What It Means To Be Location Independent
So, picking up from the last blog post, I was pretty spot on when I said I expected good things from 2012… I have now been working for Misfit Inc for nearly five months and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Working location independently, and for a company whose projects are interesting, fun and inspiring has made me wonder at my own good fortune every day since I started the job. In the last five months, amongst other things, I have spent an incredible week in New York with AJ and Melissa - the brilliant duo responsible for Misfit Inc - learning about my new role, being introduced to awesome companies like Loosecubes and eating an insane amount of amazing food.
The Loosecubes office in Brooklyn, NY
Dynamic duo AJ and Melissa
Helped to organise Apperian’s (one of Misfit’s clients) exhibition at Mobile World Congress, which went down an absolute storm:
And accompanied AJ and Melissa (my employers) on a speaking engagement at Fundraising Ireland’s national conference where we met a vast array of brilliant people, drank some Guinness and went on a Misfit roadtrip to the Cliffs of Moher.
Not a bad first 5 months really…
Now to catch you up to where I am now. About six months ago, my long term boyfriend Matt was given the opportunity to do an erasmus semester at Milan’s IULM during the final year of his MA in Writing at Warwick, working closely with Tim Parks, a rather talented author who is head of Literature and Translation at IULM. Previously it had been assumed that we would part ways for these three months and, as you can imagine, the thought of him jetting off to Italy for 3 months while I stayed behind in bonny England clocking in and out of the office every day was not one that filled me with joy. However, when I was offered the position with Misfit, Matt and I realised we could have a Milanese adventure together. Perfect.
So, I write this from our apartment in the Navigli area of Milan which we are renting from an Italian woman called Lorenza who has such a wonderful character that she had bought us fresh bread, eggs, fruit and milk as a welcome when we arrived and stayed around to have a good chat and see that we were settled in before she left. I was so touched by her instinct to go above and beyond in welcoming us into her home. And for no other reason than that she simply realised that two weary travellers who had arrived in a big, new city in the evening would probably not have had the time or the foresight to head to the nearest shop. It is those little moments in life that fill me with hope for mankind, and dispel those fears and doubts that the media so love to evoke in us that humans are a selfish lot. I have found this notion to be disproved time and time again in many different countries across the world but often the bad is so widely publicised that the good gets lost in the turmoil of news stories and crime statistics. As an eternal optimist (an outlook I predominantly put down to the genes inherited from my unceasingly jolly father) I see it as akin to a crime in itself to let those simple acts of human kindness go unacknowledged. So thank you Lorenza, you beautiful human being.
Arrival at our apartment in Milan.
My New Job - I Become A Misfit
Two weeks ago I was working in a nice but slightly unchallenging 9-5 when I was invited out for a spur of the moment dinner, washed down with more than a couple of bottles of wine, with two friends - an interesting and lovely married couple from New York who run a company called Misfit Inc. During this dinner talk turned to a job opportunity - a role managing the business development side of their company, with the freedom to work from wherever I wish and bosses whose driving force is genuinely not to make a quick dollar, but to change the world in a positive way using the constantly evolving tools of this digital world.
The underlying ideology behind Misfit Inc is that no-one who doesn’t want to should have to clock into an office every morning, attend silly amounts of meetings and adhere to strict guidelines and sales targets. To Misfit Inc, work and life should co-exist harmoniously, of course with some overlap, but in a positive way because your job, as well as your life, happens to be awesome. This idea came to one of the founding members after he worked on Wall Street. Having been subjected to a ridiculous level of materialism in that sphere, he decided that making shitloads of money in the confines of a static and repetitive 9-5 office job was, for him, in no way the path to fulfilment - a notion which I have possessed even before I was even able to fully articulate it.
Having drifted increasingly towards the realisation that all this ‘stuff’ that we are bombarded with advertisements for on a daily basis doesn’t fill whatever hole it’s marketed to fill at an age when everyone else was plunging further and further into brand idolatry and materialistic status symbols, I have watched as a frustrated bystander whilst greed tore at wider Western society and seemed to add a thin lens of selfishness and covetousness to the way we interacted with each other that permeated through every layer of society. I am aware that this musing is only half-thought out, there are plenty of facets to this argument that I am not engaging with and I’m also not at all saying that I believe everybody to be a money grabbing, brand obsessed clone. I am merely attempting to paint the world as I saw it at 21. The recession and, more pointedly, the gap between those who are employed to solve it and those who it most seriously effects, has only served to confirm my instinctive belief that the way the world works could actually be much better, it doesn’t have to be like this, and it’s up to us to effect the change that we want to see.
AJ and Melissa introduced me to a sphere where people are combining these ethics with business (I had previously thought that these businesses only existed in the form of not-for-profits, the sector I had been working in until now). I came to realise that there is a whole wave of people out there who are using predominantly web-based platforms to transcend the traditional ‘cubicle farm’ way of working and to conduct business with a more ethical foundation.
It makes me both proud and galvanised to see humanity fighting back against the rule of the 1%. The Occupy protests, the strike action across the world, the Arab spring uprisings and tiny little revolutions that companies like Misfit Inc are effecting are leading the world to an evolved way of thinking and working. Of course, we’re talking about ‘revolutions’ on hugely varying scales here, and I’m oversimplifying the problem massively but that’s the nature of the blog post I guess…
Needless to say, as soon as I fully grasped that the opportunity that AJ and Melissa were proffering was real through the haze of wine and chatter, (and more, that it was being offered to me - a 23 year old bemused, idealistic dreamer) I practically fell off my chair I was nodding so furiously! Within two days I had handed in my notice at my previous job and was booked on a flight out to NYC to learn all about my new working life.
I hope to document this brand new style of working as I embark upon it and also document my travels as I explore what it means to work untethered from an office, and I am going to use this Tumblr account that I created last year that has been sitting near-dormant to do so. I expect good things from 2012 :)