A friendly ear and a warm heart
Internet surfer Dan Bloom is a man with a mission. A former newspaper editor and
journalist, the 50-year-old Massachusetts native lives in Taiwan now
and runs an Internet counselling and advice service, charging $10
per e-mail answered, and addressing clients around the world. In English. To do
this, he has created a website, Heartlights, and advertised his
service via other websites and homepages. Bloom, who is not a
professional therapist, and emphasizes this, is trying to fill a void in the world,
whereby people who need to talk about personal matters can find a
"friendly ear and a warm heart" via the Internet. Bloom has decided to
devote the rest of his life to this project and no longer holds down
a fulltime job. He makes ends meet by teaching English to Chinese-speakers in Taiwan, in private classes.
"I am not doing this for money," he says. "I have enough money to live on. But with the Internet available, I can now concentrate on what I'd love to do, if I had a wish come true, and this is it. I hope this is my last job. I think I was born to do this."
"The Internet has given me a way to do some kind of service on this
planet, in a meaningful way, and in something I like to do. If I can
help some people by just listening and being here, and providing
them with some useful helpful counselling or just talk, then I will
be happy," Bloom says, with a twinkle in his fiftysomething eyes, amid his graying hair encasing a cute bald spot.
To contact Bloom, send your questions or problems to:
firstname.lastname@example.org [payment methods (he doesn't accept
credit cards) may be discussed later. Bloom says that clients can pay him in cash mailed to his snail mail address or by appropriate books or other kinds of gifts. He says that he plans to ask clients to pay $10 per letter, no matter how short or long, and that his response fee will be free, at no charge.
"Why am I doing this?" he says. "Because one, I believe there is a need on this Earth for something like this, for soothing and calming words in a world of trouble and problems, and two, because I love people and enjoy helping them overcome their negative thoughts and problems. I am an eternal optimist, forever. With the Internet, I think I can make a small personal contribution to this world, without needing the four walls of an office or a special paper degree. The income generated by this is not important. This is my retirement plan."
Careers of the Future: Working on the Web
The wild growth of online networks, and the World Wide Web in particular, is creating a job boom, prompting people from all walks of life to switch to jobs that never existed before. Check in at Web design houses and Internet access companies around the country and the story's the same: someone discovers the Internet, teaches themself how to write a Web page, then ditches whatever they were doing to pursue their new love. Companies from California to Connecticut are besieged with calls and resumes from job seekers, and many are adding employees as fast as they can screen and train them. What's the attraction? For some people it's money. For others, it's a chance to invent their jobs as they go along. For still others it's the opportunity to work in the hottest industry since Wall Street in the 80s. (C|Net, online Nov. 13, 1995)