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Friday, March 19, 2010

Welcome to RatRace Rebellion

LiveOps, a leader in the home-agent movement (and one of our advertisers), has told us that they’re actively expanding their agent base for a variety of in-bound customer-service roles.

For more, see the .

(We posted this lead a few days ago on our  but we’ll repost it here, as these are unusual positions: they’re full-time, pay $16-$20 per hour, and include “a generous benefits package, retirement programs, along with comprehensive medical, dental and vision plans.”)

American Express and Alpine Access are looking for full-time home-based Customer Care Professionals to “[respond] to phone calls from existing customers, making it easy for them to do business with us, recognizing their value to us and solving their issues.”

For details, go to .

BusinessWeek carried a startling statistic recently. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), China’s self-employment rate is a whopping 51.2%.

What’s the US rate? 7.2%.

Perhaps you’re tempted to discount the China rate by thinking, “It’s just a developing economy, so many people HAVE to be self-employed.” That’s probably true to a degree, but other stats from  and the (GEM) paint a fully entrepreneurial picture.

China substantially exceeds the US in its

-- Nascent Entrepreneurship Rate (people in the process of launching a business)
-- New Business Ownership Rate
-- Established Business Ownership Rate  

“I want to run a sandwich shop” vs. “I want to GET BIG”
Finally, China’s entrepreneurs aren’t like the small-business folks you often see in the US, whose expectations are certainly respectable but usually modest, too. Chinese entrepreneurs are thinking big and bold, and brimming with confidence.

According to a GEM study, from 2004-2009 the rate of “high-expectation” entrepreneurship in China (where the entrepreneur expects to create more than 19 jobs) exceeded every country covered by the study.

What does this mean for U.S. workers?
We don’t have enough room here to explore the theme in detail, but let me list some thought-starters. Bearing in mind China’s entrepreneurial statistics, consider the following:
  • China has 384M people online now. (The population of the entire US is 300M.)
  • Only 29% of China’s 1.3B people are online. 
  • The Internet is the most fertile bed for entrepreneurship the world has ever seen.
  • In many ways, the US (against its will) is already becoming a “nation of freelancers.” The employer-employee bond of yesterday is long gone, and few expect any job to last.
  • Even before this latest recession, the General Accounting Office estimated that 30% of the US workforce was “contingent” (temps, freelancers, part-time workers, etc.).
Adding a cue from , is it an exaggeration to suspect that we Americans are in for a heck of a contest?

Meanwhile, US Public Schools Groom “Employees,” while Future Entrepreneurs Get Ritalin
I have long disagreed with the propensity of US public schools to foster “employee” mindsets while neglecting if not squelching entrepreneurial thinking. Regrettably, the current emphasis on testing – much of it stemming from federal legislation, however well-intentioned – may have made matters worse.

(While I understand the need for performance standards and school accountability, rote memorization and cramming for state tests are the antithesis of entrepreneurial activities. They squander and demoralize creative and gifted teachers, too, turning them into metronomes and martinets.)    

In the meantime, careless diagnoses of “ADD” and “ADHD” – with their accompanying drugs – can burden and stigmatize children for behaviors that, viewed through a different lens, might equally be seen (if not honored and celebrated) as the signs of future entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, and other indispensable members of a vibrant and thriving society – a society that believes in itself.    

Now, it too often seems, loving parents must increasingly mitigate the influences of school, even while trying to encourage and support their children’s engagement there. With a growing heaviness of heart – ours and theirs – we shuttle our children to the door of a place that all too frequently bores them, discourages them, puts them at risk of erroneous and stigmatizing medical diagnoses, and harangues them (and us) with a growing swarm of rules and regulations that would rival the IRS Tax Code.

I salute school teachers and administrators who struggle against these trends and do their best in an increasingly unwelcoming field. They must deal with indifferent, negligent or abusive parents, crowded classrooms in ad-hoc trailers, meddling legislators, predatory lawyers, and a host of other ills. They must share their hearts with children for whom school is a refuge. We should do far more to honor and reward these standard-bearers, who against worsening odds inspire, care about, and protect our children, too, in the best sense of the word.     

And in the meantime, behold China…

I spoke with Noreen O’Leary at BRANDWEEK recently about how so many home-based and other non-cubicle workers (the “mobile workforce”) need a casual, business-friendly place to hang out.
For its part, McDonald’s is experimenting with more business-oriented d├ęcor (discussed in the article), and I have a feeling that Starbucks will soon be changing to accommodate the 100M+ US folks looking for a place to pause, login, snack, chat, maybe buy an “office product,” and recharge.
Coworking centers already cater somewhat to the need, but as innovative as they are, the concept needs a national brand behind it for a quick rollout, trust, low pricing, adoption, etc. There’s a large nationwide demand waiting to be met, and it’s only going to grow.
For more, see (I pop in on page 2). 
My 10-year-old daughter Jazz loves it when I read to her, and so did my (now grownup) son Travis. I think all children must love a story in the voice of someone who cares for them.
But families are notoriously scattered these days, so thankfully a new service helps cross the storyreading distance. Readeo lets you videochat with your kids or grandchildren as you share a virtual book. For more, . (With a tip o’the hat to for the news.)
Carl Honore, a friend and author of such books as  and , is thinking about a new book and asked me to ask you for your thoughts on it.
The core concept is that “quick fix" solutions usually don’t work (in business, politics, education, relationships, medicine, etc.), and he’s looking for a different approach – a slow approach – to tackling problems.   
Carl is at .


DEAR R3: Since I got laid off last year, I’ve been doing odd jobs online from home, writing, reviewing websites, and answering questions on Kgb. But I lost my health insurance when I got the pink slip. Is there any place where I can get health insurance as a freelancer?

R3: For insurance possibilities, have a look at . To make the most of your new freelance life – which may well be the dominant employment model of the future – see Michelle Goodman’s blog, , and her book (highly recommended, see blog for details), “My So-Called Freelance Life.”

For the details – including how the actual fraud figures are probably dramatically higher – see .

In the futuristic movie “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise was treated to a stream of tailored ads that keyed off his retina as he moved about his world. In the interim, Wichita, Kansas’ Integrated Media Group and Jason Opat have designed a “virtual concierge” hologram based on beauty pageant winner and model Elizabeth Rizo.

Operating from any glass surface (for example, storefronts or displays in malls), “Elizabeth” can help consumers as they stand in front of her and interact by touch with her hologram. 

Now if I could just get “Elizabeth” to drive my car in Beltway traffic… 

For more, see the article in the and .

Next time a passerby asks you a question in a foreign language, call Google and put them on. Google will automatically translate the words into English for you. Then it will translate your answer back for your passerby’s edification.

“The free application, called Google Translate, works on phones that run Google's Android operating system. It can translate text to and from more than 50 languages -- including Icelandic, Slovenian and Swahili -- and has so far been downloaded more than 250,000 times since its January release,” says .

I wonder if some day we’ll all wear headphones when we visit other countries, and software will seamlessly convert the languages for us. That would have helped me when I visited London, and couldn’t understand a word anyone said…

Herewith today’s freebies, brought in from around the Net by our intrepid freebie drovers. (Thank ye, boys. Shake the pixels off your chaps and go to the chuck wagon and get yourself some beans.)

(Fine Print: If you see something you like, be sure to grab it fast, as free stuff goes quickly on the Net. We ain’t got no control over supplies, or when the vendors decide to halt their offers or fulfillment.)

For our daily freebies, go to

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Quote of the Week
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“There were times my pants were so thin I could sit on a
dime and tell if it was heads or tails.”

-- Spencer Tracy

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Screened Job Leads
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*Editor’s Note: All positions are screened, but we can’t of course “guarantee” the legitimacy of any hirer or lead, so please do your own "due diligence" as well!

Also, please note that on occasion the hirer will decide to change the description or the availability of the job or project shortly AFTER the summary is published here. (Unfortunately, we have no control over this.) Therefore, be sure to read the underlying ad carefully, and apply promptly for any job that interests you.

1. Online Shopping Gurus
Internet Brands seeks online shopping gurus “to find and write about amazing deals that will appeal to online shoppers who visit our shopping websites.”

For more .

2. Freelance Travel Writers
“Freelance travel writers needed to write articles and press releases for several languages/countries - Austrian, Swiss, Italian, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish.” (App. deadline is formatted in EUR style, and is May 1.)

For more:

3. Automotive Blogger is looking for an Automotive Blogger. “We're looking for a freelance writer who loves cars. We write about all types of vehicles, but focus on enthusiasts.” 

For more:

4. Medical Transcriptionists
MedScribe is looking for MTs.
  • Full healthcare benefit package available to all full-time employees
  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • Production line incentives
For more:

5. Tech Gadgets Bargain Hunter
Internet Brands seeks a full-time Consumer Electronics Content Editor to “find, evaluate, and create original deal content for our portfolio of e-commerce sites. These sites include,,,, and”

For more .

6. Business / Finance-Related Bloggers seeks Biz-Finance Bloggers. “This job is open to all native English speakers worldwide.”

For more:

7. UI Designer
Worry Free Labs is looking for a UI Designer. “Pay can be hourly or fixed-price, your choice.”

For more:

8. Finance Tutors
SMARTHINKING seeks Tutors for intro-level Finance. “Tutors must be available to work a minimum of 9 hours per week. Applications are encouraged from full/adjunct faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and all experienced tutors.”

For more:

9. Scotland Travel Blogger
Ecosse Unique, Ltd. seeks a Scotland Travel Blogger. “As a provider of quality holiday accommodation in Scotland we are looking for an experienced blog writer to set up and maintain a blog for us.”

For more:

10. Academic Coaches
Higher Ed Holdings, which works with college students, seeks Academic Coaches in a variety of subjects.

For more:

11. Biology Tutors
SMARTHINKING, which provides tutoring services to high schools and colleges, seeks Biology Tutors.

“Responsibilities include tutoring and assisting in the training and mentoring of new e-structors. Candidates can work from anywhere they have computer and high-speed Internet access. To qualify, candidates should have at least a teaching certificate and/or advanced degree in Biology. Candidates can choose to work 9 to 20 hours per week.”

For more:

12. “Run a local news site…” seeks experienced journalists to run local news sites. Full-time.

“We have won acclaim in the industry and coverage in The New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Bloomberg, NPR's "Talk of the Nation," "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer," and numerous industry blogs and Web sites.”

For more:

13. Website Testers
UserLytics continues to advertise for Website Testers to review websites. Pays approx. $10 per test.

For more:

14. Streetwear, Custom Clothing, Printing, & Embroidery Writer seeks a Streetwear, Custom Clothing, Printing, & Embroidery Writer. “We are looking for articles that are on average 300 words covering areas such as: clothing design inspiration, garment reviews, how to's in the area of printing and embroidery, news on current streetwear brands, etc.”

For more:

15. UI / UX Engineer
Frog Industry seeks a UI / UX Engineer. “This is a short-term gig that could evolve into a long-term permanent position. Ideally, we're looking for someone with this kind of availability.”

For more:

16. Public Administration and Political Science Online Instructor
Kaplan U., owned by the Washington Post, seeks a Public Administration and Political Science Online Instructor.

“Kaplan University offers academic-year, non-tenure track teaching appointments to qualified individuals who are dedicated to a high quality associates, baccalaureate and masters program.”

For more:

17. Neonatologist Medical Director
OptumHealth (UnitedHealth Group) seeks a Neonatologist Medical Director. “The Complex Medical Conditions Medical Director is responsible for providing clinical leadership and oversight to neonates who are admitted to the [neonatal intensive care unit].” Requirements include
  • Active, unrestricted MD license in U.S.
  • Board certification in ABMS specialty
For more:

18. Expert on “Military Families”, owned by the NY Times, continues to seek someone to cover Military Families part-time.

“The guide to Military Families will be someone who has been active in the military while raising a family or the spouse, parent or child of an active member of U.S. military.”

For more:

19. Psychology Online Instructor for Kaplan U.
Kaplan Univ., owned by the Washington Post, seeks a Psychology Online Instructor.

“Kaplan University offers academic-year, non-tenure track teaching appointments to qualified individuals who are dedicated to a high quality associates, baccalaureate and masters program.” 

For more:

20. Expert on PR, owned by the NY Times, continues to seek a part-time Contributing Writer to cover Public Relations for its marketing site,

For more:

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All contents copyright 2010 Staffcentrix, LLC, "The most trusted name in home-based careers."(TM, SM) All rights reserved.

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As a subscriber to the Rat Race Rebellion Weekly Bulletin (the Bulletin) you understand and agree to comply with the following conditions: 
  • Staffcentrix, LLC makes no guarantees related to the quantity and quality of responses from prospective employers to client applications
  • Any information and services provided by Staffcentrix, LLC may be used only for lawful purposes.
  • Staffcentrix, LLC is not responsible for the content of employer listings or the content of hyperlinks within an employer's posting.
  • As covered more thoroughly below under “Scams,” we make every reasonable effort to screen employer leads and offer only legitimate postings in the Bulletin. Nevertheless, it remains incumbent upon Subscriber or his or her clients to qualify prospective employers. Staffcentrix, LLC cannot be responsible for the outcome of negotiations between employers and the users of the Bulletin.
As noted, while listings contained in the Bulletin have been screened by our staff, and we believe in good faith that all listings are legitimate, Staffcentrix, LLC cannot guarantee the legitimacy of all listings, and we can make no representations or accept any responsibility regarding prospective employers themselves. Inevitably, with the number of “help wanted” ads that are screened for the Bulletin, and the “camouflage” that inappropriate opportunities may sometimes wear, an illegitimate or inappropriate item will occasionally “slip below our radar” and make its way into the Bulletin. Should you encounter any lead that appears to be a scam, please report it to us immediately. Such items may include:  
  • Positions that were posted as "work at home" that are not;
  • Posts that turn out to be multi-level marketing (MLM) operations or "get rich quick" schemes
  • Any "employer" who asks for money before releasing more details about the job
We have a zero tolerance policy regarding such "employers" and, when they are reported, we will make certain that no further posts from these parties are allowed into the Bulletin.

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