I Quit Dream Job Because I Hated Work From Home

By Chanak Maduranga

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I Quit Dream Job Because I Hated Work From Home

In the spring of 2020, my life felt like it was squeezed between the palms of an arm wrestling match. With graduation approaching, messages from our professors and parents relayed like narratives: Time to go out into the world. But this world looked different than what they had experienced post-grad; it was shuttered amid a pandemic.

Cities were emptying, companies were folding, and the consensus was to do anything but go out. As I delved into an arduous job search, remote work began to seem like an attractive option — albeit my only one.

I finally landed my dream job, but that remote lifestyle became my downfall.

Remote work seemed like the perfect fit at first

My TikTok is often filled with videos depicting life after college: quiet commutes, mundane work days, monotonous routines, and lonely houses. In many ways, remote work seemed to circumvent that notorious corporate slog. No time wasted sitting on the freeway or train; no dress code, nor need to cover tattoos; no dog or human sitter; no fluorescent lights or cubicles.

When I landed my dream job at a high-profile magazine, I thought it was perfect. The job would allow me to live in a coastal town rather than move to the city. I could play my jazz records, take yoga breaks, and spread out all over the floor of my living room. Most importantly, it would allow me to visit my family freely and for as long as I liked.

The pandemic padded my transition to full-time remote work. Since nearly everyone else stayed home, too, it felt normal to be stuck inside from morning to night.

But things changed when the pandemic rules lessened

I quickly found myself growing restless. Before lockdown, I had spent all day every day out of the house. With a full-time remote role, I quickly became frustrated with staying indoors all day. These feelings only intensified as my job became increasingly more demanding, leaving me unable to get out before dark.

In 2022, I moved to San Francisco, a decision made possible by my fully remote role. While I was grateful for the freedom to live wherever I wanted, my job had never felt so controlling. With little opportunity to step away from my bedroom desk during work hours, my ability to get acquainted with my new home city was stunted. Even with several great roommates and a solid base of friends in the Bay, I felt entirely disconnected from the community.

My days were spent communicating with people through a screen. I was existing in a world largely immaterial; collaborating over Slack and Microsoft Teams and Airtable and Google Docs and Sprinklr — everything but a physical table.

I realized that as a remote worker, you lack both your second (work) and third (social) places. Social media and Microsoft Teams are not adequate replacements for these spaces — if anything, they exacerbate the need for them.

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

I’ve always been ambitious and hardworking. But sometime last year, I felt that while I was excelling as a journalist, I was failing as a 25-year-old.

Ultimately, I left my remote job in pursuit of a freelance schedule that would give me the space to integrate myself into San Francisco. I wanted to bring more dimension and spontaneity to my life — to get a little lost, bump into people, and create a new routine based on my environment, not my inbox.

I’m very lucky to be in a position to do so. I’m a single person in a flexible living situation with no dependents, and my industry offers more possibilities for freelance work than most.

Now, while my career feels more precarious, my days are rounded and diverse. My work is a combination of in-person and remote. I can get outside, work in cafés, and connect with people during “work hours.”

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be trading my role at a high-profile magazine to work part-time at a yoga studio and struggle as a freelance writer, I’d be afraid for the future. And I still am — but my anxiety about the future is insignificant compared to how anxious and discontent I was in my day-to-day life working remotely. I would rather be slightly rattled by “what now” than saddled with “what if.”

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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