Monday, 21 October 2013

I am having problems with

the computer again... sigh! This is being written at my sister's place and I know I am fortunate to be able to prowl over here and "get things done" but it is still awkward.
It makes me realise how dependent on technology we are and also how dependent I am on books and computer programmes which are specific to my work. There have been many discussions about e-books and their advantages and disadvantages but the last couple of days of using a different computer has, once again, convinced me that there are certain advantages to having a real paper book at my disposal.
I have a fondness for what might best be termed "hedgehogs" - multiple strips of paper (sometimes colour coded) sticking out of a book so that I can flip backwards and forwards quickly for information. Scrolling through something is simply not as fast. I cannot annotate the pages either. I know there are ways of highlighting information in an e-book but it is simply not the same.
And, not everything I need is available in e-book form nor am I prepared to pay for a second e-copy of a book when I have a perfectly usable hard copy.
And then there are programmes that I use that I cannot download on to this computer - apart from anything else I would not want to add to the mass of icons they already have on the screen!
I am no sure when I will get my own computer back either. I am dependent on my brother-in-law to return it and he is in no hurry to do that. He takes the attitude, "Cat, if you are working for nothing then they can wait."
It is however not quite as simple as that. The people I work for are also volunteering their time. I don't help people who are paid nice fat government wages for doing "aid work". Yes, some of them work hard but compared with people who give up their annual leave and pay their own fares and take their own equipment and live alongside the locals the government funded aid workers have it easy. I also suspect that some of the volunteers I work with do more good. They do operations which save lives and teach the locals how to build footbridges which won't get washed away every time it rains.
There have been comments here and elsewhere about writers being asked to "volunteer" or work for minimal pay and I really do firmly believe they should be properly paid but should I be? If someone is not being paid to help then should I charge them? I get a minimal allowance for caring for the Senior Cat but it is not a full time job at present. I hope it never is. It means I can help others as well. I think I am doing the right thing but it seems that other people disagree. It is not just my brother-in-law but others who say, "You should charge people."
Yes, if they are being paid but if someone is volunteering their time - is that right?

1 comment:

Helen Devries said...

I used to help people with their legal problems in France...I used to know whose tail to twist to get things moving.
It would not have crossed my mind to charge them.

The same could not be said of the 'helping hands' of the expat colonies who would happily take money upfront for taking on a problem in a field in which they had no experience whatsoever...