Last month I announced that I’m moving from Chicago back to Las Vegas at the end of August. I talked at length about the changes, benefits and challenges of moving from a runner-friendly city back to a suburban-style desert.
Well, looks like Life’s relief pitcher threw me yet another curveball, though this is a hanging one that I can smack into the outfield.
I briefly mentioned the possibility of working remote for my employer in my current position. The answer was no, I couldn’t, due to policy limitations (basically, I’m too new to be allowed to take my position fully remote). But they would look throughout the company (it’s a big nationwide company) to see if I could transfer into something available.
It turns out the company was hiring for a full time remote position that, while certainly learnable and doable for someone at my level, was difficult to fill because of its heavy, almost 100% travel demands. It’s basically (without saying too much) an all-hats floating position where you step in for weeks at a time either starting up new field offices or stepping in to serve existing offices across the country. Even with a learning curve, I can absolutely do it.
I was all but shoved down the laundry chute to apply for it. I talked and researched about it a bit, and decided at this stage in my life it was absolutely worth a shot. They pretty much pay for all the travel, lodging, per diem meals and incidentals. Even though the salary is around what I currently make (a bit better, in fact), it’s basically a substantial raise because so many of my day to day expenses would be covered… plus, being based with family in Las Vegas, I would have virtually no living expenses.
Once the managers involved decided to start discussions, things moved quickly and I was offered the role after a few key conversations. I start at the end of next month, basically after I finish my move to Vegas. I would train/brief on basics remotely for a couple weeks (plus I’m also early-bird training on those basics while in my current role through next month), then immediately be sent to my first site where I’d spend the next several weeks, then go to the next site, repeat.
The good news is the company and this role are still relatively generous with time off. We still get our standard PTO with approval and not only can take that where needed, but the company provides a travel allowance so you can fly to/from sites for that PTO. Plus, the role has a policy that every six weeks or so, you are given a few days off, and you can travel within that.
So, on one end, I can probably still travel to run Vancouver next May (which was a key concern while previously job-seeking). I can still be with family during Christmas, our summer reunion, my sister’s upcoming wedding, and other events. Barring good proximity, e.g. if I was working a site on the West Coast or in the Southwest…I’d probably still have to fly back. But that cost would be covered by the company.
The obvious flip side is that this completely changes the context of any training and racing plans I would have previously had. I had been planning with the mindset that I would be in Las Vegas full time, and up until this developed was even working to figure out options for do-able weekly training and long runs in the desert.
Now, I don’t even know on a month to month basis where I’ll be based. Never mind the demands of work: Yes, it’ll be not just a mentally and logistically demanding role, but a physically active role where I need to be on my feet for several hours… and to be honest this is a huge fundamental improvement over what I’ve been doing now.
But on top of that, I’ll need to figure out the physical layout, the climate, the running options… of every single new city or town I end up working at. We work with manufacturing, so these towns are often mid-size, suburban and vehicle oriented, and don’t have much sidewalk or trail infrastructure. The parks are probably small, and many of the major roads may not have any sort of safe pedestrian path.
It’s entirely possible that my only options in some towns are to either live on the treadmill, or drive 20-50 miles on a day off to a park or town where long runs are do-able. If I’m lucky, there’s a track somewhere I can use.
And that never minds the climate. The weather in Chicago is hot and muggy during summer and ice/snow covered plus brutally cold in winter. Some of these locales (especially in the South or Southeast) will be even muggier during summer. Some of these locales may be even snowier or colder during winter (especially in the far North). And depending on where I’m at, I may need to pay more attention to hurricanes and tornado-friendly storms. Even with available outdoor running options, running long might be impossible or unsafe in some places.
And of course this limits what races I can seriously train for. Marathons can be booked with PTO and advanced notice, sure. But can I make sure I get all the needed mileage and training in? Vancouver in 2020 is basically going to be an experiment in this. How will peak training go when I don’t even know where I’ll be based in March-April 2020?
I personally am looking forward to the challenge, just like I’m looking forward to the challenge of the new role.