First job dilemma: To remote or not to remote?

Mar 04, 2024

4 mins

First job dilemma: To remote or not to remote?
Emma Albright

Freelance journalist

Have you ever thought of being fully remote for your first job? Are you worried about what that could mean for your professional future? It’s no secret that the past few years have seen a rise in fully remote jobs. Embracing remote work as your first job offers unique advantages that can shape both your career trajectory and personal development—but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

If you’re considering a fully remote role as your first job, you need to be 100% sure of what you’re getting yourself into. Could it be a great career kick-starter, or will it hinder you from professional opportunities in the future? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of starting your career in a fully remote job.

3 benefits of a fully remote first job

Embarking on your career journey with a fully remote position offers a unique set of advantages that can significantly impact your professional and personal growth. In an era where the traditional office environment is rapidly evolving, starting your career remotely not only aligns with modern work trends but also opens up a world of possibilities that were previously unthinkable. Let’s explore the three key benefits of opting for a full-remote role as your first job.

1. Say goodbye to geographical limitations

The beauty of remote work lies in its ability to dissolve the physical barriers of traditional office jobs. No longer confined by city limits or regional boundaries, you can embark on your career journey from virtually anywhere. Whether you’re based in New York City, Portland, Chicago, or a little bit all over, fully remote jobs eliminate the need to relocate or tie yourself down to one spot.

This unparalleled freedom allows you to explore opportunities with global companies, broadening your job search to include roles that perfectly match your skills and passions. Moreover, remote work introduces you to diverse teams and cultures, enriching your professional experience from the comfort of your home.

2. Embrace flexibility and work-life balance

Remote work redefines the concept of work-life balance by introducing unparalleled flexibility into your daily routine. As highlighted by Juliana Rabbi, remote work coach, mentor, and champion of remote work, the ability to tailor your schedule can significantly enhance job satisfaction and overall well-being.

This adaptability extends beyond mere scheduling; it includes the freedom to optimize your work environment for maximum productivity and creativity. Whether it’s finding solace in a quiet corner of your home or seeking the dynamic atmosphere of a coworking space, remote work empowers you to work how you work best while establishing healthy boundaries to disconnect and recharge.

3. Cultivate autonomy and self-direction

Not only are you able to benefit from a flexible schedule, but working remotely allows you to build autonomy. Instead of being constrained to working in an office for however many hours a day, you can see which rhythm of work suits you best.

You also have the freedom of taking breaks at your own pace or taking a power nap to boost your productivity. As you navigate your responsibilities, you’ll discover invaluable insights into your professional strengths and areas for growth, laying a solid foundation for a thriving career.

Questions to ask when interviewing for a fully remote position

Trina Hoefling, hybrid and remote work expert, explains the importance of asking your employer the right questions to get the full idea of what the position will entail. Here are some questions Hoefling suggests asking in the interview:

  • What communication manner works best for the team? Is it email, phone, video call, or internal messaging?
  • Who will you be in direct contact with or working alongside and how do they prefer to communicate?
  • What does it mean to be fully remote in this company?
  • As a full-remote employee who likes to be engaged, what are the opportunities to get involved in a task force?

Asking these types of questions, Hoefling says, will give you a better idea of how the company works with remote employees, as well as what’s expected of you.

With pros come pitfalls: What to be aware of with fully remote jobs

While the advantages of full-remote work are compelling, it’s crucial to also consider the inherent challenges that come with this modern employment model, especially as a first-time job seeker. Fully remote roles offer unparalleled flexibility and opportunities, but they also present unique obstacles that can impact your work experience and career progression. Awareness and proactive strategies are key to mitigating these drawbacks and ensuring that your remote work journey is as fulfilling and productive as possible.

Staying social in a remote environment

The isolation of remote work can be daunting, especially for those who thrive on direct social interaction. So what can you do to break down that barrier?

Hoefling suggests finding ways to connect with others. See if your company organizes lunches once a month to get the team together, or if there are any clubs or after-work events that you can attend. And if there aren’t, she suggests starting such initiatives yourself.

Rabbi also emphasizes the importance of communicating more with your team when you’re working remotely. And if you feel less comfortable about it she suggests a more hybrid role, where you mix going into the office and staying home.

But if you don’t have that option, Hoefling explains how you can change your way of communication. If you feel uncomfortable asking too many questions or you’re afraid to seem like you’re bothering others, reach out by asking if you’re on the right track. This will allow you to stay connected to your team while not feeling overwhelmed.

Securing your career advancement remotely

Working a fully remote job can feel like your career won’t grow as fast or as much as someone who is in the office full-time. But that’s not necessarily always true. When you’re first interviewing for such a position, make sure to ask your employer to see if there are possibilities to evolve within the company. Rabbi says that working remotely will allow self-development in a different way than being in person, but it’s up to you to make sure to be proactive.

Additionally, Hoefling explains how important it is to stay social and connected to your team in order to build a network over time and develop those professional relationships for the future of your career.

Key takeaway: Do what feels right for you

Working remotely in your first job offers lots of benefits that can positively impact both your personal and professional life. From flexibility and autonomy to out-of-country opportunities and skill development, remote work provides a solid foundation for long-term success.

However, you have to keep in mind that the different ways of being proactive and building relationships with your colleagues without being in the office can sometimes be challenging. If, down the road, you realize that a job like this doesn’t fulfill you, you can always try to change to something that feels more fitting. At the end of the day, the most important thing is how you feel and what will make you thrive in a professional environment.

Photo: Welcome to the Jungle

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