Why I chose to come back home at 24
Let’s get this out of the way: I’m a 24 year old working directly from my childhood bedroom. And I’m proud of it. I’m happy to say that after 6 years I had the opportunity to come back here by my own will, and I’m enjoying it.
Working from home is a relatively new term, and you can perceive that once you try to explain it to other people who are not aware of the existence of this beautiful way of living. You’ll typically hear things such as: “What are you? A programmer or something like that?” or things like “that’s a fancy way of saying that you’re unemployed, right?” There are also the ones that assume there’s only one possible reason you can work from home by saying, “Oh so you must have your own business!” I realized that the best way of replaying this is: “I know, sounds funny right?” Give a polite smile and continue with the on-going conversation.
After I decided to return to Mexico (If you want to read about my experience working abroad, check it out here),I was presented with the opportunity of working from home and I was positively shocked that I was able to get this option, because it was something I was not yet planning in my career. I took it because I wanted to be closer to my family and because I’ve always been one that likes to try new things. I’ve been at Dell for around 2.5 years and I’ve always had the opportunity of working sporadically from my home, either from my college house or whenever I visited my folks. But taking this as my full-time format was a tough decision, because it sounds amazing on paper (it is) but there are a bunch of thing you have to ponder before proceeding:
-Accountability: Working from home means that you are free. Free to work wherever you want, wearing whatever you want and sometimes, at whatever time you want. This amount of liberty is something hard to deal with at the beginning, because for this in order to function it must be translated into responsibility and later into accountability. This means that Home Office WILL take the best out of you, because at the end you won’t be able to blame anything else. You can’t say that you got distracted by your teammates, or that you were late because of traffic or that you were not able to get into that meeting due to slow internet. It was our decision to work from home, and we must deal with everything that comes with it.
-It’s a lot like the Dark Side: I live in a small town two hours away from where the site it’s located and I go there like one week per month. It’s a nice change of rhythm, you get to see your coworkers, you have lunch with them, you fight with that printer that always jams when you send something, etc. I enjoy coming back to where I started working, but sometimes it gets really overwhelming. You get so used to your own way of working that you almost forget what’s like to share an office space with more people, you even forget what’s like to wear shoes all day! But this is a beautiful part of the process, you get to experience both sides and work in both your personal capabilities and your team work intensely.
-Is it really for you? Ask yourself this question if you’re ever presented with the opportunity. It’s OK to say that you prefer to be on an office space, some people get even more distracted when their alone. In my case, I have a really active mind, so being by myself allows me to focus a lot more. What works for somebody doesn’t have to work for you, never forget that.
I’m just starting my journey in the “Home Office” world, but in a small period of time I´ve learned a great deal about myself and have been able to hone my skills such as responsibility, punctuality, multitasking, organization and enjoying the simple things. I don’t know about you, but I know very few other millennials that work fully from home or have been able to give this a try. This proves that we are not lazy, entitled and that we can manage big projects on our own. In fact, this shows that the business world is changing little by little, that the old fashioned way of doing things, where you had your boss telling you what to do 24/7 is evolving. We are becoming more reliable and independent, and in my opinion, this is setting me up for the future in a better way that I could ever imagine in school, internship or first work experiences.
But this doesn’t mean that I´m doing all this by myself. I´m still working closely under my manager and have recurrent conversation with my team (sometimes more than twice a day) so I´m not really alone. All of this is achievable thanks to tools such as video-conferencing for example, which allow us to communicate effectively with co-workers all around the world. Just so you have an idea, my team is conformed from people in 3 different continents. Working from home still allows you to have that global contact and in my case, I feel that I became more effective in job. It allows you to define your ways of working, and even better, it allows you to deconstruct them and re-build them accordingly to your amount of work. One week, I was able to present the project I´m working on to the leadership team, which meant working on results and the presentation itself, the following week, I needed to focus on creating content. Both duties are really demanding, but they require a different set of mind.
Is it hard to resist the urge of doing anything else? It is. It seems so easy to just do any other thing, but I decide not to, because the commitment is there. Working from home lets you establish a better relationship with your work activities because it enables you to be you. To do what you want the way you want it, to not lose time of your day stuck in traffic, to share your day with your family and have as much free time as you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work. I don´t know about you, but I´m starting to understand why so many people doesn’t believe this is real.
To wrap this up, I’ll like to show you a quote from Tony Stewart that really symbolize why I did choose to came back, even though I could’ve stayed anywhere else:
“When I go home, it’s an easy way to be grounded. You learn to realize what truly matters.”