Trouble is, I just plain can't get my foot in the door anywhere. As I've discussed before, UX jobs that I'm qualified for are a bit hard to come by. I have the skills to do research, but no advanced degree, and I lack the portfolio and world-class front-end dev skills that most design positions seem to require (though I do love messing with wireframes). Unfortunately, I can't just keep applying for jobs and hoping for the best. My savings account won't last forever and whether the Employment Services Devision will allow me to collect unemployment is still up in the air. So, what's a geek to do?
Well, if you can't join 'em ... beat 'em. If no one will hire me, I'll hire myself and become an independent contractor specializing in low-cost, high-impact, Steve Krug-style usability studies. I've got the skills to pull it off, I've got credibility from the testimonials from both the City of Seattle and Knowledge as Power, and conversations with some of my fellow UX people have confirmed my suspicions that there's a market for this kind of thing. In fact, I've heard that there's a lot of demand for the work, and not a lot of people who do it.
I'm probably not going to go after this hardcore until the end of the month (I want to spend most of my time this month getting grad school applications out of the way), but I've already drafted wireframes and some preliminary copy for a website, and that's a start at least.
In fact, if anyone would be willing to let me conduct a very small usability study on them with said wireframes, please let me know. It won't take long, and I'll buy you a beer.