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Ukraine can’t be beat

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

A couple of messages here this week. One about Ukraine, another the flip side of the electricity rant I provided in this column a couple of weeks ago.

In our publishing business, we often use graphic designers sourced around the world. There is a company that makes this very easy to do, it is called “Upwork.” Upwork takes care of all the legalities, taxes and so forth.

I have a point to make, but let’s get one thing out of the way first. Some of you are already saying, “Thompson, you are shipping work off shore that could be done at home.”

That would be true if it were not for the fact that this work either gets done by the folks at Upwork or – often – it would not get done at all or we would do an amateurish job here ourselves. We simply can’t afford the prices charged here to do this work. Love it or hate it, this is the way it is.

So, we provide opportunities for skilled folks all over the world to live their passion.

In September, I will be giving a speech at a prestigious conference in Madrid, Spain. I need some slides for this speech (commonly known as a PowerPoint deck, after the Microsoft software used to create it), and I would like for them to be very high quality. The audience is pulp and paper company CEOs from all over the world. I need to put my best foot forward.

Using Upwork and the internet, our staff went looking for a skilled graphic designer familiar with the PowerPoint software. The way you do this is you post a job on Upwork, describing what you want, and designers from around the world can then present their credentials to you. Couldn’t do this without electricity and the internet.

Last year, I did a very elaborate animated talk for this same conference (which was virtual, not live, due to COVID). I hired a highly skilled designer in Poland to do that one, and she did a fantastic job.

The leading respondent for our request for help on this current project is in Ukraine. Never mind the war, he needs to earn a living. He proposed a sample of his work for a small fee, then we could negotiate the fee for the entire project. We said OK. His sample was very good, so we got down to negotiating his fee for the entire project.

He was a very tough negotiator. Forget that bombs are falling all around him, he knows the value of the quality of his work, and he wouldn’t budge. We settled on a price, and he is working away on the project right now, sending me updates every night, ready for me to look at when I get to work each morning.

I think about the conditions under which he is working, and I think about the Americans we read about in the media every day. He is not whining. He is not looking for someone to bail him out of the tragedy that surrounds him. He is working at the top of his game every day, with bombs bursting in air, to borrow from Francis Scott Key back in the day when we had a backbone as Americans.

You can’t defeat people with such an attitude. There are lessons here for the citizens of the United States to learn. Compared at least to this Ukrainian, our softness is palatable.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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