Elance: A Window to the WorldGuest_Blogger | Feb 06, 2012
When I first signed up on Elance as a writer/editor, I really had no idea what to expect. My first projects were small ones—a few press releases, a couple of sales letters, some content editing. Little did I know then that I would be doing projects on a huge variety of subjects, from the ordinary to the intriguing to the bizarre, and that I would be working with people from all over the world and learning more about the global economy and the global education system than I ever would have thought possible.
When I look back on my projects over the three years I’ve worked on Elance—and I’m sure it would be similar not just for other writers and editors but also for web developers, graphic designers, etc.—my client list is extremely varied: lawyer, airline pilot, software developer, pastor, photographer, musician, and the list goes on. To date, they come from 35 countries—Brazil, Italy, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, Russia, India, Singapore…What it means is that, as an Elance contractor, you’re always learning—about so many subjects and so many countries.
The Global Economy
In the global economy, English is the international language of business and also of advanced schooling in the top US, UK and international schools.
It’s no surprise that many clients are from China, including companies specializing in games and entertainment, entrepreneurs with ideas for improving Chinese agriculture, and students applying to the top US business and law schools. It’s also been an eye-opener working with students and entrepreneurs from the United Arab Emirates—Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai—where the economy and the education systems are rapidly expanding. Interesting too, to find out how Australia and New Zealand and Fiji are benefitting from the global economy and the global workforce and China’s requirement for raw materials. And that Russia is becoming a strong market for luxury goods and services, including high-end clothing and footwear brands.
Before I started on Elance, I knew nothing about Forex, 3-D technology, Twitter marketing, the history of Cameroon, or Iraqi immigration to Sweden, but I know a lot more now. And after working on a couple of great projects, I know a lot more about becoming a deckhand or stewardess on the multi-million dollar superyachts in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, once mostly owned by Europeans and Americans, but now often owned by corporate moguls from Russia, the UAE, and various other countries.
Before working on Elance, I wasn’t aware that there were so many international high schools—in China and Singapore and Malaysia, for example. Nor did I know that high-achieving students from many countries—China, India, Arabic countries, African countries—vie for acceptance at top universities in the US, particularly the top business school, such as Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, etc., which are all highly competitive. And of course they want their admission essays to be in flawless English. Likewise, there are many professors, not only in the US but in other countries as well, whose first language is not English, so when they write journal articles, for example, they need an editor or proofreader.
So while everyone else is getting educated, so am I. I now have a globe on my desk so I can remind myself where various countries are situated. I have several time zone maps on my bulletin board so I know what day it is for my clients. With 24 time zones in the world, “Friday at 5 pm” can mean a lot of different things—even the US has four time zones. Although I’ve been a writer and editor for almost three decades, I use Wiktionary and Wikipedia, as well as other references all day long. The learning never stops, and that’s probably what I love most about this work—that and the amazing variety.
About the Author
Cathy Reed has been writing and editing on Elance for 2 ½ years and to date has worked for clients in 35 countries. She loves the variety of the work and the opportunity to be immersed in the global economy that we now live and work in. She lives on the British Columbia coast and when she’s not working she loves to hike, cycle, kayak and ski.