1999-08-08 The Farm: page2 (from the archives)

Part of a series of posts from my old website archives. Enjoy!

page 2: what’s on my mind

The heft of tomorrow

I have found a job. Good, good, good. I start tomorrow, Monday. It may be a good deal.

Heck, working is a good deal.

I found a job through Express Personnel and I’ll be working for a local “company” maintaining (i.e. designing) their website. From the description they gave me before I accepted the job, it sounded like an absolute gravy-job.

Boy, was I in for a suprise.

OK. Here’s the deal with the whole thing. This guy, a long-time mechanic and hot-rod junkie, has an idea. He wants to sell nothing but parts for Dodge trucks online. It’s a good idea. It’s a very good idea.

BUT, I’m not sure about how he’s going about it.

Currently, it’s nothing more than an idea and a few webpages in the works, none of them posted online. And it will be my job to take that idea and make him a full-blown completely working e-commerce website within the space of two or so months. Honestly, that scares me.

First off — my “specialty” (read: experience) is front-end coding: writing the code that is used inside the browser. I know nothing, nothing at all, about the back end. I have a clue, but I don’t know the first thing about setting up a server-side database, maintaining it, and writing applications that use that database. I don’t know the first thing about setting up a merchant account with credit-card agencies, I know nothing about credit-card validation services. I know very little about the legalities involved with e-commerce, and how to satisfy customer complaints and inquiries. That bothers me.

Now, granted, this whole thing could be a very good learning experience for me, but it’s large, much too large, for me to handle on my own. This company currently is too small as it is, and I seriously would like to know how to do all of this, how to make an e-commerce site from scratch, but I’d like to do it in the company of people who know. I’d like to be part of a team. This company exists of two people – my boss, and me. Not large enough.

I completely understand that it’s the start of something that may be beautiful, something that may be good. There’s no way I can really expect to be in league with several people who know the things that I want to learn. This is all starting with an idea; I can’t expect more out of that so soon.

But my trepidation is because of the uncertainty in this thing. It may be a fleeting idea, it may be a good idea that is poorly executed from the get-go, but just as well, it may germinate into something lasting. I don’t know, and that too bothers me.

Tomorrow, when I go in to work, I have no choice but to sit my boss down and explain to him the details of what he’s getting into. I don’t know how carefully he’s thought of this, nor if he has any idea of what it takes to run a successful e-commerce business complete with website, warehouse, shipping, and customer service. My job, at least for this week, will be to tell him about all these things. I feel that this is not my job; he hired me, and will be paying me, to write the website. But all things being told, when it’s all said and done, writing the actual website is the last thing on the agenda.

The absolute last.

I’m not sure how long this job will last. I’m not sure where it will go. I want to drop it and take another job elsewhere, but I’m also curious (and trepidatious) about how this will work out. Should it fall together well, and actually work, then I will have some serious experience under my belt that would travel well with me to wherever I should go in life. Should it fail, however, I’ve done little but waste my time, his time, and his money.

Last week, inside the span of a one-second spurious thought, I got inspired with another one of my world-famous W.A.I.’s (“Wild-Assed Idea” — not to be confused with WAIS, or “Wide-Area Information Service”). It was a small thought that flittered through my mind, but it stuck and stayed there. Here it is: pack up my necessities and just move to Austin for a few days. Go down there to scout around for jobs and housing. It sounds like a very good, if chancy, idea. To this day, all of my W.A.I.’s never worked out as expected, but they did give me new experiences and a chance to live by the seat of my pants. I like the idea of moving there, and moving there VERY soon.

My plan is to take a “vacation” of sorts and couch-surf with any one of my friends down there while I scout around for a simple joe-job and begin work. I could find a joe-job down there fairly easily, I believe. That would buy me some time while I look for better jobs in my chosen career. Taking joe-jobs is really the only viable option I have: currently, my application with www.monster.com has yeilded me zero results (my application has been looked at all of FOUR times), so I don’t expect much result from that any time soon. So, the joe-job idea is one that I will go with.

As a plus with moving down there, Austin Community College is offering webwriting courses in their Webmaster Certificate Program, which sounds pretty cool. The courses are comparitively inexpensive, and the idea of taking only what I need and testing out of what I already know for much cheaper really appeal to me. Most of my college education to date has been superfluous – the ideal of the Liberal Arts education is a very good thing, but now that I’ve had it, I want to get into specifics. This expenditure, though it may still be a good chunk of change, will be spent more efficiently. As a good result, I will have a certification, even though one really is not needed in order to commercially write websites. But, it will be a comforting thing to have; it will be a way of having someone important, someone bigger than me, vouch for me saying “Yes, he can do the job, and do it well.” I like that idea.

Just as well, I could stay here in Texarkana and scout for joe-jobs up here and attempt to rebuild myself, get caught-up on all my bills and debts, and then attempt to jetison off to Austin. I pretty-much have free rent and cheap food up here, and the pressure to stay afloat isn’t as harsh. That idea, even though it’ll have to be done here, still sounds like a good plan. I know of several joe-jobs that are more appealing than this webwriting assignment that I start tomorrow, and I may just go ahead and go with those. Burn a little time. I honestly do not like this webwriting task that’s been set before me: it’s too much, too soon. I have enough sense to know what I can do and what I can’t do. I’m usually given to delusion, but this time, it’s all realistic.

One step at a time. That’s all I can do.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?