Welcome To The Real World: Telecommuting 101
This past summer I got my first post grad position. I worked for Monster.com as one of 34 community managers for their new Facebook application, BeKnown. Although they are based in Massachusetts, it was a telecommuting/make your own hours kind of job.
Working from home is a learning experience. Some people thrive in it, they learn how to be productive without having a boss tell them every little step. A very important trait to have in today’s workforce. But some people, like myself, are workaholics…and should never be allowed to work from home. To give you an example, in the past 48 hours, 26 of them have been spent working.
Now, I am not new to telecommuting or designing my own hours; this is my fourth job doing so. I love the freedom that you’re allowed, and how comfortable you can opt to be (although I recommend getting dressed daily before “heading” to work). But it gets tricky separating your work life and your home life since there isn’t any spacial difference.
So here are a few things to keep in mind while searching for that after grad job:
1. Be Open: You will not find your dream job. Just realize that now. But you can find a lot of cool jobs that you weren’t expecting. I had never thought about telecommuting as a community manager before, turns out I love it. It has the fast paced atmosphere that I loved plus a little bit of everything I’m good at. If I hadn’t been open to something not just in writing, I never would’ve found this amazing opportunity.
2. If you can’t telecommute, don’t. Everyone thinks working from home is a dream come true, for some it may be. But if you are an extrovert and need to be with people you won’t like it. Weight your options. I suggest trying it out to see if it could be a good fit, but just keep in mind- when you work from home you never leave the office.
3. Schedule your hours wisely. My biggest problem was stopping work. I found it so interesting, and sometimes fun, so I didn’t know when to pull myself away. By making a schedule and sticking to it you can set official hours of when your available. And, for the record, if you tell coworkers you are always free…they will actually call you with “emergencies” at two in the morning. So make sure to set specific times aside for you.
4. Network! Just because you were lucky to find a job right out of school doesn’t mean you should stop. Keep your network involved and constantly expand it. If you are telecommuting, make sure to stay in contact with your supervisor along with the people you work with. Just because you don’t share a physical space doesn’t mean those connections can’t be just as strong.
5. Remember you don’t know everything. Settling into your girl “big girl” job can be nerve-wracking, so you often over compensate in a “look how smart I am” type of way. Don’t. No one likes a know-it-all, especially in the work place. Now, I’m not saying don’t share your amazing ideas, that is one of the ways you get ahead. But maybe wait a couple of months before you start correcting your boss..
The man thing to remember is: No job is the same, just because you spent the past four years studying history doesn’t mean you won’t love doing something completely different. There is no way to know about every single job out there while you are in school, so take some time and find out what you like. What you like might end up surprising you!