Maintaining a Successful Career with a Travel Lifestyle
You’re not grabbing lunch with the team every week, you can’t see what kind of mood your boss is in, you’re generally getting less opportunity to excel in your job. Out of sight, out of mind.
With a little extra effort though, you can overcome the slight disadvantage.
Start by making sure you’re putting forth your best effort all the time. It sounds simple but it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed while traveling full time.
Make sure your WiFi connection can support video calls for you and fellow travelers at the same time. Make sure you have a quiet and presentable place for everyone working in your Airbnb.
Make sure you have all tools you need with you for all of your requirements. My husband travels with a keyboard, mouse, and additional webcam. We even bring a backup computer so we’re never stuck without one.
Make a backup plan before you need one
Always have a plan and be prepared for any situation. Your boss does not care that your luggage was lost, that your living quarters are small, that your WiFi is bad right now. As far as they’re concerned, all those things would be fine if you were in the office. You chose to create these problems for yourself. Don’t let that thought even cross their mind.
Preempt unnecessary work drama by looking for co-working spaces and make a backup plan for what you’ll do if the WiFi is too slow where you planned to work.
Where is the closest coffee shop with free WiFi? Can you walk to it or will you need to Uber? Does it open early enough for your required calls? As soon as you arrive at your location, test your backup plan (without interrupting your working hours, of course).
Keep yourself sharp
To be successful on the road takes more effort than being successful in a stationary lifestyle.
Schedule your travel on weekends or after hours. Never let jetlag be an excuse.
Set a strict working schedule for yourself and stick to it. Do not let yourself slack or fool yourself into thinking you’re working just because you’re at your computer.
Set your goals for the week before Monday morning and stick to them. If you’re the boss, that means a to-done list. If you’re in a more reactive position, make your goals speed-based. Ex. I’ll respond to all requests within 15 minutes, I’ll give progress updates to my boss 2x per day. I’ll volunteer for one extra project every week. Track your time if you have to to keep yourself honest.
Review your work at the end of the week and identify your areas for improvement. Did you hit all your to-dos? If you were managing you, would you be happy with your work?
Where can you improve? Where can you make yourself more efficient and organized?
Go above and beyond
Be ultra accommodating to your team. Say “yes” to every call request and be available for email/chat/calls during your team’s working hours (not your own) even if you’re getting your thoughtful work done on your own schedule.
Show up to calls willing to chat and reach out to colleagues gratuitously. The more you’re plugged in to what’s going on with the company and the better your relationship with colleagues and your boss, the more likely you are to spot opportunity or avoid missteps at work.
Overcommunicate with your boss. Give them regular status updates even when they don’t ask for them. Ask for a weekly one-on-one and show up with an agenda to discuss.
It’s easy to fall out of touch when everyone is busy but if your boss knows exactly where your work stands, they’ll be more confident in your capabilities generally.
Negotiate remote work
A lot of companies will say they’re not open to remote work but may loosen the reins after you’ve been with them for a few months.
Negotiate to work remotely. Maybe you’re willing to be the one covering holiday duty, maybe you’re willing to come back to the office on your own dime a certain number of times a quarter. Ask for your boss’s pain points with you working remotely to figure out what could get you to a “yes”.
If your company isn’t open to full time remote work, start with asking for part time. Try spending a few weeks away at a time then getting your next stay near the office so you can get plenty of facetime with the team.
You can even start building your remote lifestyle in one place at first if your job is entirely unflexible. Building a travel lifestyle takes a little prep at first so get the ball rolling and you’ll be ready to travel when you find your remote opportunity.
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