Working from Anywhere means you exert control over your location, work type, work style, and income.
Do you have that at your job?
I didn’t have any control over anything at my corporate job. My income was regulated, my work was chosen for me, my team was chosen for me, the rules and policies that governed both my work and, subsequently my private life, were determined by aliens (I’m convinced), and the unspoken rule was that I was supposed to be grateful for it all.
I was grateful for the opportunity they gave me to grow as a writer but little else from that job was very attractive. A series of corporate reorganizations, layoffs, and unusual personnel decisions repeatedly created employee unrest. Few in upper management listened and those that did didn’t have the authority to initiate change.
My Layoff Story…with a Twist
Everyone who’s ever been laid off from their job has a story. That means that I do as well…but mine has a twist.
It was a Thursday evening, the 12th of December in fact, and I received an email on my iPhone from my boss’ manager inviting me to a private meeting early the next day. When I arrived at work at 7a on Friday morning, I noticed that my boss’ SUV wasn’t in the usual space. He never missed work and was always in his office when I arrived.
I thought it was odd, but not altogether out of place. I walked in through the security gate and made my way to my office, then walked next door to meeting. Seated at a small table was the man I was meeting with and the Human Resources Representative that I’d had a few encounters with, none of which were pleasant.
I was immediately told that my job had been eliminated and I was no longer employed. Actually, since it was Friday, December 13th they told me I would remain an employee until the end of the year and then I’d be out. She explained the generous severance package and with a few quick signatures, I was gone.
But here’s the twist…for months, years actually, I’d been playing out every quitting scenario you can possibly imagine in my mind. I imagined quitting while on the road, while sitting in a meeting, while having lunch….I’d imagined them because for years I’d been so unhappy at the firm and the job. My position had no authority despite having the experience that led to my employer winning over $5 billion in project awards on projects I was involved in.
For example, I had to act on poor advice from engineers who thought they knew proposal management better than me, a senior proposal manager. I always thought it peculiar, had the tables been reversed, that they wouldn’t have -not even for a second- taken my advice on constructing a freeway overpass- largely because I would have been talking out of my ass. You get the point, I’m sure.
So about the twist…as I said I’d been rehearsing how to quit and walk away to do what I loved, writing and teaching online as I’m doing now. The twist came with my unexpected layoff.
Suddenly I was being paid to leave and ramp up my part-time online business.
So, while the HR representative was telling me that I no longer had a job and how much they appreciated my service, it was all I could do to stop myself from jumping out of my chair and kissing both her and the meeting host.
They didn’t know it, but this layoff was the best news I could possibly have been given.
I Never Looked Back
The most distressing aspect of this story… was that not only my team was also laid off, but my boss, a kind-hearted, big-souled man with two teenage boys, passed away ten days after he, too, was laid off. I recall at his funeral a Senior V.P. shaking my hand and telling me that she thought I’d land well.
Little did she know, I was just taking off.
Initially, I started consulting, performing the same type of work I’d been doing for other companies that were previously my competition. But now I was selling my qualifications and experience and able to charge a much higher rate. It was good for the first year until I realized that I’d just traded one dissatisfying gig for another.
After some additional and lucrative consulting gigs, I knew I had to return to what my DNA wired me to do. Today I am engaged in a full-time digital business that was initially funded by my former employer, but the work is fulfilling, important, and totally under my control.
Today I Can Work From Anywhere
Yesterday was Sunday, and I drove over the Santa Cruz to help a friend’s teenage son with a video project. I then saw my musician son, Jay, who still lives in Santa Cruz, for coffee and later attended his band’s performance at a concert venue in the city.
While I was there I polished this week’s edition of Super-Caffeinated Conversations with Baz (no longer active), my advanced coaching subscription while sipping a cup of Sweet Italian roast.
I’m writing this post from my home office, and in June I’ll be writing posts from across the US as I ride with my son Benjamin on a cross country motorcycle trip.
Working From Anywhere Is a Choice
I could have easily applied for and accepted another corporate position in the AEC industry. I was offered several positions in the first year following my layoff. But in order to due what I consider my deepest work, I had to turn down the offers most wouldn’t have.
I had to be true to my own sacred calling and do the work that I couldn’t not do. For me, working from anywhere was the only response to my changing world that didn’t feel like a betrayal.
It’s true that working from anywhere isn’t for everyone. It takes an incredible amount of resolve, creativity, and a resilience that only comes through active cultivation of the deepest, most sacred work one can do.
And just in case you’re really curious about working from the road or anywhere you happen to be, I have a free course that you can receive for free to learn more…