Another day at the office (photo by Daniel Kernan)

Doing a remote work placement exclusively on Fridays for ten weeks has been weird, but in a good way.

While my experience in the professional world up until this placement was largely comprised of summer jobs working manual labour and one hairdressing gig, I was still somewhat apprehensive about the placement module when I initially signed up for the course. I knew I was ultimately going to be grateful for the opportunity and the lessons it taught me, but I was still… worried.

The reason for this is how my brain works. I enjoy working hard and completing tasks, but also find it incredibly draining and frustrating to sit down and do a single task for eight hours straight. I didn’t even like standing up for it. It’s not that I get bored, so much as I get antsy. I prefer to move around throughout the day and complete work in smaller chunks, broken up by household chores, eating or exercising in some way (dancing is loads of fun).

This mode of working isn’t possible in a traditional office setting. You have your desk and computer (if you’re lucky) and you sit there from 9am to 5pm. You get a lunch break and coffee runs and such, but mostly you’re just required to sit there. I know this works for some people, like my brother, but it doesn’t work for me and others I know.

So, when I actually got the call from Allan with the offer to do my placement with him at Vagabond Voices and he explained to me what he would like me to do, a large cloud of worry was actually lifted from me.

My main assignment was to read a novel by Sibylle Berg (in German) and to write up a report on its potential for being faithfully translated into English, as well as whether it would resonate with UK readers to the same degree it has with their German counterparts. Essentially, it was lots of reading, note-taking and appraisal. These are all things I enjoy doing anyway, but being required to work from home due to restrictions actually ended up allowing me to work the way I wanted to.

On Fridays, I would begin work at 9am and would usually call it a day by 7 or 8pm. Of course, as I mentioned above, this was not me working the whole time. I would break it up into chunks of a few hours at a time and do other everyday things in between as a break; such as exercise, cleaning and cooking. This allowed me to not become fatigued or restless while I was working and resulted in me being more efficient and focused when I was actually working. I was giving my mind the space to breathe and move around freely. This combined with weekly or fortnightly calls with Allan to discuss my progress and thoughts, as well as have the odd lovely chat, altogether provided a very positive working experience.

I repeat; doing a remote work placement exclusively on Fridays for ten weeks has been weird, but in a good way. The freedom and sovereignty I was granted to organise my own schedule and work flow was a very positive and rewarding affair. While none of us really know what the future holds, I would be very happy if I once again had the chance to work from home.