Friday, December 29, 2006

Hard to get good help these days

Today I'm just going to vent about what's been going on in my life recently. I am not a happy camper.

I am so busy running my various websites that I don't have time to work on my own projects - my newspaper clippings and a shipwreck database. Since I've got some extra money coming in these days thanks to Elance, I decided I'd go ahead and advertise for help on my local Craigs List and pay some entry level people to do the work for me.

So first I tried my newspaper clippings project. Woman did 9 hours before she said she had to stop as her husband was being transferred. (Military). So I came and picked up the material I'd given her - several boxes, etc, with instructions to separate out pages that had articles on both sides (since she didn't have a copier). Well, she'd filed things in appropriate files as I'd asked her, but she hadn't separated out the pages. And, from my experience doing the same work, there wasn't 9 hours of work there. 5 hours, maybe. *Maybe*

I didn't say anything, I just paid her for 9 hours and took the stuff away. Then I re-did the ad and lowered the pay rate, and got someone else who is going to start after the new year. I'll institute a few more controls - telling her exactly how many pieces of paper I expect to be done in an hour, etc., so she knows what to shoot for.

Then, there was the illustration fiasco, which I believe I talked about here. I do have someone lined up but since I'm about to have to overpay on yet another project I'm not sure if I'm going to go through with this one.

I've got a notebook full of shipwreck articles. Each one about 500 words long, if that. I wanted them typed into a word processing file. From there I'd take the information cotained within, massage the data (since to upload articles "as is" would be to violate their copyright) and then upload them onto the web.

I counted out those articles, and there were 60 of them. The guy who I chose for the job said he could type 70 words a minute. As I handed over the stuff, I said, "It shouldn't take you more than three hours." And I agreed to pay $8 an hour.

So, two days later he calls me and asks me if I want him to continue with the job, as he's worked for *10* hours and is only half way through. There's 116 articles there, he says.

And I was just flabbergasted. I wouldn't have minded so much paying this guy $80 for the project if he'd actually finished it, but to tell me he's worked for 10 hours and isn't even halfway through - that is just plumb ridiculous.

Obviously, he should have stopped work at 3 hours, seen how much longer it was going to take him, and called me then, not done 7 extra hours and *then* called me.

And he's sent me everything he's done...and it's obvious from that as well that there's not 10 hours worth of work least not for a typist who can type 70 wpm.

I was extremely tempted to tell him to keep all the stuff I'd given him and whistle and wait for his money, but finally I thought, no, just pay him off and take this as a lesson. Either he's deliberately cheating me or he simply has no idea how to conduct business. If someone expects a task to take only 3 hours, and you can tell at the end of 3 hours it's going to take much longer, you contact the person THEN. You don't do an additional 7 hours work. Or if you DO do an additional 7 hours work, you finish the job in that time.

So, I'm not too happy right now. On top of that I've been redesigning my The Thunder Child site, and since I don't have a content management system I'm having to redo each page separately and that's taking forever. I didn't want to have the expense of a content management system - also I like the freedom of being able to modifying the layout of a particular page if it's necessary for the look of the article - but the time I've wasted --- I'm changing my header to remove the banner advertising I'd put up there, which I've decided looks tacky, as well as not generating any money-- is just too much.

I'm going to have to go see Night at the Museum this afternoon to cheer myself up. 3 hours out of my day that I can ill-afford, but I need a break!

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