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Vipul Gupta
Vipul Gupta

Posted on • Originally published at on

4 months of full-time remote: Hits, Misses, and Infectious Initiative

In the last 4 months, I pseudo graduated without a farewell, couldn’t see my friends for the last time, joined a new role at a startup, put on several hats at work, organized meetups, mini-confs, and now helping out with a major Python conference who’s tickets are selling out crazy fast. Subtle promotion tactic, I know. I experimented, grew out to do new things, built my remote setup, and now here’s me writing about the hit, misses, and infectious initiative about remote work of my past 4 months in a world that is burning both figuratively and literally. Let’s begin.

It’s has been something I been thinking about for a long time.
From the @gooadvicecupcake on Instagram!

While all of this has been happening, I have been experiencing a rather strange feeling. I confessed the same to many people, in an attempt to subdue or share it but I thought it be helpful to put it to words. It’s a feeling of being at calm. People that know me, know that I rarely stay calm at one point in life. Yet, these days I am at peace in my core. Don’t get me wrong, I am still hustling. I am restless and trying to learn, build, and work upwards both personally and professionally like everyone else.

It’s strange because this feeling started to take shape when college officially ended for me. Before that, months used to go by with the usual panic, stress, exhaustion, and restlessness of assignments, side projects, getting a good job, grades, or life. Trying to make the most of college life by doing everything I reasonably can. It’s a tremendous rat race from the very start and this blog is my way of stopping for a breath. Try and look back at the journey, and switch over to the race of unadulterated real life.

I finished my previous race haphazardly no thanks to Covid19 and 2020. Even though the stakes are now much higher than before. I feel strangely content these days when I look back at young Vipul who was starting all of this up in 2016 with my first day on campus.

I have been writing this draft for quite some time now. Often having trouble trying to map it all this into words of how this change came about and what exactly lead to it. I feel it is mostly about this new adventure I have taken on in 2020. This blog will be about penning down all the hits, misses, and infectious initiative I have experienced that lead to this incredible feeling. Hope this helps you as someone who is going through something similar in life and looking for a silver lining in their 2020.

[Major hit] Remote @ balena is just a blast! It has been a great 4 months.

In one of my previous blog, I gave a fair view of how tough was it get a remote job as a fresher. I have been helping out several individuals in the community with the spirit of paying it forwards.

My work outcome for first month, Party Balena! Check out my project, PartyStarter

Regardless, my core advice still remains. “Interview the company as they interview you” and I am glad every day of choosing to work at balena. The culture and the product is market-tested, mature, and driven on strong feedback with years of iteration. The team is great, and still ticks every checkbox I ever had for my first full-time commitment. We have a flat hierarchy with a focus on support driven development which helps me make more impact and learn deeply about balena’s use-cases in the field. With hack Fridays, donut calls, freedom to diversify work, and solved timezone problem. I am glad to say remote @ balena has been a great experience overall.

[Hit] Paid to work in open-source

I didn’t wanna write about this… but it’s such a good feeling.

Image credit to and licensed under CC BY 4.0

I have been working in open-source for about 4 years now. So it made sense for me to continue working in that direction whether it was working on my initiative, Mixster or when I am taking up a full-time serious commitment like balena. Something I have been really enjoying is the freedom to continue my work of contributing to open-source and staying connected to my grassroots. Balena itself contributes back to open-source through several projects and takes pride in itself being a good citizen of FOSS which I immensely love about the team. Someways, it just feels like I am being paid to contribute to open-source, and again it’s quite fulfilling in itself!

[Miss] Taking your time when starting up, also go easy yourself!

Care for yourself, like Cuppy does!
From the @gooadvicecupcake on Instagram

When onboarding at a new job, try to take up as much time as you like to learn the ropes, processes, and tasks of the company. Don’t feel guilty nor obsessive about how much time you are spending to learn the product in-depth. Turns out, it really helps to know the overview of what the company and its products are all about. Read blogs, articles, case studies, documentation, and internal guides detailing more on what to do and especially what NOT to do. As always ask questions. I am counting it as a miss because I like to keep improving with the same mindset.

[Hit & Miss] Making the right intro + Over communicate responsibly

On your first day, you expect to meet your colleagues, team, and everyone else in the company. It’s always exciting and really makes me anxious thinking about it. I am a huge advocate of living in the moment. Hence, here’s something that helped me get through it easily and not feel isolated during the first few weeks of your remote role.

  • Make sure you take your time sending the first intro message on the team channel!
  • Introduce yourself as you do with regular humans , no one likes to read your 2-page Linkedin bio
  • Mention hobbies, quirks, past roles, mistakes that make people smile or intrigued. Not to forget your pets if you have one for everlasting impressions with other team members!
  • When that’s done, try to form your goto intro message that you send to anyone contacting you later on in the coming weeks on personal chat. I really like doing it, and helps to break the ice more efficiently with them, just Cuppy here!

Aim to dazzle! Every. Single. Time.
From the @gooadvicecupcake on Instagram

Here’s mine, you might need to tweak each intro according to context.

Heyyo Mark!

I am Vipul. I am based out of New Delhi, India. I joined balena in late April and still feel I am pretty new to things going around. I just wanted to come around the table and say hi. Thanks for helping me out with OmegaPro and I would love to know more about your work in team Omega. Looking forward to interacting with you moreover Friday calls. Happy to connect online too if you are on Twitter or something.

I work in the Alpha team with John Doe and Jane Doe. Quite closely with Omega so looking forward to seeing you in sync up calls🐣

Cheers! Have a great day ahead.

Here’s an article by Justin Pot on small talking (Without being weird). These little messages really helped me in taking the conversation forward since, since we won’t be seeing each other for about 1.5 years or so at our annual SUMMIT due to COVID. *Sighs*

[Miss] Build the ideal schedule and let 2020 wreck it

2020, be like for all my plans.
From the @gooadvicecupcake on Instagram

I covered this bit in my Community Edition of remote working tips. I too started with a schedule and stuck to it religiously. It was filled to the brim with tons of fun exercises, hobbies and also gearing up for building my remote setup. But, all that got thrown out of the window when COVID hit us in May so yeah. Sticking to a schedule against all odds is something I have to figure out for myself. These days, I am happy with my work life. The personal life is 404 and rarely found on the weekends with lukewarm check-up calls with friends. I should also start taking it easy on the weekends, otherwise, too many weekends working on things would eventually lead to burnout. Eessh!

[Major Hit] Infectious Initiative and Putting on Several Hats

Oh yes! I feel after working remotely for all this time, taking initiative is the most underrated quality that people don’t really mention in remote working tips or guides. Balena wouldn’t be as successful as it is without its amazing team that often goes above and beyond to take daring initiatives. Maybe this happens everywhere, and I just don’t have enough experience of working full-time. But, I feel right at home seeing folks taking new initiatives, hacking out their problems, and discussing alternative solutions. This also helped me feel comfortable to diversify my working portfolio inside and outside the organization by taking up several other roles or hats.

The world heading into remote be like! Not the case for me!
From the @gooadvicecupcake on Instagram

[Miss] Losing focus on the long term

Life rushing by with a speed of 6 WTF/hour

One of the drawbacks of feeling content with your current milestone in life is that makes you lose focus and control in the long term. I count it as a miss because I don’t really like losing control. I feel control over the perspective is paramount to keeping your eye on the prize. So even though I will still continue to not focus on the long term. I have made it my ultimate goal to do better in the short term and focus on the now. I am taking it one step at a time and will think long term sometime later. That’s what I have been telling myself for the past 4 months in regards to the vaccine for COVID. Anyday now…


That’s about it of what I had to say. I hope it goes on to show remote is tough and needs a lot of work both before and after you get the job. A misconception I hope to break for folks thinking life is awesome when you get a remote job. This is kinda the followup to the truths on working remotely I wrote in the post below, and I hope you enjoy both of them as I did writing them. The past 4 months have been incredibly fulfilling so be ready for some technical posts dropping soon! Live in the mix, folks!

I thought remote would be easy. I was dead wrong. And, you know what. You would think the same after reading this next post.

‘n’ honest truths about working remote (Community Edition)

Featured GIF credits goes to @siddharthkp’s popular tweet that I saw while back! Thanks for letting me use it!

Did you hear Mixster is now on Twitter now!

Top comments (1)

jimsy profile image
James Harton

Nice post. I find it very interesting where your experience and mine match and even more interesting where they're difference. I'm glad you're enjoying life at Balena.

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