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#1 NecroWinter  Icon User is offline

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how to work remotely

Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:11 PM

How does one approach this situation? Is it common for people with comp sci degrees to do this? How do you approach your boss about it?

I always thought one of the benefits of working in this field is that I could work remotely, because im a musician who plays live a bit(though, im no partier, so that aspect is covered).
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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:19 PM

Make sure your work place is set up for it.. VPN connections, forwarding of phone calls your home/cellphone, etc... then it's an issue of justifying it to the company. Gas, quiet work place, etc... and demonstrating you are responsible enough to do that.

My job flat out told me to work from home at least once a week... I politely declined. Too many distractions, and I would rather not taint my home place and make it a 'work place' feel.. I go home to not be at work!

Lastly you must be dedicated enough to get your hours and work in and not slack off watching two episodes of Fresh Prince and four of Supernatural before the Syfy mini marathons kick in and no work's done.
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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:08 AM

I am a full-time sr. C# programmer, who works from home. Like you I travel allot: I am full-time RV'er.

It's probably more common for students without job experience to be saying "Do you want to biggie size that for an extra 35 cents?" Employers can get experienced professionals today for what used to be the rookie intern pay rate; so they would be silly not to.

If anyone offers you a job - TAKE IT. Prove yourself. Work towards EARNING the extremely rare and sought after position of working remotely.

Given that you describe yourself as a band member who would like to program on the side, I find it more plausible that you would be able to get individual small contracts through someplace like vWorker than to get a full time position as a remote coder for a company.

Next lets talk about your development environment. If you are planning to develop from a laptop you're fooling yourself. That's just not enough screen real estate to be productive. You have to have a real system, that doesn't get torn down every night and set back up in a different motel room the next day. I have a 43' long fifth wheel. The garage area is my office. http://stlaurent.me/..._to_Office.html

What about your job experience? Do you think you can pull off the job interview where you are asking a company to let you work from home? Do you have a resume of sufficient weight to make you that desirable to an employer? Remember they already have a staff programmers with seniority that have already been begging to do this same thing, if only to save on fuel costs. ANd they live locally to the company.

5 years into working for my current employer I was sent to our Australia location for a couple years. That gave me the opportunity to prove I could work without management (self-managed). When I returned I told the boss I wanted to continue to work from home as it is more productive and he agreed.

A friend of mine at a different company, after 3 years has managed to starting working from home 2 days a week, but the other 3 are at the office.

The remote jobs are out there. But every coder wants this lifestyle. You are going to have to compete for it and EARN it.
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#4 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:50 AM

Like everyone at my office works from home at least once a week, if not 3 times, some even live on the other side of the country.

The big boss even suggested that we become a completely remote office. The IT guy (and my roommate) had a big NO for that, as well as my boss (dev manager) who considered most of the people who work from home more than 1 or 2 days a lazy son of a bitch.

They just gave it to me, I didn't have to ask for it or anything. Everyone knows the drive to the office sucks ass, it's just one really bad location. We're moving our office soon though, and it's going to be like a bike ride from my house... my boss is threatening to revoke my work from home once a week... really though, I don't care, if my office is a bike ride down the street I have no excuse for myself to work from home.



Speaking of, I'm supposed to be working from home right now... instead I'm on here. I need a Mt. Dew.
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#5 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:08 AM

Mmmmm... Dew... Good call ! I have Throwback and Code Red in the fridge.

The biggest problem I find working from home is that I have to track my hours worked or I will be working 70 hours a week and getting paid for 40.

Its just really easy to wake up at 2am on a Saturday with an "Ah ha, that's the answer" moment and go into the office and code for 6 hours.

If the weather sucks and I have nothing better to do, I start working again. If I am stumped at 2pm on a Wednesday, I wash the truck and clear my mind.

In the end I work 50 hours a week and bank 10/week to comp time off, taking November and December most years.

But seriously, if you don't track your time you can easily find yourself giving away 2 months free labor to your boss. Or more importantly burning yourself out and being no good to anyone.
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#6 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:20 AM

I so know what you mean. I used to do Freelance work before my current job, the time just blows by at times and you end up working a whole lot more than you expected to. It's one of the reasons I took this job, it's hard to accidentally work 5 hours over-time in a one day when everyone else is saying, "hey, Dylan, what are you still doing here!?"
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#7 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:29 AM

I find that using "ToDoList" is a good idea. It has built-in timers, so you can keep track of how much time you spend on each phase or line-item of a project.
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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:44 AM

It's worth thinking about how much time you want to spend in your own place, and how much you want that to be your workplace.

I work remotely about once a week - plus any time I spend working on weekends, of course. I could do more than that, but putting myself physically in the office does a lot for my productivity. It's a matter of set and setting for me - you need to figure out whether that's important to you.

There's also the matter of personal contact in the workplace. This comes in two flavors, positive and negative. The positive is that when I'm in the office I can hear two co-workers talking about a problem, and I can maybe give them a hand, or help them talk it out. It's also nice just to know what sorts of projects are going on - I'm in the infrastructure part of a huge company that does financial services, so my department is a small piece of a big machine, and I want to know which way the gears are turning on any given day. I miss out on that when I'm at home.
The negative side of this is politics. Nobody likes it, but in some workplaces, it's "out of sight, out of mind". Or, in this case, "out of site". I'm a contractor, and since I like this gig, I really want to make sure I'm always helping people out. The best way to do that is to be available to them, and that means being in the office.

If you're new to the business, being in the office will also allow you do develop good solid relationships with your co-workers (hopefully!) which can be useful as you move on to new workplaces.


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I always thought one of the benefits of working in this field is that I could work remotely, because im a musician who plays live a bit

Working remotely should not become a means of turning up late without anyone noticing. If your music means you want to sleep in once in a while, talk to your boss about it. If you're able to get the time in, and you just need to time-shift a bit, this shouldn't be a problem.
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#9 NecroWinter  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:00 AM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 01 March 2012 - 08:44 AM, said:

It's worth thinking about how much time you want to spend in your own place, and how much you want that to be your workplace.

I work remotely about once a week - plus any time I spend working on weekends, of course. I could do more than that, but putting myself physically in the office does a lot for my productivity. It's a matter of set and setting for me - you need to figure out whether that's important to you.

There's also the matter of personal contact in the workplace. This comes in two flavors, positive and negative. The positive is that when I'm in the office I can hear two co-workers talking about a problem, and I can maybe give them a hand, or help them talk it out. It's also nice just to know what sorts of projects are going on - I'm in the infrastructure part of a huge company that does financial services, so my department is a small piece of a big machine, and I want to know which way the gears are turning on any given day. I miss out on that when I'm at home.
The negative side of this is politics. Nobody likes it, but in some workplaces, it's "out of sight, out of mind". Or, in this case, "out of site". I'm a contractor, and since I like this gig, I really want to make sure I'm always helping people out. The best way to do that is to be available to them, and that means being in the office.

If you're new to the business, being in the office will also allow you do develop good solid relationships with your co-workers (hopefully!) which can be useful as you move on to new workplaces.


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I always thought one of the benefits of working in this field is that I could work remotely, because im a musician who plays live a bit

Working remotely should not become a means of turning up late without anyone noticing. If your music means you want to sleep in once in a while, talk to your boss about it. If you're able to get the time in, and you just need to time-shift a bit, this shouldn't be a problem.


its not so much about sleeping in, its more about being in different cities. if I was playing a show in california, theres just no way I can make it back to PA for monday in most situations.
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#10 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:17 AM

View PostNecroWinter, on 01 March 2012 - 01:00 PM, said:

its not so much about sleeping in, its more about being in different cities. if I was playing a show in california, theres just no way I can make it back to PA for monday in most situations.

Gotcha - we were always strictly local... :) In that case, yeah, working remote can be a good thing. You'd want to bring that up in the interview if it matters to you. If that's going to be a problem, you want to know about it up front.
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#11 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:19 AM

View PostNecroWinter, on 01 March 2012 - 12:00 PM, said:

its not so much about sleeping in, its more about being in different cities. if I was playing a show in california, theres just no way I can make it back to PA for monday in most situations.


Its fairly obvious that music is your primary job, and coding is something you are looking at as a second job to pay the bills until your band becomes famous. If we can see that from here over the internet, then anyone interviewing you will see it also.

Like I said, do you think you can make this conversation/interview work? Picture yourself at the conference table right now talking to a perspective employer...

Mr. Smith the interviewer from hell said:

These are things working against you:
  • You perform at night and sleep during the days. So you're not available even for Skype contact with the home office.
  • Between performances, rehearsing and travel, how much time is left for programming?
  • You don't have work history that you can use to prove you are the kind of employee that will excel in a self-managed environment.
  • Coders with more seniority are already trying to get these slots.


So... You tell us...the XYZ Software Company:
  • What do you bring to the table?
  • Why do we, want and need to hire you?
  • How are we going to know you are really working for us and not sitting in front of your laptop hung-over from last night's performance?
  • What do you have by way of equipment to take on the road for your mobile computing environment?
  • What can you show us from your previous jobs, to let us know you even have the skillset?
  • If we do hire you, and agree to let you work from home, you still need to be trained and learn how this company works and learn about our current projects and methodologies. Are you willing to plant yourself here for the next 6-12months at 40 hours a week for training, orientation and evaluation?


I'm not trying to demoralize you. I'm just playing Devil's Advocate and throwing out some things you need to think about. Do you have good answers for these questions?
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#12 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:46 AM

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Its fairly obvious that music is your primary job, and coding is something you are looking at as a second job to pay the bills until your band becomes famous.


This is far from obvious to me, but then I know what musicians get paid.
That being said, this is a perception that you'll run into a lot, so it's worth being prepared for it, whether it's true in your case or not.
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#13 NecroWinter  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:46 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 01 March 2012 - 11:19 AM, said:

View PostNecroWinter, on 01 March 2012 - 12:00 PM, said:

its not so much about sleeping in, its more about being in different cities. if I was playing a show in california, theres just no way I can make it back to PA for monday in most situations.


Its fairly obvious that music is your primary job, and coding is something you are looking at as a second job to pay the bills until your band becomes famous. If we can see that from here over the internet, then anyone interviewing you will see it also.

Like I said, do you think you can make this conversation/interview work? Picture yourself at the conference table right now talking to a perspective employer...

Mr. Smith the interviewer from hell said:

These are things working against you:
  • You perform at night and sleep during the days. So you're not available even for Skype contact with the home office.
  • Between performances, rehearsing and travel, how much time is left for programming?
  • You don't have work history that you can use to prove you are the kind of employee that will excel in a self-managed environment.
  • Coders with more seniority are already trying to get these slots.


So... You tell us...the XYZ Software Company:
  • What do you bring to the table?
  • Why do we, want and need to hire you?
  • How are we going to know you are really working for us and not sitting in front of your laptop hung-over from last night's performance?
  • What do you have by way of equipment to take on the road for your mobile computing environment?
  • What can you show us from your previous jobs, to let us know you even have the skillset?
  • If we do hire you, and agree to let you work from home, you still need to be trained and learn how this company works and learn about our current projects and methodologies. Are you willing to plant yourself here for the next 6-12months at 40 hours a week for training, orientation and evaluation?


I'm not trying to demoralize you. I'm just playing Devil's Advocate and throwing out some things you need to think about. Do you have good answers for these questions?


I wouldnt say that music is my primary job. im very serious about comp sci, im just trying to find a balance between the two. Not to mention, ill never be famous for music lol. If you play an instrument or are in a band that writes its own music, say good bye to mainstream exposure. But thats besides the point.

Typically the way things go is that when you tour, the only thing you really have to do is play out. Theres a lot of down time during the day, so I would actually be very available. Rehearsals happen mostly when you arent playing a lot of shows (because if youre touring, you basically live a bus/hotel) so id say I could easily get a good 8-10 hour block of programming in a day. As far as hang overs go, I dont drink or do any of that stuff at all.

and typically, a band only tours a couple months out of the year(about 3), far from the majority of it. So realistically speaking, I could actually be in office for most of the year.
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#14 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:58 AM

View PostNecroWinter, on 01 March 2012 - 01:46 PM, said:

Typically the way things go is that when you tour, the only thing you really have to do is play out. Theres a lot of down time during the day, so I would actually be very available. Rehearsals happen mostly when you arent playing a lot of shows (because if youre touring, you basically live a bus/hotel) so id say I could easily get a good 8-10 hour block of programming in a day. As far as hang overs go, I dont drink or do any of that stuff at all.

and typically, a band only tours a couple months out of the year(about 3), far from the majority of it. So realistically speaking, I could actually be in office for most of the year.


Out of the office for three months of the year is a lot for most people. Be prepared to have some good jobs go by you on this issue. It's worth it, if music is something you need to do, but there will be perfectly reasonable people who have you and three other candidates, all roughly equally qualified, all attractive candidates, and they'll weed you out because you present a complication, which is to say a risk factor.

But that's not such a big deal, really, because you only need one job at a time. You need to find the person who says "yes, I think we can work with that, and it's totally cool that you're doing it". You can make it easier for someone to be that person if you give them a lot of evidence that you are a completely together and organized individual and ferociously responsible and committed to doing the work. They have to believe not only that you can find that eight to ten hours a day while you're on the road, but also that you will find those hours.
I don't know how you go about inhabiting that persona for an interview, but I recommend the Method acting technique: you have to be that person if your performance is going to convince anyone.
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#15 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: how to work remotely

Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

Tangent:
I'll bite.. I am curious - shoot me a PM of your band's name. I swear on everything awesome I just had for lunch if you are opening for Sponge or Candlebox and are holding out on getting me awesome tickets or at least close enough to gush my undying love for them I will throw a snow ball at you. A really really cold one.

/tangent.

That's besides the point... if you are touring then that's your job. You can freelance for sure (plenty of sites in the freelance section) that would be more up your alley. It would be a pretty amazing find if you could russle up someone who will pay you full time while you engage in your main job.
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