They say that sometimes life can be stranger than fiction. No sh*t, all you Sherlocks out there. You know, after nine years in the good old corporate world and more than ten years in the brave new remote world, I thought I had seen and done it all. Well, I should’ve known better. My story is true through and through, and it all started with a call out of the blue. It turned out that a recruitment agency dug out my old resume. They connected the dots by checking out online what I’d been doing in the meantime. “We’re so happy and excited to inform you that the perfect role presented itself. You have the best of both worlds - corporate and remote. You should feel good about it.” What can I say, vanity took the best of me just like that. The very next day I was already admiring the view from the top software company office. It was surreal. My recruiter and the company’s CEO were throwing compliments at me left and right. “You’re the man, man. We know it. You know it.” What was my role? What was I exactly supposed to do? Well… If It’s too Good to Be True, It Certainly Is In my lousy defense, I have to admit that I neither had the time nor the desire to go through the job description - thoroughly. “You were applying and working. You were recruiting and hiring. You know the industry. You know the people. You’ll do just fine.” The contract on the office desk was staring at me the whole time. Then, it struck me. HR for Happiness?! “If you don’t mind me asking, don’t you have an HR officer already?” “We have an HR team, the whole department actually.” I was scratching my bald head and turning red. “So, this isn’t about recruiting. Right?” “Your role is fully independent. You’ll report directly and only to me. It’s a very important one. You should be proud.” My recruiter, who called me and set up a meeting in the first place, was nodding like crazy at every single CEO’s word. “But, but, you have the whole HR department at your disposal. I have to be honest. I don’t quite get it. Why would you need some outsider, so to speak.” “Are you a Star Trek fan?” “That’s the spirit! Great! I’m sure you know what it means to be emotionally compromised. Am I right?” “Yeah, so your HR guys don’t want to take this one. What’s with this ‘happiness’ thing? Sorry, but I don’t get it.” You Ma-Ma-Ma-Make Me Happy Catch-22 “You just have to make sure our developers are happy. That’s all. As simple as that.” “Well, I’m not sure. Everybody knows you’re the best. Salaries. Perks. You set the standards. I don’t get it.” The CEO got so close that I could see my reflection in his glasses. The recruiter was looking the other way. That puss* in boots. I promised myself to deal with him later, accordingly. “Coding is simple. Feelings are complicated. They’re contagious. They’re spreading very quickly.” That was an interesting choice of words, but I kept my mouth shut. I was in the full self-perseverance mode. “Some of our top coders aren’t happy. They’re very unhappy. I was hoping you can change that. You of all people should understand that.” “We requested that everybody has to get back to the office.” “You mean, work from home is no longer an option?!” “It was only temporary. You saw our building on your way here.” “It’s a spaceship. Really impressive.” “We ain’t renting. We own it. It’s the ten-star hotel for f*ck’s sake!” Oh, somebody is losing his temper. A golden cage is still a cage. Of course, I didn’t say that out loud. “Wouldn’t you be happy to work here? Just look around you. I just don’t get it. How could somebody be unhappy working here?” Well, once you go remote, you don’t want to get back on the office boat. Yup, I kept that one to myself too. Les Misérables of My Mission Impossibles “But, I forgot how many pieces I published about working from home. Practice what you preach. You know. How am I supposed to convince people when I don’t believe it myself? They will see through me. They’ll hate me. They…” Both recruiter and CEO couldn’t stop laughing. “Money ain’t the problem. Name your price. How about a company car?” “A company credit card,” my recruiter wanted to sweeten the deal. “Sure. Pick your office, right away!” I was thinking about my wife. She was at work. A chef’s assistant who used to be a lead generation specialist not so long ago. She was so excited when I got the call. What am I supposed to tell her when I get back home? That I’m a man of principles while she’s paying all the bills?! “You’d be making a small personal sacrifice for a greater good.” “Sir, with all due respect, I’m afraid that I’m emotionally compromised. And, I have to reject your offer.” “You aren’t compromised, you’re f*cked!” The recruiter shouted at me while rushing to open the door for the CEO who was gone with the wind. The Epilogue of My Mission Impossible - Remote Nation Rogue A few days later I got an email from the recruiting agency. They informed me that my resume was deleted from their database - for good. I also heard that the CEO crushed work-from-home “La Résistance” at his company by making new generous offers no sane developer could possibly refuse. My wife axed “N” from “NOMAD.” Meaning, I’m on OMAD (one-meal-a-day) diet. For how long? I guess until I find a new job. Remote or not, she doesn’t care, but I still do.