The last six months…

…have been hell. If it wasn’t for the three months I spent in Palo Alto at the beginning of the year (and hopefully the final three months of this when I’m back there), this year could be considered a complete write-off.

8 hours later

The number one reason for having not enjoyed this time, can largely be put down to having to work remotely, and with a company located 8 hours behind myself.

In fact I think GMT -8 should be put on notice.

Indeed, this is nothing new. During my time in America earlier this year, if I wanted to call anybody back home, it needed to be either early in the morning, or whilst I was at work. Throughout these last six months, it has often seen me working during the evenings (and some early mornings), so that I can be around when everyone else is.

Two tin cans and a piece of string

Communication is of course restricted to e-mail, instant-messaging and phone calls. E-mails and instant messaging are massive time-killers, and are often fraught with misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Whilst being able to talk to somebody on a phone is often far more helpful, it’s still a distant second compared to talking face to face.

In situations where you find yourself calling into a meeting, unless you have a confident (and loud) personality (which I don’t), you might as well be dead. Add to this the technical gremlins that seemed to effect nearly every phone call I had (“we didn’t quite hear you Paul, but what I think he said was…”). Funnily enough, the squeaking chair that pierces your ear drums, is always 100% audible.


There are other problems that arise when you find yourself working remotely - you feel remote. Given e-mails and IM conversations are such time-killers, I found myself not engaging with members of the team unless I had to, such activity feeling like a massive distraction.

Sometimes it almost feels like if your not in the office, you don’t exist. Now I must stress that my employer has gone out of their way to include me in discussions, meetings and keeping me informed. But that is still no substitute for physically being in the office, and over hearing (and being part of) conversations. These are often informal, and as such, not considered important - but on so many levels they are.

Personal Responsibility

I do take responsibility for quite a few aspects of this hellishness however.

Periods of laziness (all to easy when working from home), poor organisation, eventual unwillingness to get involved in the day to day life of the company… I know I could have made this experience much better for myself and others, but after such a long time, I find myself just getting fed up with the whole God damn experience.

Currently that is the biggest reason for returning to the States (and at this point in time, I need reasons - sadly). Currently I tend associate work with negative thoughts, which in turn makes me a pretty horrible person to work alongside at times. It’s also clouding my decisions.

On the upside of all this, I have learnt a lot about myself during this time. mainly in terms of my weaknesses. I have discovered that city living is just not my style (unsurprising really given I have lived in or near greenbelts for most of my life). Given my impending departure, I have come to realised the value of my family and friends, and there will be more on this in the next week or so I imagine.


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» That was 2006 from LloydyBlog, on January 1, 2007 1:07 AM...

Unsurprisingly, I feel compelled to write a review of this last year, which I think I can say with some confidence has been very different from previous years. Having said that it seems like I've spent the last five or... [Read More]


8 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On September 20, 2006 4:32 PM, krystyn said...

Oh, this post saddens me on so many levels. Not only do I feel badly for your situation, but starting Monday I will be working remotely from home as well. The company is in the same time zone at least. I guess the good thing that has come out of your experience is you have realized the value of those close to you and will appreciate when they are, literally, close to you again.

 Gravatar#2 On September 21, 2006 9:51 AM, Mark said...

Cheer up you grumpy b*stard!
You've got what alot of people would consider a dream job. I get to visit brum and harbourne which is err nice, you get to go to yank land!

What you need is a ho. All you need is a couple of bottles of 'tart fuel' and you'll be beating them off with sticks in walsall! ;-)

 Gravatar#3 On September 22, 2006 5:49 PM, Athena said...

Cheer up, Paul! Just think: you'll get to be in the office (and paid attention to again) in no time.

Also, I think you just put Beijing on notice. We're GMT-8 :)

 Gravatar#4 On September 22, 2006 9:47 PM, Paul said...

Why do you always have to ruin things for me Athena...?

Only joking, I've corrected it now - good spot. I wouldn't want to offend the Chinese, I don't value my chances much when it's 1 against 1,315,844,000!

 Gravatar#5 On October 1, 2006 1:04 AM, Jonathan Aquino said...

Ha! I'm the opposite--the seclusion, the isolation, the remoteness--I thrive in this environment. This is one definition of introversion. Perhaps you are more of an extrovert i.e. you feel energized in the presence of others.

 Gravatar#6 On October 3, 2006 2:16 PM, IanG said...

You will look back in a few years time knowing that you made the correct decision about your move.

Ning will probably be not the final destination in you career and if you make a good impression then other companies will take notice and will want to take you onboard in much the same way that Ning have.

Living away from your family and friends is difficult at times, I know - I’ve done it for the last eight years. While you are young and single you should take these opportunities.

I’ve got friends who moved to CA a few years ago, all of them miss their family and friends but we all keep in touch as see each other a few times each year.

They do say though that CA in general is an expensive place to live, your salary is a good one but it’s something that you should be aware of.

Just enjoy yourself, meet new people, explore the states and remember that you can come back anytime. You might meet the girl of your dreams and decide to stay!

 Gravatar#7 On October 6, 2006 1:39 AM, Missy said...

Cheer up! Your going to get used to it. You'll meet a lot of new interesting people.

 Gravatar#8 On October 17, 2006 4:42 PM, Ben said...

I agree with the general theme here - CHEER UP! and be excited not worried you have nothing to lose!

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This entry was written on 20 Sep 2006, 2:38 AM and is filled under .