Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Linux Scholarship, How to End a Freelance Gig and How to Thrive as a Remote Worker

All of the following can be especially helpful for my fellow OPW interns. The first deals with the Linux Foundation offering scholarships for their (rather expensive) training classes. The second is a summary of Kate Hamill's helpful post on how to wrap up a freelance gig. Finally, Brazen Life wrote a post on how to manage remote workers. I'm going to translate that into how to be an awesome remote worker.

Today, the Linux Foundation announced their Linux Training Scholarship Program. Five scholarships will be awarded, one to a winner in each of the following categories: Whiz Kids (high school or college grads 18 years or older, Women in Linux, SysAdmin Super Stars, Developer Do-Gooder ("developers who are using Linux for good") and Linux Kernel Guru (a Linux contributor "who has promise of becoming a Linux kernel developer or maintainer.")

If you're a Linux Lover, check it out! Applications are due by midnight (PDT) on Monday, September, 2nd.

Over on the Freelancers' Union website, Kate Hamill has a post on the three things that freelance pros do when they finish a gig. Step one is to make sure you really are finished with the project. Now is the time to check your work and make sure there aren't any loose ends. She also advises freelancers to send out an email to get confirmation (in writing!) from the client to be sure that they believe the project is finished. Step two is to send a thank you email to your client. Why email? Because then your client can easily search their email for you. Very, very few people systematically file away thank you cards. Finally, Hamill recommends connecting with your (now former) client through social media.

Finally, Brazen Life describes seven ways for managers to do a better job of managing their remote (or "virtual") workers. It's a great list of tips, especially if you flip it and turn it into seven ways to thrive as a remote worker:

1. Be clear on your role and responsibilities. Being remote means missing out on those micro-moments where you can check in to make sure you and your boss agree you're on the right track. Starting your day with a list of that day's essential tasks (and then sharing that with your manager) can be a useful way to accomplish this.

2. Use some of the great tools out there like Basecamp or GitHub to create shared goals and track them.

3.  Keep communicating! If your manager hasn't already, try to set up a regular scheduled time to catch up and keep your manager informed of your work.

4.  Seek out novel ways to collaborate and create those "water cooler" moments. Scott Hanselman describes one way to do this in his post on "Virtual Camaraderie."

5.  Seek out co-working spaces, local offices or create one. This can give remote workers in your region a place to come together in company nodes and share information, ideas and, yes, collaborate.

6.  If there isn't one already, help create a central place to keep the knowledge of the project. GitHub can be great for this. (That's what we use for the Open Historical Maps project.)

7.  Find ways to tailor your work to you. One danger in being a remote worker is the risk of being seen as a widget that can easily be replaced by the next applicant. By tailoring your work to you, you can become an indispensable part of the team, no matter how far away you are.

That's it for now.

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