My Remote Life

 Remote work.

I’m not sure that was a buzzword back in 2009. I’m not even certain that work-from-home was a thing.

I was less than a year into my new job as the staff writer for True Love West Africa magazine — one of the leading women’s lifestyle magazines at the time. And I was pregnant.

Company policy would not permit me to go on leave before completing a year, and my editor didn’t want to let me go.

She proposed to place me on a freelance contract. I would still retain my title as the staff writer, but I would be paid per article. What made it worthwhile was that if I could write all the 14 columns, which I was mandated to do as the staff writer, the total pay equaled my salary.

That was how I started off as a full-time remote worker - I called it working from home — but I was also free to come to the office when I wanted.

The arrangement suited me, after all, I started out freelancing for the magazine. More so, I had told myself that after I finished university I would never work regular office hours.

But when the True Love job offer came, it would have been stupid not to take it. Who turns down a slice of heaven on earth! And to top it up, I wasn’t required to wear formal clothes.

During my pregnancy, getting work done was still easy. I was able to write all my columns. And when my little girl arrived, I had a break, because I had already done all the work for our double edition — which was released for the summer holidays.

We always got our content ready in advance, and when summer came, we would have some respite before getting back into the regular cycle.

When it was time to get back to work, it was different. Now I had a little human to consider. I didn’t believe in having a nanny. For me, it was more stressful worrying about who I was leaving my daughter with.

This meant that on days when my husband couldn’t look after her, she accompanied me to conduct interviews for my stories. And as if she understood my job, she was quiet through them all.

It was a learning phase for me. I couldn’t always wait for her to sleep before working at the computer, so sometimes, I’d use my foot to rock her to sleep. Other times, I’d just put her in her play area, or I’d play her Sesame Street Old School DVDs to watch.

That was how life continued for me. I have worked remotely ever since then, whether with local or international organizations.

It does take a lot of self-discipline and focus, and sometimes, I do slide down the ladder of self-discipline (who doesn’t?).

Working remotely (let me join in the buzz) has always been my dream, and I’m glad I’m living it.

Day 26 of the Not Enough Writer 30-Day Writing Challenge

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