In the spring of 2021, I was asked to write about common remote work challenges for a startup focused community blog. This version didn’t make the cut, but in revisiting my words, it’s still a valid summary of the emotional rollercoaster that can be remote work.
Please check all that apply.
I will never return to an office full-time.
Remote work is the only future.
I know some of my remote colleagues better than any in-person colleagues I’ve worked with.
I am so productive now.
I feel invisible.
I miss being part of a real community.
I feel lonely.
It’s hard to know where important conversations are happening.
My career growth is stagnant.
I love Slack.
A male colleague I barely know thinks it’s OK to DM me a revealing photo of his abs because he is proud and thinks I am a “friend.”
I hate Slack.
Clubhouse is awesome.
I love being 43.
My forties are my favorite, most self-affirming decade yet.
Clubhouse makes me feel old.
I am adding value.
I am wasting my time.
Let’s bring our authentic, whole selves to work.
Let’s unpack that privilege.
My leadership team has publicized a surface-level solidarity statement.
My leadership team acts as if the outside world doesn’t exist because they are afraid to have hard conversations or be “political.”
There is not enough information.
There is too much information.
I showered today.
I did not shower today.
I am not wearing socks.
My socks match AND they are clean.
My jeans ARE dressing up.
My jeans are tighter than they used to be.
I am not turning on my camera.
I can respond to that tomorrow.
Time to move the laundry.
Did the boys eat yet today?
My kids aren’t learning.
But Fortnite IS a community.
I need a 7th cup of tea.
I can multitask.
Context switching is expensive.
Zoom breakout rooms with strangers? Disconnects from virtual Meetup.
I will not say anything on this call.
Damn. Why did I say something?
Can you repeat that last part? You cut out a bit (as she realizes when she hears her name that she hasn’t been paying attention for at least the last 15 minutes.)
“Could you really not just put this in an email?”
I will no longer tie 100% of my identity to my job.
I will ask my colleagues how they are and mean it.
I will answer how I am with something other than “fine.” But sometimes if I want the conversation to end, I might still answer with “fine.”
When my work day is over, I will change my clothes as evidence.
My walk counts.
My health matters.
Screw the donuts.
I will be kind and direct.
I will meet people where they are. Except when I don’t understand why they are where they are. And then I will mentally churn for a long time about how I might rediscover my empathy.
I don’t have to be the rightest or the smartest.
I will seek and find joy in dancing to 80s music.
Those art supplies are therapeutic, too.
I will not check work email on my phone.
I will not log in to my work Slack space on my phone.
I will take PTO and turn on my OOO reply.
I will decline your agenda-less meeting invite.
I will limit my mindless or doom scrolling to 15 minutes per day OR I will uninstall that app.
I will find ways to contribute to my community beyond work.
I must rebuild my community.
I can have opinions now because I work for myself.
I will find my voice and express it because my silence means I am complicit. But I must deeply listen first.