I’ve been working from home since March 2008, a little over two months after I retired from my corporate job as a Human Resources Officer IV in one of our country’s government financial institutions. But I still remember vividly how I felt, what I did, and how it got me to where I am now — the owner of my own small freelancing / virtual assistance business. Like any employee quitting his/her job, I was, of course, scared… Scared because I was letting go of a job that a million girls my age at that time would probably die for because of how high my income was compared to my peers then. At the age of 24 (since year 2002-2007), I was already taking home a salary equivalent to the income of a manager or vice president. The company I was working for then wasn’t included in the country’s salary standardization law and my salary grade was quite high because my step-grandma was one of the board of trustees and I worked for her as her Executive Assistant V (that’s nepotism in this country which I’m not proud of but grateful for at that time). I was also excited because, for the first time in a long time, I could breathe. That company was laden with politics and being an introvert who preferred working mostly by myself, I didn’t bode well with making chitchat during office hours nor hobnobbing with the higher-ups just because I was the granddaughter of one of the Board of Trustees. I felt like I was surrounded by “plastic” people and I felt suffocated and stressed out most of the time. So it was a breath of fresh air to get out of that situation and take home with me more than a million peso in retirement money. I was lucky!
Nevertheless, I still went through some sort of period of depression for about a month after I retired. I retired effective Dec. 15, 2007 and I was just watching TV series like Dexter and 24 from what I remember that whole time. I kind of felt lost and didn’t know what to do next. I was so used to the hustle and bustle of corporate life then all of a sudden I wasn’t doing anything. So I did what I could… I majored in being a couch potato for about a month, never really sleeping but just watching reruns of TV shows and eating on the couch. I seldom took a bath too during that time, lol! I had a full-time helper under my employ so I could afford to literally do nothing but just be a potato on my couch! Hahaha! After I forced myself out of depression mode (thanks to The Secret which I also read and watched over and over around January 2008), I began to see the light. Someone in my Yahoo groups contacted me to apply as an online executive assistant to a Texas CEO in the US, and the rest, as they say, is history. Here I am twelve years down the line, having had numerous clients from the US, Israel, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, having done all kinds of online work you could think of, including being a ghostwriter who authored an erotic novel (hahaha!) which actually paid for my 2-week Siargao vacation back in March 2012. Those were the days! I’d work online either from home or from anywhere I fancy just because I could.
I’m aware that times now are different. These days, people don’t have this choice to either work in the office or work from home. Many employees now, including high ranking company officials, are being forced to work online from home to avoid getting sick due to the currently incurable Covid-19, formerly known as the Novel Coronavirus. Many even lost their jobs and don’t know where to get their next paycheck to support their families. The economy of 100+ nations all around the world is suffering from this pandemic and companies, big and small, as well as workers of various industries, must learn how to adapt, cope, think outside of the box, and come up with other ways to get the job done to stay afloat amidst this global crisis.
Are you one of those people affected by this? Are you having a hard time transitioning from working in your company’s office premises to now having to work from home with your kids, spouse, maybe even with your parents, siblings, and house help puttering about inside your home while you try to get some work done? Or did you lose your job and don’t know what kind of work you could do next? If you are, I hope my tips below will somehow lighten your struggle and serve as a guide to you in these dark times as I share with you how I did it before and how I continue to do it for more than 12 years now. Just bear with me whenever I make a little side chitchat because I’m just talkative like that. After all, having not seen any “officemates” for more than a decade, and having lived by myself for most of my adult life, writing has become my outlet for all of my stories untold. Hihihi! Here goes…