Hitting the reset button – on your career

My new office! An exercise ball and an ironing board.

By Harry Hodge

So reinvention is nothing new for me. I’ve changed jobs more times than people change hairstyles. But it’s taken me a long time for me to get to a point in my life where I can (somewhat) dictate the where and how of my livelihood(s).

Today is the first day of one of my new jobs – as well as a new way for me to do things. Working from home.

Spurred on by my brother-in-law (who lives at the building across from mine) boasting about how he enjoys working from home, and becoming increasingly disenchanted with spending two hours + each day getting to work in Saigon’s notorious traffic, I jumped at the chance to try working from home. My new employer, a start-up based in Hanoi that uses innovation as its hallmark, was cool with me working remotely, bar the odd appearance I’ll be expected to make in person. This includes my upcoming training/meeting colleagues in the capital next week, as well as when the new Saigon office eventually opens.

I’ll also be teaching at a university in my district; lecturing at a college or university has been a goal of mine for some time. It also means I’ll have to spend a few hours of each day on the picturesque campus, so I’ll still have the in-person interactions all extroverts crave.

My new view! (from my bedroom)

The Office Grind

Artificial light. Recycled air. Needing a reason to get up from your desk and go somewhere. These are all things that I feel companies in the 21st century will start to recognize as, in fact, counterproductive. Of course, there are arguments for both sides of this topic.

For: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-reasons-working-remotely-is-even-better-than-you-thought-it-was

Against: https://www.score.org/blog/working-remotely-bad-your-productivity-heres-why

You can find opinions either way. Even now, as I type this, Granny is playing with the kids to keep them from disturbing me. But she’ll soon be back in the village. And the children will be at daycare.

The main thing that articles I’ve read which argue against working remotely is that it can be socially isolating. This is one of the main reasons why I want to have the university gig, not only to get out every day, but to see people. It’s also another revenue stream.

Trying to distract Daddy.

Distractions

My main distraction at the moment is my children, since daycare is not back in session and it’s me and Granny watching them. She’s been good to cover them, but there are times when both adults are needed. I reckon we will have a family trip to Vungtau this weekend, then I go to Hanoi to train with my new company. And the university position will entail training and in-class work soon thereafter.

My motivation was to have two positions, and if one proves to be too much, unload the other. Right now I’m still getting my feet wet, but having not had to do that Hellacious drive to the airport in the morning, I’m already ahead of the game.

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About hodgedude

I'm a Canadian journalist and teacher, most recently living in Edmonton and Toronto, now located in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. I've taught English in S. Korea, pulled rickshaws in Canada, taught at a Taiwanese language boot camp, edited newspapers in China and played a French-speaking Spanish colonel on Vietnamese TV. I also play Australian football. Pick up a copy of issue one of my independent comic, "Getting Lucky," at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, the Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Spotted Cow Pub, 111 Bui Vien, District 1, Saigon.
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