I am sure this has happened to you at least once. You are trying to solve a problem at work and need help from a colleague. So you send off a quick chat message. No answer. You follow up with an email. Still nothing. Hello? Is anyone out there?
So you want to be a product manager? I can understand why. It is an exciting path for ambitious folks who want to make a real impact. If I was starting my career over, I would choose product management again and get to it faster. And I would do it with more confidence knowing what I know now.
“Let’s get it done ASAP.” How many times have you heard this from your boss? Maybe it was an urgent phone call or an email flagged as “high priority.” The pressure of a countdown. Tick, tick, tick… But let’s be real — I bet those demanding “needed it yesterday” calls and emails did not speed up your work.
I am not a gambler. But I know many people like to partake in games of fortune, and some even have a get-rich-quick dream. Hitting those lucky numbers and raking in enough cash to live a life of leisure. Let’s imagine this actually happens — maybe you win the lottery. I hate to bring you down, but I want to tell you the truth as I see it.
I studied philosophy. (True.) You know the old cliché about the tree falling in the forest. If no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound? Well, remote work may seem that way for some. After all, how can you be sure people are actually working if you are not there to witness it?
One word can cause a seismic shift in your thinking. A member of our team recently shared a story that proves this. One evening, she heard herself tell her children that she “had to” answer a few more emails before dinner. But she realized this was not entirely true. She did not “have to” answer the emails at that exact moment — she was making a conscious choice to do so.
Do the words “offsite quarterly business review” or “annual sales kickoff” make you want to run far, far away? You are not the only one. Sitting through endless presentations in stale conference rooms — ugh. But these kinds of large group meetings are especially important for remote teams.
Have you seen the news? Some companies are calling their remote employees back to the office — a forced, cross-country trek to permanently “co-locate” at HQ. Reading the headlines, you may wonder if companies have fallen out of love with remote work.
Work is life and life is work. It is not always fair or easy. There are good days that remind you why you love what you do. You finish an important project or receive an encouraging word from a colleague. Other times, you put in a big effort but fail to achieve the goal. And you wake up at 3 a.m. mulling over what went wrong.
I will never forget that day. I had just started a new job after finishing graduate school and moving back to the San Francisco Bay area. I showed up at the specified time and aimlessly walked around the office, looking for my new boss. He was at a “breakfast meeting,” I was told. “Go ahead and wait in the lobby.” I waited — and waited. Sad.
“Why do you care so much?” “Stop trying so hard.” You may have heard this from a well-meaning colleague or, even worse, from your own boss. But why would someone want you to care less?