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Ask HN: Remote workers, tell us how you got started
84 points by Sukotto on Nov 11, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments
If you've been working remote (in any capacity) please tell us your story: How did you get the position you're in?, What advice would you give to others?, What's your favorite story about your remote-working experience?

I'm currently out of work and considering getting a remote gig (be it as a freelancer, contractor, or plain old employee) so I'm especially interested in hearing what you have to say.




I've been a remote freelancer on and off for about 12 years now.

In a lot of cases the clients I've had where I work remotely, were clients that either A) aren't tech businesses and typically don't have developers working on-site anyhow, B) I worked on-site with them for a while, and then either moved or just stopped coming into their office or C) were referred to me from another remote client.

Communication is the biggest part of success or failure when working remotely. Slacking off on communication is a surefire way to bring about misunderstandings and potential conflict. Always clarify everything you discuss, never leave anything up to assumptions or guesswork. Bug the hell out of the other people you're depending on (client, coworkers etc), send them regular update emails even if they didn't ask for it. I've managed a lot of remote workers. If it takes you more than 24hrs to respond to an important email, or you leave me hanging past a milestone with no update, or you miss scheduled conference calls, can't jump on chat in an emergency etc - it doesn't matter how good you are, you'll get fired. If you want to work remote, you need to be proactive about communicating, and very clear every time.

As a remote worker, personally my biggest problems have always been getting a good routine and keeping up productivity. If you're the type of person who is distracted easily (like me), remote work can be challenging from home. I have all kinds of productivity tricks - site blockers, pomodoro timers, certain music, etc. The biggest thing to me is getting out of the house once a day at least, shuffling around my environment I find motivational. I'll go to a coffee shop for a few hours each day and its often the most productive few hours of that day. Getting a shared office / desk space, co-working with friends, working from the road, library etc are also great ways to change things up and put yourself in work-mode.

Hope thats useful advice. Good luck!


This is great advice, especially about getting out of the house and having a routine. I am on my second remote position and having a daily routine is essential to not falling into productivity hell.

I am renting an office in a coworking space so I can have a place to "go to work" rather than working from home. It adds a routine, it gives me separation between work and home, and it's nice to have human contact over the course of the day.


Yea I used to rent an office for a few years. I learned some important things - particularly making sure that you have the right office environment for your productivity. I unfortunately rented a space before the 'coworking' revolution and got kind of trapped in an office with non-tech guys much older than me constantly bugging about IT advice, a rent barter agreement when my finances couldn't swing the overhead that was hard to break (I basically became an indentured web-servant for a print design agency), and eventually a realization that I wasn't even being productive in the office. Been a skeptic about offices ever since, but definitely curious that a proper coworking space might be different..


Productivity is one of the reasons I want to make the jump to freelancing.

I currently have a full time job, and enjoy the periods where I am left to get on with my work, but all to often the non-technical users will not read error messages, and ask me stupid questions to "fix their excel". It makes it impossible to work on certain things, like learning a front end framework when you are being bugged with trivial tasks like this every half hour. (The fact we are still using excel as a data import solution bugs me as well, as I have complained about the lack of reliability for a long time now).

So freelancing would hopefully allow me to do the sort of work I want to do. I know there is a whole load of other stuff I will need to manage, but it must be better than fixing formatting issues in excel.


If you are a freelancer, the lame basic PC questions are still coming your way. Maybe not from collegues, but now from clients. There are always people who think you are there to help with there PC questions. Also if the hired you 2 years ago for their website.


In my early 20s I did a bunch of random freelancing. $2000 for a website, $200 to modify some graphics, $450 for a research project, $250 for sales copy etc.

In 2011 I interviewed Ramit Sethi and wrote a huge article about his system for $1 million+ product launches:

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/01/26/ramit-sethi-ex...

After that, Ramit reached out to me to help w/ his business. I had shown 1: that I do a lot of work to be the best (see the above blog post), 2: we had matching communication styles, 3: he trusted me bc I wasn't some dude that was trying to shake him down for cash, and almost less important, 4: I had the technical skills for what he wanted me to do. Ramit became a 5 figure client.

Since then I've followed the same model. 1: provide a huge amount of value for free, 2: propose recurring work to the client, 3: do a really really good job. My average client provides about $20,000 work per year.

On pricing: for writing work I charge between $50 and $150 per hour, but I prefer to just set a day rate. I became a lawyer a few months ago and I'm leveraging other strategies to bill $550+ per hour. So depending on your skill-set, you can do pretty well.

If anyone wants more info, you are welcome to email me: malexis@gmail.com


I have been working remotely for 6 years now. I started off like you unemployed after a layoff, but during the start of the financial crisis.

I looked at employers around my area, craigslist, job sites, everywhere. Emails/called to see if they needed any extra help. Started with small contracts lasting a few weeks. Eventually building up a client list to have some stable employment.

It wasn't easy, but love it everyday. I always hated the office politics, annoying drawn out meetings, strict timeframes (work at this time, lunch during this time, etc). Just a lot more flexibility in life.

My advice is stay updated with technology and have quick response times to clients.


I like your advice. Thanks :-)


I met a girl the same week I started at my job in 2007. We were in San Antonio, TX and she was my upstairs neighbor and we started dating a month or two later, then got engaged after about a year and a half. This girl (now my wife) is a Captain in the US Army. When her time at this duty station was up, the Army moved us to Colorado. I told my employer (a big cloud hosting provider based in Texas) that I would be moving but that I wished to keep working remote somehow, if it were possible. As it happened, my team was short-handed and so my boss worked out a way for me to stay on as a contractor. A few months later, the company decided that they wanted to keep me so they converted me back to a full-time employee and I became the first (or maybe the second?) remote employee at my company. I recently left to work remotely for a SFO-based startup but I can tell you that my old employer has hundreds of remote workers now.


I did this a little over 10 years ago, from Brazil.

* How I got the job

I was working for a normal web shop as a developer, going to the office everyday. This company had an US customer and I was the one who built his entire system. After some misunderstanding between the customer and the company's owner, the customer wanted me to work for him directly from home, and this was discussed with the owner, my boss at the time. My boss agreed and I started working for this customer from home, and continued to work at the web shop for some time until he introduced me to another US company who wanted to hire me for a full time remote position, which I accepted and I still work for this company to this day. A couple years ago I was relocated to live close to the HQ so I could be in the office :)

* What advice I'd give to others

- Discipline/Productivity

You have to be very disciplined in order to be able to work remotely. You need to pay attention to your time and make sure you work the hours you are getting paid. You may work less hours, but in a worst case scenario, you end up working much more than you are supposed to.

- Communication

Your coworkers can't see you. You boss can't see you. Make sure you keep in touch and reply to emails in a timely manner. This is key to show that you are committed to the job.

- Working from home

If you can, avoid working from home or try not to make the same mistakes I did, below. The first two months I was working from home full time were great! Freedom! But then it almost drove me crazy. I had nobody to talk to, I'd barely leave the apartment. It was a small apartment, so I kept my workstation in my bedroom... don't do it. Ever. At some point I caught myself working 12 to 16 hours a day. When that happened I wasn't sure if I was working from home or living at work. (And I wasn't getting paid by the hour). I spoke with my boss about this issue and the company agreed to rent a small place for me to work from, since there was no public space or this concept of shared office that I could use to work from.

* My favorite story

Well, I went from a one guy working alone from home to building a team, becoming a manager, hiring more people, relocating to the US and becoming a CTO. And it all started with that first remote job :)

Sorry about the long post. I hope something here is useful for you.

Good luck!


I've been remote-only for 5 years. The company I worked for decided that remote work would be the way of the future and it'd save a ton of costs, so we did a trial where a portion of the workforce would work from home each week until everyone went remote at the end of the year.

I don't really have a favorite story: remote working is not that interesting. It did have a profound affect on my life, though: since I didn't need to work at a specific office, I decided that I wanted to move across the country. Rather than a job opportunity deciding where I lived, I got to spend a few months weighing the pros and cons of various places based on other factors. After 6 months, I moved 3,000 miles away and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

Of course, I probably couldn't have done that if I had any outside, major, long-term commitments (spouse, children, family I had to stay within driving distance of, a house, etc.).

If you're in a similar situation, the first bit of advice I can give is that you're going to find that "nine-to-five" eventually becomes "whenever I feel like working, as long as I get things done and stay in communication with the rest of the team". This means working nights or weekends, but it also means being able to knock off and do something fun in the middle of the day. It's easy to slip into a situation where you're working 9pm-5am or working Thursday-Tuesday one week and then a completely different schedule the next, even if you have a personal schedule (it's easy to ignore it).

If you need a routine to be productive, you need to create one for yourself, and I would suggest doing it immediately—don't wait until you're all over the place in terms of time. If you already have outside commitments (like making sure kids get to school on time or having to walk a dog) you'll have a leg up, but otherwise I'd suggest joining user groups or community sports or something that has set schedules you have to keep.

The second bit of advice I can give is to use a phone/video chat as much as possible. It's very easy to slip into emailing/texting/IMing/ticketing all the time, but so much is lost in the written word and you can find yourself implying things you didn't mean to imply or inferring the wrong things from people's messages. I've found you can diffuse most sticky situations with a simple call: when in doubt, don't keep emailing, don't stew, call the person. Even a run-of-the-mill problem that might take a half dozen emails back-and-forth can usually be resolved with a simple 5 minute phone call.


I started out on the many contract working portals, got a few really crappy jobs to get some ratings in my profile and keep increasing my rate. I kept everything at arms length until I found people I didn't mind working with for longer periods of time, at which point I de-listed from the portals. I continued some of these contract arrangements, and got some great referrals out of them.

I was a little lucky in that one of the initial contracts was for PHP development, but they wanted an iOS dev so badly (and I had proved myself by that point), that they paid for an iPod touch and Apple Developer license in exchange for me working at the same PHP hourly rate. So basically I got paid to learn the new skill while adding a portfolio item.

Don't waste a lot of time on the contract work portals. The pay is horrible, the jobs are crappy, the people are crazy, and it sucks up a lot of time. If you don't have an existing network though, it'll be a way to get started. The people you find here which you can actually stand, you can use to build up your network of referrals. Offer discounts if they give you a chance to get paid to learn a new skill (but obviously be reasonable - don't get in over your head).

Time management and Communication are key for success. Client management, legal terminology, budgeting, etc are also great things to understand.

Good luck!


I'm from the Philippines and we are changing the world remotely.

I started as a trainee for Junior Software Engineer level working with a startup in Silicon Valley.

The best thing about it is that in just 3 months, I was able to learn HTML and CSS, Bootstrap, jQuery/JqueryUI, PHP, MySQL, OOP in PHP, MVC using CodeIgniter, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, Setting up Linux Server from Scractch, SVN, Git, Agile Project Management and a lot more. My mentor is really good teacher and at the same time "to struggle is to learn".

After two years, we have 9 more team members, an office. We have built our own LMS to train more people remotely. We have bootcamps running in MV and Seattle. We also have consulting projects. We are working with other entreprenuers and helping them with their startups.

Gmail, ASANA, Skype and screen sharing tools make the world flat for us. Gives us the feeling that we are working in one place.

The best advise that I could give to others will be 3 things:

1. Have focus and Love your work. If you don't love what you are doing remotely, chances are you will not focus. 2. Company is about the people not the revenue. This is very critical in a remote setup, you must value your teammates as if they are your family. 3. "What Gets Measured Gets Managed" - Peter Drucker. We have daily reports, we measure hours spent and assigned story points to each task.


I became a remote worker through a mix of bad luck, bad management, and a startup that wasn't going well. Of course at the time, I thought it was terrible; it turned out to be incredibly liberating and probably one the best things that's happened to me, professionally.

I was a software consultant for about a year and it was all networking - after all, that's how business gets done in the real world. I never had a time where I had too little work to do. My 'hack' for the whole thing was working in a coworking space, which is IMO the best ~$300/mo you can ever spend in a city that has one. I was lucky enough to have been working in one for more than a year and half before I started working for contract work, but I think you could easily do it in less time than that. When I started looking for work, everyone knew somebody; I never went outside of my space to find any work. It was incredibly convenient and really just worked out easily.

I always advise coders who are looking for freedom, a work environment change, or are newly unemployed to try a coworking space while they figure things out. You'll make a bunch of friends in a low-stress environment, meet entrepreneurs, and make great connections in the community that will get you work. It has worked well for those I know who have tried it - the secret is finding the right space. A socially-oriented space with as few walls as possible is best. You get used to the noise. Take long coffee breaks, go to lunch with people, go to happy hours and meetups. If you let it be known that you're looking for work and others know your skills, the jobs will come to you.


I started when I was 18. I had a friend who telecommuted for most of his work, but had to go into the office occasionally and I was interested in a similar set up.

I started on VWorker (Rent-a-coder at the time) and found a cool gig that lasted about a year doing mainly research projects for a web design and marketing company. That job fell through, though, and I was in normal kid-jobs for a while (retail, gas station worker, even a couple of stints doing factory work).

Then, I landed a job building a website remotely for a friend-of-a-friend's business. That worked but it was just a one-off gig, not long-term.

Then I sort of accidentally fell into remote work doing some development on a desktop app, but again it was a short-term gig.

From there it was about 6 years before I found full-time remote work again (I'm 28 now and have been with the same company for about 7 months and it seems to be going strong).

My advice is to never give up, and never give in to the pressure that you will get from family and friends. If you want to live the work-from-wherever lifestyle then you have to commit, and the sad truth is that you will probably have to go hungry sometimes unless you get lucky and land a job on the night shift of a gas station (it's not too bad until a hooker bleeds on you, yeah that happened to me).

Remote working, for me, takes a tremendous amount of discipline and it's really a lot of work. But there are great benefits in that I get more time with my family and to do the things that I like. But it also means that I have to be an excellent communicator and that I sometimes have to work when I normally wouldn't want to (a crisis in Europe doesn't care that it's only 3am in the US).


I have been working remotely (as a senior dev, software architect, now a CTO) for more than a decade now.

I worked for a racing-to-IPO software dev company in upstate NY that collapsed in 2002, and the connections from that spun out into subcontracting, initially for various local clients (and thus already mostly remote, sometimes on-site). Then I moved to Michigan, but kept doing the same work. Then I moved the France; ditto (included one trip to launch a project on-site, living in a hotel for 10 days... ugh).

It was tricky, working from so far away (esp. when working with a team of developers who were on-site), so I worked solo for a few years (my wife published a well-reviewed first novel, which helped a lot); we had a kid in 2009. In late 2010 I found a dev job with a Cambridge, UK-based startup, here on HN. Now I'm the CTO. All of the developers here are remote.

My in-laws are in Malaysia, so I'm working (and parenting; we have two daughters now) in Kuala Lumpur all this month.

I like this setup; it's sometimes really hard (mixing in parenting is the hard part, really).

More details/advice available if there are questions, when I have time tonight.


I've been a US-based remote worker for close to 3 years now.

I started doing contracting work in Rails while I worked full time in .NET (while going onsite everyday). I also networked a lot within the local Ruby community. When I was ready to jump to Rails full time, a friend through the community was staffing up an early stage startup with remote devs spread across the city. This was a good way to dip my toes into remote work while still maintaining local connections.

After a year of that, I jumped to a larger company to join their remote team of Rails developers (currently about 10 of us are remote). Now I'm pretty adjusted to the remote lifestyle and it would be very hard to let go of it since the impact to family life is so positive.

My advice would be to do as many others have done and start with remote contracting to see how it works. Then you can either convert to full time or find another full time role later if you need benefits. However, if you can remain as a contractor I would generally advise people to do that if your financial situation allows for it.


I've been doing remote work for a little over a year now. My story goes like this:

1) Saved money and quit job for big vacation -- 2) came home but wasn't ready for job so started contracting onsite -- 3) eventually introduced to a remote/part time contract -- 4) started freelancing half time while working on my own projects half time.

Working remotely is terrific! No commute means an extra 2 hours in my day. I split my locations between home, coffee shops, and client offices (when they have offices) for variety.

For anyone who wants to go this route, I recommend building a solid network. The best contracts I've gotten were through former co-workers and former clients. Another route I've used are recruiters/agencies (for subcontracting work). It pays almost as well and there's less of a hassle with marketing and invoicing. I've also tried using the Hacker News Freelancer threads but the response rate usually knocks down my confidence a lot.


Been working from home full time for over six years now.

A couple of warnings:

1. A danger of working from home is that work is always just a few steps away. I've lost many hours of my social and family life because I had a thought running through my brain about a problem I was working on and just sat down for "a minute" to look at it. :)

2. If you work for a US company as an employee, the IRS tax credits for home office expenses are extremely unfavorable. Anything you want to count toward work has to be kept completely separate from home. If you store household junk in your office, an auditor can make the case the office isn't deductible. If you have a business internet connection, but it is also used in the rest of the house, you can't deduct the whole thing, only a fraction. When I tried to deduct the expense of building out my home office, it didn't work out to any sort of noticeable impact on my taxes. :/

Advice:

* Have a schedule and let people know when you are breaking away from it.

* Ensure friends and family know that when you are "at work", they should treat it just the same as if you were out of the house at an office. Make sure they don't feel it is acceptable to just come into your office and interrupt and that you might not be able to just take off on a whim.

* Have a pull mechanism for notifying co-workers of your schedule. People can get irked about lots of e-mails that you are going out for an extended lunch, etc. So set up a calendar or website where people can visit to see if you are available. Using the "Away/Busy" functionality of your IM client helps too.

* Have a pull mechanism for notifying co-workers of your work progress. Make sure you keep your issue management system up to date with what you are working on and lots of checkpoints along the way. A weekly status page similar to a blog might also help. Basically, provide your co-workers with an easy way to see where you are and what you are working on whenever they might need to without being barraged with e-mails.


Not exactly full time remote work, but i believe i can get into one if wanted and approach is nevertheless the same.

I sort of got into part time work via odesk, in addition to a full time day job. Initially the motivation was money, but very soon i realized multiple other aspects of it i.e. i used to work for a large MNC back then as a day job with very long dev cycles and organized work schedules. I learned the skill to work under pressure of a day or two or night and quickly deliver things that JUST WORK or being able to learn some thing needed very fast. Also i got a chance to broaden my skill set a lot by working on any project that interested me. So i still continue to do that on and off. This also provided me a chance to work with several open source projects (vlc, dnrd, kannel, netsnmp) and still make money. So i continue to do it still for all of the above reasons.

How i got into it in the first place? Took tests and scored well in areas i claimed skills in, charged a lot less initially, under promised and over deliverd to earn very good feedback, started with small jobs. Once i got a client satisfied with small jobs, they came back with bigger ones latter. Gradually increased rates and maintained an online profile i.e. public domain code written by one's self among other things. During all this, i even had an option to work full time dedicated to some body for a long time with good money. Just couldn't find enough time i.e. didn't feel like leaving existing job and go in.

With remote work, you get to manage your own schedule. But it is harder to be organized and you need more effort to justify time spent achieving a goal vs when sitting in an office.

The challenge in latter parts of life (when you have young kids) is to be able to find enough time to work when you are physically active i.e. sitting late night on a sofa after kids being asleep with laptop doesn't work very well.

Forgot to mention that this whole effort sort of reduced the fear of being jobless since one becomes more confident about your possible prospects of work whether local full time or remote. For this reason every one should work this way at least for some time in life IMHO.


I've done a few years on, a few years off, and a few years on. I prefer remote by far.

Other than a few odd contracts, my real beginning in remote work was when I worked at one place for a long time, became indispensable, and explained that I had to move away. They had little option but to allow me to work remotely. After that succeeded for many years, I had my experience and things became easier for the next time ... and onward.

I agree with everyone's else's comments here on the challenges and benefits, but would emphasize very clearly that it's not for everyone.


Networking, networking, networking. The secret is to know people. The best jobs aren't found in the normal job boards but from connections. I started programming (self taught) while moonlighting. I eventually asked my network (or people i had met that were already freelancing) to keep me informed if any extra opportunities arose. Eventually something did and i quit my job for a 6 month gig working mostly from home. I eventually found one project after the next until my current work which is more long term stable and also work from home (or anywherw)


I first started at a small web shop that was quite flexible. There were a few of us who more and more starting working at home, but came to the office the same 1 or 2 days each week, to work face to face and go to lunch...

Fast forward a few years, and knowing that I could work effectively as a remote worker.

I co-founded a small company with a guy in a larger city. We ended up setting up an office in that larger city, but I never moved. Travel as needed, but it wasn't that much. Then got acquired. The acquiring company has kept me on contract since then, as a remote worker.


My Story - I was doing freelancing stuff back in college years from my hostel room, got hooked to it and kept on doing without doing/taking any job offer. It is been 8-9 years now and it is been a good ride albeit with many ups and downs. Working from home has its advantages as you have all the freedom of thought but it do some serious damage to your social and communication skills and can make you uni-dimensional.


About 12 years ago I decided I didn't want to live in the system. I started freelancing. Doing web design work for churches. Slowly I built other websites of my own after my dad encouraged me to. Then this turned into actual 6 figure businesses and I haven't looked back. It hasn't always been easy but by far it's the best thing I ever did with my life.


Ukraine. 5 years, Java. 9 month remote now. Been with a company for a year, fell in love and decided to move to another location:) Offered to switch to remote.

Advice: * Transparency(what you're doing, when it will be ready, when you're online, etc) * Discipline(isolate yourself from interruptions and keep commitments from the above)


Position: Solution Architect, full time, remote.

Story: Ex-employer wanted me back, but were closing local office. I said ok, but I'm not moving.

Advice: If possible, don't be the only person doing remote work. That doesn't work so well.


I work remotely for one company for a year and a half. I found my current employer in a bar on a tropical island partly by luck, partly by my desire to speak about my work with random people.


Here's a tip everyone will understand: email rocks but transmits emotional tone like two cans and a string. As soon as you detect an edge, as painful as it is, take out the phone.


Been a remote worker for the same company in two different positions for the past 5 years.

Not a developer, just IT support here. I had been contract-to-hire working for a hedge fund for most of 2007. I'd been let go (not hired) based on reasons that I feel were more cultural than based on my performance. Had I been a little wiser and realized that I needed to work harder than everyone else (lack of degree) to prove myself I'd still have that job.

Anyway, I was extremely demoralized and spent the better part of 2008 unemployed. I was burnt out from working long weeks with overtime and didn't even bother to look for a job the first four months. All of my time was spent bettering myself (biking, reading) and relaxing -- I had a big pile of money I was sitting on so it was okay.

I finally started to look for a job in the second half of the year, but I'm extremely picky and didn't see any companies that I was interested in working for. I spent some of this time as a bike messenger but hated being treated like shit by everyone -- still, I think this was a necessary motivator to get serious about my job search.

By November I was going broke. I finally found a couple of things worth applying for. I got the interview call for the job I'm in now when I had $9 left to my name and no prospect of further money coming in -- no joke.

It was a bit serendipitous. Like ssafejava said in their comment "it turned out to be incredibly liberating and probably one the best things that's happened to me, professionally." At the hedge fund I had to constantly look busy even if I didn't really have anything to do. Appearances were incredibly important and being young in my career, it was something I bungled badly. I was also extremely bad at keeping my coworkers from dumping their work on me in the office. That's something much harder to do remotely.

Working remotely, all of my work is judged on its own merits. I can manage my time appropriately with minimal interference from others. I've consistently been one of the highest-performing employees here. My company was even contacted by a major newswire to do a story about remote work and they sent someone to my house to interview me. The story never ran though :(. I don't work any overtime ever. Work-life balance is ideal.

It's been a great ride, but I'd like to go back to working in an office now that I'm a bit wiser -- I would like regular interaction with people again; IRC doesn't always cut it. A mix of office/remote would be best for me I think.

There is a downside to remote work though. I know for a fact that a fair number of my bosses/coworkers are doing drugs on the job. I'm not going to make any judgments about marijuana but we do have some meth users. Management doesn't want to know anything about it, but the performance of some of these people is pretty bad. If I worked for a better company this wouldn't be an issue.


I live in a smallish city (pop. 40k) in Southern Oregon where I've been working remotely from for the last ~6 years.

I'm a front-end web developer by trade and a single father with two young kids. My family has lived in this area for a decade and I want my children to be able to grow up around them, so I am not open to relocation. In 2006, I was working for one of the only major employers in the city that could really use an in-house developer, but really didn't enjoy the work or the environment. I wanted to find a new opportunity, but there just weren't many other options, so I ended up working there for two years. In 2008, I found an ad on the San Francisco craigslist job board that sounded perfect for me. Heavy HTML/CSS work, some JavaScript, and a product that interested me much more than my current employer. They didn't mention anything about remote work (it wasn't advertised much then) but I figured it might be worth a shot, and sent them my resume and a cover-letter. Two days later, the manager of the web department called me for an interview, and after about 20 minutes of both general information exchange and specific questions related to the work I would be doing, I was offered the position. Phone interview for ~20 minutes and I had a job. I loved it. I worked for that company for 4 years until, last year, they had to downsize and laid off 90% of the web team, as well as many others. I was incredibly disappointed, but happy to have had such an excellent employer for so long. I found out in my subsequent job search that my previous interview process was a very rare occurrence indeed. It was incredibly difficult to find remote front-end work that didn't entail knowledge of technologies that I was too unfamiliar with to be marketable. I did finally find an another position, this time with a company based in New York. Though it's not really what I had before, I'm happy that I get to code again.

That's my story, the short version anyway.

I will say that remote work really isn't for everyone. You have to be very disciplined and self-regulatory. I personally am content most days with only my own company and my kids when they get out of school. But if you are well-suited to remote working, it can be amazing. I have a very comfortable home office with everything I need to stay creative and focused. When I was working in an office previously, I had a shared desk in a room with no exterior windows. Now I have 3 exterior windows looking out at a beautiful Southern Oregon horizon -- trees, mountains, etc. It makes a world of difference.

If you're considering working remotely, I'd suggest a few things right off the top of my head.

1) Personal upkeep is still important. Working from home means potentially fewer opportunities to get exercise. Make sure you take regular breaks and take short walks throughout the day. Also, make sure you have healthy snacks to tide you over during the day. I find that it's much more tempting to overeat when you work in the same place you store all of your food. I personally enjoy baby carrots and celery sticks.

2) Maintain contact with other humans. Grab a drink with your friends, join a meetup group, or befriend interesting people at coffee shops. It's easy to become out of touch when your only human contact are those living in your house and the occasional text/video chats with your co-workers.

3) Set your hours and keep them For the most part, my employers have just expected me to deliver my work on time. Even so, I still wake up at 8:00 every morning, make my cup of coffee, then get right to work. I take a short break at 10:00, 12:00 and 2:00. I try to stop working around 6-7:00.

4) Communicate well The adage, "Out of sight, out of mind" is very true -- when your employer/client/co-workers don't know what you're doing or when you're doing it, it can reflect poorly on you, even if you're actually working diligently. Ensure everyone is aware what is happening and when, and promptly respond to any emails, even if it's just a confirmation that you got the message.

That's all I've got for now. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!




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