Remote in the City!

21 Feb

So over the Winter holidays, we did something pretty major. We packed up our lives in Texas and moved to New York city! This was brought up by the husbadoo  getting one step closer to pursuing his dream of an academic career. (Oh glorious career in academia, you are within arm’s reach now. Come quickly and bring with you calm and some sort of permanency for us)

Anyway, given that my company allows employees to work remote, we thought it best that I take them up on this option, atleast for the time being.

Working remote perpetually everyday is really a different ball game than working from home occasionally.

When we lived in Austin, especially the year after Bandar was born I enjoyed and looked forward to the occasional work from home day (or wfh day , as it is often abbreviated to). However after moving to NYC and doing this every single day for the last 6 weeks, I have some mixed feelings.

Maybe at this point in our lives, I should see this opportunity as a blessing but I am really struggling with it for some reason.

Pros

1)      With Bandar being sick these last 8 days with her cold, high temps and ear infection with starting preschool, I am really grateful I can be with her.It is not easy managing a crying baby with a full time high stress tech marketing job but I have done this for a week now. I did contact my back up care options that my employer offers but no one was able to get to us in short notice in the bad weather we experienced .A part tof me was actually relieved as I was stressing about getting Bandar accustomed to a new temporary caregiver given her bad separation anxiety. But given the fact that back up care was not an option, I handled her by myself, worked to some extent and even made ragda pattice(minus chutnies) for dinner.  It is true that Bandar got more screen time than she has ever bene exposed to in her life , but it really helped that I did not have to worry about getting my butt to work .

2)      Bandar starting school itself has been hard on us.It helps that I work CST(Central Standard Time) from home living on the East Coast.And boy, I really make that 1 hour count. It means, that I do not have to stress about logging  on to my laptop before 9 am EST.It means, I can wake up Bandar at 8 am EST and get her ready and bundled up for school.It means I can spend a  good 15 mintues talking to her teachers.It means I can get out of the hosue with home clothes underneath my outerwear and pretty much no make up.It means I can trot back enjoying the busy NYC streets and get home at 9:20 EST, make myself a cup of tea and sit down to my Texas based job at a reasonably early time.It also helps that I am currently working with a vendor who is on PST(4 hours behind).I know lots of parents have their kids in daycare at 8 am and are on their way to work in the subway.That is not us, yet!The husbadoo and I have a lot to learn in terms of organization.Maybe we will get to it in a year.

3)      I can pick up Bandar at 4:30 PM EST. Bandar is in school from 9:15 am – 4:30 pm.I personally think this is long enough for her at 16 months. We thought the husbadoo picking her up every day was best. When his professor made a nasty comment about junior faculty coming in at 11 am and heading ou t at 4 pm, I felt I needed to take this upon myself.Yes, the husbadoo has to get his butt to work earlier. No idea why he cannot break out of the damn PhD and Post Doc cycle of working late into the wee hours of the night and waking up past a decent hour in the morning. He is often getting himself ready when I come in after dropping off Bandar.We know this has to stop.Meanwhile, the pick has to happen at 4:30 PM, latest!  I once got to school at 4:40 pm and Bandar was a little antsy as she had seen a few parents come.I actually remember being 3 years old in preschool myself and being awfully sad that my mom was last.So for her sake, I need to leave home at 4 pm and be at school at 4:15 for a quick chat with her teachers  and to pcik her up.This is 3 pm CST.Makes me effectively work 8:30 am- 3 pm CST but I also clock a crapload of hours after Bandar sleeps.Work gets done and honestly that is all my bosses care about.

4)      I think I can actually sneak in a workout during my lunch.As I honestly cannot see myself buying a 125$ /month gym membershiphere , I am trying to get in a 1 hr workout with Jillian Michaels videos at home.Also my 1 mile walk a day for pick ups and drops , my twice a day walk up to our 5th floor walk up apartment should be helping the booty.I hope! When we lived in Texas and I went into work on most days, I did sneak a workout during my lunch at the office gym but I often did only cardio.At home I am alternating with weights and cardio.

5)      I do not feel tempted to shop for clothes.I did do a good bit of winter wear shopping before we moved to NYC. But as I am physically not going to work everyday, I do not online browse at Macys, the Limited, the Loft, Bananan Republic.All the store sites I loved.I am not even tempted to buy  shoes or bags etc.So that has to be some $$ saved

6)      I do think I tend to eat a tad healthier at home.I hated taking a salad to work. And no way was I paying money to get myself  a salad in the cafeteria when the same $$ could buy me  a healthyish pizza.At home, I am ok eating a salad or a silly lil sandwich

7)      The weather in NYC this month has been nuts.Born and raised in the tropics( Bombay is practically the tropics, right??) I am totally fine, staying warm at home and toasting my toes against the radiator as I work.

8)      Cooking healthier meals for my family and myself, being there for my child in general –  all this is probably a summary  of the above, but I do count me working form home during this transition period as a big pro.

 Cons:

1)      The biggest con – I feel I am in a career rut. How do I explain this better?I am in 28 years old, reasonably high up in my organization and really the next position I could aspire too would either be an at par with same pay heading a team as a senior manager, or one step up as a director heading a mini global organization. Both these my management team is clear that they cannot set me up for as I am a remote employee. So I see my peers about 20 years older, with less education and really less smarter in my book being set up for positions which I could have also tried for (not necessarily landed , but could have atleast aimed for). It makes me sigh and worry that I am wasting myself and not giving my career its due.I miss the rat race, I really do. I think I am too young to be content with what I make for the work I do. I want more and more and more and by this I do not necessarily mean $$$. I mean in terms of quality of work,career growth and progression. Am I phrasing this badly?I feel  my career is in the back seat. I know this is not permanent and I know I will still be reasonably young when we are out of this situation but right now I do feel all ” Oh poor little career girl is sitting at home” 

2)      I earn a Texas based salary for NYC. Makes me cringe a bit thinking about the tax cuts for my once healthy looking texas salary.Enough said.

3)      I miss dressing up for work . Is it shallow to say that for 6 years a large part of my existence was picking a cute outfit for work?

4)      I miss the co worker interaction.I miss the banter, I miss the conversations about non work related stuff that being in the office leads to.I miss the coffee breaks, team lunches with frineds and coworkers.

 

There! Listing does help.  I am going to read through when I hit a particularly sad moment and tell myself that the pros outweigh the cons , atleast for now.

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2 Responses to “Remote in the City!”

  1. Little Fingers February 27, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    I can totally understand ,WFH is fun when it is once a while but daily I find it difficult too. I love the personal interaction I get going to work. When I moved from NewJersey to Portland I was working for that client for couple of months. I used to wake up at 6 to catch up with them. Husband used to drop the baby at 8. But the advantage was I could pick my then 11 months old daughter from daycare by 3 and we had a long evening together. Reading your schedules and what you do makes me think we are sailing in same boat 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit February 27, 2014 at 3:09 am #

      Thanks for reading and commenting:) So glad others have been in the same boat.Makes me realize this is just a phase and I should learn to appreciate it more

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