Conspiracy Theories, Drugs, or How I’m Trying to Find a Job In a Startup

Hey Fam! My name is Anna. You’re reading this article because I’m looking for a job now. But not just a job, where I’ll just sit all day counting time like in a labor camp, but an incredibly COOL project that will become part of my life and give me new opportunities for building my career.

Me cosplaying the Beatles

Today I’ve got a chance to land a dream job in an awesome company if I pass an assignment they gave me — write the coolest article. And here it is! And you have a chance to help me get this dream job, and also to cross my experience and learn how the generation gap can affect the work. So now I will share a very personal story from my life with you that may not be really unique, but I’m sure there are thousands of people who experience the same emotions and maybe just don’t know who to share them with. And if you ever read it to the end and find a response in your heart to my story, I will never be able to thank you enough.

After all, remote work is important not only to marketers like me, but also to programmers, designers, supporters, sales, etc.

During the previous year, I had a chance to get remote job experience and realised that it’s an ideal option not only for me, but also for many other people in the tech industry. Here are the most favorite benefits of remote work I appreciate:

  • My office can be everywhere: at my couch or at some villa in Thai
  • Freedom of action and my own schedule
  • The ability to combine work with hobbies
  • I can eat whenever and wherever I want
  • I can stay at home if it rains outside
  • I can work in pajamas and with a face mask

But there is one problem: I happen to be living with my parents now and I’m paying with my nerves for my mom’s breakfasts because of the generation gap. They are sure that the way they lived before is safer and more reliable just because they’ve already lived their lives like this. Besides, they watch too much TV and are absolutely confident in different statements that are not true and take everything that is incomprehensible to them as an indictment.

It’s like in «Back to the future», remember? Flying hoverboards are a shocking thing for sure, but you will learn to fly them only if you have the courage. So my parents are not very courageous and would never learn to hoverboard, but I’d like to try at least… although I’ll probably break my neck. Moreover, they are so attached to the past that they refuse to accept almost all the novelties of life. I mean if I hadn’t bought my mom a smartphone, she’d probably still be using the Nokia 3310.

So let me tell you how my parents were driving me crazy all last year while I was working remotely. Here are the coolest of their conspiracy theories about remote work and how I have to convince them each time that I’m just trying to find my dream job.

Scams are everywhere! You’re risking your life!

As you may have noticed, my parents are far from the Internet and prefer TV, and TV likes to «educate» stories about the dark web, human trafficking, audio drugs and financial pyramids which are horrifying. Actually, if you watch the news just for one day you will realise that you risk your life simply going to the grocery store for milk…

So, for some reason, my mom is sure that it is impossible to stumble upon dishonest companies by visiting offices in my city. In her opinion, if there is a room where 5 people sit at computers typing something, then everything is absolutely legal.

But 4 years ago, I lost my job in such a «legal» firm without being paid for the work I actually did for a whole month. Do you know the reason? I refused to deliver personal (not business related) documents to a different part of the city. It seemed terribly unfair to me that they forced me to be a courier on a voluntary basis instead of assigning me tasks that align with my position description.

A year later, I got downsized in one day because the staff had to be reduced. According to the law, when an employee is downsized, the company is obligated to pay them compensation for several months in advance. Despite the fact that I was officially issued, we were asked to write the application to leave the job voluntarily. They paid us some cash and told us that if we didn’t quit willingly they’d force us to do it. Why didn’t I go to court, you ask? I was afraid that such an influential person like our boss would have some ties to win it and I would only lose time and money and I didn’t have much. Well, anyway, this company doesn’t exist anymore.

Improbity is not a hallmark of any activity, it’s a trait of any human being we meet in life. It doesn’t really matter if the person is from Russia, China or Silicon Valley — no one is immune from deception, you just have to be careful.

Have you been recruited?

To be more specific and clear,all of last year, I worked for an American fintech startup engaging in support and content teams. At the beginning I had a choice: take a risk and join the startup at the initial stage or get a job in some Russian company with one third the salary. I decided to take a risk. I was terribly scared that I would not cope well because the amount of work was enormous; but as it turned out, if you really want something you will get it. The same goes for knowledge and experience. But how much discontent and misunderstanding I got from my mother about the fact that I was working for another country! «Is there no work in Russia or what?» she just couldn’t understand.

The idiot box is evil y’know. Apart from all the horrible things, it still inspires false news by inciting people against other people and other states. You can watch neverending stories about evil Americans and bloody sanctions on TV if you are not afraid of bleeding from your ears. Recently, my mom watched some TV show (obviously) and I overheard that people emigrate from Russia to the United States not because they really want to live there, but because they were recruited to interfere in Russia’s Affairs. Also, did you know that Americans adopt Russian children and take them to America to eat them? Well, I didn’t know that either. If you stop filtering the information you get from the TV, soon you will think that TV inspires you and then the brainwashing begins — wooo!

I’m just wondering if there are any creepy stories like this in American TV about Russia…

Have a paper – you're a person, if you don't – you're just a bug

This is an accurate statement of the Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, which conveys the essence of bureaucracy in Russia. I will add a little something to it: have a piece of paper — you are an officially registered employee with experience, having a chance to get a big pension and a better life. By a “piece of paper”, I mean an employment record book — a document that is officially issued to work.

In Russia, there is a cult of employment record books which existed in Soviet times and many people still believe that if you don’t have employment records — you are nobody and can do nothing.

Moreover, the use of workbooks continues to be encouraged by the state: the more work experience accumulated at the time of retirement, the more pension you will have. But… I’m not sure that I will live up to the desired pension, and that by that time, the retirement age will be the same as now. Or will it be at all?

So I consider this document is a remnant of the Soviet Union and the bureaucracy, which should sink into oblivion. I know about a dozen examples of guys who didn’t even finish high school and were able to build a good career without any «papers».

A regimen of the day!

«You have to sleep at night! Why don’t you want to work in an office from 9 AM to 6 PM like other normal people?»

Really? So let’s see. When I was working,my day usually went like this:

10 AM — 11 AM Awakening, breakfast and trying to find my pants
11 AM — 2 PM Work
3 PM — 5 PM Dentist, or other things I need to do in the daytime like photography, or meeting friends, or walk with my imaginary dragon, or whatever
6 PM — 12 AM Work. Every time it was a different time for going to bed, and yes sometimes I did it veeery late but…

Unfortunately (for my parents) I’m not an early bird. The theory that if you go to bed at 9 PM and wake up with birds singing you will always be cheerful and full of energy doesn’t really work for me. I always slept during the first lessons at school and uni, and now I even regret not visiting evening classes instead of the morning ones… I have a wakefulness state after the afternoon and at night time. I even wrote this text at night. I wrote a whole dissertation at night time, and all the remote work for the last year was done at night. When the city and my family fall asleep, the mafia in my head wakes up and mercilessly brainstorms, just because it can. Moreover, I also had to adjust to different time zones (Russia and America have 12 hours time difference, remember?), so thank God I’m not an early bird. Besides, remote work allows me to work a real 8 to 9 hours without being distracted by small talks, tea breaks, etc., and thus I just move my working hours to a more convenient time of the day/night for me when I’m most productive.

And there is no time for lunch in my sample schedule, but why do I need some specific time to eat if I work 10 meters from my fridge?

Still, of course, I have some hobbies in order to not go crazy from work. And as you see in my sample schedule, I can pay attention to my favourite business in the daytime when it’s difficult to maintain it while working in a hard schedule. What kind of hobbies can we talk about during working hours in the office? And after work, you just don’t have the strength or even desire to do something.

So why don’t I just sit in the office from 9 AM to 6 PM, come home exhausted, and live only on the weekends?

What about communication with people? You're gone wild with your laptop!

I’m introverted. For me, a virtual team is a perfect team; but for mom, it’s a thing that doesn’t fit in her head. She is sure that being in the office every day, you see people, socialize, and seemingly live. But, thank God, introverts do not need a big company in order to feel like a person. My laptop (for work, movies, and music), 2–3 friends, and some (lot’s of) journeys are really enough for me to live happily. And I can take the computer and friends when I travel anyway.

I’m lazy. No, I’m VERY lazy physically. I even choose the laziest form of sport — yoga (the corpse pose is my favourite). Working from home directly from the couch was the perfect option. Of course, sometimes I get bored, but cafes and even 24/7 coworkings have not been cancelled. And my parents’ theories are the main reason why I have to leave the house from time to time. My father is a foreman, and for him, if work is not physical, it is not work at all. As they say: there are too many managers, and no one wants to work in factories!

Mom, I’m really not a drug dealer!

Last year I worked with cryptocurrency. After reading the previous paragraphs, we can imagine what the scandal was when I told her I’d be working in such a company. Besides some strange people from America (we already found out that everyone in the United States is evil and wants to conquer Russia) send me money, but also for some cryptocurrency! Recently, mom heard in the news that cryptocurrency is a perfect cover for money laundering. It was not even oil into the fire, but pure gasoline, because once they said on TV that Bitcoin is to blame for everything, it’s true. She started to inform me about every mention of the cryptocurrency on TV like, «A new drug den was discovered in America, they worked with these traders undercover! What if your company is the same?» or, «Turn on the TV right now, they’re telling the whole truth about your Bitcoin». I try not to react to it, but as you can understand, it is quite problematic: parents immediately take offense that I do not pay attention to them and do not listen.

Oh, I don’t want to say anything bad about my previous job, but if our company was in the drug business, I would at least spend winter in the Maldives, guys…

Conclusion

These are not all the arguments I have to listen to from my mom and dad about any updates they can’t accept. I love my parents very much, but it is impossible to explain on my fingers what a person does not want to understand. But I’m just an ordinary girl with my priorities, who doesn’t want to put up with the rules of society. All I want is to do is what I’m really interested in: to contribute to the development, and have time to live. And startups usually employ people with whom it is pleasant to work, come up with new ideas, solve problems, and just spend time.

I hope that this cry of heart will finally find and strike a responsive chord in the hearts of people like me and help to dispel similar silly myths about remote work. The older generation will finally see that there are alternatives to eight hours of office work that can be of much greater benefit.


Got any questions or ideas? I’m hella open to discuss it with you in the comments!

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +435,678 people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.