I remember this article on Network World some time ago – Telecommute. Kill a career?
Three months as a problogger, I start to reflect about it. Prior to this blogging gig, I was building a career as a marketing manager for an IT firm and I also served as a web content consultant. Now I’m a happy problogger for the Bloggy Network churning out content for this blog. I literally telecommute. So did this kill my career?
Simple answer is no. At least from my experience. To qualify, the term problogger has several notions. Some may say that simply earning from your blog is problogging. Well, in my case, I get paid to blog.
There are really stark differences between a 9-5 work and problogging. While I still work eight hours a day on research, trial and testing and writing tips and how-tos, it doesn’t have the strict set-up of a typical workday of a desk monkey. No nosy bosses to deal with and absolutely no office politics to contend with.
Sure there are the downsides like the lack of social contact (since I work in my home office with no other human contact save for other people in my IM’s list. However, this can also be true in the cellular atmosphere of cubicles. Water cooler talk is even less than what you can discuss over IM, right?
As for more of the upsides, I have prime control over my time. While I still have to work 8 hours a day, I’ve got free reign on how to distribute those 8 hours. As many writers would also note, it’s tough to go on a writing marathon. So I can take short 15 minute breaks in between researching and writing posts. Yes, this includes the luxury of not having to punch in a time card too. I also get to set aside time for my grad studies.
So how does all of these things fit into my own career building? I totally enjoy writing under Bloggy and its something that I’d like to keep doing. The work got its perks. The pay pays my bills. I get to save. But as Money Crashers points out that income doesn’t translate to career fulfillment and careers and jobs are different.
So I’d like to further qualify that my work for LifeSpy and Bloggy is a job. Research and writing is my career. Bloggers are after all, researchers and writers. While I render my blogging services exclusively for Bloggy, blogging serves as an avenue for me to extend my writing skills and readership for a particular genre.
Because of my excellent arrangement with Bloggy, I’m perfectly content with what I’m doing. The flex-time factor allows me to work on side projects (writing longer pieces) that I could publish. That’s some sort of career advancement for me. And it doesn’t even come in conflict with what I do for Bloggy.
As far as telecommuniting is concerned, it is undeniable that it really hampers career advancement. A large part of getting promoted is not just based on how well you can do the job. Rather, it focuses on the social aspect – how well do you deal with people, a team, and superiors. (Yeah, that means suck-up time with the boss.)
But it does boil down to the type of industry. For bloggers, it’s just the way it is. Telecommuting is really the way things are done. Maybe this is not the case in most IT industries as the Network World article points out. But who knows, as far as the evolution of collaborative and management software is concerned maybe telecommuting may just be the wave of the future.
So my take on telecommuting? Just be sure to know that there are factors to consider. But if working at home helps you to cope with your lifestyle, by all means, try it out.