The internet makes portable careers possible. Whether your portable career involves writing, building websites, photography or something else, you rely on the internet to keep you connected to clients, coworkers and bosses. You also need the internet to update your website or blog, offer items for sale, and myriad other tasks.
So what happens when your internet lets you down?
If you don’t plan for it, you could find yourself unplugged and unemployed.
I was reminded of this vividly just today.
As I sat at the computer jotting down notes for the article I planned to write, the power in our house went off. When the power goes off, even for a split second, the internet goes down. Unfortunately it takes a long time to come back.
So I did what I always do when that happens. Muttering a few colorful phrases, I got up and went into the other room for my trusty internet backup device.
In addition to our cable internet (provided by Cableonda in our corner of Panama), I also have a wireless internet device that plugs into the USB port on my computer. This particular one comes from Claro.
At 3G speeds it’s a bit slower than regular internet. Since it’s a USB device it works with computers but not smart phones or tablets, and of course it can only provide internet to one computer at a time. It’s not the best solution for everyone — if you’re looking for something to provide internet to your iPad, for example, it’s not what you need.
Back to the story. . .
I reached for the Claro stick where I usually keep it, and it wasn’t there. So I widened my search. . . and widened my search. Still no sign of it.
I dumped out the contents of my laundry hamper and went through all the pockets. No device. I looked through a small tote bag that I sometimes carry odds and ends in. No device.
My husband went out to the car to see if it might have fallen out of purse or pocket there. No luck.
Before you could say “missing device” we were tearing the house apart, crawling around frantically looking under furniture and all sorts of unlikely places.
In the back of my mind the whole time was the uncomfortable thought, maybe the repairman who was at the house a few days ago had seen it and slipped it into his pocket.
At the front of my mind was a panicky, “OMG, I can’t work without internet. I’m dead.”
After checking under the couch, I began ripping off the couch cushions like a mad woman. There, nestled coyly underneath one of them, sat my Claro stick.
Hooray, I’m back in business!!
Why don’t I just use the Claro stick all the time, you may be wondering.
As previously mentioned, it’s slower than the cable internet usually is. We also need cable to power our Vonage phone service, and since my husband likes to noodle around on Facebook and news sites on his laptop while I’m working, we really need wireless in the house.
I like to think we’re like NASA, with backups and fail safes in place for the most mission-critical parts of our technology.
But of course, our success depends on some simple, silly little things like not losing the darn device.
I had thought that our intermittent power and internet problems were the weakest link in my portable career. Today I learned the humbling lesson that I am the weakest link. No matter how well I plan and create backup systems, success depends on dumb things like not losing the device.
What’s your weakest link? You can leave a comment below.