The Quest for a Virtual Job

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I haven’t written much about my job hunt lately since there honestly hasn’t been much exciting to report. Job “offers” have been recanted, interviews have reached dead ends and the hunt simply continues. For now I’ve been keeping busy with some small projects to help improve my skills, scanning job listings and trying to stay optimistic overall.

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I hope to actually land a virtual position. I had worked remotely for several years and even the projects I’m working on today have been for folks in various states outside of mine. I consider it a no-brainer to work outside of an office atmosphere and I work very hard at providing quality work on time. I consider working remotely to be a valuable benefit and I take it very seriously.

Unfortunately, a virtual job has been difficult to find. I find it strange that more companies, especially high tech companies, haven’t bought into flexible work solutions. Today we can store files on a “cloud” that users can access from anywhere. We are able to have virtual meetings using tools like Skype. Heck, we can get a full high school and college degree without ever setting foot in a classroom. The world no longer has boundaries. I interviewed at a company that proudly provided online college educations with various top universities around the country. During my interview I was asked about my last job and which branch I worked out of. I told them that my group was based in California and New England and therefore I had been telecommuting for seven years. The interviewer stated “Oh….Well you realize that this job is here in our office, right?” While I was well aware of this fact, I thought it was a funny statement. After all, this company provides a remote education but couldn’t offer a remote job. It made no sense to me.

On a separate phone interview for a company based in Texas, the hiring manager said I would be “perfect” for the job. It was a great fit. But since I wasn’t able to relocate at that time, they had to move on. It’s a shame that companies have to overlook candidates because of their location. Imagine if you could have a great employee and it didn’t matter where the person lived. I don’t think you need to imagine. You can simply hire that person, set them up with all the tools that allow for remote work and be happy with your choice. Would the work get done that much differently if the employee was in the office? Well, we all know how Yahoo’s CEO would probably answer that question.

Maybe that’s just it. While I don’t fully agree with Ms. Mayer’s decision to completely nix Yahoo’s remote work option, I understand how she got there. When employees abuse their flexible work setups, then management loses their trust in them. Let’s face it, some folks are simply not cut out for working remotely. Some people need the office environment to improve their focus. I get that. If you’re at home and you’re going to focus on laundry instead of your work, then maybe the office is a better setup for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, don’t ruin it for others by slacking off and making a bad name for virtual work. I would also think that it’s also important for managers to know what their employees are up to in the first place. Are they seeing the expected results from their team?

For the rest of us, I think there should be more virtual options available. There are so many benefits to both the employee and the employer! Someone who doesn’t have to deal with an hour long commute to work is probably pretty happy in the morning. I haven’t done any studies, but I’m going to say that happy employees are hard working employees. How about all of those sick days? An office employee might stay home from work if they have a bad cold, resulting in their work being delayed for a day or two. Or perhaps they will still go into the office, feeling miserable and spreading germs to their coworkers. A remote employee is more likely to login to their laptop, work their regular shift and keep their germs to themselves! Right there, you’ve stopped the sickness cycle where one gets sick, then they all get sick. Managers: that’s just one example of an increase in productivity! There’s more…. Decreased overhead costs surely help the bottom line, right? Let’s not forget the benefits to the environment as well. Less traffic means less pollution. Plus, I’m sure that those who do need to commute for their jobs would like to have an easier commute, right? Let’s move out of their way!

Yes, I realize that my little blog post will not reach the browser of a CEO and that I’m likely “preaching to the choir.” I can certainly hope that there are a few folks that understand my points. In any event, I’m still actively job hunting. So if you know of any web content jobs out there for me, I can assure you that I can do that job….. and I can do it from anywhere!

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