Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where do you work?

When people ask me, "Where do you work?" I often tell them, "I usually work at home."

work at home

Then I also say, "But sometimes I work in a coffee shop."

work in coffee shop

"Or in a restaurant."

work in a restaurant

Yes, I can work anywhere I want. Anytime I want. And that's what I like best about doing Virtual Assistant (VA) work. I choose the projects I would like to work on. I choose projects where I don't have to log in and out at specified times. I just have to submit the finished product on the previously agreed upon date. For me, these projects are mostly writing jobs that I can work on practically anywhere. I don't even have to bring my laptop all the time. When I already have a topic to write on, I just need pencil and paper, and off I go where inspiration might find me.

Would you want the same kind of work? Learn more about doing VA work from the person I learned it from, Jomar Hilario. He will be conducting another "How to Work from Home" seminar in Manila on May 28. If you're not based in Manila, a more practical option would be joining the online version of the seminar. Read all about it on his webpage.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Twitter Power

Twitter is one of my main distractions when doing online work.

I first tried the service last year, and I lasted for about two weeks.

"Grocery shopping at SM"
"Coffee at Starbucks before going home"

I would imagine someone responding with, "SOOO???!!!" or "Who cares?!!!" Actually, a more realistic fear is not having anyone respond at all at anything I've posted.

I may have posted an original tweet or two, responded to a few tweets, retweeted more. But I felt foolish for not having followers whom I personally know. I just couldn't understand the logic of using the service for non-celebrity people like me. Who would bother to know what I'm doing at any moment? Why would anyone want to announce to the whole twitter world what they're doing or thinking?

So I deleted my account.

Fast forward to January this year. I decided to give Twitter another try because I see that many businesses and personalities have jumped into the Twitter bandwagon aside from having a Facebook presence. Being the news junkie that I am, I opened a new Twitter account and now am happily following news sites, news persons (persons connected with news organizations) and a few celebrities and businesses.

I still don't tweet about boring personal stuff like what I'm currently doing, where I'm shopping or who I'm with at the moment. (Although I do participate in contests and raffles to win prizes.)

Most of the time I just read the tweet feed and reply only to those I have a strong opinion on. I retweet also those things I think should be known by my 5 or so followers. I share my thoughts to those who ask for them. And it feels great when people in the news or others instantly respond to my tweets. At least I know who among those I follow manage their own account, as opposed to having an assistant who take care of their tweets.

News sites or media persons with Twitter accounts often ask for people's opinions on the day's events. I'd like to think that I help contribute to a healthy online information sharing environment. This way too, I get to have my voice heard in public issues. In the Philippines, a couple of issues being hotly debated these days in Twitter is the one on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill and the other, on whether the late President Marcos deserves to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes). People can voice out their thoughts freely. Hopefully, policymakers would listen to all and discern what is best for everyone. Same thing goes for businesses. People who follow businesses share their experiences and opinions on products and services. Hopefully too, companies take note of all feedback and work on making their products and services better.

Now I get the value of Twitter to ordinary mortals like me. I love Twitter because it generates public opinion that brings about change for the better. Long live Twitter Power!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Challenges of Working Women

Society has imposed upon women the full time task of home-making. This has made it very challenging for women who choose to work also on a full time basis. Having to take care of both home and work, working women are faced with difficult choices everyday. One issue that’s being constantly discussed in the workplace is creating work-life balance.

When my siblings and I were still studying, our mom was never active in the Parents-Teachers Association. Sometimes she would not even get our report cards. But we understood that she has to work to help provide for the family’s needs.

At work, there are women who choose not to do extra projects or do overtime work because they’d like to be with their family at dinnertime everyday.

Faced with lots of things to do at home and at work, working women often feel stressed out. Since there’s no extra time for exercise or relaxation, this stress sometimes leads to emotional and/or physical health problems.

To prevent health problems and achieve work-life balance, working women need to prioritize what’s important. As many prioritize family first over work, then women should not feel guilty when not doing extra hours on the job. At home, time management and delegation is important. Make a schedule for doing everyday chores, as well as weekly and monthly tasks. Ask the help of family members in making the schedule because they will also be helping in carrying out the tasks. Also, find time for exercise and some relaxation which can be done with the family too.

For women who have to work and take care of the family at the same time, a good option to consider is working at home. There are a lot of work-at-home opportunities right now. The internet has changed how the world works. We no longer have to be physically present in an office to work. We can work at home and do our job through the internet.

Women are good at multi-tasking, and are able to balance different roles at home and at work all the time. Work-life balance is possible when we consciously make an effort to have quality time for both work and family.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Benefits of Social Security

The name speaks for itself. Social security. Being covered by Social Security means you are securing your future. Having Social Security means less worrying in the future.

Being a Virtual Assistant doing project-based jobs, I currently work on small, multiple writing jobs requiring a few hours of work a day over the course of one to several weeks. Pay is usually fixed, a pre-determined price based on final work submitted. As an independent contractor, I get no paid vacation leaves and no medical benefits.

As a self-employed individual, it is my responsibility to pay monthly premiums to ensure that I continue to have the benefits of Social Security.

Social security is a government program aimed at providing financial assistance to those in need, in instances of loss of income, to be protected against the strain of financial burden. Social security benefits vary from country to country. The usual include sickness, disability, maternity and retirement benefits. Other countries, like here in the Philippines, have death and funeral assistance benefits. In the United States, they also have unemployment benefits.

If I ever get sick and be hospitalized, or God forbid, be temporarily or permanently disabled, my paid premiums will enable me to get a certain amount of money to help tide me over the difficult situation. It’s great to know that while I’m actively working today, I’m also saving up for my retirement. While some people lament that the amount that I’ll be receiving as pension in my retirement years may not be much, I’m sure it will be a big help in paying for everyday expenses. Contributing to social security payments now means lesser financial strain in the future for me and my loved ones.

We all face uncertainties in the future. Yes, let us not waste our precious energy worrying about what might or might not happen. What is important is to focus to do good today so that we will have less worrying in the future. That means we should take good care of ourselves every single day.