In his first corporate job, Matt Edwards received some advice that never really aligned with his visions.
“You can be remote if you want a job, but if you want a career, you need to be in an office.”
Matt Edwards, VP Customer Success at Cobalt
Several years later, working for Cobalt, a tech startup specializing in penetration testing as a service, his role as VP Customer Success had all the hallmarks of the career he had set out for. Good colleagues, stimulating work, good pay, and a great city to enjoy his after-hours.
While the well-intentioned guidance he received in his early years may have held true a year ago, the Covid-19 pandemic and the changing industry practices would surely have rendered the advice obsolete.
Pandemic woes for the family
Matt hails from Machias, Maine. A quick inspection of a map verifies that while he was living in San Francisco, he was closer to Hawaii than Home.
His career trajectory was heading upwards, all the while his family farm some 3,500 miles away selling CBD oil was also bearing the brunt of the economic downturn. Other farmers in the region were going bankrupt and he was nowhere nearby. Matt was desperate to help them out from Corporate bankruptcy.
With impeccable timing and good fortune, Cobalt was rapidly outgrowing its office space in San Francisco. The company had brought up the idea of becoming a remote-first company as early as January 2020. Their decision was all too easy with the arrival of the pandemic. Matt could keep his job while returning to his family.
From a personal finance perspective it was quite obvious too. A tiny apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world just to enjoy indoor isolation? Escaping California was a no-brainer. But preferring to social distance, flying wouldn’t really be an option.
Now permanently on the road, Matt would park his RV wherever he sees fit.
Cue the purchase of a recreational vehicle with a retractable 20ft aerial for connectivity, and an epic journey home. His route was possibly the furthest point-to-point journey one can make within the Contiguous 48 States. With his Italian Mastiff for company, their journey home took three weeks, all without missing a single day of work and being able to manage his team of 40 remotely.
He arrived in good time and was able to assist in transforming the farm from one of the smallest to the largest in the region. Job done then, and back on the road.
I was able to catch him while he was in Indiana for some maintenance work on his RV. Slow travel was the name of the game and he was heading westwards. I asked where he was going but he didn’t know either.
Judging by the stunning photos, social distancing didn’t appear to be the slightest of concerns. Acres of space, none of the hubbub of San Francisco, allowing Matt to remain as focussed on his job as ever while enjoying his love of outdoor sports.