Have you seen HR Nasty's latest blog? My first thought was "oh no he DIDN'T!!" then I thought, ok – maybe he's 

right. But I'm right too. I've been in a mostly remote position for about 3 weeks. I've worked from home in the past, and I've worked for companies and bosses clear on the other side of the country. I've also been in environments where not only were you expected to be in the office, you were expected to be there from 7 am to 5 pm at a minimum. (I'll NEVER go back to light industrial staffing. EVER) Am I an expert on this stuff? Of course not, but who is? We all view these concepts through the filter of our own experience. Keep that in mind before you start dogging Marissa Mayer about recalling Yahoo! employees back to the office. For those drinking the Ms. Mayer haterade - if you're so smart why didn't Yahoo! hire YOU to come turn them around? I for one agree with her position. I can't help but laugh at recruiters who get all excited about this; circling like sharks and salivating over all the great talent they're going to steal from Yahoo!. You think the GOOD ONES are going to leave over this? Maybe a few… but a lot of the tech roles I source for work in the office or lab or whatever anyway. I'm willing to bet for every grumbly employee that's pissed off about being forced into the office, there's probably two more that are saying it's about damn time. But I digress… Back to Mr. Nasty's blog and my promised rebuttal.

Mr. Nasty makes a very valid point about career growth, visibility, and the risks run by those of us who choose to, as he puts it, set up "a 40 hour a week base camp in your spare room so you can work in your PJ’s". (I have not yet worked in my PJs. I feel like I'm missing something terribly fun and an important work-at-home rite of passage). So rather than give you a regurgitated list of Five Very Critical Things To Do In Order To Be Productive, I'm going to tell you MY plan, and how neatly it refutes yet supports my good friend's blog post.

  1. Be visible. Duh. High visibility projects don't go to people who aren't, well, seen. I go to the office at least once a week, but usually two out of five days. I'm on IM and email with my team members. I make sure I'm physically in the building for important stuff like baby showers and client meetings. I get the gossip. I spend valuable co-worker time not only talking about work, but getting to know them, asking about what matters to them personally. Part of that is just being new (I'm still learning – a lot) but it's also just part of being a good work buddy.
  2. Volunteer. Special, and sometimes crappy projects will come up. If you have the bandwidth (meaning if you can DVR that 2 pm episode of Maury for watching on your own time) take on something "extra" that the people in charge will see and appreciate.
  3. Pay attention to the core hours. I'll be honest – The days I come in the office, I roll in around 9:15. I live over an hour away in traffic and I take my kids to school every morning. This is an important daily ritual that I will not give up. I turned down an "in office" job because I knew I could no longer do this if I commuted daily to Seattle for a typical 8 am start. The "real work" in a lot of companies seems to take place between 9-4 – I make an effort to be there during that time. This also means being flexible. I would NEVER say to my clients "sorry I can't make that meeting, I'm only in the office on Tuesdays and Fridays" or some ridiculous thing. I'll change my schedule to accommodate them.
  4. Want to grow? Have a plan. Again, I'm on week three of my Microsoft career. I'm still learning where all my clients sit on campus (good gracious we have a lot of buildings). Some might say it's too early for me to be scoping out a full time (yes, "in-office") position, but that is my goal. I plan to be very clear with my team and my boss that my long term goals include Microsoft. My family will be house hunting in a new neighborhood this summer, which ideally will give me about a 15 minute commute to my employer of choice. I have a plan.

You don't have to have an office with your name on the door to be a critical part of the team. I've seen "in-office" workers in previous companies lose out on opportunities to the virtual go-getter who had a mission and a plan. Working "in-office" has nothing on the hungry virtual kid ready to eat your lunch. Don't wait for opportunity to stroll down your hallway – go after it, no matter where you sit.

Views: 471

Comment by Becki Banning on March 7, 2013 at 8:36pm

Amy -  Once again I love your posts. As a fellow work from Recruiter I do my fair share of office face time. I am "scheduled" to be there two days a week but I am the first to volunteer to accomodate anyone's schedule and come in on my "off: days. I have noticed that my flexiblity has lead to people wanting to schedule time on my "in" days so I don't have to change my schedule. I win either way. I do enjoy the perk of working in my pajamas but only because it is one less load of laundry I have to do by changing my clothes multiple times during the day. I like to think of it as time management, but that might be a stretch. Keep the excellent posts coming I always know I can count on you for something not only insightful but entertaining as well.

Comment by HRNasty on March 7, 2013 at 10:48pm

OH NO SHE DIDN'T!  I have been trying to get you to write a guest post for a long time.  Begging and trying not to hound you and then you go and do this.  WHY DIDN'T YOU ALLOW ME TO POST THIS AS YOUR GUEST POST on HRNasty.com as a Follow up!!!!   Dang woman!!!

First, great post.  Seriously.  I love what you are saying, the tone, and the fact that you are sharing this one.  I post for the masses, the folks on the outside looking in.  You are on the inside, and you know how to work within the system and not just work within it, but leverage it.  This is exactly why we agree on so many topics.   I completely agree with all of your points and have blogged about some of the specific things you mention including "take the crappy jobs".  One of the blogs main themes is to manage your manager as it relates to your career and you are doing this with point number 5.  Most people do NOT do any of these consistently when working IN the office, (which is where my attitude comes from) so I want employees and candidates to consider all the angles, especially the ones that probably won't be mentioned by your local HR department.  Don't get me wrong, I know that working remotely CAN work, but it isn't for everyone.  Everyone THINKS they can do it, but we both know it takes a rare breed.  If we were to take 100 employees at random, I would say a small percentage of them would rock their careers.  I know you would be in that small percentage of successful employees.  I still feel that most employees are so blinded by the "perk" they don't consider the downside.   

I am really glad you posted this, I just wish you would have posted it on HRNasty.com.  Maybe you will still consider it?  

See you at the after party


nasty:  an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone that is good at something. E.G.  “He has a nasty forkball".

Comment by Michael Wright on March 8, 2013 at 12:32am

Great post - I definitely think you are right about Yahoo! and yes, you should try out working in your PJ's. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 8, 2013 at 12:28pm

Thanks Michael - not to say recruiters shouldn't look at Yahoo peeps, just surprised at some of the crowing I've seen... :)


Mr. Nasty - looking forward to guest blogging! :)

Comment by KKenner on March 28, 2013 at 12:09pm

Amy, you go girl!  I haven't had the opportunity to work in my jammies either. I have a little one I need to get off to school, so when working remotely, it was how I got my day started. Got up, got dressed, got busy. Even when I had the 5am, cross multiple time zones conference calls. It was how I got motivated to "go to work", just like you would when you drive into the office. My idea of a jammie day involves movie marathons and popcorn, not kicking butt, taking names, and making money!  lol.. but maybe...just maybe....

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 28, 2013 at 12:42pm

I'm w/ you KK - not sure I would get all that much done if I did the jammies thing... :) I actually get up around 6 and spend an hour or so checking emails, getting caught up and ready for the day. Break from 7-8:30 to get the kids ready/off to school, get myself presentable (you never know) and work hard until around 4:00 pm. Then it's back to family stuff, kids to bed, back online by 8 or 9 blogging etc.  It's a long day but broken up in a way that works for my family, which is what I love most about my hallway commute. :)


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