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After Working Remotely Full Time for One Year

work life

My first full year mark working full time just passed by, and so did my first year working full time remotely. Since this is my first actual job, I can’t really compare it with working in-person. Nevertheless, I want to share my experience, as well as some of the things I think might be the pros and the cons.

I joined Protocol Labs way back in 2017, not long after I started my bachelor’s degree in Lisbon. I also wrote a small post about a year after I joined sharing my experience. At the time, I was part of the IPFS GUI and the JavaScript teams. Since then, a lot has changed and that has definitely not been the case over the past year.

What have I been doing?

In the beginning, after I joined, I was mostly working on user-facing applications, such as IPFS Desktop and IPFS Web UI. Then, I moved to something a bit more technical and was part of the founding team of Testground, a platform to test peer-to-peer and decentralized systems using Docker. That was all when working part-time.

Once I joined full time, I really wanted to focus on more technical aspects of IPFS itself, so I joined the stewards team. In a nutshell, our responsability is to maintain, improve and keep the base systems alive. More specifically, I have been working with the team working on Kubo and Boxo. That’s given me the opportunity to work on the lower level pieces and libraries of IPFS.

How has it been?

But that’s enough of what I’ve been doing. How has it been? As with working in-person, I think there are both advantages and disadvantages, right? Let’s start with the positive side. Working remotely with a fully distributed team is fantastic to be able to meet people from all around the world, even though that can sometimes mean that I have some meetings at some odd hours.

Group Photo at IPFS รพing 2023
Group Photo at IPFS รพing 2023

In addition, the freedom of being able to work on my own schedule and not having to be at the office at, say, 9 am, is incredible. Also the fact that I can do it from virtually anywhere where there is Internet is also good. I would also argue that working asynchronously allowed me to develop some skills on async communication, avoiding time-wasting. Flexible, no commuting time, meet people from all over, that’s the great part.

I think the largest downside for me is not being able to see my coworkers in-person more often. Because of that, I have been renting a desk at a coworking space where I’ve met some nice people. Of course, it won’t be the same as they’re not your real coworkers with whom you share your work. But they’re still humans.

Despite having some conferences and team weeks over the years, I don’t think they are enough. I actually think I’ve had more in-person activities when I was working part-time than since I started working full-time. But that’s maybe my feeling since as a part-time the ratio of in-person activities happened to be higher compared to the time I was working.

Will I continue?

Despite the cons, I think there are still more pros. Overall, I feel like I have more time than I would have if I had to work in person. And working remotely also opens a different set of companies I can work for. I think that, for the foreseeable future and future opportunities, I will be prioritizing remote work over in-person work.