It's been a year since I started working on my current job as a remote software engineer, and it's time to do some reflection on how things went, how did it affect me personally, and what I expect moving forward.
Aside: Funny though that I'm called a "Senior Software Engineer", even though I do not even hold a bachelors degree. However, a very skilled foremen would never be called as an Engineer.
Separation between personal and work life
On my previous work, it was pretty simple to separate personal and work life. Just do not sign-in any work-related accounts in your phone, and you're good to go. Personal life is basically before I step into the office, and after I step out of the office. If I did overstay at the office, I'm free to file it as overtime and get paid accordingly.
It all changes while working remotely. It's like as if you are an on-call technician, albeit, they don't often call you... It is just that I usually fail to realize that I'm working for 14 hours a day.
My daily routine is wake up in the morning, open up the laptop on the side of my bed, and get into the meeting. I'd then heat up some water and drink some hot chocolate, while working. I'd stop for lunch after the delivery man arrives, and then would proceed to work until it turns 7pm. I would have dinner with my wife and then work again until my mother-in-law would arrive with baby Janine. It's usually around 9 or 10pm that Janine would be back home, and I would play with her until she sleeps around 12am. I would then proceed to work again from 12am til 2am, or until my head aches. I always fall asleep with my laptop beside the bed.
I do think this is the most optimal solution for better productivity as I do not have to waste my life stuck in traffic... It's just that I do sometimes miss being a normal salary man.
More time to self-learn
Due to the elimination of the travel time, I am now able to work on some personal projects that I've been itching to do since the start of time. During my down times, I am able to experiment a thing or two, work on a cool tool to make optimize my laziness by eliminating menial tasks, and sometimes read a book. I'm currently reading Microservices in Action.
Expectations moving forward
I do enjoy my setup right now, and I am very excited to work on my new "home office" once we move to our own house (we're currently renting an apartment). As for my career, I look forward to more opportunities of professional growth while working remotely.
One thing I do miss a lot is having a mentor. Although I'm technically a senior software engineer, and is expected to be the mentor, I still miss those days in SplitmediaLabs wherein I get to learn a lot from my colleagues.
We tried to do the same in my current work, wherein we used to have some technical sharing during our weekly meetups (which is now a bi-monthly meetups), but for some reason, we never pushed through with it anymore.
I guess this setback is offset by the fact that I can pretty much do self-study anytime of the day :)