Twenty years ago, the options for home working were relatively small, but that’s changed hugely. For the road weary executive who’s spent years in offices and travelling up and down motorways then it’s often a welcome release. However for the young person just starting out in life it’s not always the best start to working life.
I was talking to young person who did remote support for an ISP firm, answering calls primarily via web chat. You’ve probably seen the little ’get help’ buttons on websites – well he was someone who answered these. He worked entirely from home apart from the occasional meeting and training session. One thing I was very aware when talking to this person was their rather awkward manner especially in groups.
The problem is that when we start work for the first time, we learn a lot about dealing with social situations. Meeting people, socialising even just chatting with colleagues over coffee, these are soft skills we pick up. The fact is that communicating online and in real life is a very different experience. the worry is that in the times of increasing teleworking that many young people are missing out on this essential part of development.
It’s a danger we also see with children who now spend a large part of their social live in a virtual world. Ask a teenage girl how many of her hundreds of ’friends’ on Facebook that she’s actually met and you may be surprised. Our jobs, our social life and quite a lot of everything else is increasingly happening in the virtual world.
If you’re young, a job like an internet marketer or remote worker might seem a great idea, but you will really miss out on a lot of life experiences by doing this too early. Making your living online obviously has benefits, especially when you can travel while earning at the same time. Lots of web based jobs involve very little social contact, creating web sites, promoting them using various automation tools – or just making a living out of SEO like this.
There’s the added incentive that to some extent location doesn’t matter. If you start investigating these areas you’ll come across that lucky breed who actually live quite a nomadic life travelling around the world whilst actually developing a very profitable online business. Some are Internet marketers, bloggers or involved in education and coaching, all have realised that work doesn’t have to dictate where they live, it can be down to choice. There are certain logistical issues particularly if you try working from certain countries which don’t have access to payment processors like Paypal or perhaps have filtering and blocking in place like Thailand. There are ways and means around these too though, use proxies and VPNs just like this one which is popular for accessing UK Television from abroad.
Good advice is to try and develop those all important social skills in a normal working environment first. There’s plenty of years to retreat back into the online world when you are older and possibly a little wiser.