Working from home
December 3, 2012 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Dear Hivemind: Please help me become qualified to work from home.

I have a BA, a thesis-based MA and, currently, an entry-level office job that does not seem to be going anywhere. I have given a few lectures in my academic career, and edited/graded a whole lot of undergraduate papers. I enjoyed these aspects of TA-ship, and I love doing research. I am in Ontario, Canada, and I am 27 years old.

I am currently looking into some college courses that may lead to viable career options which would allow me to work from home (which would give me the freedom to move into a more rural area in the future, which is something my partner and I have considered). TESL certification seems like an option, as well as editing/proofreading for textbook publishers or similar (both have online course options at colleges in Ontario).

So, a few questions:
- Would TESL certification or a publishing certificate from a recognized college be the better investment?

- For editing/proofreading, would it make sense to get a college certificate in publishing, or just focus on relevant editing/proofreading courses to add to my resume?

- What other options might be open to someone with good research and writing skills who would like to work from home?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Virtual assistant which can mean many things, basically an administrative assistant that works from home. I've done everything from writing, marketing, customer service, social media, research, event planning, scheduling, helping build and manage remote teams all from home.
posted by Rocket26 at 6:28 PM on December 3, 2012

This question is unanswerable without information about your BA and MA.
posted by MangyCarface at 6:07 AM on December 4, 2012

Mod note: From the OP:
My BA and MA are both in anthropology. I did research-based (including literature reviews and interviews with people in a marginalized population) theses for both degrees. So, I have experience with book research and qualitative research analysis/critical thinking. Not so much quantitative research.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:40 AM on December 4, 2012

My experience with editing/proofreading/fact checking is that the individual classes have been more important than an entire certificate but only because you are attending classes and making connections with people who will refer you to work, or because there is an internship/placement component to the certificate. My fact checking instructor referred me as a freelancer to a consumer mag, I took on proofreading (which was in house) and fact checking work from them, when they needed to add to their roster of freelance fact checkers, I referred people I knew to be careful and thorough editors/checkers from other classes I'd taken or who I knew through other avenues, those people in turn referred their clients to me when they couldn't take on work, other people in editing hired me for short contracts because they knew I could edit and check, and eventually I was hired full-time as a production editor for an HR/employment law publisher. I work from home now, but I had to take on in-house projects in the beginning and it takes time to build up enough of a client-base to support yourself as a freelancer.

I think you would be wise to try and take some of the basic proofreading and editing courses in person. Pretty much everyone I know (and this is in Toronto, which is not only the hub of publishing in Ontario, but in Canada) has the job or clients they have now because of internships or connections/leads through classmates and instructors.

Knowing what your options are for your interests/skills is one thing, but it's also important you understand the path to getting there. In my experience, you either have to have a good network of people or show up at an internship and do such a good job that they hire you on after (and that is a rare occurrence).
posted by Felicity Rilke at 7:06 AM on December 4, 2012

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