable terms. In short, if I get my work done, and I respond quickly to requests, they don't care if I am at the beach or on the moon.

So, a Systems Administrator role that is not tied to performing the on-site hardware maintenance is a very nice work-from-home job. Of course, FINDING a position like that is tough!

How about (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176202)

His job! []

Remote Admin/tech support stuff (2, Informative)

rogermoquin (513883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176209)

One job I can think of is the one a friend of mine has, he's a Websphere technician, does all his technical support on the phone or by different remote admin solutions. Pays pretty well too, and he actually sends the phone bills to the caller, so he can do this anywhere he can have a SECURE (very important) computer to acess his customer's setup with a handsfree (much easier) phone. But keep in mind, he's got a truck load of certifications so it's just not something you jump into, but maybe with the skills you have there is a variant of his job that would work for you.

here's an idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176215)

your wife sounds like a fine piece of ass. why don't you pimp her out? hell, you should know that she'll need to suck the ol' scrotum pole now and then if she wants to get ahead in academia...

just make sure she douches every now and then so it doesn't get too funky...


Grow a pair! (-1, Troll)

Strom Thurmond (R-SC (310866) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176216)

For crying out loud, tell that slut to get in the kitchen!

She ought to realize, a woman has 2 jobs: Make dinner & make babies!

Re:Grow a pair! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176233)

Your old age has made you senile. Or do you *snigger* clean the house and do laundry?

Telecommuting not Nirvana (4, Informative)

Jerry Hicks (599962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176225)

As a embedded software developer who does a lot of telecommuting I can assure you telecommuting is not all it is cracked up to be.

On the home front, things tend to get muddled up and it's difficult to keep home and work life separate. Make sure to set up an office in a separate locked area so you can "leave the office" for the day.

I find that a good balance is to mix it up, spending about half the time at my place, half at the "real" office.

Beware the pitfalls of jealous and politically inclined co-workers who haven't been permitted to telecommute because they are perceived as slackers by management.

Re:Telecommuting not Nirvana (2, Interesting)

SledgeHammerSeb (520650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176259)

Yes, I second that. I also telecommute on a full time basis to a company that is 750 miles away from my home/office.

It takes the right kind of person to do this effectively. You need to learn discipline and the ability to communicate in various mediums. We use phone, email, and instant messaging; there is place for each, but effective use is paramount. The discipline comes in because the benefit of working at home is also its liability. You are always at work! Don't let yourself or anyone else take advantage of that.

The part about the office is key. A separate room is the only solution.

One last point. You need to be supportive of your coworkers. Not seeing people face to face can allow negative feelings to grow where they would otherwise not. Always give your coworkers the benefit of the doubt and be generous. I work with about 6 other people up and down the east coast, all telecommuting, and we have been doing great/profitable work for the past 2 years. So I know this works.

Re:Telecommuting not Nirvana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176328)

Where I work it's the slackers who telecommute due to ineffective managment that can't control the development process or the personel. The folks who "work from home" are the ones who contribute nothing. Explain to your manager that your behind because your coworker isn't contributing and you get dinged (e.g. "you're not a team player", "it's cultural").

I just wish I had managers capable enough to tell who the slackers are -- on site & remote. Of course, my immediatte supervisior is part of the problem.

It's no wonder that stock in the industry I'm in is spiralling down out of control.

Posted as AC, because I still need this damn job.

Re:Telecommuting not Nirvana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176337)

I worked freelance graphic design from home for about a year and a half without the separate room. I ended up working 16 hour days whenever a deadline was in sight - not because I HAD to, but because the work was right there staring at me. I wasn't able to sit and watch TV or just screw around the computer with a bunch of tiny little pieces of work stacked beside me. "Well, I can knock out a couple of these really quickly... " Get a separate room and phone number, and don't give your home number to clients.

Another thing to look out for is one of the psychological effects of working alone: feeling like you're the only person doing anything. At a 24 hour company I worked for, the graveyard shift guy slowly went crazy thinking that he was handling everyone else's work. He couldn't see that the other two shifts were busier than he was because he wasn't there. He got quite resentful.

That said, after working 3-4 hours of an 8 hour day at an office for the last couple of years, I'll be looking for something more mobile soon too. If you don't have to be there, it just feels stupid to sit around an office instead of your home.

Take some time off (4, Funny)

God_Retired (44721) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176230)

Seriously. Four years from now, you will have worked your ass off putting your wife through the PhD program. Having to deal with a lot of shit and being the chief breadwinner. It'll be time for you to take a break. She's got a PhD now, so you can sit back, figure out which beer you like the best, maybe pick up some tennis or something. Trust me, you'll want a break. Then after a year or so announce that your skills are outdated and that you are going to go back and get your own PhD.

Re:Take some time off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176288)

She's got a PhD now, so you can sit back...

Yeah, right... on a postdoc's salary? Bwahahahahahahahahahaha....

Re:Take some time off (1)

SledgeHammerSeb (520650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176294)

Oh jeez, be a man, be the bread winner and always contribute to that role. We have not evloved far enough to not be the breadwinner. Maybe when men start having babies, then we can swap roles, but not now.

I suspect if you "take a break" as soon as your wife gets going with her career, she will lose some respect for you no matter what she says. I've seen it happen too many times. Remember, it takes a man to be a man, do it.

Telecommuting (1)

dir-wizard (549259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176241)

To date I've never worked in an office, I've always worked out of the home. I've done everything from software support to development using the web, an email client and a toll free number directed to my home.

You still need people ... (1)

YahoKa (577942) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176251)

Even if you telecommute, you still need to see people face to face once in a while so you can't live *too* far away from your business, clients, etc. Until, of course, we have holographic onferencing or something :)

This is rather odd. (1)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176260)

Usually, women have less qualification for their job then their husband.
Perhaps you should choose the path any secretary etc. would take if they get a highly skilled academic husband:
Staying at home and raise the kids.
Of course, if you wife has an artsy-fartsy profession where she won't make any money ever in her life, this advice wouldn't be very helpful.
I suppose that is is also the reason why most female art profs at universities aren't married.

Re:This is rather odd. (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176312)

Naw... they get married... usually to other female art profs... but any other prof will do.

You need to talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176262)

with your wife about her status in the program.
A PhD "candidate" is one who has completed
qualifiers, has a research topic, and is
almost done. A candidate is not 4 years
away; a candidate is more like 1 year, in
lengthy cases.

So, you should really talk with her about
how much time it takes, and what her status
is in the program. Many PhD programs can
be ENTIRELY completed in 4 year, from admissions
to qualifiers, to thesis, and defense.

Are you sure she's been honest with you about
where she goes each day?

Tech writing (2, Informative)

y_a_duck (201454) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176265)

I have telecommuted for over a year as a tech writer for a large software company. While it's not so far that I can't drive in once in awhile for face-to-face meetings or to have my company-provided desktop upgraded, I do most of my work online. Even with a slow broadband connection (768k cable), email, IM, Lotus Notes databases, and the telephone are all I need.

YAAHH (-1, Offtopic)

.Ingryd. (604134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176269)

First post...WHOOOOOO!!!!!! I am the queen of the world BECAUSE THIS IS MY FIRST POST!!!!!!!! ::stats singing We Are the Champins:: ::stops, and begins singing Another One Rides the Bus:: WHOOOOOOO first post BABY!!!!!

How to Prepare (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176273)

find a new wife

This one is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176285)

Just be an IRC server operator.

Develop For Opensource (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176291)

Develope software for open source, sure you won't make any money but you'll be helping a worthy cause and your wife can support you :)

if your butt doesn't have to be in the chair . . . (1)

vizualizr (462581) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176324)

I just created my own telecommuting position with the company I am with. Essentially - I needed to move about 400 miles away for my family's sake, but didn't want to stop working for the company.

Just approached the boss with a proposal. Took a few months to grow on him, but he went for it - and its working. Its working better than we could have hoped. What it really boiled down to - is that the tasks that I actually perform have little relationship to the relative position of my butt in XYZ space. Now if I was making license plates or ceramic widget polishers or something in a factory .. it might be different. . . . but give me a fast net connection, a webcam and a mic, and in some ways it works better than before.

Noone takes my stapler anymore . . . .

work for yourself (1)

jhagler (102984) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176326)

After getting tired of working for someone else, read I was laid off, I decided to go into business for myself creating and selling databases. I currently have one which is a fairly all encompasing solution for university police departments and another for hair salons on the drawing board. All I need to sell and support them is the ability to travel to various universities and a cell phone and email so they can get in touch with me for sales and support questions.

This sounds like an almost ideal solution for you, moving from place to place would constantly change your sales area as basically anything within easy driving distance is fair game. You can support you existing customers from anywhere you can get email and obviously a web site for your product doesn't care where you are located, just update the contact info as necessary.

Timeframe for deliverables (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176327)

If you can learn to do something creative that you can do by yourself where delivery is measured in weeks or months. That is the first step. What that thing is depends on what you're good at or like.

If you can find a business that regularly requires what you can deliver, that's the second step. You may not have much flexibility until you establish trust, but this is your first client.

Once you establish trust (the third step), you can work from wherever you want as long as you deliver on schedule.

The final step is looking for more clients, earning you more money and more security.

Congratulations! You're a contractor in business for yourself!

(I'm working on step 4)

Cartoonist (1)

ibergman (600936) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176333)

I can't think of anything better than this. Ask Scott Adams about it.

If your artistic capabilities don't allow for this, I'd go with software development (self employed of course).

What... are you worried about getting fired? (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176336)

Why posting anonymously? Four years from now, you'll have probably gotten laid off anyway! In my past experience, employers don't like their employees looking for jobs on company time. But if their employees are making a big life choice, like moving to a different city in four fucking years, they're usually pretty supportive. I've given my bosses 6 months notice (after I make the decision, I give myself 6 months to tie everything off) for a move in the past, and they've always been grateful and supportive. One offered the opportunity to telecommute. It was perfect for a long time... 'till seeing nobody but my bitter and angry girlfriend day to day because I had no friends and no life drove me crazy. I was writing web apps, search engines, etc. Any web-based job like that would work perfectly. You could remotely administer an entire ISP, if you tried hard enough.

Re:What... are you worried about getting fired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176453)

Your comment about telecommuting working for you until you only saw your "bitter and angry" girlfriend reminds me of an ex-employee at our company (who definitely, at the time, had a bitter and angry girlfriend). With a couple exceptions, though. The guy who used to work for us broke virtually every rule about telecommuting -- and he was only a few miles down the road from our main office. He never showed up when scheduled, we wouldn't hear from him for weeks at a time, and in the end it turned out he'd been doing practically no work (definitely no work to speak of) for the several months this went on. We fought tooth and nail with this guy just to get him to communicate with us and after almost a year just gave up and fired him.

The biggest problem was that this ex-employee took it upon himself to stay at home every day. One day he just stopped showing up at the office. We'd hear some excuses for a few days, then he'd come back in for a day. Then he wouldn't show up again for a while and we'd get more excuses. After a couple cycles of that he stopped bothering to make up excuses and lies about why he wasn't able to make it a couple miles down the road to our building.

Basically, this guy abused telecommuting in every way he possibly could. We wouldn't have cared if he had actually gotten work done while at home, because his job certainly would have allowed that, and if he had communicated with us.

On the other hand, another guy who has worked with us for a couple years now works from his home about two and a half hours away from our main office. He drives in once or twice a week, has a dedicated voice line at his home for work, is always available via phone, cell, IM and email during the day, and actually works very well. He gets a lot done, gets along with everyone else in the company, definitely knows his stuff and, most importantly, is still employed.

Of course, the difference between the two is that the guy we fired used telecommuting as an excuse to sleep in and slack off, while the guy who still works with us telecommutes only because he would spend almost five hours in his car every day if he didn't.

Here are your choices (1)

pvera (250260) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176340)

1. Programmer
2. Project Manager
3. Tech writer.
5. Instructional designer (or subject matter expert on your field)

Pretty much anything that does not require you to be a day-to-day first line supervisor for a team. Project management is possible since you are running the project, not the people.

At my previous job we had all these people telecommuting. The CTO telecommuted from Rhode Island to Maryland ahd he was pretty damn good at it. He travelled to our office once a month, spent two days in meetings and then back home for another month.

Half the programmers were telecommuters. Only one person out of 10 abused the telecommuting, the others played it by the book. They liked the concept so much that they did not dare goof it up.

Project managers do very well as part time telecommuters. It all depends on the project schedule and on incoming client meetings.

Confessions of a former ISP Admin (5, Interesting)

Jahf (21968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176350)

I was an admin at a mid-level (statewide) ISP for about 4.5 years in the mid-late 1990's. I had a similar situation to yours and didn't know where to go.

Turns out, if you are willing to move out of admin and more into marketing and research, the skillset is highly valued by many companies.

I ended up going to work for a small linux-based ISP equipment manufacturer that within a year got aquired by a major telecomm equipment manufacturer. I'm still with the larger company, though they have had some layoffs during the tech crunch of the last couple of years.

I started out as a field technician for technical support doing remote problem diagnosis and some travel for on-site issues. I was transferred to Sales (not my choice) for a couple of years as a Sales Engineer, where I basically worked as a system engineering consultant helping customers define exactly what products they needed (in many ways, this position can be the antithesis of the dreaded sales rep position since I got to say when the rep was wrong and both sides valued the fact that I was honest in my recommendations). During this time I started working with the product groups to define new products right before the smaller company was aquired. Later, after the aquisition, I found an opportunity to exit Sales (yay!) and went to work for the product definition group as someone who helps define various technical areas of a product that they were not familiar with, as well as provide real-world feedback on feature requests.

All of the above areas are good for someone with practical experience in the field who doesn't mind public speaking. I still work from remote and have moved twice in 3 years. Lately my company has faced lowered travel budgets, so I'm expected to travel less and get to stare out my back office window at the rocky mountains on a daily basis.

During this time I've been approached a number of times (without scouting for them) by other companies who are looking for a similar combination of problem solving/technical knowledge/public speaking for similar jobs. Note that you don't particularly enjoy crowds of people (I don't), but you do need to be able to hold technical discussions with strangers and write/give presentations to large groups (250 is my largest crowd so far) intelligibly and warmly. I usually retire to my hotel room after such a gig and chill out with a movie and room service while the sales and marketing folks go out and party.

I have been considering finishing my degree (I started working at the ISP and dropped out of school due to lack of time) so that if my company cuts more workers I feel confident going back into the IT workplace, but so far it appears that marketing and product definition jobs get cut at a far less rapid rate than remote sales positions at my particular company.

Network Engineering / Unix Administration (1)

_jthm (60540) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176353)

I work for a software company with five offices in the U.S., one which is about to close, and a single office left outside the states in London (we closed Cambridge and Calgary).

My title is Senior Network Engineer out of Texas, but I work for any and every one of the offices requiring attention to their network gear (mainly Cisco) or Unix systems (mainly Sun, with some IBM and HP). For example, at the moment I'm tracking problems across a matrix of eight Catalyst 2950's in London, trying to identify a trend in the significant CRC and frame errors.

As others have mentioned, this type of work has a significant hurdle - a physical presence is required at some point for work like this. Each office has staff that can perform the physical work as specified by me, and I do travel several times a year. The people I work with make a kick ass team, and I enjoy the job more because of them.

I was not hired into this position, however. The office I've worked in for many years is closing, and staff not relocating are given severence and sent on their way -- except for myself, because of my expertise. This is probably as rare a situation as you'll ever run across, and took some wrangling with management goons to make them understand I really don't need an entire office to keep doing everything I've been doing for every other office.

In short, I wasn't hired into a telecommuting job - the job mutated into a remote situation. I'm not sure jobs like this are even offered to new hires.

Good Luck!

Web Design (3, Interesting)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176359)

A friend of mine does fill time free-lance web development, and works with people and companys he never actually contacts physically all the time. All he needs is internet, a phone line, and a good long distance plan. (Cell phone with free long distance and alot of minutes). He tours with a band he is in and while in the van does web development on his apple laptop..when he gets to a hotel connects to the net VIA a AOL (they have local access numbers EVERYWHERE) account and uploads what needs to go up. It works out fantasticly.

Telecommunting may not be an option (3, Informative)

Zeddicus_Z (214454) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176360)

Telecommuting is one of those wonderful benefits that was supposed to give us all the oportunity to kick back, relax and work at our lesuire from home. As long as the work was done, and the projects on time, who cared if you started your working day at 9am or 3am, right?

Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work like that.

Telecommunting isn't a myth. It's not equal to the fabled "paperless office". You actually can telecommunte. However, don't expect to do it straight off at your new job.

Telecommuting has many advantages. It also has many potential down sides. Which is why 99.99% of employers will want you in their building, at one of their desks for at least your first 6 to 12 months. Why? To ensure that you actally can do the work you're supposed to be doing. It's all well and good sayin you can code like a guru, or are to systems administration what Tolkien was to the fantasy genre, but most employers won't take that risk on new people.

For situations such as yours where you're going to be moving away, I wouldn't count on telecommuting to make your life easier. Unless you're insanely lucky, no-one will give you a telecommute job - regardless of your past achievements at other firms - without testing you out in-situ first.

Limited Skill Set (1)

Pinky3 (22411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176367)

Let me get this straight. Your wife is going to be at a University. The last time I looked, every university had an IT department, and they are all desperate for people. They don't pay top salaries, but they are always hiring.

Or is your skill set so limited that a university wouldn't hire you?

Development (2)

Phaid (938) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176372)

For about two years, I lived in Kentucky and did realtime systems development for a client in Georgia. They shipped me the hardware I needed, so I could do the development and a certain amount of testing at home, and then I would upload the software to them and do remote testing/debugging with them over the phone. It worked out really well, and when I joined a consulting firm I brought them along as one of our clients.

There are companies that make telecommuting and remote development their standard practice - check out Art & Logic [] for example.

email tech support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176377)

I manage a web hosting company, and I never met most people that ever worked for me, they never stepped in our office. Those were regular, full-time company employees, some stayed for more than 3 years, and they worked from home, or wherever they wanted. All we require is constant instant message connection during work hours, and working on the tickets assigned to them.

They do sysadmin tasks, client troubleshooting, and interact directly with customers via the ticket system. Those people don't talk to clients over the phone, but if we needed this would be easily arranged with some VoIP arrangement.

So the web hosting industry may be an option if our competitors are doing the same (we're not hiring now) :-)

Good Luck!

Divorce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176379)

Divorce your wife and all this wont be a problem. Since she is probably smarter then you she should handle it ok.

Depends on the PHd I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176396)

Can you telecommute a welfare check?

Remote Program Phones (2, Interesting)

sting985 (605396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176403)

My company had a woman in TX do programming on a Lucent Merlin Legend/Intuity Audix system when we added a T1 switch and did a cutover. She'll get a paycheck but we never saw her in person. Everything was conducted over phone lines. She made either $75 or $100 a hour. Also investigate company layoffs as there might be a lot of experienced people trying to start this up on their own. It's something to look into without playing commuter, that's a lot of stress and it didn't sound like that's what you wanted.

Narrow View, Self-limited (5, Insightful)

ONOIML8 (23262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176407)

"My current skill set ties me to only a handful of major cities...."

Nope, it's your attitude that ties you to those cities. If you'll open your mind you'll find that your "skill set" includes things that could get you hired anywhere.

Drop all the way back to the very basics for a moment. You could pump gas or flip burgers. The chances are good that you could stock shelves at a Wal Mart or answer the telephone in a legal office. Work up from there.

The only problem that I see you having is that the only "skill set" you WANT to use ties you to those cities. I live in an area where there are quite a few folks who were in either entertainment or law enforcement in southern California. Don't ask me why people from those professions are so common here, I don't know. But they have either dropped back to basic skills to live here or learned other skills.

You can too.

Methinks you just need to open your mind a bit more.

Try not being so whipped.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4176409)

Who wears the pants--you or her?

And if you don't want to think of it that way, think about it this way: Who would stand to make the most future money and keep your family unit the best well-off?

You think professorial jobs are anything but hyped masterbatory positions where people who like to mutually stroke egos thrive?

Oh sure, there're some good places with great people to work with. But look at you--you work at an important position for a BANK. Dude--it's a BANK!

Don't give that up just so you can tag along on some self-discovery journey of your wife's only to find out prospects are dim and your financial future is in the balance.

Besides--you think we here, who worship our technology, would think you're anything but crazy for giving up a job that many of us would love to do for free?

Major League Baseball (0)

Hack Shoeboy (441994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176421)

I think you might be able to be a professional baseball player from home.

Software Tester (1)

aiabx (36440) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176443)

I test software for a living, and last year when going through a family emergency, my employers (bless them) let me work from home for four months. It worked out well. I went into the office every couple of weeks so that people would remember who I was and not steal my cubicle stuff, but even that wasn't necessary to get my job done well.

Question your assumptions (1)

philosophyandrew (598363) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176456)

Your question assumes that the only tele-commuting option is for you to work at home from wherever you wife's academic job search leads her. As you suggest, this leads to your family having little or no geographic choice: you live where the job is, no matter how disgusting a place it is.

Such is the nature of least until recently. Now there are opportunities to be a work-at-home professor as a long distance faculty member of a University or College. There are good jobs out there with accredited institutions, and the competition isn't as tough as for traditional faculty jobs because lots of folks don't know about these positions.

Two caveats: (1) some academic snobs still look down on distance education, and (2) there isn't anything comporable yet to a "premiere job at a Ph.D.-granding research University." (Then again, 95% of traditional academics don't land that sort of job, either! So, unless your wife is limiting her search to "first tier" academics only--a nearly suicidal job search strategy for academics--the distance education option is worth throwing into the mix.)

Job schmob (1)

HarryLeBlanc (566888) | more than 11 years ago | (#4176466)

The easiest, most flexible, and most lucrative way to earn money with computers is as a consultant. I've been working from home for years, and rarely see my clients (except for analysis meetings). Web-based development, database analyst/admin, sysadmin -- all can be done remotely, and usually ends up being cheaper for your client as well. In fact, why not approach your current company? Base your hourly rate on double your current salary, and you'll be beating the competition.
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