Evaluation vs. Wishful Thinking

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It has been interesting to follow, over the past few years, the development of alternative work arrangements that improved communications technologies have made possible. One notable aspect of the phenomenon has been the "shiny-newness" of it. We're all familiar with more traditional arrangements and all have our gripes with them: Wouldn't it be great if we could just throw all those problems away? So it is that working from home, which lacks (or appears to lack) some of those problems -- and has problems of its own we haven't heard of yet -- looks like the savior we've all been waiting for.

I have noticed a sobering of the commentary about such arrangements over the years, culminating in the kind of advice we really need, such as that from Ionut Neagu, in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Remote Work (After 5 Years of Experience)":

[B]efore you envy that one person on Facebook who always posts cool pictures of them working from a weird location, or before buying yet another course on "living your dream by working remotely on an island somewhere," do some research. Try talking with people who already did it. Learn about their struggles. You know the good, so now get to know the ugly too. Decide if you're really ready for them, or if maybe your current situation is more in-tune with who you are after all.
Some of this isn't possible with a new option, but we can still learn to consider the idea that, in those cases, there may be "unknown unknowns" that might make us yearn for the tried and true, but less glamorous old way. It is wise to evaluate the new and the old on their merits, free of wishful thinking.

-- CAV

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