Monday, September 16, 2013

Top Five Challenges Online Workers Face

Some people seem to think I have it easy. I work in my pajamas and I don’t have to squeeze into a sardine can of a jeepney to get to work. I also have mostly great clients who pay on time and I never have to participate in those blasted company parties where song and dance numbers are mandatory.

Not as easy as you think.

It’s not quite accurate to think though that my life is a breeze and that online work is chicken pie ala mode. I’ve been on both sides of the employment fence and I know that online work can be as much a cause of temporary insanity as an office cubicle.

Place yourself in the shoes of a would be online worker. Here are five very real challenges you might have to face:

1. No Work, No Pay

Online, there is no Department of Labor that’ll ensure workers are paid during holidays, maternity leave and sick leave. A good, regular boss might give you some of that but the default setting is no work, no pay.

In some cases, clients may even require the installation of time trackers so that more than five minutes of not typing, moving your mouse or staring at the right website will be recorded as time not worked.

Can you hear Sting singing, “Every breath you take… I’ll be watching you”?

2. Extra Fat

Years of working in a sitting position can give your belly fat and thigh cellulite lives of their own and they’ll start reproducing faster than rabbits. Exercise you say? If you choose to work 12 to 14 hour shifts of brain draining technical work due to economic reasons, all you’ll want to do after is to sleep. That’ll only make things worse for you. After maybe 7 years of online work, you’ll be unable to feel your legs.

3. Bosses from Outer Space

Again, I’ve been lucky to have great clients but who says online workers never have bosses/clients who spit fire. Some even spew toxic chemical substances and shrapnel. The worst of them will have come from seemingly distant planets such that no matter what you do, you will never be able to decode what they want but somehow it’ll still be your fault.

A number of these out of these world bosses also follow different calendars in their places of origin so your pay will never be on time.

Trying to figure out the inside of a client's brain.

4. Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Want to stay in the right side of the law? You’ve got to get registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Good luck with that. You’ll probably need that Da Vinci Code guy to help you figure out what you need exactly to get your papers and payments right. The system is so complicated, it’ll pass as script for an overdrawn prime time drama, one that’ll reduce you to tears.

5. Little to No Socialization

Because every minute spent online is 100% unadulterated work, there will be no water cooler breaks, small chitchats or company parties. You’ll forget what people are and in the rare instances when you’ll be able to go out in the mornings, you’ll even start wondering what that bright, shiny disk up in the sky is.

Yes, I’m exaggerating. Be mindful that this is a humor blog, but you know what I mean. Extroverted people will writhe in pain when they realize they only have their reflections on the computer monitor to talk to.

I don’t mean to show only the negative side of working online. As I said, I’m grateful for this kind of work, but this is in answer to those who think my world is easy and that I’m not entitled to complain sometimes or feel tired.


  1. The story of our lives... Just glad I don't have a boss from outer space. LOL!!!

  2. There are many online freelancers that I know. I myself have subscribed to some jobs while having a day job. These provide opportunities to make more money.

  3. I agree with the extra fat and no socialization. But well if love your work like me, It's still depends on how you carry your lifestyle. Like if you give little for exercise :)

  4. So far we are in a better position in the DepEd that even in summer vacation where there is no work, but yet we are receiving our proportionate pay for the said days of summer vacation.

  5. I think there are pros and cons with online jobs but the good part is if you work hard, you'll do better.

  6. hahaha! You always crack me up! There's of course truth to all these...I blog as a hobby but it seems to be becoming work too - sometimes a sort of way to help other bloggers - by haggling high-priced posts for them...and my only investment: charm! ;)

  7. I like your take on this, tackling a bitter truth and yet treated with humor. I really love writing for online assignments but there are really highs and lows we have to accept as part of the job.

  8. Boss from outer space rocks! This is so true!

  9. very lucrative but a little bit risky in terms of financial security. social life is very important to keep your sanity... like they say, "live a little". Yahweh bless.

  10. SO true. No work no pay and the one that I am experiencing mostly - "Little to No Socialization". Also the FAT :)

  11. I find online jobs fun and that's because I love what I do.

  12. I soo agree with no. 1. We also have no 13th month pay and bonus. Luckily, we love our job so much!

  13. all i can say is...hmmm...reading your post is like listening to my thoughts :)


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