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I’m 22 and I Work From Home

The future of work. Everyone talks about it, and everyone has an opinion. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about businesses implementing new hybrid or online methods and heard complaints about companies that aren’t. The prioritization of a work-life balance is at an all-time high, so the question is, how do I find what’s best for me?

My name is Carson, and I’m a 22-year-old who recently graduated from college. I just moved halfway across the country with my girlfriend, who also recently graduated. She has a full-time corporate job, 9 to 5, 7 days a week (it ends up being 8:30-5 with a lunch break, she says 9-5 is a myth). I work from home. Fully remote. I make my own hours for the most part, although I have meetings and am generally expected to be available during the day. So why did I choose to work fully remote? Why did she choose a job that has no remote or hybrid options? Which is better? Well, let’s find out.

Decision-making, at its core, should be about comparing two options and picking whichever one fits your stated desires better. The problem is, as human beings, we often don’t state our desires to ourselves fully or honestly. This is part of the reason why I believe that hybrid or online positions have gained so much popularity. The benefits that these online positions provide are plentiful. For example, my girlfriend’s cat has a vet appointment this week at 5, which she can’t make in time because of work, so I’m taking her (the cat) because of the flexibility allowed in my position. Also, I’m writing this in slippers. These small, day-to-day benefits are the types of things that our brains can very easily process and understand as positives, making working from home seem incredibly attractive. Also, people are naturally resistant to change, and during the peak of the pandemic, most people had that work-from-home experience for a significant chunk of time. The idea of change, that transition back – one where you lose all those day-to-day benefits – is enough to make most people question what type of work they prefer.

All of this isn’t to say that in-person work doesn’t have its benefits. I think it has quite a few, with the foremost being the ease of collaboration and connection that is often not possible to fully replicate online. As a new member of the workforce, one of the most challenging parts of making the decision to work online was that I wouldn’t be able to meet and interact with coworkers who live in the same area as me, especially when I just moved halfway across the country. There are also, despite the company I work for being very adept in online work and collaboration, times when being in person would certainly be more effective, or certain projects that would be easier to tackle if we were all in a room. There is compromise in everything, and remote work is no exception.

With all that being said, what’s right for you? Well, it depends. And truthfully, I believe it depends most on something we haven’t touched on yet; the organization. Both online and in-person work exist on a spectrum. Hybrid work is on that spectrum, but it goes much further beyond how much time you spend at the office. You could have a virtual job where your manager monitors your computer all day, or an in-person job where you’re free to come and go as you wish, and maybe even wear slippers. My point is that figuring out what you want in a job doesn’t mean you have to work remotely, or you have to work in person. It means you know what things to look for, and you know what things to ask so that you can find the best opportunity for yourself.