After graduating from University and giving a go at starting my own tech startup, I was approached by many companies before accepting my current position. One of the largest reasons that I turned down many of those jobs was freedom. In fact, the more a company threw swag and amenities, the less likely I was to even consider the offer. To me, job amenities mean that they have to entice you to work.

For many people, phoning it in is just par for the course. You may be good at your job, but it is your nine to five. Heck, you may even like your job a lot, but there is a culture around that we gain more fulfillment from what we do outside of work or what we get from work (salary, trips, etc). After working for myself (though it may have been in my parent's house), I grew a respect for having the freedom to really care about what I was doing. This was toxic to a traditional office nine to five.

See, in my experience in the past, I have had jobs that I absolutely loved! My internships in IT, sound design, and even my time in a venture capital funded startup (which was one of my worst work experiences to date) were incredibly exciting. But, each job fell into the same problem: what happens when you don't have anything to do? The best of my work experiences invariably had other tasks for me to jump on to, but eventually my workload seemed to dry up. There I was sitting on someone else's dime doing nothing!

It felt dirty.

It was disgusting to me. Not only was I wasting my employers money, but I could have been doing other things! I could have been advancing relationships, I could have been gaining skills, I could have been working on my own things. Instead, I was stuck sitting in someone else's space. I didn't care that I was sitting in some crazy Herman Miller space chair: boredom was terrifyingly uncomfortable.

So, I had a choice: slow down my work and spread my thumb twirling throughout the week, or do something drastic. Suddenly, my bosses found me walking out of the office when I was done and they had nothing for me to do (I'd usually check before going this drastic). Other times, I wouldn't show up on Fridays. Still other times, I told my bosses that I would now be working from home until they could guarantee eight solid hours of work a week. I refused to be a space heater. ** Warning: This did get me fired one of three of my positions **

Fast forward to earlier this year. I was starting my own software firm going between building iOffertory and doing development consulting. I didn't go and buy time at some co-office space or anything. Instead, I setup my desk at home. At first, it was strange, I acted like I worked in an office building.

The only time I could spend with my family was before and after work (sometimes at lunch). Waiting on clients, I would sit at my desk and do nothing again. I'd take some of this time to learn new skills and techniques but it was still "my company's time" in my head. Then something drastic changed in my mindset.

If you are in a creative field (I'm not sure if it pertains as much to more button down professions), you likely have times when you are "in the zone". This is that time where you have incredible bursts of productivity. Well, I started something crazy: if I wasn't in the zone and didn't have anything on my plate, I'd leave my desk. Sometimes that was to go walk my dog, other times, I'd just take the day off and get lost in thought. Then, when I would come back hours (sometimes days) later, it seemed like I could just throw the switch on and be in the zone. Yes, sometimes this meant working 18 hour days to kill a feature, but then I'd take days off.

Suddenly, I found that not only was I excited to work, but I could take time to be myself. I took trips to see my friends out of town, helped care for my grandmother, and helped my brother move. I was hooked, working in an office seemed like something that would kill me now.

Enter multiple job offers in San Fransisco, New York, Downtown Atlanta, and Chicago. The money was crazy (in fact, my brother just about hit me for turning away one of the offers). But there was no freedom. In a job that I was working alone, I would be forced to not only go into an office, but move to somewhere that I had no desire of living in? It drove me nuts. I even told one of the companies that I wasn't looking for a job in an office. Their response?

We have couches, an XBox, and a ping-pong table. It's a comfortable place to work. Sometimes they even let employees bring in their pets.

Really? Is that what it takes for me to be comfortable? Why should my office recreate the comforts of home when I could just as easily do my job from…

And I really want a drum roll here


I already have a TV with all of my PS3 games, I can walk my dog any time I want, and I could care less about ping-pong: I'd rather play my guitar (and really loudly at that). I just don't get it. Collaboration software has gotten to be incredible. Things like HipChat, Google Hangout, and Skype really do most of the work that you could get done in person. And when you do need that extra touch of face-to-face time, it's great to have a company meeting every week, month, quarter or whatever works for you.

Even now, I work roughly nine to five for my current company, but I work remotely. I check in to Pivotal Tracker, check my emails, and ask my bosses what else there is to do. Then I have my marching orders for the day. I jump in a Google Hangout with the development team and code.

Sometimes I have a deadline that means I'm going to be working straight until 10 PM. Other days, it's a bit more flexible and I might work some in the morning, work out and take a break until 3 then pick back up and finish off some work late at night. The best thing is that on days where I am waiting on clients, I'm not stuck in someone else's space. I try and help my team, but then I know that I have Google Hangout on my phone, a Freedom Spot in my back pack, and I can go for a bike ride or a walk. This was awesome for moving in and even better for spending real time with friends and now my church family.

There are downsides to this though. While you get to dictate your schedule 90% of the time: there are times where this freedom ends. A client deadline creeps up, bugs are found in a legacy product, whatever. It means that you have to drop plans for that day and tend to the fires and play exterminator. Honestly, I can say, I wouldn't have it any other way.