How I moved ... home, or my answer to the author of the article on "merciless flour"

Habré discusses moving to major cities or abroad for good work. I have a different story. I managed to try different settings and schemes of cooperation with the employer and chose what best suits my temper of character - I returned with pleasure to my hometown, having learned a lot about myself and the remote. For almost a year now, I have been doing functional and automated testing at the St. Petersburg company Maxilekt, while living in Krasnoyarsk (time shift + 4 hours).


Honestly, I wanted to talk about my experience apart from the classical myths about remote work. But while he was preparing the text, an article with a similar topic from the “manager of the near-italian sphere” was published on Habré. Both the article itself and the comments to it demonstrate a fundamentally different (let's say frankly, practically no) level of maturity of the employee and the organization that agreed to such a format. Why? I will answer with a subjective opinion on a subjective opinion - the details under the cut ...

But I will start from afar - from the time when I myself did not think about the remoteness.

In the capital for money

I left my native Krasnoyarsk after an interesting offer.

After university, I worked in a small local custom web development studio. As it often happens, at first the work seemed interesting, but I didn’t mean the development of specialists, so I began to look for other options. A proposal was received from a certain company with offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kaluga. The project, where I was invited, was developed in Moscow, but the testing department was located in St. Petersburg, and I moved there, since the employer helped.

Pretty quickly, I settled in a new place. However, a year later, again rested on a kind of ceiling. Frankly, I prefer stability: if there are any difficulties with the current work, you should try to solve them, and not run to look for a new one. Therefore, first of all I tried to find out from the head of the department whether there are any prospects for development. Unfortunately, the situation was just the opposite: due to the closure of some of the projects in the company, reductions were planned.

Well, I entered the labor market again. But this time I decided to try to organize my life differently - look at remote work (not freelancing, but cooperation with a permanent stable employer, albeit for different projects). I already had some experience: the previous employer allowed in case of emergency (for example, due to illness) interaction with the office infrastructure via RDP. Therefore, no matter how they painted the advantages of the remote, making the decision to change the nature of their work, I thought quite soberly. And I understood a few key things that I had to somehow manage at the initial stage.

What is not warned in the text of the vacancy

This is not about idleness

Udalenka is the same work, simply organized differently. This is not a laf. It is necessary to show the result and make a name for yourself - to prove that it is possible to work with me in this format. A kind of personal brand development within a single company.

The author of the article about remoteness in vain says that the work of a remote employee will never be appreciated. Here the question is that in any field you need to learn to produce something tangible, to earn credibility, and in the extreme case to offer KPI yourself, by which you can evaluate the work. It is necessary to leave a noticeable mark on the company's activities, it will come in handy when you go for a pay rise.

In office work, the same thing happens, it’s just that your “tangible contribution” is subjectively evaluated by the authorities (and sometimes it doesn’t, although there is some kind of assessment). And in the remote there is a chance to do everything more or less objectively.

But you need to get used to the approach with conditional KPIs and active participation in the company's activities. It will not be possible to sit still quietly in anticipation of the magic kick of the authorities. And the increase will have to be asked not just in words, but having literally left a presentation of myself answering the questions: “What have I done lately for the good of the company?”, “Why can I need to pay more?”.

Remote work is a way of doubt

Being settled on remote work, you undertake certain obligations. Personally, when a fundamentally new task or condition appears on the horizon, there is always a certain uncertainty. And while you are not working on a new place or in a new mode, you are not completely sure of yourself, because the environment is new, the working atmosphere is different, etc. You do not always see in advance that you can handle it.

For example, it is believed that remote work allows you to flexibly manage the schedule, including when moving around the country and the world. But for this you need to be able to maintain the efficiency of labor. Can you do this? Until you try, you will not know.

Later it turned out that doubts were in vain. Personally, I have no problems with, say, “getting to work” (appearing online and doing tasks) after a long flight with a time zone offset. In general, I even learned to plan my time so as to carry out work tasks regardless of personal affairs and movements. I had a moment when I had to fly to my hometown. I flew off on a day off, figured out my personal affairs, and since Monday I went to work from there. Only my colleagues warned in advance that I would be in the time zone of +4 for some time. No problems: sat down, worked until the evening, closed the task.

But in advance to all this difficult to prepare. There will always be doubts.

Self-organization comes to the fore

Before the transition to a remote place, I felt that as I was developing from yesterday’s student to a specialist in my field, I began to have less and less time. Living alone, in addition to work, you have to take care of the house, and no one comes to the gym for you to bring the figure in order. In my opinion, self-discipline appears just at these pores - at the beginning of an independent life.

The order in life, instead of chaos, in ordinary office work is like a basic level, a study of the first algorithms. On remote work, self-organization and self-discipline of an advanced level are needed. And to go to it, I really had to make some effort.

When you work alone, it is difficult to assess their effectiveness. I had previously read that people in freelance work first 4, then 8, and then all 12 hours. Some work for days and can not stop. At the same time, people are tormented by the temptations - activity on social networks, online games, streaming platforms ...

In order to prevent this, I had to “work on”. To find the right boundaries, at first I used time-trackers that track my activity and estimate the proportion of useful time spent. After some time I set up contact with the environment and joined the project. And I sometimes connect time trackers to this day if I feel that my efficiency is somehow decreasing.

Self-organization in this context includes not only managing your time, but also creating conditions for work. The author of the article on “merciless flour”, judging by the above, simply cannot afford the remoteness, since he does not have the necessary conditions (cannot or does not want to create them). He wants to work from home, but with all the "buns" of the office. Perhaps he fell for profit — a “Moscow” salary, not understanding what it means and taking care of material support for the activity. Not knowing how to set up a workplace or solve some local problems with the Internet, you shouldn’t be bothered at all.

Four walls became my “prison”

Have everyone seen pictures of people in a suit running from the beach? In reality, this is not the case at all, and I understood that. But when I moved to the remote site, this problem turned out to be more significant than I thought.

I began to work remotely, living alone in a small St. Petersburg odnushka with an area of ​​29 square meters. And I had to get used to the fact that now this is all my living space. Where you eat, you sleep there, you work there.

Began to accumulate fatigue and tension. Although you save a lot of time on moving around the city, and this is valuable, there is much less room in life for a simple rest. You are always busy with something, and most of the time - within four walls.

The situation was aggravated by St. Petersburg dullness. I do not want to offend the residents of St. Petersburg, but in Krasnoyarsk I got used to the sun, to the fact that our sky has volume, around the mountain and in a completely different way there is space. Hence another mood. In St. Petersburg, it was constantly raining. I was still “lucky” - according to weather reports, it was the coldest summer in the last, it seems, 50 years. The average temperature for the season did not rise above 15 degrees. For me, this is absolutely unacceptable!

These cold and gray pushed me to travel, but about them - a little later.

The life schedule now depends not on the sun, but on the employer's schedule.

To be honest, I didn’t think about this factor right at the beginning, because I worked from St. Petersburg for a St. Petersburg company. But since I undertook to enumerate the “rake”, it is impossible not to mention these.

Already working remotely, as soon as I left in a different time zone (+4 relative to Moscow), I had to get used to the fact that the schedule of life changes. And it took some time.
Reshaping the schedule had not so serious. However, it took to be flexible in this regard. It used to be a free evening - now I have a free morning. To be in time, it is enough to wake up early, and then sit a little longer at the workplace.

Probably, there are companies that do not just allow remote work, but also allow some kind of shift in personal working time regarding the generally accepted "office schedule in Moscow." But this does not apply to my employer, or rather, to the project I'm working on. Nevertheless, it seems to me that if there is a desire, all this is not such a big problem. Even if I were tied to some local time stamps (kindergartens and schools for children, for example), a solution would be found.

The situation is similar with the weekend: of course, classical Saturdays and Sundays, as well as public holidays, are non-working. It is clear that for customers outside the Russian Federation specific holidays (for example, the Day of Russia) are not holidays. However, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the managers of this project manage to “align” the client's expectations, so that the employees follow the “all-Russian” schedule.

What I got in return


(in-person meeting of “Maxillect”)

Now I already know that these difficulties were somehow overcome. Not having this information at the start, I decided to try. I have already heard about the company that offered me the job from my friend, but, to be honest, I chose the remote one. Simply, it was the only employer with good conditions - projects, salaries, etc. With all this, the stability of the employer did not cause any questions to me personally. In principle, I understood with whom the company cooperates, and I imagined the specifics of the industry. That was enough for me.

As practice has shown, the remote format personally gives me the opportunity to better balance my life. Do not choose from black and white (suppose living in your hometown, in a resort region or abroad, based only on the amount of the salary offered to me there), but pick up some of your options, even getting something from above. I will not enumerate platitudes like self-planning, etc. But I want to point out several important conclusions for me.

A change of scenery is useful.

I do not like traveling in the classic sense of the word. But it was interesting to live in other cities. When I was more or less used to remote work and finally decided that St. Petersburg's grayness was not for me, there were two options: either return to Krasnoyarsk or try to live in the south of Russia, for example, in the Rostov region somewhere close to Sochi. Why not, I thought. Always have time to return home. And when will there be another chance for such an experiment?

And I settled in the near suburb of Rostov-on-Don. I have already rented a two-room apartment in order to somehow diversify life, the benefit of housing there is inexpensive. "Spatial" strained gone.
However, when the first euphoria of the move took place, I began to realize that I again felt some discomfort. There is a lot of private sector in Rostov-on-Don. There each has its own plot, its own little house and, accordingly, each lives in its own corner. I grew up in a small town (compared to Moscow and St. Petersburg), but for me it was unusual. The worst were the long distances. To more or less decent supermarket had to go at least 20 minutes. In my conditions it was unacceptable. I also did not want to move closer to the center - housing is more expensive, and there is no escape from the omnipresent private sector.

So I decided to return to Krasnoyarsk, since the work allows.

In general, such a search for yourself is useful, but I would hardly have gone to that without having a job or at least an offer for which I could move (as I moved to St. Petersburg). I am not one of those who live only in the current moment. It is clear that in the student hostel while studying I could not think about tomorrow - there is a completely different life, a different mood. Now I need some kind of basis. And the distant work just insured me during my travels around the country. There was an opportunity to try something new - some freedom from being tied to projects and employers. All that is needed for work is a head, a laptop and Internet access. The rest can be negotiated.

Ideal conditions exist for me

Returning to my native Krasnoyarsk, I picked up almost perfect living conditions. Chose a spacious apartment in accordance with their preferences.

Many familiar peers live “somewhere”: they have a stable job, but the rest of their lives are built in such a way that they only come home for the night. And by and large they do not care what is happening in the apartment. I have always been "home" - I appreciated comfort and coziness. And finally, I can provide them myself. An important role here is played not only by the release of time from movements in space, but also by the fact that, being at home, you can simply maintain order, and not fight chaos once a week on weekends, when a free minute appears.

As for the "four walls", after such a radical change of scenery, they no longer crush. And when there is fatigue from the situation, there is an opportunity to “air out” - the company pays for attending specialized conferences, moreover, we once met with the whole team in St. Petersburg at corporate party.

I need "my" place - and I got it

All my employers, from the very first, organized jobs in openspaces. It does not matter whether it is a small room where 20 people are sitting, or a huge hall for half a company. In any case, this causes a certain tension in me (and the more people, the worse). No, so to say, “of my” place, constantly someone walks by, talk a lot, interfere with concentration.

Yes, open spaces have their advantages: you can always approach a colleague and try to ask something about the current task. But for me, it is more important that the table, chair and computer chosen by themselves (especially as the company reasonably compensates for their purchase). And so that no one looms behind his back, making extra noise. And most importantly, you can safely open the window and no one will say that he is cold! So it is much easier for me to concentrate on the task (this, by the way, is another aspect of conditions that are comfortable for me).

Well, when the employer ate the dog at a distant job

In a sense, I was lucky with the first fully distant employer - the processes of interaction with employees are already established here, and I did not have to search with the company for ways to eliminate the arising difficulties.

We have quite responsive employees - they can always be contacted, daily calls, scheduled meetings, etc. are received. Because of this, we have a fairly close contact with each other and with the project we are working on - there is no sense of detachment, due to which many bypass the remote side.

Under the project, a new, completely remote team was recruited, and out of four people with approximately the same level I was more specific in specifics, since I had previously worked on a similar project. This eliminated the problem of technological uncertainty. The author has repeatedly mentioned the publication of the “merciless remote” complained that the opinion of a remote employee is the tenth thing. If the majority of employees work together in the office, share a table at dinner with each other, and you are beyond the scope of their communication, there will be some detachment - such is human nature. But in a completely remote team, everything is different: each member of the team has weight, and his voice on regular calls is important. A simple interest in the personalities of colleagues, periodic communication via video link, especially outside the project, removes the question of context: you begin to understand intonation - there would be a desire. Evaluating what is happening, I realized that successful interaction in this format consists of two components: the processes of the employer and my own initiative, so I spoke at the very beginning about the maturity of these components. We have it all.

In addition, the employer in some sense protected me from overwork: we have tasks, and there are deadlines for them. And they are quite reasonable. It was enough for me to build only my own working processes, which I have already mentioned above.

Instead of a small resume, I want to say that after a long experience in the remote format, I already understand that it will be very uncomfortable for me to return to the office, if there is such a need. They say that finding a distant job is now a problem: despite the interest in this area, companies are pulling employees into the office. For me, this will create certain difficulties, if suddenly the relationship with the current employer ceases (especially since there is no particular place to go in Krasnoyarsk - I understood that even when I returned home). But basically, I'm already tired of changing employers every year. I wanted more growth and certain conditions, but here I have it all.

The author of the article: Dmitry Masters

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