Remotely Working

Remotely Working [via Jim Mangan] I worked remotely for several months at my last job, and I can attest that it is difficult. We were fairly well wired: I have a fast cable modem connection; they already had a VPN for other people to work at home; I had web-based access to internal email; I got conferenced in for staff meetings. And everyone in the department was logged into Yahoo Messenger all day, so I could at least prove that I was awake whenever someone pinged me. But I always had the nagging sense that I had to prove that I was working — which, with the exception of the days immediately following 9/11, I actually was — and some days this was more difficult than others. Just the nature of the job — I might spend an entire day reviewing a complex functional spec without producing anything that anyone could see or make sense of (besides some seemingly incoherent notes I had made to myself). Or I might spend 8 hours debugging a SQL script or coping with a complex query. Or I might go in one direction, only to realize at the end of the day (or the end of the week) that it was a dead end, and start over in a much simpler direction. I ended up keeping backups of the intermediate steps, notes, chicken scratch, etc. on the company servers. Not only was it extremely useful once or twice to be able to dig up old notes, it served as an electronic trail to be able to prove I really was working all day. (I laughed when I read the author talking about daytime TV. It never occurred to me to turn on the TV in all the time I worked at home.) [diveintomark]

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