Red tape is fun.

I mentioned in my last post that I was expecting to get some contract work for a company back home that I could do from home while we’re living overseas. And not long after that post — only a day or two after we landed back in Nanjing, in fact — I was offered a contract.

Of course, it’s never as simple as that. Paperwork always takes longer when you’re overseas, even in this electronic age. I can fill in forms and sign them on my iPad, and email files the same day. But these processes only move as slow as their slowest component, and due to the nature of the work — I’d be a contractor, not an employee — I had to arrange an Australian Business Number for myself and also some insurance. Not a big deal, but being overseas meant that the ABN process took a few weeks and required multiple phone calls and my parents using the powers-of-attorney I’d given them to help with the whole overseas-landlord thing. And then three companies refused to quote on the insurance (despite that there was no actual increased risk from my being overseas) and a fourth quoted me an amount so high it would have made the work unprofitable.

And then, about six weeks after they made the original offer, the company realised that, due to contractual obligations to their own clients, they wouldn’t be allowed to send me work overseas.

I’m not bitter. That’s not even sarcastic; they were very apologetic about the whole mess, and even expressed a hope that I’d be able to work for them when I move back home, which I fully intend to follow up whenever that ends up being. (At the moment, the missus’ contract here is until the end of next year, but she’s looking into our options for staying overseas, due in no small part to the almighty clusterfuck that is the present Australian government. The most recent thing she’s gone squeeful over is the possibility of a teaching position with Apple — in Edinburgh.)

I am feeling rather down about the whole matter, though. I’m still working on the novel and the book based on my MA thesis, but I’m sorely missing more conventional employment.


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