A Day In The Life of a Tulsa Remote Member - Mark Radcliffe

Day in the Life of a Remote Worker

Mark Radcliffe is one of the 2,500+ remoters who have found a home and a community in Tulsa, OK, thanks to the Tulsa Remote program.

Learn more about Mark’s daily life as a remote worker here.

Why did you choose to work remotely? 
Like many people during the pandemic, I didn’t really “choose'' remote work as much as it chose me. I was working as a writer and creative director in NYC (mostly in the advertising world) and when the pandemic came down, all ad agencies went 100% remote almost instantly. The vast majority of them actually still operate that way, esp for freelancers.

I’d been working and living in New York City for 12 years and was feeling it was time for something new, so even before the pandemic started, I’d decided to put my stuff in storage and try out this “digital nomad life” so many of my friends had been talking about. A few dozen of my creative friends were living in Thailand or Bali or Costa Rica and encouraged me to join them. So that was my plan. 

But then, when the pandemic started, everyone in remote worker paradises said, “Hey man, Bali’s become a ghost town, the internet cafes are closing down, and we’re all coming home. This isn’t your year to come overseas.”

So I started thinking of alternate plans. Later that week, I read an NY Times article about Tulsa Remote, and said, “Welp, if we’re all gonna work out of our living rooms for a year, lemme find a cheaper living room.” I applied and moved to Tulsa by Labor Day, 2020.

What does your typical day of work look like? 
I try to work out first thing in the morning, but since I work on EST hours, I’m often barely out of bed when my NYC meetings are kicking off. An 8am meeting there is 7am my time, so sometimes my workouts have to shift to the evening. But generally, I work at home in my downstairs office, take a 30-minute break to make lunch in my kitchen upstairs, then hit it hard again till about 6pm/7pm EST. 

I often opt to work out of coworking spaces like 36 Degrees North, and love the socializing you can have there. (We get a 3-year membership as members of Tulsa Remote, and they have three offices around town.) But I find myself longing to hop on my piano at home or sit on my deck, so I’ve found myself opting for my home office most days.

Once work is finished, I tend to get in a bike ride or another workout—usually a 26-mile ride along the scenic Arkansas River, up Riverside Drive to Turkey Mountain then back across one of the northern bridges. 

But I’m truly a social butterfly at heart, so once the evening’s underway, I almost always try to get out of the house and get in some socializing. Typical nights include: a dinner at FarmBar, drinks at Hodges Bend, live music at the Mercury Lounge, taking in the art crawl on First Friday, or performing at StorySlam night at Living Arts. I do love the freedom of working at home with all my “toys” nearby, but my more social side eventually drags me out on the town. Luckily Tulsa has more than enough to keep me stimulated.

I’m also a musician at night, so when not messing around on my piano and guitars at home, I perform live acoustic rock sets at the Mayo Hotel, Hunt Club, and the Summit Club at least once a month. Tulsa’s an amazing city for music, and I honestly feel it’s the next Nashville. Any band that’s touring the country will usually have a stop in Tulsa on their calendar.

What's the biggest challenge you've faced in working remotely, and what are you doing to get around it? 
The single biggest difference in my life is that, while I was busting my ass to afford a $4000/ month 1-br apt in NYC, now I pay less than half that to own a 2500 sf, 3-br house on a hill custom-designed by an architect. Now I have a baby grand piano in my living room and a huge private office downstairs. 

There’s a side of me that misses walking into the workplace each day, but if I’m honest, I actually lost a ton of time socializing at work! Now I actually just get my work done much more efficiently at home, and when the work day is done—BOOM, I’m off to catch some live music downtown and then meet up at Bohemian Pizza with friends or grab tapas at Basque.

The way I look at it is: my work day may be a little less social now, but I’m way more efficient, and I can frankly afford to travel and take in the nightlife way more than I ever could when living in NYC.

Plus, when the work day is done, with a huge house at my disposal, I can now host dinner parties, music events, cocktail parties, Sunday brunches and more. My house has become a place where I can truly nurture people and provide a common ground for all walks of life to come, relax, be inspired and meet like-minded creative souls. I hosted parties in NYC, but it was mostly for younger singles; here, it’s for singles, couples, seniors, younger families with 2-year-olds, you name it. The age range is 2 to 75. Everyone’s welcome, and I feel like I can foster more meaningful connections here. 

What does work-life balance mean to you?
The work-from-home lifestyle brings a lot of advantages. 1) I save an hour of commute time that I used to lose each day in NYC, 2) whenever work is slow for a bit, I can hop on my piano or sit on my deck and call up my mother or an old friend, 3) I save money by not buying lunch in midtown NYC every day, and 4) I can work from my deck with views of downtown, rather than competing for desk space in a downtown office.

And because I’m a freelancer, I typically work for 3-4 months, then take a month off. My work can be pretty stressful, but it pays me well, and then I’m off to France with my bike for 3 weeks to ride with an old cycling buddy, drink wine and eat foie gras. Or do another draft of a book I’m working on. My work/ leisure pendulum swings wildly back and forth, but I just view it as “work hard, play hard.” I love freelance because I can make a full year’s worth of money in only 8-9 month’s worth of work, then embark on grand life adventures every few months. And now that I live in a town with costs ½ of NYC, I get a lot more time for those adventures.

I frankly think a lot more Americans should give remote work a shot, especially in a new city. Yes, you’ll walk away from a few things you’ve come to depend on, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you’ll gain. 

Interested in meeting like-minded people in Tulsa, OK? Check out Tulsa Remote!

Tulsa Remote is a unique recruitment initiative aimed at attracting talented individuals to Tulsa. If you’re already working remotely as a full-time employee, business owner, or contractor, and you are a US citizen or legal permanent resident in the US, apply for the program. Not only does Tulsa Remote offer numerous community-building opportunities, but they also provide $10,000 USD grants to people who move there.

Learn more about Tulsa Remote here.

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