Working In London


SummaryWhat it's been like working in London for a few days.

I spend the majority of my time writing software for Articulate. This isn’t the offical mantra, but it is how I think of the company:

"Work when you want, where you want; just don’t be a jerk."

Sound too good to be true? It is true.

Articulate is a “remote” or “virtual” company, meaning it has no physical offices anywhere in the world, and everyone works wherever they like. Many of my colleagues work from home, whereas others tend to shift around a bit. It is this freedom that was (and is) a primary driving force for me wanting to work with this company.

Locations Thus Far

London is an expensive town, especially when you’re exchanging American Dollars for British Pounds Sterling. NomadList.IO, a site that ranks cities to work remotely from, does not treat London kindly. At the time of writing, London has a -89 reputation… on a scale where positive is a good thing. While it is an expensive town, it is also incredibly friendly, and there is no shortage of WiFi.

So, where have I worked over the past two days? For starters, I had a small taste of South Kensington. I worked in a small coffee shop 2 blocks from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and around lunch I took a stroll through a few of the free galleries before receiving word that my roommate’s girlfriend was locked in the apartment and could not get out. She was freed soon thereafter when I returned home and unlocked the door.

Today was spent mostly near Clapham Junction (5-10 minute walk from our house) in, first, a Starbucks and then in an Italian cafe up the hill from our house (1-2 minute walk). Starbucks is fantastic for attempting to offer free WiFi to their customers. I’m not sure who started that trend, but it is great. However, in any big city I go to, Starbucks’ WiFi never actually works. It reminds me of the $1/ticket Megabus WiFi in the States (in short, it doesn’t work). Thankful as I am for even having access to the Internet, whereas so many people are without, I require it for my job. And I need it to be fast. Luckily, the little Italian cafe (ran by Francesca and, I believe, her son) have blazing fast internet.

The Experience

I love not working in an office. I love the freedom. I love being able to walk and ride around and do what I want (or need) to do while still being a contributing member of my team.

Many people I know ask me,

"When are you going to get a real job?"

I always respond with, “Oh, I don’t know…” But what I want to say is,

"I have a real job. I have a salary, I have benefits and I have responsibility. Just because your definition of a real job involves long hours, living for weekends and generally hating life does not mean that it is a universal truth by which all must abide."

Instead of spending loads of time during the workday perusing CNN or Reddit or Hacker News, I am out exploring meeting new people and taking in as much as my limited time here will allow me.

London, so far, has been amazing and has allowed me to leave my comfort zone and discover people, places and experiences that I would never have had if I would have just stayed home.