'Five years ago, I landed my dream job. Since then, I've never been so lonely.'

When I was planning my move from London back to Sydney five years ago, the director of my team said to me, "I’m worried you’ll be lonely," or something along those lines.

I can’t remember her exact words because I was too busy thinking, "OMG I can't believe she has agreed to this." 

The condition of this move was that I would become a sole trader. I would be my own boss, in a way, based on the other side of the world, with the exception of fancy London-based press events which they would fly me back for.


After a decade of being fixed to one physical workplace or another, it was the freedom and autonomy I’d been longing for. Or so it seemed.

Flash forward and I’m now 30 years old. 

I’m currently in London, standing on the side of the street at 9am, eating a cheese-filled pastry stick. The significance of this moment is that it's my last day at my dream job because I can’t do it anymore.

For the first time in my life, I’m really lonely. 

Image: Supplied.


Here are 10 realisations I’ve had since I started working remotely that have resulted in me fantasising about sneaking into an office, making myself an average cup of coffee and enjoying forced small talk with a colleague.

(I’m two years ahead of most people who started working remotely in 2020, so please heed my warning!)

1. Going from five days a week at an office to fully remote is a shock to the system. I believe things would have been completely different if I’d been able to go into the office two to four days a week. 

2. You will struggle to find balance in your life. There were times that I would work 24/7 because there were no cues like leaving a physical office to stop me from answering an email at 11pm. On the flip side, I also experienced periods of great struggle trying to motivate myself to even open my laptop.

3. Working from home full-time is a blessing and a curse. The upside is that you never have to leave your home, and the downside is that YOU NEVER HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOME. After a while, your comfort zone shrinks and you start to feel isolated from the rest of the world. I can tell you now, drastically changing the amount I had to leave my house over the past five years has impacted both my mental health and my sense of self.


4. In 2019 I gained one colleague, his name is Steve. He’s not an actual colleague, he’s my boyfriend, but he’s also the only person who watches me open a can of tuna every day at 12pm, so close enough. In the same way I learnt that your home cannot be your entire universe, your partner cannot be your entire support system. 

5. Your work wardrobe becomes almost non-existent and your repertoire will consist of house dresses (Steve calls them my moo moos) and maybe the odd pair of pants or shorts that have lost elasticity in the waistband. Oh, how I miss walking into the office in a great outfit. 

Image: Instagram/@paigecarmichael


At this point I know what you’re thinking, Paige you need to separate your work life from your home life. All of this can be resolved if you just put some actual pants on and find somewhere to work outside your house. Well, hear me out.

6. I tried the coffee shop thing, but I have IBS so quickly realised that was a sh*t idea.

7. I tried the co-working space thing and found that they’re made up of small groups who already know each other and single people, like me, who won’t admit that they're lonely so they just make themselves look overly important and busy, and therefore remain lonely.

8. I had the opportunity to hire someone to work with me but it's hard to grow a team without a physical support system. It was also not commercially viable for me to hire someone to be my office bestie. 

Within each of these things I found short-term solutions, and just because I couldn’t make them work long-term doesn’t mean you can’t. 


Some people thrive without the constraints of the traditional 9-5, but it’s not for everyone, which leads me to my final two realisations about remote working full-time.

9. Remote by its very definition means: (of a place) situated far from the main centres of population; distant. Keyword: distant, which could be interpreted as alone, which can lead to loneliness. How did I not see this? It was right there in the name the whole time. 

10. If you are unhappy or unfulfilled by working remotely you’ll find it incredibly hard to change because no one wants to admit that they are lonely when they're living what the world perceives to be a dream job or lifestyle.

So now that I can finally admit living the dream isn’t really for me, what's my plan after I finish my job today? 

I believe a balance between time spent in the workplace and time working remotely will be key to finding happiness and satisfaction in my work life again. 

Right now I don’t know exactly what my new dream job looks like, I just know there will be pants and there will be people. 

And when I come home at the end of the day, I will feel a sense of relief to take off said pants and be alone again, but not lonely.

Feature image: Instagram/@paigecarmichael

Calling all Shopaholics, Retail Therapy Enthusiast & Glamour Gurus ! Take this short survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!