You work on the Internet? {How she does it}

You work on the Internet? {How she does it}

So you work on the Internet

We’re continuing a guest post series on the blog today called How She Does It (just like the book). Today’s post comes from Jacey Verdicchio. Join me in welcoming her to the blog! 

My work life is unconventional. I’m part of the growing contingent of women (and men) who work primarily online.

My self-driven schedule allows me to hit Trader Joe’s at 1:00 on a Wednesday, successfully avoiding the weekend crowds. On the other hand, I’m writing this on Sunday morning before church, because work of some kind is always within reach.

My work days are split between writing and blog related tasks, virtual assistant work, customer care for The Influence Network and managing the Naptime Diaries shop. All together, this combination of “work” takes 35-40 hours a week.

Notice how I put “work” in quotations? It’s not that I’m operating from a “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” philosophy, but because I’m still insecure about the nature of my work.

My past jobs punching a clock left a profound impact, to the point that not punching one flares up a vague and lingering fear that I’m never working hard enough.How-She-does-it-3d-White

Most days, I feel grateful and well suited for the work I do, but there are underlying insecurities constantly at play. I’m grateful for the freedom and choices my work gives me, but I’m paying the (unnecessary) price of feeling guilty and inadequate.

Why? Well, there’s money, for one thing. I don’t earn as much as I could on a more traditional career track, and I don’t yet have children as a natural justification. (This isn’t to say that working nontraditionally is always less lucrative, or that it always will be for me, of course. But right now, it is.)

Some of my work isn’t paid directly: blogging, writing ebooks, networking, research, or virtual assistant work I do for free for the experience and referral potential. The payoff isn’t directly in sight or even guaranteed.

My husband and I agree that the immediate financial sacrifice is worth it. My work choices align well with our long term goals, but they’re a sacrifice nonetheless.

Every so often, I apply for traditional real estate or sales jobs. Sometimes I even interview. I research the MBA program at the college where my husband teaches and daydream about what success would look like down those paths.

Every time, I dig my heels deeper in the path I’m walking. Ultimately, it still feels worth it to me. I’m learning to take the uncertainty in stride and answer the “what do you do?” question less awkwardly.

From a financial perspective, I have no idea if these years will prove a good investment. I do know there’s something to be said for forging your own path, for playing to your strengths, and working hard toward something that matters to you.

By those measures, I’m winning, and I feel grateful to even have the choices I do. I realize that many (most?) women aren’t grappling with the questions around what they want to do because their energy is consumed by what they have to do.

It’s something of a gift to work on my own terms for any money at all. Is it worth the cost? Maybe. Ask me in ten years, but my strong suspicion is yes.

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Jacey is passionate about living intentionally in the face of real demands, the unexpected, and human nature itself. Her ebook on the topic, Escaping Reaction; Embracing Intention, released in March.

She writes about relationships, faith and personal growth at The Balanced Wife. She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Mike, and golden retriever, Jack.

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  1. LoriM says:

    Very interesting! I’m at the other end of life – also with no biological children, and looking forward to retirement in just a few years, but I will not yet be 60. I have thought a lot about working – maybe not 40 hours a week, but something – in areas just like this (virtual assistant, technical writing), when we retire. We hope to split our time between our little house on Lake Huron and a condo in Clearwater, FL, and I think an Internet job would fit that lifestyle perfectly. Hmmmm. And I have struggled my entire working life with thinking I should be doing something “more” than being a secretary. Part of me knows it suits me perfectly. And part of me feels I COULD do something more challenging (although admin work can be a lot more challenging than many people think it is). My recently collegge-graduated niece shared this article with me recently – it resonated with both of us.

  2. Anna says:

    I love, love love Jacey’s honesty!! I worked part-time before we adopted our oldest, partly by choice and partly because I finished grad school in August 2008 which was not a good time to be starting out as a librarian. My search for other local jobs never went anywhere. I felt guilty because I knew I could theoretically earn much more than I was making, but now I’m so grateful we learned to live on our income because with two boys in two years I can still work my work around them and while things are tight, we aren’t totally scrambling to figure it out. Also, I now work virtually. I write curriculum for my dad’s company and I’m working on writing in private with the goal of writing an e-book. I’ve thought about being a virtual assistant. Virtual work feels so – fragile, I guess? – I always feel like it could go away so fast. But I’m grateful that I have this because it’s working really well for our little family right now. I also feel a little frustrated because I don’t earn anything near what my potential is with my education, yet to pursue that would mean not pursuing motherhood in the way I feel is best for our family. It’s a balance. Thanks for sharing your story!!

  3. Jenny says:

    I haven’t figured out how to make money from my blog yet, but I hear it takes at least three years before you can get the following you need.
    I used to be an assistant for someone, but there weren’t enough boundaries, I was expected to work immediately and at any time. It was crazy stressful on me and my family. Had to quit.

  4. Anne says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Jacey. Keep forging on. You sound like you’re on the right path! I thought that was really interesting that interviewing and checking out programs made you dig your heels into what you are already doing. That’s very telling. 🙂 If I were a betting woman, I would say that your years invested will indeed pay off. All the best to you!! 🙂

  5. Victoria says:

    For about two years I worked full time for an Internet marketing company; all our team members work remotely! Since having a baby in January, I’ve taken on a part time schedule at that company – working two days a week. Because we’re a marketing business, we do have set traditional hours, but we can work those hours from anywhere. It’s a nice way to have that assurance of working for ‘punch-in/punch-out’ company with loads of flexibility. I’ve also started doing more freelance work now that I’m part-time, and it is nice to enjoy working those projects whenever I make time! Thanks for sharing your experience, Jacey 🙂 Love getting those Naptime Diaries emails!

  6. Shay says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m in the same boat as you, working from home (online) and not punching a clock for the first time in 5 years. There IS always work to do, but I love the freedom to run an errand and not *have* to be back within my one hour lunch break. It’s an adjustment, but yes, it totally aligns with our future goals as well. Keep up the good work! Wishing you much success and blessings.


  7. I just started working online full-time and it is really hard sometimes. I love it but it has its own challenges. I also have a hard time explaining to people that I do work from home. They just don’t quite get it yet.

  8. I love that you + your hubby have pursued this path b/c it aligns well with your long-term goals. It is a gift to have this choice and my guess is it’ll be worth it for y’all in the end, too. Big Balanced Wife fan over here 🙂

  9. Jessica says:

    As someone who is just getting her toes in the water when it comes to working online, I appreciate this post. I have always loved the idea of being a writer, but find that I’m often too scared to admit that to my family and my in-laws especially. On the other side, however, I feel them thinking I’m not reaching my potential by working the two part time “real” jobs that I have. I am always glad to hear similar stories and wish you the best of luck!

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