Most people have a dream of working remotely, or, for what it is known better, “work from home”. They dream of waking up in their underwears, doing whatever they want, anytime they want and living the dream of having an amazing and free routine.
However, what most people don’t know is that working remotely sucks. Yeah, it really sucks. And it sucks really bad.
There are a lot of things I could point out here to say how working remotely sucks but I chose to narrow down to three basic factors that make remote jobs suck:
- Isolation and lack of human interaction
- Need to work more hours
- Tough routines
These are the three basic factors that make remote jobs suck.
I’ve worked remotely. I mean technically I work in my little office by myself now, but I’ve had remote jobs in the past and I want to tell you some of the downsides here. First of all, one of the biggest downsides that most people don’t take into account is the isolation, the lack of social connection. When you go into the office and you work, a lot of times you don’t like your coworkers, but it’s at least social interaction, even some kind of interaction. It’s better to be—in jail solitary confinement is the worst thing. You’d rather be in there with criminals and rapists and drug dealers than to be in solitary confinement. That’s the same thing with your work because I know that most of us work in environments where we have a lot of drug dealers and rapists and serial killers.
Anyway, my point is this is that you will miss that. At first, the first month or 2 you’ll be like, “Oh, this is awesome. No one is bothering me. I’m just getting my work done.” Then pretty soon you’ll go to the coffee shop and you’ll go to Starbucks and you get your coffee and you’ll be just like—as soon as the barista says, “Hi, how’s your day?” you’ll be spewing out half an hour of everything you ate for breakfast and dying for some kind of human interaction. That’s number one.
Another thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that what ends up happening when you work remotely is if you are a good worker and you probably are if you actually got an interview and got a remote job, you’re conscientious. As soon as—when you’re in the office it’s kind of cool, you go, you clock in, you clock out, you’ve done your 8 hours, you’re done, you did a good job. Whether you sat at your desk and just played around on Facebook or not you still feel like you did your duty because you showed up and you got there.
When you’re in the office by yourself working remotely you don’t have that. You’re going to have to try and prove yourself more and so if you’re a conscientious person then what’s going to end up happening is you’re going to end up working a lot more hours because you’re going to want to—the only way you can judge what you did is by results because you can go anywhere and you’re going to feel like you’re being judged more so you’re going to end up working a lot more. You’re going to be stressed out a lot more and work harder.
The first time I got my first remote job I remember the first 3 or 4 weeks of that job I was working like 60, 70 hour weeks and just stressing out about not getting enough stuff done even though I was getting way more stuff done than I ever did in an office because I felt that I had to do a good job. That’s another one.
Another one is even if you have a lot of self-discipline there’s a lot of distractions at home. A lot of people they think, “Okay, I’m going to take a remote job. What I’ll do is I’ll work whatever hours I want. I’ll work at night sometimes and it will be fun because I’ll go for a walk on the beach and then I’ll come back.” It doesn’t work that way. You think that it’s going to work that way, but in reality, it doesn’t work that way. Instead what you’re going to find is that if you actually want to get work done and get it consistently done that you’re going to have to make a schedule anyway.
It’s kind of funny, I’m the extreme example of that. I’m sort of a semi-retired entrepreneur. I can do whatever I want to do during the day, but I wake up and I have a specific schedule and I follow that schedule every day. I pretty much work a 9-5 100% by choice because if I don’t have that system, if I don’t have that routine in place I won’t get shit done. I really won’t. You won’t either. You think you will and you think it will be all fun and games but it won’t be. You’re not going to be coding at 2 AM and actually getting your hours in. Stuff is going to come up, distractions are going to come up and distract you. There’s all of that kind of thing to worry about.
I mean I think that’s the main thing. There are other things that you’ll, of course, discover if you work remotely that are not as ideal as what you think. Over time also the newness of it, it’s called hedonistic adaptation. It’s this concept that whatever was great, whatever was wonderful at some point won’t be. You will adapt to it. You realize that at some point getting up in your pajamas and going to your office, your desk will become the new normal and when it does it won’t be so great anymore. What happens in those situations with hedonistic adaptation is all the good is now the base level, but all the negatives you still get to feel because it doesn’t work the other way. You don’t ever get adapted to not feeling pain. You still feel that pain or the downside.
Anyway, I’m not saying don’t get a remote job, I’m just saying prepare yourself, make sure you have the right kind of self-discipline to be able to do this. Make sure you’re willing to go and create a routine for yourself. Make sure that you have other social outlets or that you truly are an outcast from society and you don’t care about other people. Maybe if you’re a total sociopath this would work for you, but probably you need to figure out some other things that you can do to get human interaction. Just be prepared for it.
All the remote jobs that I’ve had had high, high turnover rates, way higher than you would expect and that’s because people just couldn’t deal with it. After some amount of time they’re like—usually around 6 months they’re like, “Screw this. I can’t do it.” It seems to a lot of people to be a dream job, to be able to work from home, work from your pajamas but it’s not as good as you would think. I prefer it because I like to sit down and get my work done, and I don’t have distractions, but I’m very disciplined and I specifically set up routines and processes to be disciplined. If you’re not that kind of person and you can’t do that then it’s probably not going to work for you.