Many people are now looking for remote work for a variety of reasons, including the ones mentioned in the previous article, The pros and cons of remote work. However, finding a remote position is not like looking for a regular office job.
Right now, I am trying to transition from freelance remote work to full-time remote work. The search has not been easy for a variety of reasons. I am going to share what I know and what I have learned in the process.
Why I am choosing to look for full-time work
Freelance work is great, in my opinion. It is not for everyone, and there are some definite downsides, particularly for someone in their early 40s hoping to retire earlier rather than later.
I have no benefits as all my work in contract work. This means I pay for my own healthcare and being from the United States, that means big bucks. Since I also live in Greece but don’t work here, I have to pay for my health insurance. It would be nice if the US part of my insurance was covered since it costs the most.
The other benefit I am lacking is a built-in retirement fund. At a US company, they would most likely let me contribute to a tax-deferred retirement account, and they may contribute to it as well. Since I am a contractor, this isn’t an option.
Then there is the issue of finding work all the time. As most of you know, looking for work is like having a full-time job, and trying to look for more freelance work all the time is tiring. I have been lucky enough to have most of my work come to me without me having to do much, but a shift is happening, and I need to start looking more.
Finding remote positions
Remote positions exist but not in the quantity that regular positions do. The traditional job search sites do have them, but you may have to do some creative filtering to see them.
More often, remote positions are found on remote only job sites. However, the one I frequently use has less than 20 listings in each category. Overall that means there are fewer remote positions available for me to apply to as well.
There may be more remote positions out there, but finding the time to search them out when you need to be working is hard. YAY FOR TODAY does have a list of online resources complied by Becca Rhew that you can find here.
I do track specific companies that I know have remote roles and frequently check their websites for positions. A few even offer an option to be emailed when there are new positions open, and if you are interested in working there, I highly recommend doing this.
Applying for remote positions
The real challenge has seemed to be with the application process. Many times remote-first companies want something different or in addition to a regular CV or resume. A few of them have wanted videos or a questionnaire filled out. Videos are not my strong suit, so I tend only to apply for those positions if I am really interested in the job, which is probably the point.
I have seen one that wanted me to make a newsletter from my resume using their service. While I love that they want people to be creative, I just don’t have the time to dedicate myself to doing that.
Finding the Right Fit
Then there is finding the right fit for me. I very much want to be in control of my own schedule. Many of these remote jobs that I am interested in have wanted me to be available during US business timezones, which isn’t a problem; it is Eastern for a few hours. However, one I wanted to apply to wanted a six-hour overlap. Which for me would have been till almost 10 pm my time and I don’t want to work any job till 10 pm.
I also sometimes want to work a Sunday so I can take the next Friday off without having to use my vacation. This isn’t always an option with any job, even remote. However, I feel that the freedom of my schedule is one of the main reasons I went remote in the first place, and I don’t want to give that up yet.
Then I have the issue that I don’t always meet the requirements. For some requirements, I don’t think its a big deal if I have many of the core ones. But it is a problem for some of them. In a traditional position, I might be able to learn from others on the job. However, a remote job doesn’t allow for that in job training many times.
Fortunately, I do meet one of the significant requirements, which is remote work experience. Remote work isn’t for everyone. It takes planning and discipline to be at your “desk” when no one else is looking. For me, I am way more productive at home. There are no distractions, and I get more done in an hour than I would at a desk job.
What I have learned is that finding the right remote job for my needs is more important than finding a full-time remote position. I will continue to apply but also build my own business at the same time until that time comes.
Tiffany Schureman is from the U.S. and is a freelance digital consultant currently living in Greece. She has travelled extensively and has also lived in Turks and Caicos and Qatar.