The Future is with Remote Jobs, join the revolution

There’s a revolution taking place right now it’s going on all around us in places that we work in a lot of us a lot of people aren’t even aware that it’s going on the revolution. I’m referring to is the remote working revolution for those of you who have not heard of remote working before perhaps you’ve heard the terms telecommuting or teleworker referring to somebody who on occasion
works from their house or perhaps even in one of your workplaces a mysterious person who seems to get work done but you’ve never met in person and perhaps suspect that they don’t even really exist. I’m one of those people and I’m going to talk with you about that for a little bit this has been a long time coming and it’s not just because we were waiting for the technology to catch up.
In fact the technology has been here for a while so I want to start off with a quote from a remote programmer named Mountain ghosts on Twitter 1995 the information superhighway will mean anyone can do anything from anywhere 2015 must be willing to relocate to San Francisco this is actually an excerpt from a job posting for a San Francisco based tech company that writes software specifically for the purpose of remote collaboration. Unfortunately, they still feel that employees need to be in San Francisco to be effective working at their organization a lot of companies are starting to change their minds about that and I want to start off by telling you a little bit about my remote works working story.
So rewind back to 2011 I was working in Stillwater Oklahoma at a drilling company I left my job to start living the remote working
dream working for an IT consulting company that allowed remote workers I would get up in the morning sometimes stumble down the hallway sit down at my desk be coding or on a conference call within a few minutes sometimes I remember to put my pants on sometimes I wouldn’t but I really felt like I was living the dream I talked to so many people on a daily basis who lived in other cities who had an hour hour and a half two-hour commute into their workplace that by the time they got to work they were so stressed out from the commute that they weren’t in the right headspace to be able to write code let alone you know to engage with other people and be creative and collaborative.
And you know there’s just an increasing number of obstacles to going into an office and an increasing amount of reduction and productivity that we see in office places so I was really excited for this opportunity and I started remote working. And right away you know my wife and I decided we wanted to move up to the Pacific Northwest one of the great advantages that you have as a remote employee is that if you want to move somewhere else as long as your employer is ok with it. Your job is not bound to where you live so we decided we wanted to move up to the Pacific Northwest. We looked at Seattle we looked at Portland we have family that lived in the tri-cities and when we came up here and visited this area we decided that we really liked it and this is the place that we wanted to be so we moved up to the tri-cities when we back up here yeah September 2012 packed all our boxes all
our belongings into boxes put them in the back of a moving truck and shipped them across the country 2000 plus miles from Oklahoma all the way to tri-cities found our dream house got moved in and I was remote working. Unfortunately within a month of arriving, I got a call really early in the morning from my boss which was a little bit odd my boss usually didn’t call me and if he did call me it usually wasn’t in the morning and he said hey Justin I’m sorry to have to tell you this I know you just moved but
the position that you’re in with the contract that you’ve been working on has been canceled and so that means that your waiver that you had that allowed you to remote work is no longer valid. We would love to keep you on as an employee but we don’t have any remote working positions available. We need you to move to an office either there are some positions in Seattle we actually have
several and Sanford sisqó that is a really good match for your skillset. And so you know my wife and I talked about and we decided you know what we just moved here we have our dream house. We really like the area and you know what we don’t want to move to San Francisco great city I love visiting it I just didn’t want to live there and so I declined the job offer and said you know what I’m going to find something here locally.
And so I did what all of us do when we’re in a similar situation started looking around finding out all the local businesses sending out applications adjusting my resume writing cover letters and the sound of silence from all those job applications was kind
of deafening and I really started to get worried it was thinking what did I do. I uprooted my family went away from all my co-workers where I had an established professional network to a place where I know nobody except a couple of family members spent all my savings spent all our family savings you know on a down payment for a house and it’s looking like we might have to move back to Oklahoma and live with my parents for a while. Fortunately, that didn’t happen what did happen is I went back to my roots and thought about this problem as an engineer would what do you do. If there’s something that you desperately need that
you can’t buy and doesn’t really exist that you don’t have access to you build it right so I said okay what do I really need I need a professional network to leverage to get a job okay. So I’m in an area where I know nobody I have no professional contacts except a
couple of members of family I don’t know any of the businesses don’t have in lines to any of those organizations how
do I build a professional network and the answer is the same way you build a professional network for remote working one person at a time.
So I went back to LinkedIn and this time I wasn’t looking for jobs I was looking for somebody who worked at one of the organizations I had applied to who worked in the local area somebody maybe in management maybe middle management so that they, you know actually respond if I sent them a message and so that maybe they’d understand what my resume meant and what my background was and I found somebody and that guy I wrote a message to him introduced myself attached my resume, said hey I applied for this job if you think I’d be a good match I’d love to meet up with you and talk about it within a day or two at a
the response back and within a week or two a job interview and ended up getting a job at that organization John if you’re out
there Thanks I want to say that that same situation that I went through is kind of what it’s like when you first move into remote
Because you have to build a network up from the ground but before we talk about the Y sorry before we talk about the how I’d like to talk about. So to talk about the I have an example here and it’s called the Iron Triangle the most well known Iron Triangle is the Iron Triangle of product development the idea is that you have a triangle with three corners or three vertices and on each vertices is a different aspect of developing a product you can see we have the options cheap fast or good unfortunately you only get
to pick two of these right so we all know how this works when you see products out there if it’s something that’s cheap and it was made very quickly and came to market quickly they chose cheap and fast chances are the product isn’t particularly good if you choose to make a product that’s good and try to bring it to market quickly chances are it’s not very cheap it’s probably relatively
expensive the Iron Triangle locks you into choosing two dimensions while forgoing the third so I’d like to propose the Iron Triangle of employment on the three vertices of that Iron Triangle of employment are where you live where you work specifically the company you’re employed with. If you are an employee and then third what you do for work now a lot of us set our career track very early on things like where we go to college what we study what kind of books we read are based off what our interests are you know if we want to become a writer or an artist or an engineer or whatever your specific choice is so generally what you do is the earliest decision you make and you lock in that vertex at a very young age sometimes we start over and change career tracks and change that but generally when you do that you’re starting over again at the bottom the latter so you’re really left with
two choices and we consider ourselves lucky if we can even get two of these aspects with one of those being what you do for work right so typically if you choose what you do for work which we all do your choice then is to stay in the local community where you are or a city that you choose that is to say you choose where you live to say you choose to live where you grew up where you have
a family where you have friends where you have professional connections where you feel comfortable. And where you’re happy well then you may be limited to a very small list of employers in your local area that is in your particular industry or you go the opposite path and you say you know what, I know that I’m going to have to now move to New York or I know that I’m going to have to move to LA or I’m in software and I know I’m going to have to move to go but I want to choose where I work so if you choose where you work you have to take the leap of moving across the country potentially away from all your friends from all your family from the networks that you’ve already built just for the purpose of taking that particular job.
If you’re married or have a significant other or family it affects all of them as well and so this Iron Triangle affects our lifestyles in a very fundamental way it binds us to particular places or makes us forgo our human connections for pursuing a specific job the promise of remote employment is that with remote employment on the table we can break this iron triangle you can actually have
all three of these dimensions you can do something like choose to be in software and choose to live in tri-cities and work for a company like Google or Facebook or in any of those really big companies out there that maybe you’re interested in and this isn’t just for the tech industry as well I meet people who are you know in accounting, who are in law who are in all sorts of different disciplines that can support this sort of remote working so that’s the advantage to an employee why are employers finally coming around even though the technology has been here for a while for this way of thinking and the answer to that question is that
there’s a number of benefits to employers as well so if you think about San Francisco again apparently my favorite example San
Francisco has a very broken job market in some particular places software is one there’s an increasingly large number of tech companies that need extremely technical people with very specific skill sets and there’s just not enough of those people to go around so the salaries get higher and higher and higher for lower and lower quality individuals who happen to be in the local area so what that means is that a lot of these companies especially startups are struggling to find the talent that they need to enable their businesses to succeed.
And they’re finally getting to the breaking point where they’re saying you know what, if instead of making somebody relocate to San Francisco we just opened it up and anybody could have anywhere and we’re going to consider it more important to evaluate our employees based off the work that you actually do rather than where you are physically located it’s more important that you do your job and do it well then that you’re in a specific location warming a chair for eight hours a day between these specific hours that’s really what’s important to us once companies come to that realization they find even additional benefits on top of that
benefits such as offices you know how expensive it is to buy twenty thousand square feet of office space in downtown.
San Francisco not very cheap and once you buy that office space you have to fill it with computers with printers with coffee makers. Since this is the San Francisco job market you a great big yellow twirly slide that goes all the way down around probably some pinball machines maybe a little mini arcade otherwise who’s going to want to work there I mean come on but they don’t have to buy all those things and their employees are immediately productive they don’t have to go through a commute where they get to work and they’re super stressed out and know that they’re going to have to go through it in another couple hours they’re not worrying about what they’re going to do about picking up their son or their daughter or having a sick loved one that they have to worry about caring for and their productivity the amount of work that they actually do for those companies is higher and we
realize anymore that they benefits to the employers are is as significant as they are to their employees as well.

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