How I transitioned from an office to a remote job

Torre's Remote Ambassador, Josephine Tse, tells the story of her journey into the remote work world.

Hey everyone! I’m Josephine and I wanted to share my first-hand story of transitioning from an office-based lifestyle to a fully remote-first company.

I studied media production in Toronto. Shortly after graduating, I got an internship at an ad agency and eventually made my way into an in-house post-production studio in the city. I had a team that I considered my family. It was exactly what I had not expected – a good, stable job out of university. I was force-fed stories about how hard it is to get a job in the ever-so saturated media industry, so I was excited to “beat the odds”.

Nearing my two-year mark, I started thinking about change. What’s out there? What would let me continue practicing my craft, let me create, film, shoot, record, etc., but in a potentially unconventional environment?

And that’s when Torre’s Remoter Ambassador gig fell in my lap (more like, in my inbox from an e-mail newsletter I was following). “Travel and create content about remote work? This seems too good to be real, so it can’t be real anyway, so why not?” 

But when it rains in life, it pours. 

I was offered the position in September 2019. I accepted it, quit my job and made the transition within the month. I had a total of three days to rest before starting at Torre, and my first stop (before going to my in-person onboarding in San Francisco) was to attend the 2019 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas. I spent three days diving into a world unknown, learning abbreviations (CRM, LMS, ATS, etc.) and seeing what the world of human resources technology has to offer in this day and age.

I hopped over to San Francisco and met Alexander Torrenegra (CEO of Torre) and Andrés Cajiao (Chief Growth Officer of Torre). We worked together for a couple of days. I was invited over for a delicious meal at Alex’s place with Andrés and his family. I was given an official company sweater by Andrés. It’s the honeymoon phase of a new job, but this was nothing I had ever experienced before.

That week, I started my actual transition into remote work. On top of small details like struggling to remember that I had to consider differing timezones, it’s been three years since I’ve immersed myself in a start-up environment, albeit remote. I almost forgot how fast-paced everything can be! It’s true, not having to spend three hours commuting in traffic has increased my productivity, but I’ve found myself working long hours and forgetting to take breaks or perform necessary human activities (like eating and showering).

Although this is an extreme example, I do feel very motivated and excited about all the work I’m doing/will do.

What do you mean, it’s up to me to try these things and see what works? I actually get a say in this? Now that makes work fulfilling.

So now, the Remoter Project.

The Remoter Project is my (adopted) baby, passed down from Andrés to me. It’s my focus for the next ten months to create content and put us on the map as thought leaders in the creation of remote-first teams. Torre, a remote-first company with a completely distributed team, sponsors Remoter. That’s how we have the support and resources to nurture this on-going initiative to provide free, educational resources and content to help leaders build and scale remote teams. 

The first phase of content is what is currently on the site, which is our CEO Alexander Torrenegra’s personal experiences, lessons learned and technical knowledge in working remotely for almost two decades.

The second phase of content is what I’m in charge of in 2020. We are expanding our stories to include otherremote-first/friendly companies, companies that have transitioned from office-based to remote, remote work organizations, and influencers/advocates in the industry. The foundational structure of the content is and will continue to be created with meaningful, humanizing storytelling that will resonate with our audiences.

A photo of our meetings/daily stand-ups with our fully distributed team.

Now, I’m three months into my new role. I’ve gotten better at managing my time and taking breaks, and accepting that I may not be hitting my daily goals every single day. I really appreciate the radical candor the team practices and our tri-weekly one on one meetings with our functional and administrative leaders. I’ve gotten used to flipping my video camera on when taking calls from my coworkers, not to mention the utmost importance of a stable internet connection!

Josephine Tse is the Remoter Ambassador for the Remoter Project. She will be embarking on a year-long journey to create a library all about remote work. The original Medium article can be found here. If you want to get in contact and find out more about Remoter, you can contact Josephine at j@remoter.com.

 

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