Heading West by Joe Mosby

Maine wakes you up cold in October, the high tide spraying waves that feel like they should already be frozen. Buffalo is a slower chill with the bordering lakes. It’s hibernation-quality cozy. Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are still very active at this time of year – every farmer has their combine out for the harvest, and you can see each day’s stopping point based on the rows of picked corn. Missouri is a stretch of extended suburbs from St. Louis to Kansas City, and there’s barbeque that exceeds already lofty expectations waiting in KC. Kansas is an endurance run across nearly empty cattle pastures.

Heading West - image 3

I kicked off October with a high-speed Cannonball Run driving from Maine to Denver. Thirty-two hours of driving across mountains, plains, pastures, corn fields, deserts.. all of the terrain that defines America. It is, in my opinion, the only way to properly travel to a new home city.

Heading West - image 2

Like most of the technology world, my in-office job went remote starting in March. I had never worked full-time remote before, and the shock was jarring. How do I check in with my team? How do I check in with my boss? How do we collaborate on product when we’d historically done everything big in person?

And then there were the personal questions: when does my day start and when does it stop? Do I need to be at my desk for work, or can I pack up and head elsewhere? Can I just change cities, and what happens when the office re-opens? I didn’t like working remotely, and I was ready to come back.

During this time, I came across a career opportunity at Recharge as the Software Development Manager over analytics. After interviewing and accepting the offer, I already knew I liked the people, the team, the product, and the opportunity. I was still a little skeptical about the remote work aspect.

After a few weeks, though, I realized that my concerns were unfounded. It wasn’t that I hated remote work – it was that it’s really hard to pull off with an organization that simply isn’t built remote-first. Our bodies weren’t in the office, but our hearts and minds all were.

Three weeks into working at Recharge with a team spread across two countries and three time zones, I realized no one particularly cared where I signed in from every day. And so I made plans to take the trek across the country to Denver for ski season and three hundred days of sunshine a year.

I ensured my team had plenty of work to do before I left, confirmed that everyone had my cell phone number in case of an emergency, and then I… just… left. I signed back on from Denver a week later with a team mostly concerned that I visit their favorite Denver burrito spots as soon as possible.

Heading West - image 1

Maybe, when workplaces open back up after the pandemic, I’ll start regularly shuffling back to an office in a coworking space. We coincidentally have enough team members clustered in Denver to have dedicated co-working space here if I want to see some familiar faces. Separating work-space and home-space is something I miss, and I also miss the morning routine of walking to work.

Maybe I’ll only do it a few days a week. Maybe I’ll move again to California or Chicago before all of this is done. I don’t know yet.

I do know, though, that my team, my boss, and my company will all be fine with whatever I decide. As long as I go to the right burrito spots once I’m there.