Waiting Is The Hardest Part

March 4, 2010

This post is part of the Editorial Calendar Plugin for WordPress team series. We take a first-hand look at a far-flung open source team as it forms, communicates, resolves problems, and (hopefully) succeeds. Stay up to date with the whole series.

It’s been a week since the first patch on the WordPress editorial calendar and I haven’t heard anything. No phone calls, no emails, not even an IM. And I’m waiting.

This is the hardest part about telecommuting. Sometimes you’re alone until your coworkers reach out. I’m waiting for them and feel stuck. I could call them, but it’s too soon. I glance at the phone for the third time in 10 minutes.

Most projects fix this problem with status meetings. I’m always reluctant to add another meeting, but hearing the voices of your teammates makes a real difference. We don’t have regular status meetings here since the project is just part-time.

My one savior is Basecamp. There’s a calendar where I can see some movement. A few new meetings get scheduled.

No news is bad news

This is the time when my telework fears rear their ugly head. What if they’re sick of the project? What if they’re annoyed with me? Do they want me to leave them alone? Are they mad I haven’t called?

Then I get distracted by something else and things feel a little better. Working remotely means self-sufficiency, but buying your desk chair and fixing your own email is the easy part. Emotional self-sufficiency is harder. In the office we’d chat, I’d see them work, I’d know if they’re avoiding me.

Telecommuters have to get used to waiting.

…I think I’ll call them right now.

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