Back in September, I quit my full-time desk job in hopes of starting a freelance career. I got a few gigs here and there, but despite my best efforts, it just wasn’t enough to pay the bills. So, I turned my focus to another avenue: working remotely.
As an inbound marketer and content writer, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to work in an office setting. I’m someone who needs (mostly) silence to focus and write, and an office doesn’t provide that environment. People talk, play their music loudly and expect you to join in on every conversation. For some people, this works. But for me, it’s a recipe for stress.
Once I realized that there were a decent amount of remote opportunities out there, I stopped applying for local jobs. Instead, I spent all of my energy filling out applications, writing cover letters and being creative with my responses to their application questions. After three months of phone calls and Skype interviews, I finally landed a job doing content writing for an inbound marketing agency in Pennsylvania.
When I tell people that I work remotely, they have this idea that I sit in my pajamas all day, watch TV and barely do any work. And while I hate to shatter your dreams, most of that is far from the truth. Want to know what it’s really like? Here are seven confessions of a remote employee:
1. Pajamas, Yoga Pants And Sweatpants Are My Daily Attire
This is the only part of the statement above that’s true. But no, I don’t just roll out of bed, lay on the couch and start working. I do change – into another pair of pajamas/sweatpants.
But in all honesty, why would I wear jeans or dress clothes just to sit at home all day?
2. But That Doesn’t Stop Me From Wearing Makeup On Occasion
So yeah. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, do my hair and put on some makeup – even when I don’t have any meetings. It’s rare, but it happens.
3. Sometimes, I Feel Like I’m Missing Out
I never really thought about what it would be like working remotely for a company that has a “home base” office. But let me tell you, it’s tough sometimes.
On Fridays, when everyone is eating breakfast together in the office and sitting in on our Friday morning meeting, I’m at home alone. When the team is celebrating a work anniversary with ice cream, nachos or playing “junk in the trunk,” I’m at home alone – stalking our social media sites to see what everyone is up to.
Even though I’m an introvert, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on so much of my company’s awesome culture. And sometimes, it really sucks.
4. I Have Insecurities About My Job
When you’re in an office setting, you get a sense of how well you’re performing your job simply based on the behavior of those around you. Body language is so important, but I never realized it until I started working remotely.
Yes, I have reviews every so often, but on a day-to-day basis, it’s really hard to know how you’re doing. The feedback from my co-workers is incredibly valuable since I can’t see reactions every day. Since starting this job, I seek out feedback more frequently because I never want to be in a place where I don’t know how I’m performing.
5. I Don’t Know All Of My Co-Workers
At the company I work for, we work in hives (aka groups). Currently, there are somewhere between 10-15 people in my hive, and I work with them on a daily basis. I also meet with the content team every other week, and I’ve had the privilege of getting to do training with many of them.
But everyone else? I know their names, but I don’t necessarily know their roles. I’m working on it.
6. I Don’t Always Work 9-5
Before you freak out, just listen. Most days, I wake up and work from 9 am to 5 pm. But some days, life happens.
Maybe I’m sick. Or I get stuck in ridiculous traffic on the way back from running an errand. Instead of freaking out, I just make up the time. Either I’ll work later that day or – if I’m feeling brain fried – I’ll wake up early the next day to finish my work. Problem solved.
7. Some Days, I Power Nap
I’m a firm believer in the power of naps. Sometimes, a 30-minute power nap is exactly what you need to refresh your brain and keep going.
Writing all day isn’t easy, and some days, I just feel like my brain is going to explode. But instead of letting that happen, I take a quick nap and get back to it. Usually, I call this “getting lunch.” (Secret’s out, I suppose.)
Despite what people think, being a remote employee isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. But there’s no denying that it’s a pretty amazing opportunity – especially for a marketer or content writer.