Thursday, July 05, 2007

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

With my lease here in Bowling Green looming closer and closer with each passing day, time was becoming an issue for finding a source of income upon my return to Troy. It was also time for me to announce my imminent departure to my current employers. I did so last Tuesday, letting them know that my wife got a job and that I was moving back to my hometown. Then, almost (but not quite) on a whim, I asked if there was any possibility of telecommuting.

The crazy bastards are going to let me do it.

I didn't get a "yes" right away. The person I spoke to in upper management had to go further up the ladder. The next day I got the okay to discuss the situation with my boss and to start developing some plans for working from home. Those plans progressed as the week went on, as various co-workers went to bat for me against our mostly conservative, traditional company president. The people I work with on a daily basis really don't want to lose me, and they made it known. At the same time, I was also finding some very solid tools that would allow me to proofread remotely with a similar degree of efficiency as what I have in the office. The word finally came down on Tuesday this week--it's a go.

Now, this is very much on a trial basis for the time being. The company president has some concerns, which I totally understand. I'm the first one at the company who will be doing this on a full-time basis, so he's not sure it's going to work. I plan to do as much as I can to ensure it's a successful experiment, though. They're likely to try to find a backup proofreader, who can become my replacement if needs be. Just knowing the way he is, it wouldn't totally surprise me if he decided to go that route at some point, but I hope to make that decision unnecessary.

Honestly, I don't think that will be too much of a problem. The only real concern I have is in knowing my own procrastinatory nature, and having the self-discipline to make sure I do the work I need to do each day. That's a very mild concern, though; with how eager I am to make this a lasting situation, I'm not likely to sabotage myself. I'm sure there will be some occasional logistical issues, but as long as they're willing to have at least some patience to work through them, I see no reason why this won't work.

Actually, it almost makes more sense to do it this way. My job is cyclical in nature--the beginning of a catalog cycle brings with it almost nothing more me to do for about a week, and it slowly builds over the course of the month until I'm slammed during deadline week. So being at home and having a lot of flexibility built into my schedule fits perfectly. Also, the new workflow I've developed, with nearly everything being done digitally, will eliminate a lot of printing costs, and the software options that make it possible should make it easier to get pages reviewed by others, if they choose to use it that way. So even aside from my own personal gain, I'm excited that this looks to be a pretty decent situation for the company as well.

I will have to travel to Toledo at least once per month to come into the office. Most likely what will happen is that I will come in on the day before deadline, then stay over in Toledo that night and come in on deadline day as well. With as hectic as those two days are, proofing remotely just isn't feasible. And that's a concession I was perfectly willing to make. To facilitate this, and to avoid any potential security risk that would come from installing company software on my personal computer, they're getting me a laptop, which I should be getting toward the end of next week. That will give me even more flexibility, as I won't be anchored to my home computer--if I want to do something or go somewhere during the day, I just need to sling the laptop over my shoulder and go.

Not that working at home is going to be a burden by any means. My new desk (a birthday present from my parents) is being delivered to our new place tomorrow, and one of the three bedrooms in our new place will become my office. That's something I'm very excited about. A nice desk has been high on my wishlist for quite some time, and I'll finally have it. With a killer workspace, I'm sure it won't be hard for me to spend quite a bit of time in there, either for work-related projects or my own personal stuff.

The date when I'll start working from home is still up in the air a little bit. I'm hoping for the 16th, but that may need to be pushed back a little bit, depending on such issues as laptop delivery and setup, hammering out logistics, and Internet connectivity at our new place. It's definitely coming soon, though, and it's going to be totally awesome when it does.

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