tl;dr: If you are a remotie…or if you work with someone who is a remotie… I’d love to hear from you.
Whenever “remoties” come up in discussion, I continue to be surprised by the level of interest people have about this.
Its not just a polite “oh, that’s interesting”. Its a suddenly intense outpouring of personal war stories – “oh really? Let me tell you about the time when…”. Some of those stories were told as validation (“yes, we did what you do, and we’re happy it worked for us also” or “we didn’t do what you do, and it ended badly“). Some of these stories were told in denial (“we tried that once, it didn’t work out, which proves it is not ever possible“). Some of these stories were told in despair (“…so now my company wont hire any remoties“). But all of these stories were told with intense personal fervor, sometimes years after the fact!
This shouldn’t have surprised me. As Homa Bahrami pointed out when I met her in Mozilla Summit 2011, and again in meetings this summer, working with remoties is a hard people-organizational problem, not a software-organization problem. Homa also pointed out the intense, long term impact this can have on someone’s personal life and entire career, which explained some of the passionate responses I’ve received so far.
Stepping back, I realized that while most of the people I’ve talked with so far are in the computer business, I’ve also heard similar stories from university lecturers, book publishers, public relations people, medical doctors and traveling sales reps.
This got me thinking about how to contact even more people who work remotely… hence this blog post.
If you are a remotie…or if you work with someone who is a remotie… I’d be really interested to hear from you.
- Do you have examples of things that did (or did not!) work for you?
- Do you have ideas of things you haven’t tried, but which you think might help?
As usual, you can post comments below. I do also understand this is a personal thing, especially if you are still working in the situation. Therefore, if you want to email me privately instead, please email me at “joduinn -at- mozilla -dot- com”, and put “remoties” somewhere in the subject. I will, of course, honor any requests to keep feedback anonymous, all I ask that you give me any working email address in case something is unclear, and I want to contact you with any followup questions.
Meanwhile, here’s a collection of useful links I’ve found about working remotely. If you know of others, please let me know.
(UPDATED: added another link, joduinn 02oct2012)