MIA for a few days because we picked up a nice contract job from the community college district, editing an application for a large and prestigious award. As with any document written by committee (don’t know why that always happens), we started with the deadline practically on top of us. It was about 25 or 30 pages long, and our job was to edit it, turn the bureaucratese into English, and make it sound like it was written by one person.
IMHO, it turned out pretty well. If it goes over exceptionally well, the college where I teach will win a grant of about a million dollars.
That would require some serious exceptional. The school was invited to apply for this award, along with about 115 other colleges. I think they have a shot of at least being recognized for the excellence of several of their programs. Given the difficulties community colleges face under the best of circumstances—serving an absurdly diverse constituency whose motives are so various and many of whom are unprepared for college-level work, while funding is precarious and a perverse legislature labors to undermine education across the state—this particular school does an amazing job of keeping young people in school, delivering vocational programs that at least have a shot of getting them into decently paying work, and funneling a fair number of them into four-year colleges.
Anyway, we got paid decently—not quite what we regard as our natural due, but we’re willing to come down on our hourly rate for nonprofit organizations. And we are so thrilled to work with someone who does not try to persuade us that the red rocks of Sedona were put there, coded with a secret message for humanity, by the same space aliens who built the pyramids.
We have another large, interesting job coming up the pike, a third materializing on the horizon (we hope), and an application for a fourth winging toward a business publication’s editorial board.
This is the sort of work we want to get. We are both royally tired of working for outfits that think we should provide professional-quality work for graduate-student pay, with trying to humor wannabe writers who think their self-published memoirs and amateur novels will inevitably be best-sellers, and with folks who commune with the dead and theorize about conspiracies.
We’re now officially registered contractors for the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest college districts in the country. This summer I hope we can engage a few strategies to keep us moving in the right direction:
• Join the Small Business Administration and start networking through that agency
• Learn, through the SBA, how to apply for federal contracts
• Look in to applying for state contracts
• Engage with the college district’s Small Business Center, which offers one-on-one consulting plus networking opportunities
• Join one of the chambers of commerce or start attending groups listed in Networking Phoenix
That ought to keep us busy this summer, especially given that I have a class to teach and Tina is transitioning from a paid employee of the Great Desert University to a contract employee for the Chinese government.
And speaking of busy, it’s after 6:00 a.m. Gotta run!