Monday, April 19, 2004

Work your job, live where you want

Worthwhile has a great article entitled: "Losing it? Move it." Here's the meat of the article:

"Americans have a historical tradition of hitching up the wagons (station or covered) to find better work. Now that we have technology that can help loosen geographic bonds, is it time for more of us to consider hitting the road?"

Now there are a ton of comments on the Worthwhile page that I encourage you to read. However, let me give you my personal experience with this. I moved last year from a field location to our corporate offices and I didn't want to move. It had nothing to really do with comfort levels, fear of change (I had already lived where the corporate office was located and didn't particularly rate the area high on the list of places I wanted to live), or any of that -- I just genuinely liked where I lived. In an attempt to not have to move, I offered to take a 20% base salary reduction; now regardless of the amount of the base salary, 20% is a significant amount. Furthermore, I offered to continue to assist in the market I was in as well as do the new job they wanted me to do in the corporate office. I suggested that they use the first year 20% savings and purchase a video conferencing system.

They turned me down -- the job was in the location of the corporate office or was not available. I'm a fairly young guy, so the resume building of the new job was what finally tipped me into moving, but I still regret it sometimes. I am also astounded that the company was willing to hire someone at my old salary in the field office and pay me a 20% premium (plus moving expenses) to get me out to the corporate office.

In the face of "new" and continually cheaper technologies such as:
-air travel -- flights are cheap (and frequent), even at the last minute

-video conferencing -- it's cheap and getting cheaper; soon it'll be easy (and cheap) to do on cell phones

-cell phones -- cheap and getting cheaper; do you even need an office phone?

-soft phones (VOIP) -- cheap and easy to deploy; your laptop=your office phone wherever you have Internet connectivity

-wireless hotspots -- Starbucks=your office (even McDonald's has wireless Internet access)

If it was my company and my money ("act as if," right?), I never would have moved me. I would have used the money savings in the first year to pay for that videoconferencing system. I would have seen if I could have done 2 jobs for the price of one. If it was my company, I would encourage my employees to live in the lowest cost of living, highest quality of life places (and I would adjust their salaries accordingly).

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