You Get to Choose Where You Work

When I was a kid summers meant that my sister and I would be hanging out at home. We were old enough to be left alone, but not yet old enough to drive a car. To pass the time we had a schedule of TV shows we watched and one of them was The Price is Right. We’d watch Bob Barker host the show in his dapper suit while the fervent sea of screaming contestants flowed around him.

One of my favorite games on the show was Plinko. Plinko consisted of a 10 foot wall that had pegs spaced to allow a disc to pass through them. At the bottom of the board were nine slots where the disc could come to a rest. Each slot had a dollar amount that the contestant would win if the disc landed in the slot. The contestant would drop the disc at the top of the board and cheer along with the studio audience while the disc made its way down to decide his/her winnings.

The fun of the game is in the not knowing. The fun is in the randomness of the disc falling. The fun is knowing that you’ve got a chance for the $10,000 even if it’s more likely you could get bumped by forces of fate out to the $100 slot.

While the randomness of a falling disc makes for game show fun, it doesn’t make sense when choosing a place to work and where to live.

Choose where you work

In this series I’ve started out talking about deciding a career by following the why behind your choices. The why is used to figure out what you will do so you don’t find yourself stuck in a job you hate. The what helps you figure out a how of you will make money. And the who helps you be intentional about who you surround yourself with.

Finishing out the series is the where in the world will you live your life to pursue your career.

Your where can be dictated by your why

Where your job is located can be dictated by the kind of job you want to pursue. If your job requires meeting people in person like being a Realtor then where you work is limited to the area you are licensed in. If your life’s goal is to study the migratory patterns of arctic wolves, then you’re not going to find much work or be fulfilled in the warmer parts of the country.

Your where can be dictated by other factors

For some being close to family is the deciding factor when choosing their where. Staying in the city of their origin is important to them. Other factors include owning a home, being close to schools for kids, or close to a church. Each of these can be a reason for choosing where to live.

My where: is everywhere!

In my case I’ve stayed in the city of my origin and have enjoyed being close to family and friends. The last two regular office jobs were dictated by location. I looked for programming jobs in the city where my family and friends are and ended up doing work I didn’t like and didn’t inspire me. In a way my resume was a Plinko disc falling through a sea of pegs.

Ever since I started to work on the internet my ‘where’ has ben transformed into ‘anywhere’. I can do my work with little interruption wherever we choose to be. I’m certainly not the only one around me who takes advantage of this. Last week at BeachPress most of the attendees were there without taking vacation leave, but just shifting the location of their work to the beach. “The Year Without Pants: The Future of Work” is an excellent chronicle of this type of remote online work.

The ability to work and do business online has decoupled choosing where to live with choosing what your work is. Choosing a job and choosing where to live no longer need be in the same discussion.

Choose your own adventure

There are a lot of choices to make about where you live. Which reason you use to choose a place to won’t let your career path turn into a life-long game of Plinko. I encourage you to be intentional about where you are located and know why you’re making the decision.

Do you work online or aspire to? If you work online do you take advantage of the location independence that it brings?