By Scott Prater
For today’s military spouse, the ability to work from home could solve a number of conundrums: there would be no need to find daycare, no need to search for a new job every time the member changed duty stations and income streams could remain relatively constant despite the challenges presented by deployments and moves.
That all sounds great, but who works from home?
If one believes the outlandish claims of Internet advertizing, local moms everywhere are earning upwards of $5,000 a month from the comfort of their living-room sofas.
At the Home-Based Career and Telework Job Development Program seminar sponsored by Schriever’s Airman and Family Readiness Center here Sept. 28, veteran work-from-home author Kristine Durst not only showed attendees how they could legitimately work from home, she dispelled a bit of skepticism while instilling hope for job seekers, who have either become disenchanted with their employment search, or unsatisfied with the types of work-from-home opportunities they had managed to find on their own.
“I want people to come into a work-from-home seminar skeptical,” Durst said. “Where work from home is concerned, the scam ratio is extraordinarily high.”
Durst estimates that for every 60 work-from-home opportunities people see, only one can be considered a reliable, appropriate job lead.
“So, we want attendees to be skeptical when they come in, but hopeful when they leave,” she said.
That’s the exact reaction Gonzalo O’Campo, a civilian manager for the 1st Space Operations Squadron, experienced.
“We have people who are retiring or transitioning in 1 SOPS and as a manager I want to be able to recommend something for them to look into,” he said. “I was surprised at the number and variety of resources and opportunities that the class covered. I hope we can get (Durst) to come back.”
One theme Durst wove through the seminar concerned the nature of our current economy and the need for job searchers to attack their task in a nontraditional manner.
Nowadays, advanced technology is enhancing opportunities for people to telework.
“Technology has knocked down all the dams,” Durst said. “Before, when people were working from home, they were providing services to people who actually came to their home. If somebody told me only a few years ago that nurses could be working from home, I wouldn’t have believed them. But now, you can have your x-rays done here in the Colorado Springs and read by a radiologist in California.”
During the six-hour class, attendees learned how to easily distinguish work-from-home scams from legitimate opportunities. Durst then covered the types of telework arrangements people could expect to experience, how they could assess themselves and where they could find legitimate opportunities online.
“She really went into detail about internet searches,” said Elena Gresham, a Schriever military spouse. “I think the class was particularly helpful to military spouses, because our résumés are like Swiss cheese. For military spouses, an online career solves a multitude of problems, especially if they’re raising children.”
Durst also explained that using the Internet to work from home is a phenomenon that’s here to stay.
“The nature of work is changing,” she said. “As traditional brick-and-mortar companies start to come out of the recession and try to rebuild their businesses they are going to take a nontraditional route because what they’ve found is tradition is no longer working for them. I think we’re going to see a huge demand for independent contractors during the next 10 to 12 years.”
Many of those independent contractor jobs can be performed by people who work online and one of Durst’s goals, as she tours military installations around the country, is to help people connect with the companies that are hiring.
“People who attend this seminar generally come in with an idea of what they want to do, but they need help figuring out how to execute it, while others come in with a blank slate and want to learn new ideas so they can get their job search rolling,” she said. “We try to teach them to look at things in a nontraditional way, which is important in a world that’s become increasingly nontraditional.”
For more information on finding legitimate work-from-home opportunities and to learn more about Durst’s work-from-home book, contact the Schriever A&FRC at 567-3920.