Working Remotely

So one of the really great things in my world is that I work remotely. I have a very specific set of skills that appealed to an organization that was looking for an instructional designer a couple years ago.

While it is nothing compared to the twists and turns of The Husband’s work life (dude was a wedding photographer, a biology professor, made ultra-pure water at nuke plants, a quality control scientist for a salt company, and now is an analytical chemist in big pharma – I married me up a smart one), mine has its own twists and turns.

I always pretty much knew what I wanted to do growing up. Be a lawyer just like my cool big sister. I did my time in high school as a means to an end. I was a nerd, but I came out of high school with enough credits that I was a junior year by spring semester. Straight through college, straight to law school. Straight to practice in the first thing that was ever hard in school. Tax.

I worked at a medium sized firm for a while, a smaller firm for a while, and when the firms started laying off lawyers for the first time in recent memory, I got bumped. But, I had my book of business, so I just hung out my shingle.

Which sucked. Lots. I haven’t been shy about my issues with anxiety, and being in a job where theoretically every client could fire me at once and I would have zero income was not a good place to be in my brain,

I got a fantastic opportunity to join a friend’s consulting business. We configured SAP learning solutions. So I learned my way around HR software, specifically Learning Management Systems. I come from a family in academia, so it was a good fit. Then the economy tanked, and my boss made the absolute correct decision to lay off the lawyer, and keep the computer scientist, weird that. 😁 I remember comforting her in the meeting where I was laid off. It seriously was the right decision.

Liking education, I ended up in the training department at H&R Block. I learned from some fantastic instructional designers. I got to do the pilots for virtual classroom, and was in the first group of state tax writers, and got to help design the curriculum.

I got remote-curious when my husband got a tenure track position an hour out of town. I drove in every day but when I got a boss that was amenable to remote work, I was remote more and more.

Then The Husband got another position near my hometown, three hours away from KC. So I went fully remote. Then I decided that despite my immediate boss’ appreciation of my skills, moving forward wasn’t in the cards. One year of intense mentoring by my director (Hi LJ, I still use what you taught me). And then she was moved and we got a new director. Who didn’t know me, and so I had to start over establishing my credibility. Then my boss who was championing me left, and my new boss wasn’t in the loop. So I got lost in the shuffle.

So I started looking for a new job. I knew my options were a bit limited in rural Kansas, but decided to try to make the case for remote work. The worst they could do is say no, and I hadn’t, you know, quit my other job. I liked my other job. I liked my boss, and am still friends with her. I liked my coworkers. But, I found a great tax organization, and convinced them to give remote employees a chance.

I had to take a bit of a hit financially – I paid my own travel. But I chalked it up to this was a new thing, and I could negotiate if things went well. I no longer pay for my own travel, and they have around a half-dozen remote employees now.

So short story long, if you’re looking for a job and find one that is *exactly right* but in a different place, try anyway. You just might get it. And now I get to go to Wisconsin four times a year, which is wonderful half of the time.

And the husband put in a pitch to be remote when his team was moved to Chicago – so maybe…

Next up, the perils and happiness of both spouses working from home. Pro-tip, offices on opposite ends of the house.

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