This week marks one year that I’ve been working on the road. I’ve learned a lot about my work style, being flexible and how to be productive with an ever changing environment.
It’s not always a beautiful view, but the freedom is immense. I can work anywhere I please as long as I have an internet connection. I’ll admit, I don’t usually sit outside enjoying the view as I’m most times inside at my desk plugging away at my work. That’s my fault. I’m learning to be more flexible. Oddly enough, I know that I’m more focused when I’m not sitting at my desk but I have this weird guilt about NOT being at my desk. Stupid, right?
So let’s talk about being in the rat race on wheels. When you think about RVing and working, the first thing that comes to your mind is being a entrepreneur, right? Well, that’s not the only way. If you’ve been following for any amount of time or you know us personally, you’ll know that I work for “the man”. I have a Corporate America gig with a boss and a schedule, clients and meetings, the whole shebang! My company has big high rise buildings, game rooms with hammocks and even snack dispensers. That’s right folks, all the nuts you can store in your fat little cheeks.
I’d like stop here for a moment to mention I’m a total waffler on the Corporate America thing. Some days I am the cow with my head stuck in the fence because the grass is SO green, am I right? I constantly have to remind myself that I worked really hard to break into this industry and to score a really sweet remote job. I have to remind myself that my grass is SO green right here in my own pasture. Being an entrepreneur is awesome. it’s hard work and takes passion and a whole lot of guts, but there’s nothing wrong with working for the man. I like being on the corporate hamster wheel.
In fact, the more we travel the more we find people just like me who have a corporate job and work remote from their RV. We just don’t talk about it all that much. I don’t have a big struggle, a big win or a big failure to share with the world. I’m pretty dang boring. I get up at 6:30am every Monday through Friday, I make coffee and then I sit down and code like a good little worker bee. Sometime around 11 or noon, I stop to eat lunch. Sometimes that lunch is not stopping and I’m just shoveling food into my squirrely cheeks as I work and sometimes it looks like this…
Yeah, that was yesterday’s lunch break. Pretty sweet, right? I’ll usually work until 4pm and then shut it down. I don’t have to work late nights, I don’t have to make up for lost time because I was out kayaking on a Tuesday morning or masterminding with some group and not getting enough done on my own business. I have a schedule and when I’m done, I’m done. I have benefits like health insurance, paid time off and investment matches. It’s a regular job with regular perks except for one added…MAJOR…perk…. I don’t have to wear pants.
I said it. That’s right. Pants. My number one enemy.
Navigating corporate America hasn’t been all pajama parties and beach days, it’s been a lot of learning how to manage travel and productivity. When we first started traveling I did not make it known to my company that I was on the go all the time. I felt that it was really none of anyone’s business as long as I was always connected and got my work done. That led to some REALLY unhealthy work habits. I was killing myself working trying to make up for how awesome my life was. I would have a damn panic attack if my internet was slower than normal. I worked long hours, weekends and was guilt tripping myself into burn out.
After a few months on the road I decided that I was going to tell them I was a nomad. I dreaded getting fired, I made myself sick. I mean, who was I to work a regular job and travel and not be chained to a cubicle somewhere? How DARE I walk away from my desk and step out onto the beach during my lunch? Sit outside and work? Are you crazy? NEVER! So, I did what any self respecting business minded individual would do, I waited until happy hour. I had a few beers and then professed my gypsy sins to my boss.
She didn’t fire me. My team didn’t disown me. My company did not look at me like I was some freak of nature. In fact, they thought it was pretty cool. I was, as they put it, “living the dream.” I was doing what the remote culture of corporations are trying to build. Freedom, a healthy work/life balance and the ability to work from anywhere. That was quite the relief.
Once I let the cat out of the bag, I had hoped that I would be more flexible but that didn’t magically happen. I still have the gypsy guilt. It’s a work in progress. Just the other day I had a meeting with my team and I was sitting outside at the picnic table. Whenever I would speak, they could hear the birds chirping in the background. I was embarrassed and wished the birds would shut their stupid pointy faces up until one co-worker mentioned he enjoyed hearing them since it was snowing in his town. After hearing that, I was proud of myself for breaking the chain to my desk and sitting outside for a while.
The last year I have spent honing my productivity and travel style. Since I don’t have the freedom to slack off on a Tuesday and work on Saturday, I have to manage travel days around my work schedule and make sure that I stay focused so that my day ends when it is scheduled to. Having internet access has been the least of my worries. I learned early on that I don’t need super high speed to work, even when I have Zoom meetings. Once I came to terms with that, it’s been quite a lot of stress off my shoulders. We’ve never NOT had internet whenever we have chosen to go. (Knock on wood…because you know….) What works for me may not work for anyone else, but I have found that if I’m sitting at my desk I’ll listen to music, loudly, and that works really well. I also am super productive if I’m not sitting at my desk. Couch, captain’s chair, outside…anywhere but my desk…and I’m laser focused. So weird!
It has been somewhat socially restrictive because I CHOOSE not to partake in 11am Margaritas or go hiking on a weekday morning. Some of our entrepreneur friends have that flexibility and we don’t get the opportunity to join them. That said, when 5pm rolls around…I’m free. They are still chained to their emails. I stay focused, I get my work done and then I’m free to enjoy wherever we are on MY time.
Overall, I am happy that I have a remote Corporate gig. It’s not exciting, it’s not much to share and it’s actually rather boring. It’s also 100% AWESOME. I get all the perks of a regular job, I get a new backyard whenever I please and I don’t have to wear pants.