“It’s been 10 years now and it still feels like yesterday.”
That was how Mr. Michael Oliver “Mike” Gaerlan put it as he reflected on the past ten years working from home.
Mike happens to be “Contractor No. 00001″ for Kinetic Innovating Staffing—which entered the remote work scene in 2013.
“I started Dec 04, 2013, and it was my first Work-from-Home (WFH) job,” he recalled.
“I was hired by Steph. She called me and said she saw my CV on LinkedIn. She introduced herself and the company and said they were looking for a candidate.”
He had just finished his contract as a Quality Assurance Analyst for the Philippines’ largest telco.
“At that time, I just ended my contract with my previous company so I had nothing to lose.”
“Everything happened so fast.”
Kinetic knew it had a good one in Mike. So the company quickly began its vetting process and assessed the candidate.
“Interviews were scheduled, first with Kinetic, then with the client…It was scary and exciting at the same time.”
“After a day or two, came the contract signing. I started 3 or 4 days after the initial call. Everything happened so fast.”
He was then hired as a Software Tester for an established HR consulting firm in Brisbane, Australia.
Mike recalled being very anxious about the whole thing. And understandably so. Not only was it his first time working from home, but back in 2013, working from home mostly meant “freelancing” (which is far different from remote staffing). Freelancing, though it came with the conveniences of working from anywhere, was not without risks.
“I kept hearing not-so-good stories from friends who worked from various freelancing platforms. Some (freelancers) had the experience of not getting paid for weeks of work. That worried me.”
Expectedly, “remote staffing” was an alien concept to Mike, but soon he learned that remote staffing was vastly different from freelancing and that Kinetic provided safety nets for both employer and contractor alike.
“(Kinetic) always kept in touch with me and made sure I was doing fine. They cleared all my worries and helped me a lot.”
“Not as easy as getting off the bed”
Mike is the first to admit that WFH is still hard work.
And as a ten-year veteran, he’s in a great position to help others considering a remote career path.
He has a laundry list of prescriptions for would-be remote professionals.
“WFH is not as easy as getting off the bed and logging in to work,” he said. Be mentally prepared to go into your shift, make sure you’re always online and available, and finish tasks quickly and thoroughly.
Work flexibility is a wonderful privilege, but one needs to wield such freedom properly.
“To be successful working from home, one should still have discipline and work ethic.”
A home environment can house a lot of distractions. Mike, a happily married father of three, knows this all too well. “Keep your focus during working hours,” he makes no bones about it. “You need the smarts to stay focused.” A dedicated and uncluttered workspace free from noise and distractions is a good first step.
But the seasoned pro is also quick to add, “Don’t forget to have a good work-life balance.”
If you want to last as long as he has, take time for yourself and for your family.
But perhaps most important of all, if one is to make the years count, “You got to have the initiative to learn something new. Be proactive and explore new tools,” Mike said.
Remote work often involves industries and roles that rely heavily on technology. In such fields, the tools, software, and best practices are constantly evolving. Staying up-to-date with these changes is crucial to remain effective and competitive.
Mike has kept himself busy by learning new skills over the years.
“I want to be a developer,” the Software Tester revealed, proving that regardless of how seasoned one is, there’s always room for growth.
“Contractor No. 00001” is one worth emulating.
Thank You, Mike…
As a gesture of appreciation, Kinetic presented him with an overnight stay for two in a luxurious suite at the Manila Hotel, a cash gift, a Huawei Fit 2 Smartwatch, and a crystal trophy to commemorate his 10th year with the company.
As we celebrate Kinetic’s 10th year, we would like to express our most profound gratitude to Mr. Michael Oliver “Mike” Gaerlan. He is a pioneering spirit who cleared a path for so many.
Mike’s story is compelling proof of the sustainability and soundness of the work-from-home setup. The number of brilliant Filipino professionals working remotely will only grow in the coming years.
Such is the future of work, and Kinetic, for its part, will continue to facilitate collaborative interactions between employers and their potential employees.
Here’s to more decades…and to more Mikes!