Aristillus

A large crater to dump my thoughts

Reflections on three years of full-time work

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This fall marks my three year anniversary as a (ahem) full-time productive member of society. I’ve worked from home for the last three years, with three different managers. There are some useful life lessons I’ve learned during that time, in general and about myself in particular:

It took the full first year and a major blow to my self-esteem for me to figure this first one out. I fucking hate, hate, hate micromanagement. I’m a pretty independent person, and this kind of submission – for lack of a better word – just isn’t for me. Micromanagement makes me feel pressured, and makes me feel guilty when I am not accountable for what I am doing every single minute of the work day. It depresses and utterly annoys me. It doesn’t work, either. I was the most productive – and my job was most satisfying – when I given a rough idea of our long-term goals, a carte blanche on how to spend my time (with occasional feedback, of course) and a role in the discussion about our agenda. A manager should be there to make sure I can do my job and represent their team to the rest of the company, not expect me to be at their every beck and call.

I do needs me some me time, but I’m not as solitary as I always thought I was. If I continue working remotely, it will either have to be as a nomad or with at least one or two days a week in an office with other human beings, even if that means having to put on a shirt in the morning.

If I don’t enjoy my job, that will kill my motivation and productivity. I have to care about what I’m creating, and understand why it is useful.

When I was unhappy in my first position and struggling to stay motivated, I pretty much accepted that as a given, since I did not know any better. It was a relief to discover that wasn’t necessary. Never again.

I’m easily bored. Really easily. Give me some hard problems, please.

Work isn’t everything. I’m sure I’m hardly the first person to experience this in their first job, but I’m really good at totally immersing myself in something and just forgetting about the rest of the world and its annoying distractions (social life, dating, hobbies). Another teleworker warned me before I started working from home that boundaries are important. It took me almost three years (stubborn? me? what?), but I have found out the hard way that he was right.

I was really pleased when I got the offer for my current job offer three years ago, but in hindsight I was also meek and somewhat naive. There are plenty of interesting job openings out there, and ample opportunity to be hired.

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Written by aristillus

September 2, 2012 at 13:27

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