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The First Conversation about Remote Work (2/3)


In the previous post I mentioned that I booked a one-way ticket without talking to my manager, but as I looked back in my 2023 Journal I actually spoke to her on June 27, then I bought my ticket on July 2nd, just a small clarification.


Visiting friends in San Francisco, CA

Let's me set the scene a bit


Picture this, I am an eCommerce manager hired 19 months ago with the promise that the first year would be infrastructure setup of a new eCommerce store and the second year would be going live with that store to the public and then it will transition to me doing marketing mostly. I thought it would be fun to try something new and learn how to setup an ecommerce store. 1 year in, I realize I don't really enjoy operations and my job is primarily project manager. The store launch date then gets pushed out. So I am almost at 2 years of infrastructure setup and the store launch is nowhere in sight. The work is getting boring, I'm somehow managing a logistics company and I miss doing actual marketing and visual merchandising.


In my personal life, I had a breakup and a new 1 bedroom apartment thinking I had made it in life, but in fact that just didn't feel right once I sat with it. I was grieving, growing strawberries and tomatoes which I truly enjoyed!), took long meditative walks in nature around my beautiful apartment complex. I was learning about manifestation techniques, connecting with likeminded people who enjoyed EFT tapping through the dreamaway community and also going deep into my patterns and limiting beliefs. Reading, learning past life hypnosis and having people come to my home for sessions. I was also learning human design at the same time because it was just so fascinating and I made a friend who was as obsessed as I was. I was doing all the things that made me happy, but the pull for something greater was just larger.




Now let’s get into it!


June 27, 2023 - The day I told my manager that I wanted to go remote


I went in there with one goal in mind and that is getting the temporary remote work for 6 months, if this was not granted I would have to say goodbye to this career. Why? Well honestly, when my heart wants something it doesn’t leave me another choice, it’s like a pull that I have to follow. I’ve learned, when I don’t follow it, I end up getting depressed. So I knew I had to be brave. I also knew that this pull always led to things working out.


As a believer of past lives and how our soul chose this life and our challenges. I knew this was at test or a challenge I had to overcome and once I overcame it, everything would work out as it was supposed to. I didn’t need to know how, I just need to believe it would.


I was strategically prepared.


I didn’t ask, I’m not much of an asker, I just told her what I wanted. I walked in nervously and told her that I was no longer fulfilled. That the promises that were supposed to happen are no longer happening and that I'm losing steam. I had a real honest talk with her and I let her know I was unhappy. I truly was. Unhappy with the current circumstances and I wanted to be free. I said, “I have lived in Orange County all my life, I just ended a relationship and it would really be a great way for me to have a change of pace”.

She understood my concerns and asked me where I plan to go and I let her know I wanted to go to Germany (where the company headquarters is) and meet coworkers out there and possibly Mexico but also check out other states in the U.S.

She approved with a lot of hesitation and asked me for a plan. I thanked her for the opportunity and I said I will get right on it!

Although, I was prepared for giving an ultimatum, I was thankful that I didn’t have to say that I would leave the company if not granted.


Something shifted in me that day.


I actually made up my mind and would leave this job to pursue a more meaningful life if I had to. The way I saw it, I was brave and stood up for myself and what I wanted and the universe granted it to me. It felt like a right of passage. Saying hey, you. You passed the first step. You were brave and you’re being rewarded now



July 3, 2023 - The plan and the next test from the universe


I don’t usually make plans 6 months in advance. I like to flow with my travels and planning ahead gives me anxiety that I would be tied to something, but I came up with something that would hopefully ease her concerns (of course strategically). I made sure to add the time zone and core hours that I’d be working in case she needed to talk to me during the day.


This is the plan I presented

She agreed to the plan but mentioned that she wanted me to be in the office in person for monthly meetings. I said sure (anything is fine so she would say yes), but then that made me think after. How can I fly back from Germany for a day to be in the office, that’s a lot of time and effort and money. I felt like I was being restricted and that’s not what I had in mind here.


July 3 - IG Story

Welp, I guess I’m going to have to talk to her again and let her know this won’t work. It doesn’t feel right and if she says no, then I guess.. I’ll have to leave the job.




July 11, 2023 - I talked to her


I let her know the plan didn’t make sense and that it would be best for me to come back every other month and stay for 2 weeks and she agreed. Of course, not without much happiness.

She also mentioned growth in the company which made me feel like she thinks I’m going to leave. It was great to hear, because that means she wants me to stay around and that I would continue to get paid while I travel.


July 11 - IG Story

July 25, 2023 - HR got involved


They gave me a 100% temporary remote agreement until December (that’s fine, but I’m still doing my 6 months is what I thought in my head)

HR had a talk with my manager and I and explained the terms of this new work agreement.


This one I was sooo happy about!

If I am 100% remote then that means that anytime that my manager wants me in the office, it would have to be paid from her budget meaning that the monthly or every other month would probably not happen as she wouldn’t want to pay for me to come back for one meeting and spend her budget (winning!)


Then came the limits.


HR said I had to choose a remote location (I couldn’t say I was leaving the country)

I chose Michigan as that was my first stop anyway.

They then said that they would update my salary based on the cost of living in that state (Ugh of course they would). Good thing I think on my feet.


I immediately said, “please calculate how much that would be, another location I’m considering is San Francisco, CA. I’ll let you know which I choose once you send me the salary difference”

They said “ ok, but you will keep your salary if San Francisco, we wouldn’t raise it”, (of course they wouldn’t)


I said “ok”


They also said that I would have to stay in my remote location and can only move from it for 20 days out of the year. I laughed in my head and said sure.


The next day they told me the salary, they would decrease my salary by $20K if I went to Michigan so I said I am moving to San Francisco and gave them the address of a friend who lived there for them to make the contract. I never had the intention on moving, but I’m not dumb enough to choose a place where they would lower my salary.


My plan was to tell my manager I was still going to move forward with my plan (leaving the country) after we signed the contract, these limitations wouldn’t stop me they actually fueled me at this point and they made me choose.


Again if she said no even though I was close to getting what I wanted.

But if it wasn’t like the picture in my head then I would have to quit my job after all.


As scary as it sounds, I had to make a choice again.

  1. Leave the job and follow the pull of my heart

  2. Stay within the boundaries of the contract


The feeling of the second choice felt soul crushing


I thought it would be fun to do a story poll and the majority chose what I was going to do :)


July 28, 2023 - Contract Signed!


I signed the temporary remote contract allowing me to work remotely from August to December


August 2, 2023 - Time to break the news

We had our 1:1, she asked me if I was happy with the remote work and if all is good.

I said well, no. I’m still moving forward with going where I need to go to be happy.

If it couldn’t happen that way, I’d have to leave the company. She surprised me when she said ok.


Phew!

The moral of this story in my eyes is that I was brave, followed my heart and it paid off. Everything worked out! I’m sure I’d figure out a way to still do 6 months remote if not more. My goal was to test if the digital nomad life was for me and if I could figure out how to live that life without a 9-5 corporate career.


 

In the next post, I'll share the start of my remote journey and when I decided that I no longer wanted to live in the U.S.



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