ISO a Life
When I moved to the Silicon Valley I already had a job set up. I was to color comic books working from home on my computer. I had colored comic books before when I lived in Los Angeles for a major publisher. I loved the job but after a few years the company filed for bankruptcy and laid everyone off.
I had grown up in San Jose so moving here didn't involve a big change in mindset. Unfortunately, when I arrived the job had disappeared.
This hub is about my search for work and love in the Silicon Valley.
When I left LA I didn't just leave behind my dream job, I left a toxic relationship with a film director. I'll call him Mr. Manhattan, since that's where he claimed to be from. He was attractive, intelligent, funny and so intense. But he lied and manipulated people in order to get what he wanted at the moment. In business as well as personal. In the end, he had a breakdown. By then I had had enough and managed to "disappear".
But the experience left me scarred. Only recently have I started to date again.
First there was Seth, who I swear turned blind whenever he got behind the wheel of a car. Talk about scared. On a 4 lane street in San Jose, he made a left turn from the far right lane in front of an oncoming bus. Then I got laryngitis and he wouldn't stop calling me. That obviously didn't work out.
Seth only lasted a couple of weeks.
Then I did something really stupid. I met this guy on Craig's List and agreed to meet him at Starbucks. He called me "baby" in every other sentence. He smelled bad. He gave me the creeps. He actually, I mean actually!, asked me if I had any condoms!!! I was gone in under 10 minutes. I came right out and said that "this was obviously a bad idea." Came home, took a bath, got on MySpace.
Jobwise, I've had some ups and downs. First off I've been here for about four years. In that time I've had a job that required a large amount of brainpower, another that requires a large amount of patience and one that required learning how to attach a garter to a stocking. I've also had lots of little one-off jobs.
I had a cat to feed and rent to pay. A friend of mine, Rick, was always saying, "Look on Craig's List for a job." So I did.
Naturally, I started in the art section. Unfortunately, I'm not a graphic designer. As a matter of fact, comic book coloring was the only professional work I had ever done. Oh, God. I don't know all those programs. I had learned Photoshop on the job. I felt like a dinosaur. I was so screwed.
I exited the art/media/design section and began looking around in the other areas. I ended up in [ETC]. [ETC] is sort of a catchall section of Craig's List. You can find anything from paid surveys to hockey coaches to sharing your genes in that section. That's where I found an ad for Quality Raters. It was a part-time, temporary job that could be done remotely. Telecommute? That would save on gas. The ad stated their requirements-
♦In depth, up-to-date familiarity with English-speaking web culture and media.
♦If you have knowledge of other languages cultures, please indicate this on your resume.
♦Broad ranges of interests.
♦Strong ability to read and write in the English language.
♦Excellent web research skills and analytical abilities.
♦Excellent written communication skills.
♦Bachelor's degree or equivalent.
♦A high-speed internet connection.
♦Valid U.S. or Canadian work authorization.
Hey, that's me! So I emailed them my resume and a cover letter discussing my world travels, various interests, experiences and so on. A few weeks later I received an email telling me that I needed to take a test. A long test. A test they would pay me $200 to take. Hell, yeah! Oh, who are they? Google.
They gave me a week to take the test and I worked on it diligently each day for hours until my head felt like it would explode. It's a hard test. I had access to 60-70 pages of guidelines, all very secret, but it's still a hard test. There's no way you could get through the test without the guidelines. You'd just look at your screen, scowl and go, "Fuck, I don't know." I was so relieved when I finished it. And I felt somewhat cocky about it. Then, they told me that I hadn't passed! So I asked them if they would tell me where I went wrong and possibly let me retake the test. They emailed back that I was hired. Whoa, am I being psychologically profiled or what?
Now they were rather hush-hush about everything. I wasn't allowed to discuss any of my work with anyone except the people who emailed me the work. I wasn't supposed to work at a computer where someone else could come by and see what I was doing. I wasn't supposed to print out the guidelines, the work or any communication (except the hiring paperwork). Or they would sue me. Basically, I could tell people that I was doing contract work for Google. Which was ok with me since I could just imagine my friend's eyes glazing over if I did try to explain the job.
In some ways it was interesting work and in other ways it was sooo boring. After I learned what I was doing, I would sit there thinking, "Idiot. Idiot. Perv." And the more I learned the harder it got. More and more complicated. It was like a video game you couldn't talk about. After several months of learning the basics, I was allowed to navigate to different types of "activity" which would help alleviate some of the boredom. But it was all very challenging activity. After a while, I found my face getting closer and closer to the screen, drawing me in, into the cyber world of search until I became the human algorithm. Yeah, time for coffee.