I’ll tell you about a very personal and eye-opening time for me that really prompted this transition into the work-from-home space.
Shortly after my little one (now 9) was born, I knew I needed to return to work because I had not been at my employer long enough to qualify for maternity leave. ‘No work’ equaled ‘no pay’ and that simply wasn’t an option as a single mother.
My research to find childcare in a city I wasn’t completely settled in yet after having only lived there a short time proved to be fairly simple, at first. I hired a live-in nanny I found on Craigslist (what a blessing) and she turned out to be absolutely amazing…at a cost, of course. She was worth every penny, though, and I wouldn’t have traded her for anything in the world.
In comes my reality check.
My oldest daughter (now 18) was diagnosed with ADHD when she was in kindergarten and the behavior issues were becoming more and more unbearable. In the interest of making what could be a very lengthy blog post a little shorter, she started to become aggressive towards the nanny. It wasn’t long before the nanny just decided not to show up for work one day.
(Quick pause to say I believe in the importance of transparency as I know sharing my story might help someone else on their journey.)
I was absolutely devastated, but I understood.
I had just returned to work, though, so my stress level went through the roof at that point. I reached out to a close relative who agreed to step in and provide assistance. They were dealing with some issues at the time, as I later found out, and Monday morning came and went...no call and no show.
Again, I was absolutely devastated!
I could go on and on about this story, but it was during this time I knew that working from home was the best thing for me. It wasn’t until my father became very ill, however, that I actually moved forward with making this dream a reality. I started with a very candid conversation with my manager, which led to a very candid conversation with her manager, which led to a connection for an opportunity on a different team that was fully endorsed by my current manager because she understood the necessity.
(Another quick pause to say that, in addition to virtual work not being ideal for every employee, it is also not a good fit for every manager. It takes a certain set of skills to execute the management of a virtual team effectively.)
Do you see how critical networking is in the virtual marketplace? It’s not enough to network, however, because you can ask for opportunities until you are blue in the face and be denied. You have to also be able to effectively communicate why your request should be considered. I’ll take it a step further and say that it starts with proving your performance and reliability over time.
Give it some thought and be very honest with yourself. Have you been positioning yourself for success with your current employer to potentially create an opportunity to work from home? Let’s talk about it. Feel free to share your thoughts below in the Comment section or send a private note directly to me via the Contact page or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, wishing you nothing but the best...