Sunday, July 26, 2020

"Our remote work future is going to suck"

From a long post by Sean Blanda:

remote work makes you vulnerable to outsourcing, reduces your job to a metric, creates frustrating change-averse bureaucracies, and stifles your career growth.

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It’s baffling to me that American workers would cheer an acceleration of this trend that would place downward pressure on their wages.

When you, the American worker, share this belief you are being blinded by an erroneous belief in American exceptionalism. When your company goes all-remote, it is starting a clock that ends in you eventually competing with the global talent market

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With the removed context of a real-life office, your team’s output is difficult to individualize for your manager — especially if work is done in private DMs or one-on-one Zoom calls. The manager sees the end product with no visibility as to who did what, who pulled their weight, who made tough choices, and who made things more difficult. This has a nasty side effect of the leader viewing you less as a person who they have to empathize with and understand — and more as a talking head on a Zoom call or Slack who does things for them.

This will cause your work to “flatten.” Whatever soft skills you bring to the table will be minimized when working remotely. This will lead to companies and processes relying less on things like creativity and collaboration and more on simple inputs and outputs. Which, again, makes your work easier to outsource.

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Much of the language used around remote work (and remote events) assumes that one is in the mid-to-late stages of their career. When you’re young, you don’t need “focus” or to “get things done.” You need exposure to new ideas and people. You need the serendipitous fortune of sitting in on the right meeting, attending the right happy hour, or earning the respect of the right observer.