If you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably seen this picture: perfectly tanned legs, across a picturesque body of water. It could be a beach, a pool, or a lake. An icy drink on the cane table to their side, along with a laptop. Caption reads: My Office!.
You’re not sure if this post is real, or just some sort of scam. Or if it is some rich beep blank beep performing their usual subtle brag. Or perhaps, you’re indifferent. They’ve probably just got lucky, you shrug to yourself and move down the newsfeed.
Wait a minute; I’m not trying to convince you to work on a beach. But really, have you ever fantasised about travelling around the world? Is there a special place that tickles your fancy, but you’re not quite ready to collect elephant poop for a living just yet?
Perhaps you have a mortgage, debt, obligations… Or you’re just too focussed on your career.
You need a real job.
You, my friend, can have your cake and eat it too.
And I’m here to show you how.
In January of 2014, I walked into the HR office of my dead-end job, which I hated with passion, and I gave my immediate resignation. The team was stunned.
By everyone’s standards, I had “made it”. I was in my mid-twenties, had a great salary and benefits, was head of my department over people twice my age, and had a full-suite office for myself, with an assistant, and 3 computer monitors.
Could it get any better?
Well, it turns out, it could.
I ended up travelling and then landing a remote position. Nearly 3 years and 5 countries later, I am writing this from my base in South Asia.
It is currently 33 degrees Celcius, or 90 Fahrenheit.
We are in December.
My subtle brag is not so subtle.
Some people are simply not meant to be boxed.
If you dread clocking in and out an office, only to be sending e-mails and making calls all day, you know in your heart that you can do your job from anywhere with an Internet connection.
So why drive for hours in traffic just to do what could have been done at home, or from some exotic location?
Luckily for you and me, old companies, just like new start-ups, are beginning to understand the value of remote work.
Working remotely not only means less unnecessary expenses; it also means that no one can pretend to work by clocking in and out or marking the presence of their butt on a chair for a certain number of hours.
When you work remotely, the only way to “prove to your boss” that you worked, is by actually working. Your results will matter more than the number of hours you’ve claimed to have been connected to the workspace.
Now, let’s cover the basics that you might find most pressing.
1: Are these “real” jobs?
Yes. Although all jobs are real, but these are “career-oriented positions” if that’s what you meant.
You will be performing tasks that are similar to what you would have done in the office.
Minus the office.
Just like any company, your career prospects will depend on your performance, character, and the company itself.
2: I have a mortgage/debt/obligations back home, will I get paid a commission?
Unless you’ve asked for a commission-based position, the massive majority of these positions offer a salary base that is competitive to the market.
Better yet, you can get equity if you join early enough.
3: Are there any benefits?
With my company, I get unlimited vacation. Yes, you read that right. This means, there is no maximum.
You take time off when you feel burned out. Well, I must say that this is not necessarily the case for most positions, I was lucky enough to join a wonderful workplace with leadership that cares about their team members.
But I can assure you (and this goes out to my fellow Americans especially) that there is a world out there, where a one-week vacation per year is absolutely unacceptable.
4: How will my hours work out, if I am travelling across the globe?
The hours of work will differ and depend on the company you work at and nature of the job. To be candid, some might even require that you work in their time zone, which will be a pain if you are travelling 12 hours apart.
However, you might be able to get a job with flexible hours. Again, the rule here is that you must show results to demonstrate that you have indeed worked your hours.
5: Can I really work from anywhere?
If you want to be on the road permanently, then look for 100% remote, no travel required.
If you only want more travel, but don’t mind showing up to the office or meeting a client every once in a while, then your options are less limited.
Just be candid during your job interview about your desire to travel.
6: Is there a catch?
Yes. You will actually work, very hard.
If you waste time Facebooking mid-task, you will have to spend time making it up immediately after, because no one can see you in the office, your only “proof of work”, is.. well, work.
You will have to be a self-starter and self-motivator.
With this kind of jobs, there is no boss around, and you will have to be your own boss.
You are solely responsible for pushing yourself out of bed when you don’t have to report to the office at a specific hour.
You are responsible for not slacking off or wasting time. And you are responsible for your well-being: working remotely can make you lose grip of how much time you’re spending at work. You might burn out, and that is why it is important to set boundaries and have a workspace that is separate from your bedroom or “chilling corner”.
The big question now is:
7: How do I get a remote job?
There are several resources to find virtual jobs, but I will only share the reliable and free resources:
Power to Fly (for women in Tech)
Idealist (if you are not in business or tech, i.e. you are a nurse, teacher, and so on)
The world is a book, and those who never travel only read one page.