Go work someplace awesome! I know this sounds like the start of a bad recruiter pitch in an unsolicited LinkedIn message, but here at PactSafe it's a real directive. Every 12 months we are encouraged to venture out and work remotely and are reimbursed $400 of the cost to make it happen. The catch? It must be awesome, and at least 2 days of your adventure must be working days.
This year, I took a week-long adventure to NYC culminating in an opening night Star Wars viewing in a reserved theater. (I know. I have cool friends.)
Following my standard procedure I woke up early, rented a Blue Indy, and headed toward the airport. Outside of the extra time I added to deal with a dark snowy Indianapolis, nothing felt out of the ordinary. Repetition had gotten me used to this procedure.
Cold, Snowy Indianapolis from the Night before
I was about 10 minutes away from the airport when the car began beeping urgently and the display started flashing "Motor Failure!" My adventure had suddenly become a misadventure. As safely and swiftly as I could, I moved the car to the shoulder and coasted to a stop.
After half hour on the phone with the company’s support number, two calls to 911, and about a hundred feet walking through the thick of snow, an SUV pulled over to the shoulder, waited for me to come alongside their lowered window, and offered to drive me to the airport! Saved by the kindness of a total stranger. And this total stranger was kind. I made my flight because of him. (His name was Eric. Thank you, Eric. You seriously helped me out.)
Hours later I landed safely in LaGuardia, but I needed a moment. So I posted up at a bar and ordered a drink and some food. Then I pulled out my laptop and banged out a few hours of work before hiring someone to drive me to Manhattan.
You may think that after my mishap on day one, my troubles for this trip would be over. Sadly, you would be wrong.
On day two, my phone died, prompting me to purchase a very necessary but rather expensive new one. On day three, my earbuds fell out while navigating the city and were smashed by a car. I'm glad I got wired ones with the new phone.
It was a roller coaster of emotions. Thankfully, it was mostly uphill from there.
Like most developers, I love a good double (or even triple) screen setup, but I am even more enamored with the ability to work from practically anywhere on the planet. All I really need are my laptop, some power, a VPN, and access to a stable internet connection, and I'm set to write functions from nearly anywhere in the world.
However, unlike in other cities, in which I’ve been a wandering code nomad, simply typing "coffee shop" into Google Maps doesn't cut it in New York City. Most of the coffee shops there are designed to discourage long stays with sparse seating and limited outlets. This forced me to switch up my remote work patterns.
Working in the Pod 39 Lounge (Sadly the roof was closed for winter.)
Instead of haunting a coffee shop all day, I found myself working from hotel lounges, public libraries, and even a few bars (they don't seem to mind as long as it's slow and there's space). Public libraries are quickly becoming my favorite place to work remotely. In New York City, my favorites are the Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Rose Reading Room at Bryant park.
Working in the Rose Reading Room, 5th Ave & 42nd St
This was my first chance to really soak in the city. Although a much younger me visited the Statue of Liberty and did some other collection of tourist activities, those trips dance on the edge of my recall, details foggy and events hazy.
But New York City is intoxicating in a way no other place I've ever been is.
I'm not sure which facet of my journey holds the title of The Most Awesome, but here are a few slices of the awesome.
The Citibikes were awesome. After my rainy arrival day was over, I immediately purchased a multi-day pass. I enjoy biking in the city: gliding past lines of cars held back by red lights, the odd sense of camaraderie I feel when I encounter another pedaler, and even bundling up to fight against the winter chill. I made use of that pass every day I could.
Citibikes. I really enjoy these.
The food was awesome. I am jealous of the diversity and availability of the food scene in New York City. It seemed that everything I could want was only several blocks away, and I could easily close the distance with a short walk or bike ride.
The choice paralysis was real, but some of my highlights were: spicy salted prawns from a delightful Thai restaurant; a delicious seafood stew followed by a scrumptious dessert (where the black fig ice cream has placed among the collection of foods I am excited to revisit); and a superb view from a rooftop bar complemented by an affable bartender (you better believe I wrote some code there).
Jaiya, 3rd Ave & 28th St
Crave Fishbar, 2rd Ave & 50th St
Spyglass, 47 W 38th St
The friends and Star Wars were awesome. I love it when friendships hit that point where they seem to transcend their label and begin to feel more like chosen family. This adventure connected me with some of those very great people. Several of them with nerd credentials out-striping my own.
I've been a fan of Star Wars for quite a long time. By the end of middle school, I had exhausted the library's supply of Star Wars books and started seeking alternative sources. When I heard about my friends' plans, I was very excited to join them for this closing chapter in the Star Wars saga. There's an undeniable magic in the Star Wars universe and among my friends.
Nerd life. Best Life.
I am grateful for this opportunity to work someplace awesome, and eagerly anticipate my next adventure in 2020. The short list of options of places to visit includes Puerto Rico with my Uncle and a trip across the pond to visit my brother in Cambridge with some PTO on the end to explore the rest of the UK. The monetary support and flexibility to have these adventures is one of my favorite aspects of working here at PactSafe.
If this is an experience you want, be sure to check out our careers page! We're always looking for good people to join the team.