Jim Almo's career trajectory sprung remote working on him. What started as working one-on-one with customers transitioned to in-person team work, and finally, a full-time remote position, along with all the benefits of working remotely. And he's worked from a bunch of interesting places, too (but we'll let him tell you about that). Jim's a great example to be open to the possibilities around you, and you may be pleasantly surprised with what life offers.
Some people set out to work remotely. Others simply fall into it. Tell me about your career trajectory. How did you fall into your current role?
How long do you have? I’ve had a number of “careers” over the years, mostly in the service industry, but I’ve almost always been a writer, whether professionally or otherwise. I started with band and album reviews for ‘zines, and gradually added training manuals, ad copy, web copy, and now, through no fault of my own, I’m editing and writing full-time, including for some nationally and internationally distributed publications.
As for remote work, I never gave it much thought; it just evolved naturally, beginning with handling the social media at a cafe where I worked to working for Lantern. We did have a traditional office, but after some especially snowy winters, we went remote part time. Then transitioned to fully remote.
While you may be a managing editor for your full-time remote job, you’re also a musician. Tell me about your musical goals. How does being a remote worker affect your musical lifestyle?
That's definitely one of the big benefits of working remotely, for me anyway. It makes it possible to tour occasionally without taking vacation time or getting behind. I’ve worked in some pretty unusual spots, too: the back of a van on the interstate, beside a lake in Michigan, a restaurant in Toronto, a bar in North Carolina, coffee shops, and plenty of DIY warehouse spaces.
I think at this point my musical goal is pretty simple, though: a weekly happy hour gig playing traditional jazz or classic country. Something laid back, but still danceable.
There are so many benefits to working remotely. What’s your favorite?
I don’t have to talk to anyone. Just kidding. Seriously, though, it’s conducive to working at your own pace. I can focus for hours without distractions, or if I need a break, I can do something constructive like take the dog for a walk.
It sounds like you’ve adjusted well to remote work. Are there any challenges?
I think for me the biggest challenge is because I don’t work in an office, it’s harder to maintain a “normal” workday.
That’s a common complaint. Since you know it’s an issue for you, how do you structure the day to make it work?
I try my best to stick to a 9-5-type schedule, but it depends on the day. I can usually get started around 8:30 or 9, after everyone else gets out for work and school. I like to go out for an afternoon run, so that’s my “lunch break.” From about 3:00 things can get tricky. If I have a lot of running around to do, I may end up calling it a day and picking things back up later at night after everyone goes to bed.
I’m fortunate that my boss cares more about getting quality work done on time rather than the time of day I’m working.
Sounds like a great employer! How does communicating with your team work in your situation?
Yes, they’re good people. Most of our communication is through Slack, to the point that we notify each other on the rare occasion that we do have to send an email.
Alright. Let’s switch gears for a moment. Tell me, what does your workspace look like?
As long as I have access to coffee and WiFi, I’ll work pretty much anywhere, though most of the time that’s at home. I’m more apt to go somewhere else if the cats are sleeping in my favorite chair. I like to sit on the porch with my dog when it’s nice out, but I live in a city, so sometimes it gets too noisy.
One more thing. Do you have any advice for current remote workers?
Don’t fall into working all the time. Set boundaries for yourself. Take weekends off, leave your home/office at least once every day, and don’t be averse to closing the computer and going for a walk. It’s easy to burn out when the work is always there.
Looking for more advice on working remotely? Check out our newest book, 30 Hacks for Productive Remote Workers, part workbook and part guide that will help you work smarter, not harder. Oh, and did we mention that it was written by remote workers for remote workers? This advice is tried and tested, and we know it will help you maximize your productivity.
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