I’m going to take a break from my aggressive war on status quo wage programming jobs today. Instead, I’ll offer something a little more how-to-y and a little more upbeat. And I won’t once try to talk you out of salaried employment. Instead, I’ll try to talk you into it. Or, at least into a kind of it. Let’s talk remote programming jobs.
Some, But Not Too Many, Words of Caution
I am, personally, an introvert. So I always find the cautionary tales around remote work to be pretty overblown. They go something like this.
Remote work seems like it’d be great. And, for the first few weeks, it is! But then you start to get lonely and stir crazy. Before you know it, you’re heading down to Starbucks for a human connection just content to have some teenagers giggle at you. And the weight gain? You’re working right by your fridge! And not to mention… [blah, blah, blah]
And it devolves from there. I always read these posts and think of the song, Space Oddity. You’d think these people were loading themselves into a tiny capsule and blasting off for the Kuiper Belt alone, never to see another human.
Look, if you’re really a group-oriented person, an extrovert, or someone who strongly prefers collaborative work, you may struggle working from home. But then, if you’re that sort of person, you’re probably not reading this post.
If, on the other hand, you like working alone, don’t let these obligatory cautionary tales scare you. I’ve been working mostly remotely for years and totally remotely, non-stop for 8 months, mostly in a very small town. And I’ve never yet felt the need to hug a random barista to slake a bone-deep loneliness.
You still have friends, right? Family? A phone? You’ll be fine.
Things to Guard Against
Okay, so we’ve established that you probably won’t morph into a much needier person than you’ve ever been. But there some things around which you need to take care.
Bear in mind that these are not deal breakers, nor are they insurmountable. They’re just things that you need to manage, especially at first, until you settle into a rhythm.
- If you’re not used to imposing structure and discipline on yourself in terms of time management, you might need to learn this. Maintain a schedule, set a todo list, and that sort of thing.
- On the flip side, some people in remote situations go too far the other way and start to work all the time. Set boundaries.
- Depending on your work situation, you might need to get used to showcasing your contributions. This holds doubly true if you’re in the minority as a remote worker. Find a way to keep your boss posted on what you’re doing and your teammates engaged.
- Remote doesn’t necessarily (or even ideally) mean that you never have facetime. Expect to travel for meatspace interactions from time to time.
After a few weeks, you’ll settle in and find what makes sense for you, perhaps tweaking from time to time. Just make sure to keep an eye out over the duration of your tenure as a remote worker for things that you can do to improve your productivity and interactions.
Why Remote Programming Jobs?
Alright, now that we’ve gotten the cautionary stuff out of the way, let’s move on to why you would want this. I’ll cite my own experience, in list format, talking about the benefits.
- Not commuting gives you back up to 2 hours per day.
- You can work remotely from anywhere. This year, I’ve worked from a lake in the woods, big cities, and now that it’s gotten cold up north, a house right next to the Gulf of Mexico. You can vagabond or visit family.
- Assuming you’re not a big time group collaborator, you’ll get work done much more productively without regular interruptions and distractions.
- Wearing whatever is comfortable is a nice lifestyle perk.
- Programming and similar knowledge work pursuits are deep work, which means some isolation lets you immerse yourself more in them.
- You have a much more flexible schedule to accommodate family life or various schedule restrictions you might have.
I’ve talked about cautions, but I can’t overstate how great a lifestyle this is, provided you’re comfortable with limited professional face time. Your life takes on a sort of freedom and autonomy that’s hard to replicate when you spend your days in an office.
But I won’t sell any further. Let’s look at how to get yourself into a remote situation.