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Remote Career Development: Susan Melony Of Unbreak Yourself On How To Advance and Enhance Your Career When You Are Working Remotely

An Interview With David Liu

You need to create division between work and personal life even if you are at your home. Have a dedicated room for work and prohibit others from entering during your working hours if it is not needed.

Career development is the ongoing process of choosing, improving, developing, and advancing your career. This involves learning, making decisions, collaboration with others and knowing yourself well enough to be able to continually assess your strengths and weaknesses. This can be challenging enough when you work in an office, but what if you work remotely? How does remote work affect your career development? How do you nurture and advance your career when you are working from home and away from other colleagues? How can you help your employees do this? To address these questions, we started an interview series called “How To Advance and Enhance Your Career When You Are Working Remotely”. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Melony.

Susan Melony is an experienced blogger, editor, and digital nomad. She is a passionate Editor in Chief with an increased passion for food and health. She has been writing news and web content for the last 8 years.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?

I am a blogger, editor, and digital nomad. Because I spend most of my life on the road, I understand how important food, vitamins, and minerals are to keep the body healthy and thriving. I am passionate about nutrition and medical technology in equal measure and have been writing news and web content for the last 8 years. Above all, I am a lifelong learner, and believe everything I write needs to be backed up by scientific studies and research. Coincidentally, I love reading about food, looking at photos of food, and (if really lucky) eating food.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Starting this career is not that easy. Those first years are full of challenges and struggles. Rejections and failures are always there but that became insufficient to prevent me from writing. There are times I feel low and weak but those times are the same time that allows me to escape and ignore it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I can cite is doubting myself and my skills. Back then, I somehow forgot that we are our best companions. Self-destruction, though can be common to most people, is the biggest, funniest, and most nonsense mistake we can commit. What I learned from this is that we should never abandon ourselves in whatever situation and we should be consistent with our perspective because that is the strongest weapon we could have in pursuing our career.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Joseph Campbell’s words “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” This life quote emphasizes the importance of having something for ourselves. Despite various external factors, we always need to find our inner peace and joy.

What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees thrive and avoid burnout?

Caring for your people is a good investment. If you know the value of taking care of them and their well-being, you’ll figure out what you can do to avoid having burnt-out employees. So basically, the first thing you need to do is to change your perspective towards your people and appreciate them more.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Working remotely can be very different than working with a team that is in front of you. This provides great opportunities but it can also create unique challenges. To begin, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main benefits and opportunities of working remotely?

Working remotely opens the opportunity to have more time to improve yourself as a whole and your skills. Remote works have more flexible working hours compared to office-based settings. It also allows you to be with your family and work more comfortably.

Can you articulate for our readers what the five main challenges are regarding working remotely?

  1. Lost focus — Working at home can also be destructive because of various external factors that might catch your attention.
  2. Hard to communicate — Even though the technology is always available, it still feels different and difficult to communicate using it.
  3. Technical struggles — Failing devices and internet connections seem to be so common today. This sudden happening creates problems with work.
  4. Deprived of being socially inclined — Since remote workers do not require you to be physically present at work, it somehow affects your socialization experience negatively.
  5. Higher risk of mental health issues — Unfortunately, a remote work setup seems to put employees on the further edge of having mental health issues.

Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges? Can you give a story or example for each?

  1. Lost focus — You need to create division between work and personal life even if you are at your home. Have a dedicated room for work and prohibit others from entering during your working hours if it is not needed.
  2. Hard to communicate — Maximize the use of technology and being knowledgeable about the different ways on how you can connect with your team.
  3. Technical struggles — Do pre-testing of devices regularly. Also, consider regular updates and upgrades for best performance.
  4. Deprived of being socially inclined — Explore communicating and making connections with colleagues and other people even through social media. Besides, there are also a lot of platforms they can consider in building such.
  5. Higher risk of mental health issues — Prevent yourself from being isolated. Better to help yourself be acquainted, feel included, and be valued by being surrounded by people that can make you feel such.

Let’s talk about Career Development. Can you share a few ideas about how you can nurture and advance your career when you are working from home and away from other colleagues?

As a digital nomad myself, I can say that working remotely opens a lot of opportunities for me to grow my skills and knowledge. Engaging with online courses that can be done part-time is one help that I can mention. Working remotely lets you have more time for yourself and your studies. Moreover, reading books and watching research-based documentaries became more possible in remote work setup. Through these simple ways, I get to upskill myself and widen my knowledge of things.

Can you share a few ideas about how employers or managers can help their team with career development?

From the perspective of employers, initiation of this development is the best help they can give. They can encourage their employees to participate in online events that are meant to contribute to their development. Introduce employees to online courses, webinars, and training that are meant for this goal.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could inspire such a movement, that would be about individuals being mindful of their health despite being busy with their careers. It is important for everyone to understand how essential it is to take care of one’s health and well-being. I will create innovative guides on how dedicated people can be aware of themselves and how they can take care of it without risking their careers.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I have a lot of articles available online but readers can also opt to visit my website through this link, https://unbreakyourself.com/

Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success.

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David Liu

David Liu

David is the founder and CEO of Deltapath, a unified communications company that liberates organizations from the barriers of effective communication