Is This Position Remote? Because I’m in Jail…

January 25, 2023

It’s been raining for a week where I live. It has been raining. It has been around the holidays and I have been in jail. I’ve been incarcerated and have only been let into gen-pop in the evenings after work.    

I have a home office. Some might be a little jealous. It is a little building away from my home, about 25 yards out yonder. It is like in-law quarters except for a lot smaller. I also have a little recording studio with keyboards, drums, guitars… Plus a small workout set up – stationary bike, weights… I have big trees out my window. A cool little fireplace/stove thing. It is pretty neat…FOR A PRISON.   

This box has been my prison for the last 10 days. I have been plotting my escape, only to be foiled by Teams or Zoom or some nonsense deadline. I have been fabricating weapons out of empty LaCroix seltzer cans. I made my own booze. I have to get out of this place.

I scream at the UPS guy as he drops off boxes, but he can’t hear me (AirPod Pros). I tried to make a run for it yesterday, but my attempt was discovered by a consultancy in Denver that had written some very vague documents I had to review, and alas, back to solitary.

Today, I have a plan. I marked my calendar as “PTO”. That will be my cover. Then I will get out of this work-dungeon misery box and sneak to my real office in the big city. I need to hear the real voices of others. I need to eat their food out of the office fridge. I need to drink Keurig coffee (yeah…I don’t have one). I need to use a strange toilet. I need to get out.

So something dawned on me today in my cell. I was thinking about some news thing or political junk I read this morning or yesterday…I can’t remember. I don’t even know what day it is…only the number of hash-marks on my prison wall. But I started thinking about dissenting opinions on ANYTHING in my life. When I am in jail, I don’t hear them, or if I do hear them, I don’t pay much attention.

All this stuff about meeting equity really misses the point. I can’t believe I never realized what WFJ (Work From Jail) has done to all of us. Let’s think about the crazy divisions in society that have happened all around us in the last few years. It’s nutballs.

We have taken a shortcut and blamed our politicians. We blame them for our anger.

A lot of what is served up to me nowadays about inclusion and diversity is stuff I’ve never considered. Most of it’s great. I am happy to learn about stuff I never have personally experienced. I feel like I spent a big part of my life never really considering what it might be like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I am a better person now that I think more clearly about how hard some folks have had it. I like asking questions of people that are not just like me.

I will also tell you,  conversely, that I have never, not for one second, ever considered anyone’s gender, lack of gender, age, color,  shape, smell, tatts, when building my team.

Most of the interesting tidbits about my colleagues’ personal lives I have discovered long after we have worked together. Some stuff just happens if you are looking for a diversity of ideas in your workplace. You also end up with a diversity of people as a byproduct. Both are pretty freaking cool. In previous writing, I talked about the fact that the only true pathway to meeting equity is a blindfold. That pathway is also true in workplace equity and diversity.

Okay, yay, I’m a swell feller. I’m really not. It suits my business to hire awesome people.   After finding out that they are awesome, I could care less about much else. Diversity is a byproduct of seeking diverse ideas. There was no real way around it for me.

Then I went to jail to serve out my sentence for working in tech.  

All that awesome diversity I surrounded myself with…poof…it’s now just a box on a screen. A box that Is magically the perfect same size box as all the rest of the boxes. That isn’t diversity or equity.

Work-From-Jail has allowed me to communicate the way I want to when I want to. And it’s been an epic disaster. I get on a call and we all pay about 60 percent attention. The other 40 percent is spent affirming what we already believe on the other screen. They answer “yes” to questions they haven’t even heard. They say, “sorry, uh, can you repeat that”? They say that because they were looking at some pundit on some Myspace or AltaVista site and got distracted.

Nobody is really paying attention. INCLUDING THE PRESENTER. It is all theater.

Until we are together in the office. We are looking at each other in the face, smelling each other’s smells. I have to listen for reals or I will get called on it. I sneak a peek at my phone, and someone says, “pay attention, jackass”!

I am forced to listen to dissenting opinions, and a diversity of ideas from all kinds of folks.  And I am in the room. I have to consider what they are saying. Their HUMANITY is in my face. Their thoughts and cares are real and three-dimensional. And they are conveyed with the emotion intended, not the emotion ascribed later by others.

Fast-forward a few years… and now all these diverse people are back in their own cells.

Our divisions are growing deeper because we are not together. In-person. We are apart and growing further apart. It really is nobody’s fault….and  Meeting Equity Multi-cam 360 Super Conference CAM is not going to fix it.

What is going to fix it? Getting together. Hanging out. Talking without a device connecting us. Just real in-person connections.   

Today, I am shedding my handcuffs. I am going to my office. Rebecca is going to call me out on all my B.S. Time to pay actual attention. Inclusion is not a box on a TV screen.    

You Realize You Have Remote Employees Right? (Kelly Perkins Response)

I read this and it made me a little sad. I miss coworkers. I miss going into an office and collaborating, brainstorming, and giggling with coworkers. I miss learning about all the things I wouldn’t know – TikTok videos, podcasts, real-life experiences – things I can’t get from Google.

I work remotely from my home in Dallas. And I miss people, a lot. However, I also want to work for The Farm and I can’t afford a million-dollar home in California, so I continue to work remotely. And honestly, I’m okay with that. It’s been an adjustment. I can’t sit at a computer for eight hours a day – the pain in my back is proof of that. I probably work fewer consecutive hours, but I work a hell of a lot (mostly because I actually, truly enjoy what I do).

I take walks, listen to books/podcasts mid-day, make lots of phone calls (I LOVE phone calls), frequent coffee shops, sit outside on my deck, prioritize my friendships outside work, and travel more. I get together with local AV groups like the AVIXA Women’s Council. It’s a different lifestyle than before, but it works. It’s just different.

I don’t get to go to happy hours or company lunches. I don’t get the satisfaction of physically finishing a project, mentoring a younger person on a daily basis or the camaraderie feel you get from going into an office every day.

But, that’s all okay. Because I get to work for The Farm and all of its amazing, supportive, smart, and awesome people. And that’s enough for me.