Today Virtual Coffee Chat will be different. Luis has a new topic to talk about. Did you know he was a surgeon and quit his job to work remotely? Let’s find out why!
What were the reasons for changing his lifestyle and work? Watch the video to find out!
Hello, and welcome to Virtual Coffee Chat. Today is going to be a different episode. I am going to tell you why I quit my job as a dental surgeon in order to do remote work. So that’s it. Let’s go to Virtual Coffee Chat. Nice espresso shot. And by the way, not sure if the mic is picking it up, if the mic is picking it up, but my neighbor is having a little bit trouble with his alarm, with his car alarm. No one is getting stolen. It’s just a technical difficulty. So apologies for the background noise. It’s outside my control.
In any case, why did I stop being a dental surgeon? I have to admit I had it pretty good here in Portugal as a dental surgeon. I graduated with decent marks, and I didn’t have my own clinic, but I managed to work at a couple of the top clinics in the region. So was letting me afford a particularly comfortable lifestyle, but not really enjoy it because I was working long hours. I was working between eight to 12 hours a day. A couple of times, actually, how dumb do you need to be in order for this to happen a couple of times and not just the one. You should learn your lesson at the first time. I fell asleep while driving home and almost got in a car accident, not once, twice. So that was, even though bank account was okay, clearly something was wrong.
And curiously enough, almost dying twice wasn’t enough. I really realized that it was breaking me when I was looking for my car. I was looking for my car at the parking lot and I felt, “Oh my God, someone stole my car. I can’t find it anywhere.” And then I was heading home stressed and wanting to call the police, wanting to call the cops. And then I just walked by my car. I literally forgot where I had parked the car. And instead of realizing that, instead of realizing, “Oh, well, I don’t remember where I parked my car,” I was sure that I had parked it there and that it had been stolen, which is ridiculous in Portugal because crime here is super low. Crime here is ridiculously low. There’s almost none. But anyway, that was the situation.
So yeah, I was burning out. So I took the decision to slowly make a career change. No, I did not become a barista. I did not brew artisanal coffee. But maybe I should have. But instead, instead, I decided that I would push on my writing because I’d enjoyed writing. I’d done a lot of writing before med school. I worked at video game websites. Then while I was a dentist, I also worked on a fantasy book, a fantasy fiction book. That sold quite well. It was nice. So I was reasonably confident in my writing skills. And I thought that if I worked at it, I could make it into a full-time thing. So I started doing it, started picking up freelance jobs. I didn’t quit being a dentist, being a dental surgeon immediately. I tried to juggle both things as well as I could until I managed to make a decent amount, a decent amount of money while writing.
Now, that’s when I met Sharon Koifman. Sharon Koifman is a good friend of mine and the founder of DistantJob. He became a good friend of mine after working for many years. And he is the founder of DistantJob, a remote recruitment agency. And that was, even though I had been working remotely for a long time back in my video game writing days, I never thought it was a thing. But with Sharon, I found the missing piece to fit into another puzzle that I was facing at the time, which was my then fiancée.
So my fiancée at the time, she had a very nasty disease. She had multiple sclerosis. It really, it’s a disease, an autoimmune disorder that truly puts you down. It makes it harder to move. It makes you randomly lethargic. And it has a whole lot of nasty side effects that society effectively classifies you as disabled. And in fact, her brother had also a disabled situation. He got into a motorcycle accident and he got paralyzed from the waist down. And I lived, I was daily with these people. I interacted with them and I saw the struggles that they had to go through in order to build careers like they deserve, because there was nothing wrong with their capacity to do their work. One was a logistics professional. The other one was a marketing professional. And knowing about their problems, their health issues, impeded them from being great at that job.
Yet, despite there being legislation to prevent discrimination, et cetera, it was still a struggle. Even when offices were fully disability-friendly, there still are struggles because, for example, in the case of multiple sclerosis, you don’t know when your episodes will strike. So it’s harder to maintain a normal work schedule. Your productivity varies more than other people, and you kind of need to work with that flow. And for people in wheelchairs, it’s always a struggle, even if the office is completely wheelchair-friendly. Getting there, it’s not as pleasant. And again, despite laws against discrimination existing, laws are nice, but people find workarounds. You can always say, “Oh, well, we found a candidate with better experience, yada yada yada.”
So I was looking at the situation where, in the best case, the office was not a fit to help the people that were close to me grow their careers. And in the worst case, the system was outright discriminating against them. And that was very frustrating. And then again, back to the point where I met Sharon. What I realized working with Sharon and DistantJob, what I realized then was that remote work is a way to help these people with disabilities get an even opportunity, get the same opportunity as people that don’t have those disabilities. It evens the playing field. Because if you remove the office, you remove so much of what causes their struggles.
Just, I mean, you’re looking at this video at me. You have no idea what’s going on down here. I could potentially live in a wheelchair and you would never know. And that’s great because it removes subconscious bias. So I felt that that was it. That was going to be a game changer for people that were perfectly able to build incredible careers, but don’t because they don’t fit the system. So I decided that I was going to focus on DistantJob and Sharon Koifman as my primary client. And that, eventually, led to me and Sharon forming a relationship. And he invited me to become director of content marketing at DistantJob.
And I said yes, because no matter how much more I was making as a dentist, it’s hard for a content manager to get paid more than a dentist, but it didn’t matter because I can help people as a dentist, dentists help people every day. I’ve worked in cancer wards. So I could even say that some dentists help save lives. But you only influence one person at a time and there’s limit to how much you can scale that. Whereas with remote work, I felt like I could make a real difference in the lives of millions of people that struggled, just as my fiancée and her brother struggled.
So yeah, I took that opportunity and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve seen remote work change the lives of many, many, many people, mine included. All the problems that I had, well, it’s not to say that I don’t burn out every now and then. I’m bad at knowing when to stop working. I realize that that’s my flaw, But I have sunlight every day, at least that, at least that. So it definitely changed my life as well, albeit not as importantly as that of people with disabilities.
So this was a long one. I need to finish my espresso. That was my story. What’s yours? Tell me in the comments, please, how did remote work change your life or the life of someone you cared about? Please let me know in the comments. If there are good stories, maybe I’ll even read them, with the appropriate permission, of course. And if you enjoyed this video, please press like and subscribe for more. You can press the subscribe button right below the video. And also if you press the little bell, you’re going to be notified when a new video comes out.
I’ve been doing these daily now, except for a couple of logistics hiccups. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue doing those dailies. I’m trying to reevaluate the show. But don’t worry. It’s not the last you’ve heard from me. You will get more videos very soon. So ring that bell. And if you want to learn more about how to build your remote working career, go to thinkremote.com, where we share the latest remote work news, guides, tips, tricks, and how-to’s. This was Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis. See you tomorrow.