I resigned from my dream job as a remote worker due to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

 

    • I began working fully remote roles immediately after graduating college in the spring of 2020.
    • While remote work is glorified for its flexibility, I found myself lonely and stuck inside.
    • I quit my dream job to get out of the house more and integrate into my community.

In the spring of 2020, my life felt as if it were caught between the clenching hands of an intense arm wrestling match. With graduation on the horizon, the messages from our professors and parents echoed in our ears like stories: It was time to venture out into the world. However, this world, unlike the one they had experienced after graduating, was cloaked in the shadows of a pandemic.

As the cities started to lose their population and businesses were closing down, the prevailing opinion was to avoid going outside at all costs. As I embarked on a challenging job search, the idea of remote work started to appear more and more appealing – in fact, it seemed to be the only viable option available to me.

After months of searching, I finally secured my dream job. However, the allure of a remote lifestyle soon proved to be my downfall.

Remote work seemed like the perfect fit at first

My TikTok feed is constantly flooded with videos showing what life is like after college: peaceful commutes, ordinary work days, repetitive routines, and solitary homes. Remote work appeared to bypass the dreaded corporate grind in many ways. There’s no need to spend time stuck in traffic or on public transportation, no dress code to adhere to, no worries about covering up tattoos, no need for a pet or babysitter, and no more harsh fluorescent lights or cramped cubicles.

When I secured my dream job at a prestigious magazine, I believed it was the perfect opportunity. This position not only enabled me to reside in a charming coastal town instead of relocating to a bustling city, but it also granted me the freedom to indulge in my love for jazz music, take relaxing yoga breaks, and have the luxury of sprawling across the floor of my living room. Above all, it provided me with the flexibility to visit my family whenever and for however long I desired.

The pandemic made it easier for me to transition to full-time remote work. With almost everyone else also staying home, it felt like a normal routine to be confined indoors all day long.

But things changed when the pandemic rules lessened

I soon began to feel restless. Prior to the lockdown, I used to spend my entire day outside of the house. Being in a remote job full-time, I started to feel frustrated with the confinement of staying indoors all day. These feelings grew stronger as my workload became more demanding, preventing me from going out before it got dark.

In 2022, I made the decision to relocate to San Francisco. Thanks to my fully remote role, I had the freedom to live anywhere I wanted. However, I soon realized that despite the flexibility, my job had become quite consuming. I found myself confined to my bedroom desk for most of the day, leaving me with limited opportunities to explore and get to know my new city. Although I had the support of wonderful roommates and a solid group of friends in the Bay area, I still felt a significant disconnect from the local community.

I spent my days communicating with people through a screen, existing in a largely immaterial world. I collaborated over various platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Airtable, Google Docs, and Sprinklr. However, I rarely had the opportunity to gather around a physical table with others.

As a remote worker, I’ve come to realize that there’s a noticeable absence of two important spaces in our lives: the second place, where we work, and the third place, where we socialize. Social media and tools like Microsoft Teams simply cannot fill these voids; if anything, they only serve to amplify our longing for them.

I eventually traded in my good-on-paper job for a better day-to-day life

Last year, I reached a point where my ambition and work ethic as a journalist were thriving, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was falling short as a 25-year-old.

I decided to leave my remote job so that I could have a more flexible schedule as a freelancer and fully immerse myself in the vibrant city of San Francisco. I wanted to add more excitement and adventure to my life, to have the freedom to explore and meet new people, and to build a routine that was influenced by my surroundings rather than dictated by my email inbox.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do so. Being an individual with a flexible living arrangement and no dependents, I am in a unique position. Moreover, the industry I work in provides abundant freelance opportunities compared to others.

Nowadays, my career feels more uncertain, but it also brings a sense of variety and flexibility to my days. I engage in a mix of in-person and remote work, which allows me to break free from the confines of a traditional office setting. I have the freedom to work outdoors, spend time in coffee shops, and interact with individuals throughout my work hours.

A year ago, if someone had told me that I would leave my prestigious job at a renowned magazine to work part-time at a yoga studio and navigate the challenges of being a freelance writer, I would have been filled with fear and uncertainty about what lies ahead. However, as anxious as I am about the future, it pales in comparison to the anxiety and dissatisfaction I felt in my previous remote work routine. I would much rather embrace the slight unease of the unknown than be burdened by the constant speculation of missed opportunities.

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MBS Staff
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