Even Clint Never Wrote A Program!

Having looked for work for a little over 2 years now, I am familiar with the year-round hiring cycles. This is the part of the year I hate: summertime.

I have nothing against summer as a season. It’s just that companies start to ramp down their hiring needs around this time of year. Everyone has the cottage, camping, and vacationing on their minds. It usually does not pick up again until around September. This is not a good thing: I can’t afford to hit a dead end in my job search because no one is hiring!

I’ve made it clear in my job search ads on Kijiji and Craigslist that I am not interested in being an entrepreneur. I want to work for someone (be it an individual or a corporation) and not be, to use the term “my own boss”. In the same breath, however, my job search has evolved over time to include methods I would never have considered. When I first started looking for work in January 2010, I stuck to the core approaches to look for IT-only jobs: newspapers, networking, and the job search engines like Monster.Ca and Workopolis. As time went on, my job approach was modified to include the aforementioned Craigslist and Kijiji, and now I am looking for practically any opening available. Now it’s time for my approach to change yet again. I’ve decided to try my hand as a “hired gun”.

Before the theme song of “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly” starts playing in your head, let me explain that a hired gun is someone who loans out their services for a fee to anyone interested in getting something done. I previously hinted at doing such work in my Kijiji and Craigslist ads (search on “David Needs A Job” in the City Of Toronto section) when one of the things I was willing to do was come to someone’s neighbourhood to clean out a public area (like a park) that people are sick of seeing full of trash.

I was unsure what services I was going to do as a “hired gun”, as most of my work in my 20 year IT career involved working on assets that were fixed in their location, such as SAP instances and Iseries midrange systems. Even the programming languages used on those two systems are unique to them. It was not until I remembered doing Winbatch programming at my last job. Winbatch, for those of you not familar with the programming language, is a Windows-based language meant for automating tasks on a Windows PC (client or server) originally handled by users. It has a programming syntax and IDE very similar to that of Visual Basic.

After coming up with an hourly rate that I considered reasonable, I created an ad on Craigslist and Kijiji. You can find them both under “Looking To Automate Some Tasks?” if you do a search. There’s a lot of ads from other “hired guns” (I don’t remember the Old West ever being this crowded!) so I’m not sure it will be noticed, but then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I’ll keep you posted on how successful this segment of my job search goes as time permits.

Thanks for reading!



UPDATE June 24, 2012: So far, I haven’t been hired as a contract programmer but I have received a lot of replies. The problem, however, is that some people need to take the time to read the ad before replying. Consider the following response (I removed some parts of the ad to hide the actual names):

Hello,I am a divorced 35 Years old man and am searching for a Nanny to take care of my 18 Months old son{his name is (removed)}and you will earn $400 weekly.Write me a message if interested so i can give you details.


If you check my ad out on kijiji it has a graphic of some programming code I wrote, and my background as a programmer is decribed in detail. I don’t point this out to mock people, but to stress that replies like this are not helpful to both myself and to the person making the reply.


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