The first time I began remote work was as a freelance designer for a previous employer, while also working my 9-6 (though rarely leaving at 6pm) 1,000 miles away. I found excitement in the freelance projects I was taking on, but was consistently overworked by my full-time position. Unable to maintain both, I ended the freelancing to focus on the FT position, but I found less joy in the day to day tasks. Shortly there after Hurricane Maria came roaring through, forcing my office to close temporarily, but allowing me the opportunity to work full time remotely and I fell in love with the lifestyle and freedom to contribute solid work from the location of my choosing.
While the timing wasn't my choice, the desire to lead my design team and get projects out to our clients was. I found a new sense of pride as well as confidence that was not present in our open office setting. From that point on the idea of unlimited paid time off just wasn't cutting it for me.
The idea of work life balance was not well defined in that role. My PTO days were strategic dates that straddled federal holidays to secure personal time or family time (whichever needed more attention). My work days were not a balanced set of hours in comparison, especially when factoring in my commute, overtime (especially the unpaid hours), cubicle workspace, business wardrobe, etc. Each of these have an impact on working individuals whether we want them to or not.
In those months while life was up in the air, pun intended, I found my footing. I knew what I'd wanted to do, but this experience also shoved me into the direction I needed. I was lead my team remotely, connected with my sales reps, executed projects that the rest of my disconnected team could not. I left this position and landed another prior to the pandemic that I eventually evolved into a remote role. Although that assignment has ended due to Covid-19, I felt fulfilled with a company that was able to meet my standards.
Fast Forward to Now
Now I am managing my own business from Peru and still proving the power of remote working daily. At times I am even proving it to myself. I am proud to have learned to adapt to a world that is only now learning to adapt to the chaos and value the contributions of remote workers. I am also blessed with a supportive team and family. The work involved in being a remote contributor is not easy, and was never about doing reducing the work load. Instead it is about a change of environment and perspective that is both sustainable and rewarding.
This labor requires the ability to be a self-starter, great communication skills, a problem solver, discipline, accountability, great communication skills, adaptability, self guided learning, and of course great communication. Being remote does not mean you are doing less, but instead it requires that you learn to throughly share your ideas, understanding and progress through every step of your project as if you were in the same room, and at times with people you will never meet face to face.
I love connecting with other individuals learning about their passions and being able to develop those wishes into reality. It's only fair that I live out my reality as well. The ability to Work, Live, & Play Remotely has been the goal for years, and finally betting on myself made it my reality. This is balance, and finding my purpose amongst the chaos is what made this vision of mine a reality. I have no desire to work within a cubicle, when the world is now my office space.