Age and Nationality: 55, USA
Type of Professional: Full-Time Employee
Job Title and Company: Senior Director of Product Management, SAP
Program: Remote Year Atlas
You can’t find a better candidate for Remote Year than David and I was sure of that by the end of our first call. Not only was David a high performer in a large corporation, he saw Remote Year as a chance to practice and expand his passion for photography. We spent a large portion his program placement process discussing how other photographers have grown while on Remote Year and how our team can help leverage the benefits of Remote working to get him on the road. Atlas was clearly the right program for him — loving scuba diving, it was important he made it to South East Asia. The two of us finally met up IRL (in real life) over coffee in Valencia where he shared something I never grow tired of hearing - “Remote Year was the best decision I ever made.”
I needed to do some soul searching and make a determination on my next steps in life and career. I also love to travel and have been wanting to travel around the world my whole life and I heard about RemoteYear from a friend and kept seeing Facebook ads for it.
This was an opportunity at work to be compensated in a non-monetary way that was good for me and my personal morale and still benefitted the company as well.
My organization was very supportive. I ultimately only needed the approval of my direct boss and his boss. We ended up dividing some of my job responsibilities with a colleague who was interested in Product Management as well, so he was also able to grow professionally. I needed to rent my condo (which I wasn't able to have settled until 5 days before I was to leave for RY) and store my possessions (check out makespace.com) and my car (which my brother held at his place). Both my kids are grown and on their own, so they were both very supportive of this adventure.
Having the Atlas community as a social foundation was wonderful. This is a great group of 40+ humans that I am very proud to have as friends.
I also really enjoyed having a lot of the logistics arranged. I am appreciating that aspect even more since I have been home and arranging travel on my own.
When I was in South America, I was able to work US hours with my team, so that was a very normal workday. Europe and Asia were a little more challenging as work hours had to shift accordingly. I was fortunate that my team didn't require US hours in Asia, so I worked 1/2 days during the day on my own and then evenings where I tried to overlap a few hours with my Chicago colleagues.
Watching the stars and listening to frogs in Portugal, Bathing elephants in the river in Thailand, scuba diving in Sipadan, bathing in barrels in Sa Pa Vietnam, the parades in Japan, sandboarding in the Ica desert in Peru, so many to mention
Hanoi - The chaos and energy of the streets of Vietnam were exhilarating. The side trips to Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa were beautiful and exotic. The food was cheap and delicious, the people were super friendly. Hour long massages for $6
I made some lifelong friends. It has also set me on a new life direction. I am still trying to figure it out but I know where I want to be. I just need to get there now.
Remote Year has shown me that remote working is possible and viable.
I have learned to become a minimalist. I am still living out of a suitcase since returning - all my main possessions and clothes remain in storage.
Dive in - the water's fine!
I left SAP to join a new company that is based in Houston. I start July 1. It is in the same domain as my previous job, but a growth opportunity for me professionally and I have negotiated 50% remote time, so hopefully I will be able to continue to travel.