Gainfully employed…

January 23, 2009

Well it’s happened. I have a job. I thought perhaps I had escaped the noose of a steady paycheck for the duration and could relax with a certain future of sitting on the couch, watching soap operas and eating bonbons. (Well, the Arabic equivalent of soap operas, and perhaps baklava instead of bonbons, but we *do* have a couch!) But despite my efforts, work came looking for me. “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!”

When researching our move to Dubai I checked into the Macintosh activity in the area and found out about the well established Emirates Macintosh User Group, which I contacted even before our move. So once we got here and got reasonably settled in I attended a meeting and joined up. They’re a particularly nice bunch of folks and definitely birds of a feather. Also the ringleader of the group, Magnus, has for a few years published a Macintosh related newsletter/magazine, Shuffle. Last summer, with the help of an Emirati partner, he took it from being an in-house thing, re-branded it a bit as “Shufflegazine” and started distributing it to the general public on newsstands. It’s a fledgling operation, but growing and well liked in the community here.

One day, when I made a mention of playing World of Warcraft on my Mac, Magnus sent me a message asking if I’d like to write an article on that for the magazine. “Of course!” So, I wrote the article, sent it in and Magnus gave me positive feedback on it. A nice experience, and I figured I’d throw a few more articles at him if I thought of something.

A few weeks later Magnus contacted me again and had proposition. Would I be interested in taking over as proofreader for Shufflegazine when their current proofreader left? The current guy had read my article, thought it pretty good, and suggested I might be a good replacement.

That took me all of 5 seconds to think about. He said there would be some, if not a lot of pay, but that’s not a major concern right now, and working with the magazine was a big draw. Such fun! So, soon after I dipped my toe in the water and helped proof the upcoming issue. I also took on writing a few more articles for the magazine, which they also pay a little bit for. More fun work!

Not long after that, Magnus again contacted me, saying he needed to have another talk with me, about “good things”. He had said before that in future months they were planning on hiring another regular writer, and if I was interested we could talk about it when the time came. Well, they had decided to rearrange some duties on the staff, and they needed more writing help right away, so he offered me a part-time position, proofreading and writing for both the magazine and the Shufflegazine.com website.

So that’s what I spend a good deal of my time working on these days; proofreading, working on articles and following Apple news for writing and blogging on the website and getting paid to do it. It’s a rough life! And all the writing/proofreading is done online, so I can work on it from anywhere I have Internet connection! Not bad, eh? I’m still working on getting into a rhythm posting to the website; we had a bit of a crunch for a few weeks as we were trying to get ahead of schedule on the magazine to set up a better publishing timeline. Now that we’ve caught up there’s a little more breathing room and I can work on getting news feeds set up for easier daily research.

Even though I can do the job from pretty much anywhere, I like going into the office most of the time because the co-oworkers are great and some things are easier to get accomplished there. (Especially when we are going over the pages just before sending them to the printer!)

Another cool thing about the job: Shufflegazine is published in both English and Arabic, which surprisingly is pretty rare. It’s also a challenge as a lot of technical terms don’t yet exist in Arabic. They certainly have technology here, but in the past they have generally depended on Hindi techies to maintain it, so tech terms in Arabic have been slow to develop and even slower to be adopted. Hopefully the magazine will help with that for our sake and that of the region.
Pretty exciting stuff!

So if you want to keep tabs on me, job-wise anyway, just look for the entries with my name on them on Shufflegazine.com!

(posted by Daddybird)


One comment

  1. Congrats Paul! Any sentence that has Mac and job in it is probably a good one. I know you were really relishing the life of leisure, but hey, this is the next best thing. I look forward to following the job (since I don’t really have one, but no $$ for leisure ;-D

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