23 Mar 2017
A remote job can be like love at first sight or it can remind you of that time you agreed to go out with your friend’s co-worker, even though for some reason your friend couldn’t find a photo of said co-worker beforehand.
Why it turns out to be a moveable feast for some and a slow depressing slog toward the abyss for others is complicated, but make no mistake: if you’re ill-prepared or ill-suited working remotely may result in the Reaper whispering sweet nothings into your ear and you willing to entertain his come-on.
Killing Me Softly, with This Job
Let’s take a closer look at the two types of unfortunates mentioned above and see if we can’t discover some truths you may find useful when trying to determine if remote work is for you:
The Ill-Prepared - Many would-be remote workers seem to think that the most difficult part of working in an exotic locale will be running out of stunning beaches to visit. What they aren’t prepared for are the constant interruptions to their Wi-Fi signal, power outages, lack of respect for concepts like being quiet at 4 am and other endearing aspects of life in developing countries.
The Ill-Suited - Joe watched with increasing envy as more and more of his buddies transitioned out of the office into remote work. One fine day he’d had enough: “If they can do it, I do it.”
Three months later - broke and with that faraway look in his eyes reserved for those who’ve had close encounters with their shortcomings - he petitioned his former office overlords for his job back. What happened?
Well, Joe discovered a very important truth: that if you’re going to survive remote work you need to possess certain characteristics that he always assumed he had but actually didn’t. These include:
Openness and the Ability to Organize - When work is coming at you fast and furious on that tropical beach you need to keep everything straight. Lose track of important information, fail to embrace transparency or fail to prioritize effectively and watch the work dry up.
Self-Motivation - Extricating yourself from the conga line isn’t always easy but if you miss too many deadlines you’ll be looking for work cleaning the hotel pool. This is perhaps the #1 reason remote workers fail. Once free of the whip they become complacent.
Ability to Pace Thyself - Just as there are those who can’t drag themselves away from the beach there are those who can’t drag themselves away from the computer. Whether you’re working from home or from Chiang Mai you need to know when to step back. Burnout kills.
Self-Containment - If you’re not willing or able to hang with yourself for long stretches of time you may find yourself blasting Pink Floyd while balancing on the balcony railing.
Don’t let your remote job be the end of you. Before you decide to go the remote route conduct a no-bs self-assessment.
Do you possess the above characteristics? Really? Okay then. Good luck.
Mike Thatcher is a Digital Ninja at Jobrack with a years’ long experience. Digital nomad by the place of residence, he is passionate about entrepreneurship and leading small businesses and startups. His current focus is helping businesses create better growth systems.
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