Finally, I’ve done it. Most people said it was mad, some tried to convince me it would never work. But I just felt it could work, and more importantly it had to work. Work. That’s what I would still do, just do it on my terms. I didn’t set out with the intention to deceive anyone. I just wanted to find a way that I could satisfy my need to live somewhere different, in a different country to my current place of work. I’ve never been good at following strict rules. So corporate life has always been a bit of a struggle. Truth is, I can do it for a while – increasingly that translates to about 2 or 3 years maximum – and then the rebellion kicks in. And then I need to follow my rules. And this was always the case.
A near-death experience forced me to look long and hard at my current situation… and I decided to change it. Some things I wanted to keep; the job, and my colleagues – these were positives. However the commute was unbearable. Ditto the same small market town in which I’ve live in for 17 years. It began to feel like a prison, where I was constantly monitored for my movements and reported back on. Yes, I was in Waitrose again, and spotted on the 18.05 train home. Oh, I had a new car, new bag, new haircut. And spied out having coffee with a friend – who knew we were friends? Boring.
The negatives started to outweigh the middle-class, middle of the road life. So I changed it. I changed it for all of us – husband, son and daughter. Let’s move – to Spain. Let’s live in the sun, and have a better life. And I’ll commute. To London, every week. I work in IT – and remote working is exactly what we facilitate. Absolutely no reason why I couldn’t continue my role as the Marketing Director which essentially involves, well, directing. Over email and conference calls, as much as face-to-face meetings. Thorny issue of telling my boss, the CEO, and others within the Senior Management Team. Should I ask? Tell them? Whilst it shouldn’t be any concern to others as to where you actually live, old behavioural norms pervade and usually you share. Perhaps legally there would have been issues if I stopped paying my taxes, my UK house mortgage etc. but this would all stay the same. I just knew that telling my company would raise some eyebrows, and most likely cast a shadow over my commitment to my job. How on earth could I manage my team, without the commute from the Home Counties into London two or three times per week? So I decided to not say anything – just to start with, just to see how it went. Give it a few months, get into a routine – make sure they saw no change in my performance or output.
And so it commenced, the weekly commute, swapping the train for a plane. Mostly in secret, although a few are aware. Keeping to my old habits of being in the office twice a week, and working additionally hard when at my villa in Spain, just to prove I’m still committed. Horrible hours on planes, not always direct. With often interesting observations, some stressful times, but like a double-agent, maintaining my infidelity.
If you want to know how I get on… read The Secret Commuter.