As you might have guessed from the article’s title, the focus on this article will be horror stories. Since it’s almost Halloween again, I figured now’s the perfect time to tell some horror stories. And not just any horror stories, mind you, but online work horror stories. Don’t worry; these stories don’t contain any monsters, at least not fictional ones.
Though that may be the case, these stories are a different kind of scary. These are stories when remote work goes wrong due to circumstances, the remote worker’s superiors, or both. Also included in this article are ways you can avoid these remote office blues yourself. As more and more Filipinos shift to online jobs, it is necessary to know these red flags while job hunting.
The first in our online work horror stories comes from one of my co-workers in the marketing team. Before he started working in Remote Staff, he worked for this very demanding client. The arrangement between them seemed simple at first. The client will give the topics to him in the morning, and the deadline for the articles is at 5 pm.
When he began to work for the client, he noticed that the work environment was very toxic. His manager was very unapproachable and demanded a lot from him, despite this not being his only job. The last straw was one weekend where after submitting his work in the afternoon, he suddenly got a message at 7 pm from his client.
The message contained what he needed to edit on his work. When he asked when these edits were due, the client replied that they needed it before midnight. The problem is, he was doing something else at the time his client messaged him. After finishing the article, he immediately resigned from that work on Monday.
Horrible Work Requirements.
The next of our remote work horror stories deals with horrible work requirements. Yes, you read that right. Even in remote work, some companies continue to treat their employees like slaves. This story also came from one of my co-workers in the marketing team.
Back in 2014, before she worked for one of Remote Staff’s predecessor companies, she used to work for a company that outsourced writing jobs. There, she had to make 5,000-word e-books for a variety of topics within 48 hours. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of me writing seven or more articles of this size within two days.
And what does she get for all her efforts? 800 pesos per e-book. I don’t know about you, but 800 pesos for doing something that usually takes weeks to do seems like a nightmare.
Juggling Several Jobs at Once and Delayed Salaries.
Although not as bad as the previous online work horror stories, this story is still pretty scary. At least to someone like me, that is. Another thing that separates this story from the previous ones is that it didn’t come from my co-workers. This story comes from one of my remote working friends instead.
My friend works several jobs while taking her master’s. This one time, she had a scheduled meeting at 1 pm on the same day. To make matters worse, she also has graduation practice during this time.
Before this, she had three jobs that all had meetings at 1 pm. These meetings would usually extend until 2 pm. If this work setup is already sounding bad, don’t worry, it gets worse. At 1:30 pm, she also has to interview eight applicants for a job. And she had to do all of these tasks simultaneously.
You may then ask, “why does she put up with such horrible work schedules?” Because one of her jobs is not paying her on time. Despite the government’s efforts to improve employee salaries and the growth of remote work during this pandemic, companies continue to refuse to hire new workers.
How to Avoid these Online Work Horror Stories?
After hearing these stories, you may be thinking: “How do I avoid experiencing these online work horror stories myself?” For starters, ALWAYS check the contract before signing it. If you find a part of it that you feel uncomfortable with or is beyond your skills, don’t sign it. Also, remember that you do not have to sign anything if you haven’t signed the contract yet.
Another way to avoid experiencing these stories is by noticing the red flags at your work and taking them seriously. If you’re not receiving your salary on time, or perhaps the work environment is toxic, don’t be afraid to raise your concerns to your boss.
And finally, if you’ve tried everything else and it’s still challenging to work on your current job, it might be wise to seek employment elsewhere. And yes, I know how hard it is to find a job these days, but sacrificing yourself for short-term gains seems not worth it.
Remote Work is Not All Rainbows and Sunshine.
Although the growing popularity of remote work has been a boon to many, not everyone’s experience with it has been positive. I know that there are many other online work horror stories that I haven’t mentioned, but I didn’t want to scare you further.
Although incidents like these do happen, they must not dissuade you from trying out remote work. As the people who experienced these events have found better employment opportunities after leaving their toxic jobs. And if you find yourself in these situations, don’t forget that there are ways to solve or escape them.