So, I finally took the plunge! I recently decided to make a huge change in my career, and I have to say that it has positively affected almost every aspect of my life. I used to be a typical 8-5 office worker in Manhattan; I had a thirty minute subway ride to get to my job, I took my hour for lunch quietly at my desk as was expected, then after work I took that same thirty minute subway ride back home and thought about of all the things that I needed to do once I got home (that I was usually too exhausted to do!).
I realized that this way of life was NOT working for me. My stress levels were through the roof, and I was not getting to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do (like go on dates, go to museums, see movies, take walks in the park during the week). I finally concluded that I needed to alter the course of my career so that I could enjoy life again. Lucky for me, a colleague of mine saw an ad about a virtual, work-from-home style job that had just opened up and shared it with me via email. I applied for the job online, went through a telephone interview and then also a “face-to-face” interview via video chat, and I was offered the job just two weeks later!
The company I work for now has a virtual office in NYC as its headquarters, as well as an additional virtual office in Hong Kong to serve our business’ international clients. The proximity of the NYC office affords me the opportunity to visit from time to time if I need to, without having to report there every day or feeling the pressure of completing my work on a rigid time schedule. Sure, I have virtual meetings daily with co-workers and clients, and I do make lots of business calls throughout the day, but my tasks that are less time-constrained can be completed on MY schedule, and that has been amazing for me.
If you had told me last year at this time that I would be this stress-free and happy with my life, I probably would have laughed in your face. Honestly, I would recommend working virtually to anyone that was even remotely considering it. At times, it can be difficult to self-manage and motivate yourself to focus on work rather than other things that might distract you, but the freedom that it allows you to have in your personal and professional life is incredibly liberating.