1 2
Klayfish UltraDork
1/25/16 6:55 p.m.

I work in auto insurance claims, as most of you know. My previous employer had me working from home after closing the small satellite office I initially worked at. I now work in an office again, but once per week I work from home. Soon I may wind up doing it twice per week. A lot of insurance companies are opening up to having remote employees.

I think a lot of industries where it's not a core requirement to have on site staff (manufacturing, for example) are moving towards allowing employees to work remote at least to some degree.

I will say that it definitely takes the right type of person to be able to successfully work from home. You need to be a self motivator and be well disciplined. If you're not, it's easy to fail.

Datsun310Guy PowerDork
1/25/16 8:38 p.m.

I did sales from a home office but I had to travel 40-50% of the time. It worked out fine for 14 years but the company never really trusted you and always checked up on me. Expect to be always available during working hours. If I went to get a cup of coffee and missed a call my boss acted like a jag; "you on vacation today"?

Afternoon sex while the kid was at school was a bonus considering that I spent close to a 1,000+ nights in hotels away from the wife.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/26/16 8:10 a.m.

Afternoon sex is another benefit I hadn't thought of! See? this is why I ask you guys.

I will say though, that the plan is to move to a small (resort-ish) town so "difficulty in finding a follow up position" was one of the hurdles I was chewing on. Lots change in 10 years though, maybe by then working from home will be a normal thing and a transition into another, similar position may not be so difficult.

I know someone locally who is in project management and plan to pick his brain the next time we get together (hint: he's posted on this thread ). Other than that I know two people with software engineering degrees and plan to thoroughly pick them over as well.

In the spirit of full disclosure, here's our big idea:

  • in 10 years, we need to pay off our debt (not counting our mortgage) and save $200,000. Our current budget plan is tight, but on paper we can save $140,000 without considering any interest or investment income, that leaves me with $60,000 we have to find. I was kind of thinking about finding an investment manager to help us parlay our savings the best we can.

  • Educate myself in a program that will allow for remote work. My wife is near completion of her masters. She wants to be a social worker. This is something we think she can do wherever we move, assuming we can get a good grasp of the language (there may also be remote work available to her)

  • Find a position that pays me to not show up to their office.

  • move overseas (Europe probably) and buy a house under $150,000 in a small-ish town with a nice view (very doable in what research I've done)

  • sell house here. Invest/save the money from the sale.

  • Enjoy said view (and afternoon sex while the kids are gone)

It's in the "pipe dream" stages at the moment, but dang if it wouldn't be cool if it worked out

Thanks everyone.

Robbie SuperDork
1/26/16 9:09 a.m.

Don't small "resort-ish" towns usually have small airports (with some VERY rich patrons)?

My guess is you could find someone who needs a personal aircraft tech to maintain their fleet or refuel/check/maintain their craft when they come in for a week. Bonus if you can maintain their cars too. I personally know a couple who live on a giant compound in MT because his job is simply to make sure the compound is ready for when the ultra-rich owner wants to fly in for a weekend (he's the 'garage' guy, so he maintains 10-15 ATVs, 10-15 snomobiles, trucks, cars, boats, bikes, boards, etc). I think he works with someone else who does the horses, and a few who clean/cook.

He says most of the year he works very little, but when you're on, you have to be on. (very sporadic hours)

Maybe worth a shot?

PHeller PowerDork
1/26/16 9:13 a.m.

Just an FYI, Social Work is not as guaranteed of bet as you'd think. Many small towns might not have much because the headquarters of the organization are in the major city. So while you work from home she may have to drive quite a bit.

Second would be applying the social work background in another country. Many European countries are cutting back on government jobs, and more so those jobs are definitely the "get and stay at" type of jobs.

I'm not sure if your plan involves her staying at home or doing what she can for supplemental income while you work from home.

Datsun310Guy PowerDork
1/26/16 9:29 a.m.

My company wouldn't hire me living in a small town. They wanted me to have access to O'Hare and Midway Airport.

IT is the way to go - they don't care where you live. Also take your kids into consideration - you'll want to be in the area when grandkids pop up.

scardeal Dork
1/26/16 9:29 a.m.
singleslammer wrote: In reply to scardeal: So I am an MBA that has an above average understanding of a few coding languages (C++ way back, HTML, and ruby more recently). Nothing I can use to do much more than light web design. What are your recommendations to gaining those skills to help land that remote job? IE training courses, certs, etc...

So if you're looking for Business Intelligence work, then the easy button would be to start with a Microsoft certification in MCSA: SQL Server. 70-461, 70-462, and 70-463. You could also look into Hortonworks or Cloudera certification if you want to get into Hadoop. Another thought would be Tableau certification, especially if you have a knack for visualization. The MS stuff is pretty in-depth, but it carries a lot of clout in getting hired. Tableau and Hadoop stuff is pretty hot right now, but MS is, well, MS. There's a lot of trust there.

If you're coming from an MBA, unless you're comfortable with Linux, then I'd suggest either MS or Tableau certification.

There are 4 technical segments of BI and 2 more businessy segments:
- data modeling -> designing data stores (data warehouse, OLAP, data marts, "data lakes", etc.) to efficiently hold data
- ETL -> getting data from source systems into the data store or amongst data stores
- reporting -> getting data from the data store to the user
- advanced analytics/machine learning -> getting deeper insight into the data, predictions, correlations, statistical stuff

- Project management
- Modeling business processes/getting relevant measures, etc -> this goes hand in hand with data modeling

Relevant skills
- SQL and SQL variants
- MDX (OLAP) querying
- traditional database design (normalization, indexes, etc.)
- data warehouse design (not normalized!)
- OLAP design
- report design, creation and management
- Pig, Hive, Sqoop (base Hadoop skills)
- Java is really useful in the Hadoop space
- speaking technical AND business
- MS Azure/Amazon AWS stuff

Some free(ish) stuff that's pretty easy to get started with:
- Power BI desktop
- PowerPivot on Excel
- Tableau trial version
- SQL Server Express
- There are a few free Azure things to look into

Mezzanine HalfDork
1/26/16 10:30 a.m.

One comment on your plan - consider time zones very carefully. My team is scattered across north America, and as the team lead that means that I need to be available to everyone. 5AM meetings aren't unusual, nor are 7PM.

And that is mild because we're all in NA. If you are trying to work for a company that is here, and you're there...well, plan on keeping weird hours. Unless you take a job that doesn't include a lot of meetings. Then have at it.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/26/16 11:24 a.m.

Robbie: They do! Actually one particular town in northern spain (Austras?) had an international airport. It wouldn't take much to get me licensed by the EU to work on commercial aircraft there. The language barrier is something I'd have to work on before hand, plus finding a way to apply for the position (read: finding the contract houses in the area. Assuming they have a maintenance facility there).

PHeller: We had some difficulty in Hungary even finding volunteer opportunities for her. There was a local women's shelter run by a British organization but even THEY wouldn't let her do anything with the women there. She ended up as a general handy-man (handy woman?) and wasn't really happy about it. She spent most of her time painting rooms, pouring cement, etc. I'm sure she'll have some of the same difficulty wherever we go overseas, but I'm sure she'll find something. Right now the plan is to rely on just my income with hers being supplemental (she'll work somewhere. She goes crazy when she's stuck in the house)

Datsun: The kids are an issue and kind of limits the places we can go. If the town is too small then there wont be an international school for the kids to attend. But the bigger cities negate most of the reasons we want to move. It's quite the double edged sword. One option was home schooling (which we aren't completely opposed to) but it doesn't fix the social life that the kids would be missing out on. For instance, there is a town called Veliko Tarnovo in the mountains of Bulgaria with some of the most beautiful views (castles too!) we've ever seen. Houses there run in the neighborhood of 20,000eu (I think we could get that much money together by selling both our cars). But medical and educational facilities are next to nill

Mezzanine: Its kind of funny how the time difference could be a drawback as well as a benefit. On one hand I can allow a small place to be more productive by making use of their off hours to get work done (this is the strength I worked to when I had to do group projects while pursuing my degree online). On the other hand, I'm not as available as I need to be during the on hours. I'm not sure how that one's going to turn out. I get the feeling that the jobs that are going to want the most "on hours interaction" are going to pay the most, and the jobs that allow me to work off hours may be closer to peanuts or just plain scams.

As I browse a few of the usual job listing websites I really don't see much that strikes me as 100% remote work. I'm thinking that finding a job that will hire me remotely, and allow me to work remotely 100% of the time is going to be a huge hurdle. And with only the information available to me via the googles, how do I separate the junk jobs from the juicy ones... All in good time I guess.

Really though, if I can land there while working remotely I'd have that safety net while I applied for a local work permit, and found a local job. But then again I spent four years in Hungary and have no idea what their hiring process is like.

Having the ability to work and change positions remotely though would allow me to keep an American income and American benefits (read: cha-ching!) and would go a long way to ensure our continued existence in this utopia we're imagining. For compare and contrasting purposes, a fireman in Hungary makes $400 a month. So lots of benefits to remote work, even if I'm not working for the most prestigious organization Another consideration I'm late in thinking of: If I work for an American company and live overseas I may be liable for taxes in both countries...

Scardeal: I'm printing your post and saving it. Thanks!

scardeal Dork
1/26/16 3:14 p.m.

BTW, the 1 sentence summary of BI is this:
We help businesses use the data they have to help them make business decisions.

These are good books for the MCSA:

Data Warehousing is one of the central functions of BI. You might want to pick up a copy of this: The Data Warehouse Toolkit

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
1/27/16 6:42 a.m.

If you are not the best software engineer yet have decent grades in school or are a few years out. The Patent Examiner would be a good job. Yes it does require a temporary relocation but it is worth it if you make the cut.

And electrical/software people are the only art classes that are always in demand.

92dxman SuperDork
1/27/16 8:48 a.m.

I don't know how you folks who work from home survive it. Mrs. DX and me were stuck in the house for three days due to the snow and both of us were going bonkers..

sachilles UltraDork
1/27/16 9:06 a.m.

Wife works from home. She works for a company that are independent insurance adjusters. Basically if a catastrophic event happens, insurance companies contract them to go in and do large volumes of claims work. Some smaller companies use them as it just makes more sense than hiring on a full time staff. The entire company uses a virtual office. My wife does the administrative side of things. She isn't a very social person, but without an "office" to work in, I'm usually the guy she bounces off the daily occurrences/frustrations of the work day. There are employment opportunities in that field, and it can pay quite well. Heavy equipment insurance adjusters in particular are in high demand.

scardeal Dork
1/27/16 9:17 a.m.
92dxman wrote: I don't know how you folks who work from home survive it. Mrs. DX and me were stuck in the house for three days due to the snow and both of us were going bonkers..

We're the few, the proud, the introverts!

bludroptop UltraDork
1/27/16 9:56 a.m.

Executive sales - 15+ years. Our nearest office is 1000 miles away. Nobody cares what hours I work. Average 2-4 nights per month travel, all expenses paid. I choose the airline, hotel, rental car, etc. I have no specialized training, my primary qualification is being able to explain complicated stuff in simple terms.

Bonus: I am nearly always available for afternoon sex with your wife - just send PM.

pinchvalve MegaDork
1/27/16 10:30 a.m.

I worked from home for over two years and I hated it. I miss people and driving every day and a change of scenery. My cousin has been working from home doing medical coding for many, many years. She loves the freedom and flexibility it affords her, and she makes decent money. She is VERY disciplined however, she used to get up at 5, work for a few hours, send her kids off to school, work a few more hours, get them off the bus and fed and to bed, then work a few more hours. She would even take a month-long road trip in a 5th wheel trailer every summer with the kids, still working the entire time. It can be good if you have the discipline.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
1/27/16 3:57 p.m.

Pinchvalve: I wonder about medical coding. On one hand I bet I could get into it pretty easy but on the other hand I think I might burn out on it pretty quick. Something I'm going to have to look into more.

Sachilles: Why "heavy equipment" I wonder... Are the different adjusters (auto, workers comp, etc) that segregated? I had no idea

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter PowerDork
1/27/16 4:02 p.m.

I did. Did not like it. My wife does now, and likes it quite a bit. Says she learned from my mistakes. Be sure to keep a good work-life balance. Don't short the attention to either, but when it's time to work, it's time to work, and when it's time for not-work, put work away.

pontiacstogo Reader
6/3/20 7:29 a.m.
scardeal said:

BTW, the 1 sentence summary of BI is this:
We help businesses use the data they have to help them make business decisions.

These are good books for the MCSA:

Data Warehousing is one of the central functions of BI. You might want to pick up a copy of this: The Data Warehouse Toolkit

Sounds like we are doing very similar work.  You did make mention of it, but I will stress it - aside from the technical knowledge i.e. the ability to access data and generate reports for a customer, you need to have general business knowledge in order to 'interpret' the customers requirement.  A big part of creating a dashboard or report is working with the person to understand exactly what they are wanting to see and that their request makes sense. 

There are plenty of folks out there that have attended courses and have the technical knowledge, but don't have the business knowledge to generate meaningful reports.  My area of 'expertise' is ERP systems so I typically develop reports/visualizations for sales, AP, AR, GL, inventory etc.  however I wouldn't be as good if tasked with doing business intelligence work for medical billing (for example).  If you have some expertise already in a particular field, you may be best to pick up the technical skills and combine them with your existing business knowledge.

Most of my work was typically done on-site but that has changed over the past few months and I suspect working remotely will be the 'new norm'.  IT (and in particular business intelligence) allows me to pretty much work from anywhere.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners