Is Working From Home Really As Cool As It Seems?
So, this can only work based on your assigned industry because that’s the only way to guarantee a relatively cushy transition, which is why in my case — I’m solid
I’m a writer, and as lovely as that sounds, I’m still not able to make a decent living on that alone. But, like many others in my field, I’ve managed to carve out the hours necessary to remain connected — in order to adequately satisfy the thirst of expression.
I just landed a full time gig as a web producer for one of the many outlets that have apparently mastered the art of shuffling and reshuffling recycled fare through various channels of usage.
Almost a decade ago there was an intense need for writers with a particular flair for producing content that could rival the competition in a way that directs traffic into the lane of profitable clicks.
I remember that time fondly because I was lucky enough to be a freelancer — and despite my hectic day job that involved the account opening process for wealthy families — I was determined to nurture my craft during extended lunch breaks and after work activities.
My extra paycheck was pretty decent, which is always a welcomed incentive.
Those days are long gone — and when I look back — I can’t fathom how I imagined the trajectory of being bumped from freelance writer to editorial staff.
I mean what in the hell was I thinking?
How could I have been that naïve to imagine that the worldwide web could somehow encourage the virtue of news journalism by protecting the fundamentals of publishing an article with coherency — with the expected level of investment that gives readers a sense of formal dedication.
Clearly, we are in a puddle of shit when it comes to finding reliable sources and steady stream of carefully gathered information — that is arranged in an easily digestible format.
The very pubs I hoped to be affiliated with have suddenly disappeared from my radar. Why? Because what they offer is utter crap — and not to toot my own horn, but the standards I acquired when I was a kid in boarding school still remain intact — for better or worse.
Also, there just aren’t that many editorial jobs sourcing for writers who actually know how to write. And even when they reel you in — the positions start off promising — and then slowly convert into the description you didn’t sign up for — with the buzzkill of a frustratingly low compensation.
I paid my dues with jobs that began well and ended badly. It was a hard lesson that cost me more than I was prepared to shell out, but in the end — the lashings of reality was worth the temporary roach-infested hide out.
The takeaway is the realization that major hubs with overhyped reputations like Disney, and other media companies with shiny logos — are stingy operations that refuse to compensate accordingly — and often times prefer to brand gifted workers as contractors — until they’re either forced to validate your status or let you go.
It’s a thankless, shitty, depressing and unbelievably disgusting climate and unfortunately — I walked right into the eye of the storm just as it was kicking into gear.
But, the monster eventually spat me out and I landed smack in the middle of a mini-fortune.
It’s the privilege of rolling out of bed, dashing to soothe coffee cravings — changing into shorts and a T-shirt, curling into my personalized workspace — and beginning my daily shift while binging on Netflix.
My lust for a remote job began when I moved to Los Angeles, after spending over a decade relying on NYC’s superior transit system. I had lived in L.A. briefly some years ago, and during that time, I acquired a used car from a guy who was desperate to sell his cobalt blue mustang — before returning to Argentina to care for his sick mother.
This time around — I’m regrettably incapable of replicating that scenario — so my option has been the L.A. Metro, which is even more of a disaster than my unlimited vocabulary can convey.
Shuttling to Burbank, Santa Monica and the other former venues that required my presence was no walk in the park — and the worst part was not being able to justify the treacherous commute with proof of a reasonable paycheck.
Those jobs ended — and I was left with the daunting task of figuring out what to do next.
The answer came two months ago when a friend recommended me for a web producing gig that paid slightly higher than my former jobs — with the bonus of not having the cumbersome burden of either navigating traffic — or waiting for the bus that never arrives on schedule— even in perfect weather conditions.
Working from home really is as cool as it seems. The reasons are simple and obvious, but I will start with the best one.
You can take trips anytime you want without the pain of calculating vacation time or stressing about finding reliable co-workers to fill in. This is particularly rewarding if you’re a relatively new employee — and have the sudden urge to visit family members in Maryland.
I chilled for a week at my parents’ crib, and all I had to do was adjust my hours to accommodate the different time zone.
Another major win that comes with working remotely is the lightness of the day to day. The sense of independence that comes with knowing that you don’t have to adhere to rules of conduct, such as dress codes, permissible areas to reside, non-negotiable hours of arrival and departure, etc, — has been a life altering change of pace.
Of course the banner of professionalism isn’t diluted by the fact that you’re a remote employee — but it’s so much more bearable when you’re not stuck at a cubicle with other underpaid staffers — that are bored and bitter enough to strategize how to make your life even more miserable.
There is also the matter of not spending wasted time, effort and resources to travel to far out places for the pleasure of being shut indoors for a specified period — even on the days when you would give just about anything to avoid the unavoidable.
You will marvel at your increased productivity and marked efficiency, and your employer will appreciate you. This stems from the joy that comes with celebrating your ideal surroundings, and feeling compelled to go above and beyond — especially when your multi-tasking skills are at an all-time high.
How the hell are you able to program content, submit daily pitches, participate in weekly Skype meetings, respond to emails (personal and work), and finish the entire season of Lost, while preparing Jollof rice with homemade conditioner in your hair?
The downside could be the lack of human contact and the threat of morphing into a pampered recluse, but who says you have to be alone? There are plenty of options for those who yearn for the excitement of crowded places.
Coffee shops can be a nice break of habit or you can opt to rent a shared space with cohabitors — although that tends to get a bit pricey — depending on what city you’re in.
At the end of the day — the main incentive to aim for remote jobs is the gratification of knowing that your modest salary matches your output in a way that makes your workload easier to bear.
Do I love what I do from 7 am — 4pm — Monday to Friday? Not really, but I would certainly be a cranky employee if I had to get up at 5:00 am — to make the daily editorial meeting at 8:30 am. I would be even more unsightly if I was forced to stay extend my day for the sake of last minute revisions.
I get to control the elements that form together to make my work week and every given Monday — delightfully coerced — on my terms.