Designing Your Own Path: From Corporate Conformity to Remote Work Freedom

Designing Your Own Path: From Corporate Conformity to Remote Work Freedom

I believe that life is about experiences and embracing each and every single moment of it. I’m also convinced that ownership of our own decisions is the only way to fulfillment. We can’t possibly count on others to make the best choices for us. And well, it took me quite a while to figure these things out so that I could begin designing my own journey

How did it all come together?

I am a third-culture kid, with American, Polish and German roots. I speak five languages and I have lived in several countries. It’s been just a few years since I found out that this has been the reason for me being a non-conformist, constantly seeking my own life path and challenging the status quo. However, everything that I do today didn’t just happen overnight. I actually had to fight with social patterns, expectations and cliches. Against all odds.

Right after law school, I dreamt about a corporate career. It felt like a gateway to success and professional growth. I remember walking down the street, looking up to skyscrapers and hundreds of people sitting behind their desks. I actually envied the fact that they stayed at work long hours, that they had no private life and that they were all wearing similar clothes. It meant they were privileged. At least that’s the bias that I was being fed with for years. Long story short, I’ve decided to get a similar job and begin my success story.

I remember I bought a grey skirt and a white shirt as this was expected. I went into the office with enthusiasm to find myself sitting in front of a computer and tons of paperwork…for hours. These hours turned into weeks. I quickly realized that my mouth felt dry, my eyes were itchy and I fell in love with the coffee machine, being the only entertainment during the day. Well, I was unhappy. This was the first time when I decided that I had to change my life. Needless to say, everyone thought I was completely crazy.

A wind of change

Nadia Harris x Nomad Buddy _ 2

I decided to jump and burn all bridges so I moved overseas from Europe to the US. I was ready to pursue my American dream. Luckily, I got a great, corporate job within just a few days where I was supposed to work with other branches, all around the world. What a dream! I still remember the feeling when I was driving my first car on the highway. The sun was shining, I was holding a coffee mug in my hand, looking around with a smile on my face, seeing hundreds of Americans commuting to work. I felt ecstatic, seriously. I thought I was finally happy.

Unfortunately, this joy didn’t last long. This time it wasn’t the coffee machine that was my entertainment as employees could only use the company kitchen during official breaks. So I found myself wandering back and forth to the bathroom to leave my cubicle. I was staring in the mirror with anger and disappointment towards myself. “What is it that you want for goodness sake!?”. I felt lost as I had no idea what I was looking for. I just knew that this wasn’t it. Consequently, I started checking work opportunities in other cities, believing that this would be some kind of solution

Then, a miracle happened. I literally don’t remember where I was sending my CV but I got an interview invitation from a translation company based in California. They immediately hired me, explaining that I would be working as a freelancer in all the languages that I speak. I would also be designing my own schedule, wherever and whenever it worked best for me. Of course, in the beginning I thought it was a scam… But I quickly noticed that the side hustle started paying real money. I could finally be free.

The beginning of my part-time nomadic lifestyle

Due to family reasons, I moved back to Europe. This time, I didn’t have to be super stressed out about work as I already had several gigs that I knew were enough to live on. And I could stop right here… but I wouldn’t be me. I believe in constant growing and educating myself so I’ve decided to completely redesign my career from law to HR. I got a job in talent acquisition where I could work with candidates from all over the world. That’s how I knew I had the impact to change their lives, while learning more about them and their cultures. Of course, I kept getting more and more side hustles on various freelance portals. It was fun!

Traveling in Europe is very easy. You can literally jump on a plane and have lunch in Florence, dinner in Paris or breakfast on a Greek island. That’s exactly what I started doing. Every time I made money on my side hustles, I planned another and another trip. It was so frequent that it has become a routine until this day. Why? Because I’m hungry to feel, smell and touch different experiences. It’s what feeds my soul. The more I get to know and understand, the richer I feel inside. That’s also how I “connect all the dots” and I’m not afraid to challenge today’s mainstream work routines.

All these experiences made me think that I’d like to create more impact within the world of work. I looked back at my previous career path and thought that it would be great if I could do something so that people from all over the world would have equal opportunities to join great companies, no matter where they come from or live. That’s why I ended up doing an MBA and later also another, international legal degree, specializing in labor law. Suddenly, it all started making sense. Building future workplaces is something that I’m absolutely passionate about today. That’s why I founded 

Seeking inspiration is my motivation

Nadia Harris x Nomad Buddy _ 3

Many people ask me what my routine looks like today. I always respond that I have two different rounties. One – when I stay home and another one – when I travel. As mentioned before, I call myself a part-time digital nomad as I have a home where I return all the time. However, it’s endless trips that I take on a regular basis. I also have no favorite destination as every place is special. All locations give you different feelings and thoughts. They teach you various things about both life and yourself.

Today, I’ve reached a point where I don’t need to ask anyone for permission to do what makes me feel good. For a long time, people questioned my approach. A few years ago, I even heard the following words: “Nadia, you’re so smart – wouldn’t you like to have a real job?”. Well, I definitely have one now. I work with flexible companies from all around the world, no matter where I am.

If I can give people advice then it’s simple. Never give up on yourself and live up to your expectations. Don’t listen to others if you wouldn’t like to be in their shoes. Look for inspiration wherever you can and most importantly – discipline yourself. It’s all about persistence. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m sure everyone has a skill they can monetize and become location independent. Of course, it’s not a piece of cake. 

The journey is turbulent and bumpy. 
Remember – great things take time.

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