Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Instead of asking for a raise, ask to work at home

I forgot to tell you about the change in my job situation.  Maybe you were wondering how I could get all that time off last month to go to Albany and then play with Courtney while she was here.  No, I didn't quit my job, as you might have guessed.

To refresh your memory, I was hired last fall as a trainer for a position that would require about 75% traveling to resorts nationwide.  Sweeeeet.  BUT, because the company was in dire need of system documentation and I'm such a documentation diva, my job was switched and I'd be writing, writing, writing all day in a cubicle, 26 miles from my house.  Not happy.

The day they switched my job, I said no freakin' way and quit right there and then.  My boss's boss is a great guy, though, and I decided to stay and write one module of content.  When that was over, I'd be moving on.

After the initial module was finished, I'd had it with the long commute and sitting in a cube all day so I once again gave my notice.  But no, there was plenty more to write.  They asked if I could stay on and work flexible hours from home.  Um, YES! 

People say to me, "Oh, you're so lucky," and yes, there's a certain amount of luck involved.  But the fact is, when you're really good at something, you're much more likely to have things go your way.  Work is an exchange of energy--your talent for their money.  Companies need your talent; they can't survive without it.  And when you're a master at what you do, they'll do what they can to meet your needs.

My life is a hundred times better now.  I'm no longer spending a minimum of 70 minutes per day traveling in the car.  That's 350 minutes a week, which gives me almost 6 hours a week--24 hours a month--of "Linda time."  And because I no longer have to get up at 6:15 a.m. to start the lengthy beautification process to make myself presentable to the world, I don't have to go to bed so damn early.  I gain time there as well.

Let's talk cost.  A 52-mile round trip commute translates to about 250 miles a week and over 1000 miles a month.  Divide that by the 33 miles to the gallon I get with my Scion (still not as good as the 41 mpg with my beloved Saturn) and I'm saving over 30 gallons of gas--or about $120--per month.  Not to mention the wear and tear of my car.

Because I found the lunch room at work kind of depressing, I was eating out every day, which set me back an average of $9 a day, or $45 a week, or close to $200 per month.  So now, between gas and lunch, there's an extra $320 in my pocket.  And am I buying work clothes?  Nope.  More savings.

Working at home is like getting a $4000 yearly raise.  Not bad.

I wish employers would realize that offering the work at home option is a win-win.  Happy employees are much more valuable than the unhappy ones, and their productivity proves it.  There's still a lot of resistance, but maybe if enough of us start putting it out there, they'll come to meet the demands of the workers.  After all, they can't have a business without us.

You have to be good, though.  That's why it's so important to do the best you can, even if you don't really like what you do.  Your abilities might be able to pay off somehow.


~Coach said...

"When you're really good at something, you're much more likely to have things go your way" True, true... :)

Mellodee said...

Absolutely agree, the only thing is, you have to be REALLY committed to getting the work done. I was sooo easily distrac....oh look, there's a birdie ouside!

Mimi said...

Mmmm, could I teach from home? Wouldn't that be great, just email the class from my bed!
Your advice is really good though, thinking outside the box and all that.
My boss is great in that way, she really tries to accommodate people's timetable wishes, but she gets it back in goodwill. We've just finished doing The Sound of Music and I swear most people put in about 50 extra hours FREE!
You're right, we all need to ask for what we want- worst we can hear is "no", and it might be "yes".
Question for you Linda...were you always like this? (by which I mean positive and resourceful)

drewzepmeister said...

Work at home? That'll be great! Now only if I could fit a three ton printing press in my living room....

Liz said...

I work as a trader for a money management firm. I can't work from home (due to compliance and legal reasons). I AM good though. Actually great at what I do. I just don't have that option.

I'm glad you are doing it!! Nice time and money savings. I agree that happy employees are more productive. I wish more employers could figure that out!