When Community Manager Nicole Legault contacted me two years ago on LinkedIn and invited me to apply to be the French Community Manager at Articulate, I had no idea how much my life was about to change.
I wasn’t looking for a job. I had no idea what a Community Manager was. But as an Articulate Storyline user, I was honored to be contacted by someone at Articulate and decided I owed it to myself to find out more about the position before saying I wasn’t interested.
Just 15 minutes of listening to Nicole talk about her role was enough to convince me that Articulate was the company for me. My one concern was that I would feel isolated working from home, but she assured me that she was a very social person, yet she never felt alone working for Articulate. Something about the way she said it felt so genuine that I took her word for it. And I’ve never regretted it.
Fast forward to today. Aside from leaving a small consulting firm to become the French Community Manager and now the International Marketing Manager at Articulate, how else has this job changed my life?
1. I get to see my family more AND travel to new and exciting places.
As an American expat (and now dual citizen!) living in France for nearly a decade, I had gotten used to saving up all my vacation days to visit my family once a year. It was a lose-lose situation: I rarely saw my family and I never had vacation time leftover to go anyplace new. And, as much as I’ve always loved traveling, family always won out in the end.
Now I don’t have to choose! I can bring my laptop to my parents’ house and work from home while they’re in the office. And, since I don’t have to use all my vacation days when I’m visiting them, I still have plenty of time to travel.
2. I discovered that work/life balance is a real, attainable thing.
There are many benefits to living in France, but convenience is not one of them. Great wine, delicious cheese, and baguettes that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside? Yes. Amazing public transportation? Check. Postcard-worthy views as far as the eye can see? Oui, oui! But convenience? Not so much. This is especially true when you’re working normal office hours, which in France are 9 to 6 (with a generous break at lunchtime to appreciate all the yummy food, bien sûr).
Need to drop off a package at the post office? It’s only open until 6 o’clock. Got to pick something up at the store? Better get there before 7 pm! Feel like getting in a quick workout at gym after work? You’d better bring your gym bag to work, because most places close around 8 in the evening. So what does this all mean? You probably won’t have time to do any of these chores until Saturday. And even then, you’d better have it all timed out because everything is closed on Sunday!
Working from home gives me the flexibility to live the life I wanted to live. I finally feel like my schedule is my own instead of feeling like my schedule owns me. As long as the work gets done, I’m free to set my own agenda. If I want to go for a mid-morning run along a flower-lined path on a Tuesday, I can. If I’m out of tomatoes and need to make a quick run to the grocery store, I can go in the early afternoon instead of at 6:30 pm when everyone and their mother is there too.
3. I got time back in my day.
When I started working from home, it suddenly dawned on me how much of my life I’d been wasting getting ready in the morning and commuting to and from work. Now, instead of spending my mornings putting on makeup, getting all dressed up, and taking the Metro, I can just throw on something comfortable (I could work in my PJs, I suppose, but that’s where I draw the line). Then, I walk a few feet to my home office and sit down to work.
With that extra time I can start work early and wrap-up earlier if I don’t have any late meetings and go for a run. I can also choose to sleep in a little if I’m feeling extra tired or take the time to cook myself an extra-delicious lunch. The possibilities are endless. And to me, that’s priceless.
4. I work with a group of top-notch people.
The icing on the cake? My co-workers are pretty darned awesome. They rock at their jobs and they are just all-around great human beings.
Remember Nicole, the Community Manager I mentioned earlier? She and I ended up becoming really close friends. The kind of friends who Whatsapp each other daily, invent a made-up word to describe their special bond (twinship), and have their own hashtag (#nicolson).
You’re probably wondering how it’s possible to become so close to a coworker whom you don’t actually physically see more than once a year. Despite the fact that we don’t work in the same physical office, or even live in the same country, the connections we make with team members via webcam and chat still feel real.
Articulate may not have a water cooler or a break room, but our stand-up meetings have been known to veer from the top items on our to-do lists to fence-climbing crocodiles or our favorite gifs. And it’s those delightfully “off-topic” conversations that make our team feel anything but remote.
Just in case you needed proof of our stand-up meeting shenanigans, check out what happened when I asked the team if I could take a screenshot of everyone for this article: the Bra(n)dy Bunch was born (because we’re the Brand team – you see what I did there?).
The Bottom Line
I could go on for hours about how the past two years have ruined me for any future employer, but I’ll stop here.
The point is this: most people spend more time at work than they spend doing anything else. If your job doesn’t allow you to lead the life you want, surrounded by people you enjoy spending time with, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to live a life where your workstyle and lifestyle nurture one another.
At Articulate, I can do the work I love without the rest of my life taking a back seat. Sound good to you? Check out our careers page to see if there are any openings that fit your skill set.