This is the third and final installment of the working remotely series, in which I interview three of my RV peers about their ability to take their jobs on the road. If you want to read about Veronica or Craig, click on each to check out their articles.
In this article we hear from Jessica, mom, wife and entrepreneur, who was able to transition her job to a remote work position. I met Jessica, from Exploring the Local Life, through the documentary film Open Road RV Nomads, that we will both be in, along with other RVers, due out in October 2018. Jessica and her husband Robert are able to travel full-time by working remotely.
1. Tell me a little about yourself, your background, what you do for fun, work, etc.
We are Robert and Jessica. We have two kids, ages five and eight. We love to hike and explore historic downtowns. We have a weakness for gourmet coffees and awesome coffeehouses…and every animal wild and domestic.
Robert is an aircraft dispatcher and Jessica is a quality assurance specialist for infectious diseases laboratories. Robert’s work is remote for six months out of the year for the best of both worlds, travel and income. Jessica explains her remote work arrangement below.
2. How did you get into your current line of work?
I’m a Biology major and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. I worked as a veterinary technician for many years and pet sat on the side. I never became a vet, realizing that the specialty I liked would take me away from any relationship and family I would want to have. Having the science degree landed me my first full time job as a chemist, and then I moved onto a medical devices company as their document control administrator. I never left document control and have since worked in various places helping them implement document control systems.
3. What made you decide to travel full-time?
We wanted to live differently. We wanted to spend more time together and to give the kids a little slice of adventure. We were never great at maintaining a home or mowing the lawn. We longed for the freedom to spend our free time exploring new places…not cleaning a house and trimming the hedges and never getting to really enjoy the time.
4. Were you worried about keeping your employment? What worried you the most?
I actually didn’t worry about keeping my job. I had made up my mind that I wanted to leave anyway. When I approached them about that I offered to help them while they found a replacement.
5. How did working remotely come up?
I gave them a list of all the activities that I did in the office that could easily be done from home. My company already had a system and process for working from home on occasion, but I was the first to ever request a 100% remote position. There had always been an issue with space and parking at my office, so I would be helping them with that problem. Also, with having someone behind the scenes doing more administrative work, it would free up more of the on-site staff to be available for face-to-face meetings and other activities that could only be done in the office. I also requested that my projects be solely mine – that way they would know whether or not I was actually working. If those projects weren’t being completed, then I wasn’t working.
6. What did you say and what concerns did they have?
Since I was the first to ever make such a request, they were concerned whether they could get all the approvals necessary for me to work from home. But it in the end, it worked out!
7. How do you like traveling and working from the road?
It has its challenges. Sometimes I am working while my family is outside playing. Other times I’m watching people enjoying a campfire while I’m inside working. Then there’s inconsistent internet connectivity– this one can be really frustrating. One of the best things is the flexibility. Not only can I work AND travel, but it is all on my schedule. If I want to take Tuesday “off” and work on Saturday instead, it’s fine. If I want to take a few days off and work for twelve hours on two other days, I can do that, too. And I still get all my benefits, including paid time off.
8. What advice would you give others about talking to their employer about working remotely?
Make a list of everything that you can do from home. Emphasize important projects that you can focus on and that you would be the sole contributor – it helps the company know if you are working or not. Present it as a benefit to your company – they can save on office space, someone else can sit there. On-site personnel can focus on meetings and other activities that work better in-person. If you are able to call in for important meetings and other things, remind them that you will be available for that. If you are able to come into the office on occasion, share that as well. If you have ever worked successfully from home, emphasize it.
9. Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes! We have a video that goes deeper into this topic. Click video.
Working Remotely Is Becoming More Common
If you read this entire series, you’ll see that taking an office job on the road, and working remotely is not a pipe dream. A lot of people do it and more companies are allowing it. If you dream of traveling full-time, or having more flexibility in your job or life, consider talking to your employer about working remotely. Be sure to follow the tips provided by Veronica, Craig, and Jessice.
In summary: Fuel your dreams by doing research, make yourself very valuable to your employer so they don’t want to let you go, create a plan that includes how working remotely benefits your employer, and show how responsible you’ll be once on the road.
For more information about Exploring The Local Life check them out in these places:
Are you looking for resources to transition to full-time RV travel? Check out the Wanderlust Transition Plan below. 10 Categories to help you transition to a wanderlust lifestyle!
21 Remote Work Websites
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