Choices are sometimes conscious decisions and other times circumstances force change. Regardless of which it is for you, you do have choices!
I briefly commuted for more than an hour into downtown Los Angeles. It didn’t take me long to decide it was simply not worth it.
Many previously could not imagine choosing not to commute. Where they live most may live in one area and commute to another so it never occurred to them there are options.
But you can, by making a conscious choice about your career. And given the current situation with COVID-19, that may be the best choice available.
You do NOT have to have a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke). You could choose to work from home for yourself like I do.
Many of us collaborate and refer work to each other so that we can balance out our workload.
Or you could decide to earn less so you can live closer to your work. When you get laid off is a good time to consider relocating to a less expensive area.
This is wise if the available positions pay less than you were making.
The lower your pay the better off you will be financially by moving where housing costs and other expenses are lower.
You need a high salary to live in an expensive area. Or you can cut expenses by eliminating the need to own a car.
If you love where your live, consider changing jobs. (Don’t quit the one you have – find a new one first.
It is easier to find a job when you’re currently employed because you are considered more “in demand”.)
Expenses are not the only reason for shortening your commute. The high cost of gasoline is one reason, but saving time is even more important.
You could work and live in a community where:
- You can walk or ride a bike to work
- There are car sharing programs
- Public transportation is a short ride
- You could work from home
Besides saving time and money, commuting can impact your life, health, and career in other ways.
COVID Change Your Life? You Have More Choices Than You Think!
Now is the perfect time to re-examine your life. Do you really need to work full-time or commute? What might make you happier?
Here’s what one person who used to have an $80k / year career decided to do instead:
Ok, so you do have choices even if you don’t believe you do. Your life may look totally different already due to circumstances beyond your control.
So what are you going to do about it? We don’t know what will happen this fall much less in the years to come.
Don’t sit around waiting for things to go back to “normal”. And we sure don’t want to be stuck with the “new normal”.
That means you have to make things happen for yourself. If you need an income to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, act now.
How to Find Work in the Remote Economy
Experts estimate that by 2025, 70% of all people will work remotely at least 5 days a month. But if you can work remotely any time, you could do it all the time.
So what’s holding you back? Start working toward the future you want now. If your income went away or is substantially lower, find new income.
Use the infographic below to find more details on what kinds of employers are hiring for remote work.
1) Decide what kind of work you would like to pursue
You need to know this first because it will guide you in what kind of resume and portfolio you may want to create.
2) Create an Online Resume on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an excellent (free) place to find work and the best place to create your online resume.
There are plenty of tips around on how to optimize your profile there. Start with 20 Steps to a Better LinkedIn Profile in 2020.
3) Create a Portfolio
Interested in pursuing creative freelance work such as writing, website building, video creation, etc.?
Create a free portfolio at Contently. Writers use it to gather their published content from across the web in one place.
You can see mine at https://gailgardner.contently.com/.
Julie Weishaar uses hers to show off videos, SlideShares, custom images, infographics and content.
Check hers out at https://julieweishaar.contently.com/. Then jump right in and create your own.
4) Create Job Searches
The two best places to search for both jobs and freelance gigs are:
They both have options to indicate what type of jobs you want and the ability to save your searches.
One drawback to both is that there is often no detail related to whether the listings you’re interested in pays decent or well or “you’ve got to be kidding me cheap”.
So it will take time to weed through interesting options. It is worth it as there are good jobs to be had on both of those sites.
5) Let Your Network Know What You Want
The key to getting considered for freelance work is often referrals from other freelancers.
Make sure you make yourself easy to recommend and that everyone who knows you is aware of what kind of work you’re interested in getting.
The best way to get established and land work that pays well is by collaborating with others who do what you want to do.
The remote work environment is expanding. Use the details on this infographic to find work:
Remote Work Wage Gap
While it should be common sense, many may not realize that there will be a wage gap between in person on-site work and remote work.
This only makes sense because your expenses will be much lower. Unless you’re appearing on video in work clothes regularly, you won’t need much dry cleaning.
Your commuting expenses could go down to nothing. Less miles means you could keep your vehicles longer (which is highly recommended to improve your standard of living).
There is really no reason to trade a car in every 3-5 years if it is still sound and you have a good mechanic.
Once one is paid off, put the car payment aside to pay cash for your next vehicle or for emergencies. Or spend it on something else if you won’t be needing a car (but plan ahead for when you will).
Some expenses may increase, such as utilities from being home all the time — but only if you set them differently when you were gone.
Consider Relocating to Less Expensive Areas
Have you always wanted to live somewhere warmer? Or out in the country? Why live in an expensive area when you can work from anywhere?
Do your research and find a place that has decent to good internet. Be aware that big cities and both coasts tend to have super-fast high-speed internet of 100 Mbps+.
You are not likely to find that in most rural areas. “High-speed” there will be 3-10 Mbps in most cases. Note that 35 Mbps satellite has latency so it doesn’t really load any faster than 5-10 Mpbs point-to-point from a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP).
If you upload videos, especially long videos, you will need to locate somewhere with very good internet access. Satellite and WISP won’t work well for that.
Many Employers Pay By Cost of Living
Many may not realize that corporations have always paid their employees less in areas with a lower cost of living.
But even then, they did not always pay enough to afford areas with high costs. For example, when I transferred from southern California to Texas I was warned I might not see a pay increase for years.
IBM had greater difficulty getting people to transfer to San Diego and San Francisco. It wasn’t because people didn’t want to live there; it was because they couldn’t afford housing.
See this infographic for more details on how switching to remote work may impact what you earn if you work for a larger company:
Remote Workers and Micro-Management
Work from home (WFH) has clear benefits for workers. And it can lower expenses for employers. Happier workers change jobs less often and are healthier, too.
However, many managers have difficulty trusting their employees. And that led to a lot of software solutions for tracking them. But can you function under that microscope?
Micromanaging has serious downsides. Check out the statistics in the infographic below for details.
Is the Internet Ready for Remote Work?
NOTE: Originally published 10/23/13; Original post sponsored by Workopolis, Canada’s most popular and largest site for finding jobs online.
Content edited 8/28/20 to replace missing video, add an infographic, and expanded and updated to be more current; edited 3/15/21 to add Remote Work wage gap infographic.
Added Is the Internet Ready for Remote Work infographic on 4/15/21. Updated 9/20/21 to replace missing infographic; updated 12/10/21 to add the Who Can We Trust infographic and change the featured image.
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