In early 2014 I started a new, shiny job working for a company based in New York. Shutterstock was my first fully remote position and my first time working for a 'big' technical company - that is, they had more than a hundred employees. Up until then I had worked for small, local shops in Wisconsin, sometimes with only two or three other developers. A remote position working for a New York company with hundreds of developers was a drastic, and invigorating, change.
There was one catch to my remote position: I was hired as a contractor. While Shutterstock does offer full-time employment for a handful of states and countries across the world, Wisconsin, and later Arizona, was not among them. This meant that I was paid an hourly rate, with no time off or health care or benefits or job security. This became a larger pain point as Katie and I had two more kids with no paternity leave, our health care costs rose year after year, and working over holidays became standard practice.
It is my understanding that the problem with hiring a full-time employee, especially in a state that is not already set up, is a combination of paperwork and financial. For years I was told that if I could get five or ten more developers hired in the same state than maybe we could flip it. The exact count was never confirmed and none of my contacts were willing to become contractors in the meantime, though, so I eventually gave up on this front.
All this changed in 2017. A combination of efforts between myself, my manager, my manager's manager, and a whole bunch of other people finally changed the policy. As of August 1, I am an official Shutterstock employee. This month has been a delightful educational whirlwind of benefits and perks that I barely knew existed. Shoot, they even have a fitness reimbursement. The health care savings alone is plenty to make me happy - fitness reimbursement and paid time off (and holidays!) feels downright luxurious.
There are a few things that this reinforces. First off is my commitment to company. I've been with Shutterstock for almost four years, far longer than any other of my previous jobs, and while I wasn't thinking of leaving before this change (honest!) there is no way I'm going to start looking now. There are a lot of opportunities within the company worth exploring if I ever get bored working on the API team. The second thing is my location. Arizona is now a full-time state, and there was a lot work to make that happen, so I am not looking to move out. For the foreseeable future I'm sticking in this state with an all-the-more-awesome job.