In the cubicle era of my career, I always looked forward to the rare occasion when I could sneak a 15-minute caffeine fix in between meetings. On my coffee runs, I always saw the same baffling scene at the corner shop. The place was filled with people happily working away on their laptops. Who were these people? What in the world did they do for work? How was it that they could just sit and sip lattes all day in a bright and sunny café, while I had to trudge back upstairs to my dark office?
I had resigned myself to the notion that if I wanted to “make real money,” I had to be in an office Monday through Friday (and sometimes even on the weekends). Fast-forward a couple of years and I am now one of those people happily working away from a café or, from my home office in yoga pants. So, how do you find that elusive dream job that pays six figures and gives you the option to work from anywhere?
You might already have it. The first step in going remote is dropping the assumption that you’ll need to change careers or have a computer science degree. Take a look at your current job and career trajectory. Are you in a role that already pays six figures or has the potential to grow into a six-figure job? Do you accomplish the majority of your work on your computer and phone? Are you able to find a quiet place to take phone or video calls, even when you’re not in the office? If the answer is “yes” to all of these questions, you already have a six-figure work-from-home job. (If the answer is “no,” skip down to the list of common six-figure work-from-home jobs at the end of this article.)
If you have a job that could easily transition from cubicle to home office (or coffee shop), you may not need a new position, but you will need your manager’s approval. In order for this conversation to go as smoothly as possible, you should make sure to do the following:
1. Prepare a rationale: Will you be able to work better hours if you aren’t stuck commuting? Do you focus better without the distraction of co-workers? Do you have a track record of successfully working from home, whether in a previous role or under special circumstances? Use this information to compile an overview of how both you and the company will benefit from you working remotely.
2. Address any concerns: Ensure that your setup will allow you to be productive at home and share with your boss how you’re planning to stay on track. If you have kids or pets at home, let your boss know that you will still have childcare (as you should!). Also, make sure that your work area is a quiet area separate from kids and pets.
3. Propose a trial period: If your boss seems unsure about work-from-home, ask if they would consider a one-month trial period, starting with a couple of days remote per week. Let them know that you will be happy to regularly check in to discuss how this arrangement is working out.
4. Wow your boss: If you’ve gotten the green light for a trial period, now is the time to go above and beyond. You want your boss to realize that you can be just as committed to your career and perform your job responsibilities as well — or better — from your home office.
But what if your job will never pay six figures, or it absolutely requires you to be in a specific location? If working from home is a priority for you, then it’s time to consider a career change.
According to FlexJobs, a company that lists job postings for remote, flexible, and part-time positions, the top industries that support remote positions include computer and IT fields, medical and healthcare, customer service, education and training, finance and government. Within those industries mid- to senior-level salaries often top $100,000.
Mary Beth Ferrante is the owner and founder of Live.Work.Lead., an organization dedicated to supporting women in navigating their careers and personal lives. Prior to founding Live.Work.Lead. Mary Beth was an SVP of Business Strategy for a Fortune 100 company. Live.Work.Lead. offers Virtual "Mommy and Me" Classes designed for Working Professionals and Mary Beth hosts workshops and working moms groups in the L.A. area and is slated to speak at As We Dwell co-working space on February 7, 2018, and at General Assembly Los Angeles’ Women in Tech Breakfast on February 15, 2018.