As of today, I’ve received the new contract, and the terms appear to be acceptable. What might possibly be the most exciting chapter of my working life is about to begin.
Oh, right. Backstory.
Hi, I’m Drew. I’m a Linux geek with a decade of experience, and I currently work for an ISP in North Vancouver. I’ve been here just over six months, but apart from a few nice fringe benefits (a nice bikeride to/from work, a good laptop, a free cellphone and a bus pass), it just isn’t satisfying. Furthermore, there’s a lot of office politics and restructuring going on, and if I stick around there’s a good chance I’ll become ensnared in it all. Thinking it through a lot, I realized that those benefits would come pretty easily from any other company, so there’s nothing really holding me here.
So a month or so ago I started lazily watching Craigslist for the keyword ‘Linux’, and soon enough a job posting for a Linux admin came up. The ad sounded promising, going so far as to say “work from home – you can do this job in your underwear if you want”. I applied, swapped some emails, met a guy over some beers, and what do you know – they’re interested in me.
When I started negotiating the contract, I realized I’d need a new office chair, so I started watching Craigslist for a used Aeron. I mentioned this to my friend Trent, within a few minutes of telling him that I was going to miss the morning bikeride to work, and his answer made my journey a little clearer:
“You’ll be working from home,” he said, “but all you really need to do your job is a laptop and an internet connection – if I were in your shoes, I’d work from a different café in North Van every day of the week.”
I could have kicked myself – why didn’t I think of that! When I described scenario this to my housemate Mario, he suggested I start a blog to document the journey, and I have to admit that’s a great idea. Everything seems to be coming together into a more-or-less coherent new set of prospects – I can only hope to have the wisdom to see the larger picture as the individual pieces become more clear to me.
The new contract is just awaiting a signature from the new Evil Masters’ clients, and it’ll be a go. The terms are very favourable: 22h/week for approximately 2/3 of my current wages, with that growing to 100% of my current wages for 30h/week once they’ve got their next round of funding – compared to the current job where I’ve got to commute to North Van every morning for 9am, and find myself often working more than 40h/week, it seems pretty reasonable – and even further, a new Macbook Pro is included in the signing bonus.
So that’s the story. Summer is just beginning, Vancouver is beautiful and bike-accessible, and I have been presented with an amazing opportunity to explore the options available to nomadic knowledge workers. My goal is to find the perfect balance between productivity and mobility. I have complete freedom to work whenever and wherever I choose, and to explore the outer fringes of just what exactly that means. I do not own a car, so all mobility will have to be using my bicycle or mass transit – arguably this is to minimize my economic and environmental footprint, but mostly it’s just because I love to ride my bike. I will have significantly less disposable cash, so I’ll need to make the most of the funds I have – I’m going to try to set myself a food budget of about $10 and stick to it, though I’m not sure that’s actually workable.
Will I find that I am most productive at 4am on the Jericho Beach? At 10am in a coffee shop in Kitsilano? Is there enough of a trade-off in quality of life that spending six hours in the park to accomplish three hours of productive work is time well spent? Is there a perfect balance, or is it a personal balance?
Or who knows, maybe it’ll it all be a bust and I’ll find the only place I can be productive is locked in my home office in my basement in East Vancouver. I have no idea, but I look forward to figuring it out, and documenting it along the way.