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I’d been retired from PACCAR ITD out of Washington State for over three years and I loved retirement life. My husband and I were gypsies for awhile and wandered around the country in our RV before we built our retirement home in Tucson, Arizona. But, I was missing something in my life. I kept searching; I played golf, I worked part time as a beverage cart “girl” on a golf course, I tried retail sales in a golf store, but something was still missing. I kept searching - spent time with friends, family and grand children. That wasn’t enough, so what was it I was looking for. My life was blessed, my friends and family were envious, but deep in my soul I felt I needed more. I searched on the internet for work at home opportunities, but telemarketing or stuffing envelopes was not for me. Then it donned on me, I needed the fulfillment of what the professional business world gave me before I retired. I needed that feeling of contribution and making a difference and the opportunity to constantly learn and challenge myself to continually grow in a fulfilling career. So how did I fill that void? I am now working with Ivy Meadors at High Tech High Touch Solutions and have the title of Director of Conference Management. Pretty impressive isn’t it? Well, it’s a title and I’ve had many of those. It’s the job that provides the fulfillment.
I was a middle level manager in the IT organization at PACCAR for over 20 years and had the opportunity to gain the respect and credibility of my staff, my peers and my superiors. I learned very quickly as a virtual employee, that you can get the same satisfaction and gratification by working from home as you can in the office and maybe more! If you go to the office everyday you have a horrendous commute in traffic, you have to drink your morning coffee in the car and you must be dressed to the nines every day. Not me! I get up in the morning, turn on the coffee pot, walk into my den, turn on my computer and start my work day in my pajamas with a cup of java on my desk! It doesn’t get any better than that.
Being a virtual employee is not for everyone. You must be self-motivated and a self-starter and be able to work independently. You must be able to earn your team’s respect without seeing them face to face everyday. When I worked at PACCAR ITD there were opportunities for employees to tele-commute (their form of being a virtual employee), but only two or three days a week. But, at that time the management team culture wasn’t as trusting as it should have been to be successful. Managers and Directors were always wondering if their employees were at home working or were they shopping at Nordstrom or Home Depot? And I have to admit, I was one of those distrusting managers! As an employee, they weren’t made to feel like it was a virtual position; they were told it was a privilege and if your performance degraded you would lose that privilege. But, I didn’t let any of that influence my decision to accept the opportunity Ivy offered to me.
I have learned over the years that a great team leader and team player must have the following characteristics to be successful:
Review this list again. Isn’t it the same for an “in the office position” as it is for a “virtual position”? What I’ve learned as a virtual employee is that it is no different. I still go “to the office” everyday, but it just happens to be in my home. You still have to reach out to the team you work with everyday, but with the technologies available today it’s easy. We’ve got cell phones, conference call lines, email, shared drives, instant messaging, etc. And I smile everyday and have fun all the time!
Remember, working as a virtual employee is not for everyone, but it sure works for me! And, I can still be a gypsy and travel all over the country in my RV and still be a virtual employee; I can work from anywhere! I am now fulfilled!!
Want to know more. Just send me an email at Sharon@hthts.com.
Director of Conference Management
High Tech High Touch Solutions, Inc.
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