Does this story really have anything to do with Working in the Philippines, Dave?
Well I think so. They say that readers love first-person stories, so here’s a good one.
- 0.0.0.1 Well I think so. They say that readers love first-person stories, so here’s a good one.
- 0.0.0.2 Warriors at the Keyboard
- 0.0.0.3 Not only was there no shouted, scripted-style propaganda type response, the room was pretty much quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
- 0.0.0.4 What Could YOU Do From Your Keyboard?
- 1 Working in the Philippines by Driving a Truck in the USA?
- 1.1 Working in the Philippines — Almost By Remote Control
Warriors at the Keyboard
In 1996 I was working for the USAF as a civilian communications officer/project manager and I was fortunate enough to be sent to an advanced training course centered around new techniques and new, “space age” equipment that was coming on line for America’s fighting forces.
I have to say I was a bit intimidated at first, because there were only a handful of us older, civilian government workers in the class … about 70 of my fellow students were young, “best and brightest” active duty officers, all with a masters degree (or well along with a master’s program). Two even had Phd’s in scientific fields.
Me? I not only have no college degree at all, I’m a high school dropout.
(more high school students today drop out than when I did nearly 50 years ago … you might ask yourself about that when you boast to the world about the ‘wonderful” US educational system) … but then that is a different story, isn’t it?)
Anyway. my uneasiness and lack of confidence didn’t last past the second day of the course.
We were privileged to have a guest speaker. A gentleman I was well acquainted with from my comm and computer work, a general by the name of Gil Hawk. This fellow was somewhat of an ‘old geek’ like me … well respected in the business, but never promoted highly and given positions of prominence because he was more into building things and making them work than playing golf or hobnobbing.
At that time the Air Force as big on a “Warrior” kick. Everything was “Warrior” this and “Warrior” that … even scrubbing pots in the dining room kitchen was, of course, a “Warrior” task.
The general asked everyone in the room if they were truly “Warriors”. Of course,virtually every voice was raised in a hearty “Yes Sir, warriors all, sir”, just like a Hollywood movie scene.
The next question didn’t get such a hearty response. The general asked, “Well if you are warriors, how many of you have killed anyone”?
“And more importantly, how many of you are prepared to kill anyone today, right now? Many of you are young, and you are among the nation’s best and brightest. Have you considered that within the next ten years or so, while most of you are still on active duty, you may very well be asked to press a key at your computer keyboard and actually kill someone”?
Not only was there no shouted, scripted-style propaganda type response, the room was pretty much quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
What Could YOU Do From Your Keyboard?
Later, after the colonel had departed, I overheard a number of bright young men and women making small talk along the lines of, “He’s crazy. We’re technical folks, we don’t sit at computers and kill people.”
In general, the consensus seemed to be that the whole guest lecture session had been a waste of time, and that the general’s thoughts on being a warrior, preparing for the future, etc., were just way too far out, over the top, “video games” stuff. I remember thinking much differently.
If you know anything at all about current military history, you will know that in less than ten years time, some of those folks (perhaps) and others sat at computer keyboards at Nellis AFB, Nevada (and possibly other locations) and pressed keys that caused people to be killed thousands of miles away, across oceans and deserts.
(If you are unfamiliar with this fact, you might want to Google Predator, UAV, Hellfire missile, etc.)
So, long-winded story, Dave. What has that got to do with earning a living in the Philippines from the same job you currently have in the USA?
Working in the Philippines by Driving a Truck in the USA?
A recent reader, Keith F., appreciated a recent article about earning a living in the Philippines from the same job he had in the US, and kind of offered up as challenge. He told me he’s an over-the-road truck driver, so there was presumably no way to ‘export’ that work to the Philippines.
Don’t tell General Hawk that, he might find a way to have UKV’s (Unmanned Kenworth vehicles) and UPV’s (Unmanned Peterbilt Vehicles) running the Interstates of America. Or not.
Maybe we aren’t quite ready for that level of remote job control quite yet.
But What We Cn Do Today Is Amazing
But let’s suppose Keith were to have his own truck (I don’t know if he drives for a company as en employee or is an owner-operator, but I do know being an owner-operator is the goal of an awful lot of truckers, and many attain that status). So grant me a little artistic license.
Working in the Philippines — Almost By Remote Control
Even better, I thought of this story while I was watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows here in the Philippines, Swamp Logger (on Discovery channel).
The show is about the Goodson family and their employees who are “All terrain Loggers” in North Carolina.
In addition to various logging machines, Booby, the family patriarch owns about four logging trucks and his son owns at least three.
They each hire drivers for these rigs and pay them to haul logs from the sites in the forest to lumber and pulp mills. This is essentially the whole business plan of the company. Cut trees, haul logs, sell them.
Now suppose a guy owned (or could lease) a couple or three trucks like this and were to hire drivers.
The drivers get paid a base salary and bonuses when they exceed weekly hauling goals. If our ‘mythical man’ didn’t drive himself, his business plan would basically be to:
- Monitor that the trucks were being driven where and when they were supposed to be
- That loads were being delivered properly
- Insure proper payment was received for each load of logs delivered
- Be sure that Fedral hours of service rules, afety and maintenance schedules were being followed and so forth.
Would he need to see and touch his truces every day? I think not.
Working in the Philippines — With Cheap Technology — and a Dream
What if each truck was equipped with a cheap (under $500 GPS tracking system (like I used to sell to trucking companies), that can be monitored over the Internet?
Aside from recording truck speed and position constantly, the units I used to sell had special, coded data keys (fit on a regular key chain) that could be used to accurately log driver’s duty and driving times.
The units also connect to what truckers know as the J-1708 bus on the truck, which means the owner can continually monitor performance and error codes from the truck’s on-board computers engine and systems computers … track vehicle abuse, maintenance requirements, etc. Every over-rev, every logging episode, even every clutch slipping event is monitored for the owner’s knowledge, and corrective action as required.
The unloading at the mills is already precisely monitored, digitally (as in available online), because each load is weighed and also scaled for the number of board feet and other timber characteristics. The timber buyers enter the data on each individual log using hand-held wireless terminals, so by the time the logs have left the truck the mill operator (and Bobby if he wanted to be tied in), knows what was delivered in terms of tonnage, board feet and payment due. No extra charge, it’s already part of the timber business model.
I think, with technology pretty much available over the counter in today’s world, a guy could run a small truckling business in the USA from his dining room table here in the Philippines.
And if you look into the US tax laws, there are a heck of a lot of deductions for running a business like this that a salaried driver never gets.
Don’t Get a Job, Get a Life!
I know, I know, I’m like a broken record here … “Don’t have a job, run your own business”.
Example. Anyone with half a brain knows the owner is going to have to visit the business physically once in a while. Maybe two or three times a year? Tax deductible travel.
The about $1 a day cost for the GPS monitoring? Tax deductible.
Once a year attendance at a trucking convention, keeping in touch with suppliers, competitors and potential clients? Tax deductible travel.
The list goes on. (of course I only read IRS regulations, I don’t give tax advice … see a professional for that)
Are You Bored Yet?
This bores some people, but the ones who dislike hearing it the most are the ones who know, in their heart, that I’m right.
Could I run a trucking business in the US from my home here in the Philippines? I wouldn’t be able to be as high-tech and expensive about it as General Hawk was, but yes indeed I think I could be Working in the Philippines with trucks in the USA.