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August 23, 2010

Working from home: A year’s worth of perspective

Jaimy Szymanski In this post: Jaimy shares a few lessons learned during her time spent working virtually …

As many of you may know, for the last 12 months, I’ve been working virtually for Blue Door from Davenport, Iowa. As some of you may also know, in just a week’s time, I will be back to work in Oshkosh from Blue Door’s office as a Social Media Specialist, leaving my virtual work environment behind.

I am excited and ready to be back in-office. I can’t wait to jump back into the hectic, stimulating marketing world that I’ve been slightly missing out on in a work-shift environment. And, I’m eager to grow coworker and client relationships, with both old friends and new.

That being said though, I do have to be honest: There are definitely parts of working virtually that I will miss! I’m hoping I can find a way to manage the best of both worlds, finding creative means to get the same benefits of working virtually, while still spending the majority of my time in-office.

I’ve gained a lot of perspective over the last year too, that’s for sure-both professionally and personally. And, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what career I want to grow into. Here’s just a taste of what I’ll be bringing back to Oshkosh with me, come September:

  • A greater appreciation for face-to-face communication. I’ve learned that online conferencing-however evolved it is-cannot replace the value of in-person conversation. We say so many important things with our bodies and facial expressions that are often missed in other forms of communication. I’m a ‘people person,’ and I’ve never been more aware of that as I am now.
  • A stronger sense of project management. Working virtually presents new and different challenges to managing a project that are not as prominent when working in-office. I hope to use some of these lessons learned in new projects that come my way in 2010 and beyond.
  • The ability to push worrying aside and move forward more easily. If you know me, you know I have the tendency to over-stress and, in turn, build anxiety within. Working virtually has taught me the importance of letting go, learning lessons, saving energy and moving on. Oh yeah, and to sit back, relax and just breathe once in awhile.
  • An improved knowledge of what motivates me professionally. When working from a home office, personal and professional lines blur, and motivation can sometimes escape you. Working virtually made me assess what truly motivates me to take it to the next level, and how I can best infuse those motivations into my everyday work.

Finally (and perhaps most importantly), I’ve learned this: You can’t plan for everything. It sounds simple, but therein lies its beauty.

I’m a planner at heart, and am always looking five to 15 steps ahead, depending on the situation. Over the last 12 months, I’ve come to realize that, although planning may feel safer, it is often not bolder. Too much planning results in little room for chance. Surprise and the unexpected are important elements of life, and I believe they are crucial to finding happiness within oneself.

That being said, here’s to what the future may hold. I’m thrilled to come back to Oshkosh and ready to look forward … just not too far ahead, of course.