I was at a drag bar in Chelsea for my birthday when I got a job offer I couldn’t believe: a remote, salaried role with benefits. My boss at the time even said, “I just love that I can work from anywhere. I can work from the beach.”
I was sold. She had me at beach.
When I would tell people that I worked remotely, the response was usually “I wish I could do that!” and in the beginning, I was the same way. I don’t have to commute! I don’t have to shower! I can make breakfast every day! I get to hang out with my dog all the time!
But about a year in, I realized my naïveté had lured me into an employment trap. I was pulling 60-hour weeks and I hadn’t had a day off. No vacations. No sick days. The week of my mastectomy, I worked 40 hours.
Yes, I could work from the beach, but let’s be honest with ourselves: Who wants to work from the beach?
My mistake was not negotiating these concerns in the beginning. I was so blinded by the prospect of working from anywhere that I failed to realize the full implications: “I can work from anywhere (as long as I’m always working).”
Do I regret taking the job? No, not really. My husband and I were able to move cities five times and I kept my job with each move, a luxury that many couples don’t experience. We were able to pay for our wedding without taking on any debt.
Also, I learned an insane amount of self-discipline. It’s very tempting to shop online and blow off deadlines, but working remotely taught me how to manage my time, even in the face of a million distractions. It taught me how to power through an enormous to-do list by myself, with almost no guidance, and no one to check on me to make sure I was still working.
I honestly believe that this type of “office” is much more than a passing trend. It’s a low-overhead way to run a company and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more people working that way in the future. If you’re ever offered the chance to work remotely, by all means, take it.
Just make sure to ask the following questions:
What expenses (internet, equipment) are covered?
How much sick time/vacation do I get?
What is the expectation for hours worked?
At what intervals will we negotiate raises and cost-of-living increases?
It was a valuable experience, and one that I entered into (and left) when my life needed me to. Now I’m ready for that next big thing. Watch out!
PS- Did you get here because we’re taking the same class? Check out my About Me page for more information about who I am! Looking forward to the semester with you all!