A revolution in SA? Not quite, but I feel like one of the few trailblazers lighting the way of the future. Why is that? Because I am a SA remotie.
No, not that kind…I define an SA remotie as an SA professional who completes their job responsibilities remotely—away from the traditional work environment. When I received an offer for this job over a year ago, it was in a traditional manner—a manner in which I would move and commute each day, as I had my entire working life.
Due to family issues, I was not able to take the job in a traditional format, and I actually declined the proposal. However, the University decided to be cutting edge and innovative! They offered me a chance to become an SA remotie! It was something I had never experienced in my 10 years of working in SA.
The terms of the agreement would be that I would work remotely from New Mexico and travel to Oregon each month to build rapport and community with my colleagues. I didn’t even blink an eye before I accepted. Most of you probably think this is the dream job, and it was the best decision for my family. However, it has come with its own set of challenges. First and foremost, changes on perspectives and redefining ‘work’ came as a shock to the system. That was the hardest part of the transition! Not to mention, I have to spend a copious amount of time in airports and on airplanes; I am waiting for my Star Trekkies to develop real teleportation.
I had to identify the best place to work without getting distracted. Being an SA remotie is hard; it is so easy to see dirty dishes, realize the floor is filthy, or begin prepping dinner because you know your kids will be starving once they get home.
For the past 8 months, I have been an SA remotie, and despite all the barriers put in front of me, I have been extremely successful. I’ve made it work. I’ve managed to balance family, travel, and all the awesome things that SA assessment and research professionals do, including help SA demonstrate their value added to student success.
For those thinking about working from home, here are some tips and resources that I’ve discovered to be an effective SA remotie:
- Forget your pre-concieved notions about the work world!
- Invest in a nice workspace
- Get a decent headset for your phone
- Make sure you have a good video conferencing app (Skye, OoVoo)
- Take advantage of building community with your colleagues (e.g., virtual coffee chats)
- Create a routine in the mornings: get up, shower, and get dressed. Don’t work in your pajamas (or in my case yoga pants), because it doesn’t work!
- Try to visit your work place to see people in person every now and then
- Learn to communicate differently, and make sure you communicate your progress
After 8 months as being a SA romotie…that’s the way I like it!