The Work at Home Job Scam, the New Factory
It costs me $20-$30 per hour worked to have a work at home job. Working from home is totally different, I am talking about a specific classification of job, the work at home job. The job that targets those who want to spend more time with their family, not waste half their life in traffic, the homeschool mom, the out of work in between work individual.
Notice I didn't say it made me x-amount of money, but it has cost me x-amount of money. That is the difference between today's standard work at home job and one you have to actually drive to get to, between $20-$30 per hour less even though today, most jobs can be done from anywhere.
If you are looking for the newest in sweat shop factory work (and there are tons of people who are), you won't find it at the local tire or car plant. No way, their union wages are far too high ($50-$75/hr) to compare with these jobs. The new factory work in our culture today is the work at home job. After owning my own business for 15-20 years (and running it from my own home no less) I never understood the extent of the work at home scam until I started looking for one of these great jobs. I figured that there was some company that could see the value in hiring me, a Linchpin, to work from my home office, but after 2-3 years of searching, and working, now I'm not so sure.
I will review a few companies and positions in a series of upcoming posts for those who are still looking since every time I came across one of these positions, I had to find a decent review about the company (look at forums and sites like WAHM, JobVent or GlassDoor.com) to find out if it was an actual scam or not. Most were not scams in the technical sense of the word, but I am amazed at what conditions we are now willing to accept just so we can have a work at home job (there is a huge difference in working from home and work at home).
Most of these jobs pay under $10 per hour (many well under, like $5-7/hr) and in the U.S. you will be lucky to cover your home office expenses for that. Generally you are required to put in a specific volume of tasks per hour, calls per hour or however they rate you, and always follow the manual, map, guide, instructions with no deviation. Most hire you as contract labor so they don't have to pay taxes, worry about law suits, pay for training, or pay for any benefits whatsoever.
The difference that makes one job an actual scam, or at least a big clue, and the other job not a scam is if they require you to pay them for the job. Most of these work at home jobs don't go that far into the true scam world, they are factories of course, not scams. They do go as far as paying you by the minute, requiring you to incorporate, and require you to take "tests" to become qualified, and they don't pay for your training. These "tests" are in essence the very work of the job, work you do for free because it is part of the "interview" (I took a 10-15 hour "test" to "qualify" and later realized that I was doing their actual work, unpaid of course).
In each site or company I list in my upcoming posts I am only showing the most obvious match, and those I have direct experience with in the past. Under the surface there are tons of companies all doing the same thing, looking for the cheapest most expendable warm body, but I know for some, any job is better than no job, and I totally understand that.
The list could be endless. You have freelance work, call center (centre) jobs, tech support, customer service, programming, search engine evaluators, data entry and so on. In these three upcoming posts I will highlight the three areas I have looked at the most, freelance, call center, and search engine evaluator (or annotator, search engine technician, ads quality rater, etc). For those of you who are looking for a meaningful job where you can add value to the company, I have an exahustive list of who to avoid, but I would love to hear from you too. Good luck in your search.