A Small Matter of Proximity…

I won’t lie.  This day has weighed a bit heavily on me.  I thought I had a crack at some contract work today, and silly me, got my hopes up a bit.  But as soon as the interested party found out I didn’t live in the Bay Area, I became a less desirable candidate.  Of course,  maybe down the road some remote work might happen, but he needed someone local to have face time with.  That was a blow.  I need work now.

It got me thinking.  There are so many ways to contribute to the success of a business.  Just how important should face time really be?  In this age of inexpensive video conferencing, and real-time communication via social media like Twitter,  shouldn’t location be more of a moot point?   Shouldn’t other factors take precedence?   What about life experience, professional expertise and good communications skills?

This is a new world we live in, and we all face new realities brought about by a foundering economy.  We all can’t be right where the work is.  But it shouldn’t mean we can’t do the work.

Should it?  I’d be interested in your opinion.

3 thoughts on “A Small Matter of Proximity…

  1. As a freelance journalist/analyst, I find a slow but inevitable trend toward accepting remote work as legitimate. More conservatively run organizations still place a greater value on face time, but as agility becomes ever more critical in business survival, the ability to reach out and integrate with resources wherever they are will grow.

    I still like to get the occasional bit of face time with my more important clients. So I’ll schedule trips in every couple of months. But the majority of the folks I work with have never met me in person. And magically, the quality of my work is all that matters in their decisions to engage me time and again.

  2. I guess it depends on the job. It also depends on who the firm’s clients are. I have clients with whom I communicate only by email and an occasional snail mail even though we are all in the bay area. The firm I work for has clients who haven’t set foot in the office for years. But it’s an important part of the service we provide that clients know we are available to them in whatever way they are comfortable with; those who want to can come into the office for a personal interview every year however unnecessary that is. It’s important to some of my own clients that I can come to them. (Some of them really do need it because there is no way they could organize their own records, and some are just used to it.) So my immediate thought is that the person who turned you down may have been thinking less of his own preferences than of those of the people he works for.

  3. Hi Cathy. Sorry to hear that you didn’t get that contract today. As someone who does marketing for a company that’s located exactly 2254 miles from home, the issue of “face time” continues to baffle me.

    We use Skype everyday. We share our screens. And we make it work. If anything, your prospective client’s issue with distance most likely points to his own insecurities and inability to manage from afar.

    Don’t be discouraged. I’m sure something great will land in your lap soon.

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