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Working from Home: The Bad

Those of you who tuned in last week already know all the things I consider utterly wonderful about working from home.  But what about the icky horrible things?  Every job has some.  Even if you’re working from home.

Get a real job

How many times have YOU had this conversation...?

The Top 8 Worst Things About Working from Home

  1. Cabin fever.  All you think about at work is how you can’t wait to get home…  But what if you already are home?  Having no escape can be very stressful.  Now, there are things that can help with this: For instance, don’t work in your bedroom. (Create a home office, if possible!).  Keep your areas to relax and your areas to work in separate.  I, unfortunately, don’t have that kind of space right now; but, as soon as we move out, I plan to employ these tactics myself!  (And I can’t wait).

  2. Working from home doesn’t command the respect it deserves.  As shown in my illustration above, many people don’t consider working from home a “real” job.  No, not even if you make more than they do.  You’ll also have to learn how to say “no.”  A lot.  People will assume that, since you work from home, you’re free to help them move, chat for hours online, go out to the movies on a weeknight, and any number of other things.  But, you’re not.  And be prepared for the lesser of them to not understand and for the worst of them to resent you for it.

  3. Distractions.  I always try to get everything done in the early morning/afternoon when my roommates are out.  Once they come home, it’s loud talking, loud music, unwanted guests, and any number of other distracting shenanigans.  My guy is an artist (and also works at home) so he understands—but if you live with anyone else, especially if they’re one of the “norms” with an outside-of-the-house job, they’re just not going to get it.  No, not even if you explain it to them.

  4. It requires HUGE amounts of self-discipline.  There are many people who complain about “distractions” when working at home, but they’re usually referring to their own lack of self-discipline.  Personally, if I lived alone, or just with my guy, I would not only thrive but probably never stop working.  There’s no one breathing down your neck to get the job done which means that it’s all up to you.  You have to be diligent.  It sounds really lame, but I think my martial arts training helped me a little with this aspect of my work-from-home career…

  5. The work hours: They never end!  Yes, I have steady “hours” for my WTR job…but what about all the other jobs I do on the side?  Or my own projects (like this article you’re reading now!)?  Quite often I’m writing from the moment I wake up until the moment I crawl under the covers.  (Of course, this isn’t always the case–some weeks are worse than others–and with proper use of my dayplanner I can usually manage things all right)

  6. The final outcome is all that matters.  When your boss/client can’t see you, they have no idea how many hours you’ve put in or how much hard work and research you’ve done: All that matters is the final product—because it’s all they can see!  It might seem unfair, but can you really blame them?

  7. Even if you’re supremely organized with your work area, other areas of your home may suffer.  I did my laundry on Saturday…it’s still not folded and put away.  (Hey, at least it’s clean!)

  8. So. Much. Pressure.  Everything, all the time, it’s all up to me and only meeeeeeeee!  No job lasts forever.  If I get hurt on the job, I’m the one who has to pay for it.  There are no vacations, no bonuses, and no pats on the back.  It’s also up to me to do all my own marketing, bookkeeping, filing, and cleaning: It’s all up to me.  I am my own business now…and the only one running this business is myself.

Epilogue

When I mentioned that I was doing a sequel to my “Working from Home” article, this time talking about all the problems that come with it, my friend’s mom scoffed and said “luxury problems…”  While that’s not exactly true (a lack of respect and heaping amounts of stress aren’t what I’d call “luxury”), she does have a point: Working from home is pretty dang sweet.  And, if you go back and look, my list of GOOD things about working from home is longer than the list of bad things.

I know I’ve got it good.  However, if I weren’t insanely disciplined, that might be another story.  Not everyone thrives when working from home.  And it’s always good to know the whole story before leaping into anything.  Hopefully that’s what I’ve illustrated here for anyone out there thinking about quitting their “real” job. 😉

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Working from Home: The Good

Now that I work from home, I’m constantly getting asked what the best and worst aspects are!  I decided to dedicate two full articles to the subject.  This week’s post focuses on the good.

Working from Home

Working from Home

The Top 10 BEST Things About Working from Home

  1. Our cat isn’t suffering from separation anxiety anymore.  From October-December of 2010, my guy and I were working outside our home…and it drove our cat absolutely insane.  Now that we’re home for most of the hours in the day, even if we head out, he no longer panics thinking we’re never coming back.  For those of you with “real” (human) children, staying at home will give you more time with them too!

  2. No more driving/riding/taking the bus/walking to work!  We’ve saved so very much on gasoline.  And it saves time!  (No more accounting for “travel time”)

  3. No more annoying co-workers. As shown in my illustration above, my main co-worker is our cat.  And my favorite person (my guy).  Except on weekends when my roomies are home all day, I no longer have to deal with someone in the cube next to mine cranking up their music (which was always, without fail, decidedly not my taste).  No more office parties.  No more office politics.  I’m free.  Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  4. Flexible work hours.  I decide what to do and when.  I have regular hours for my job at WTR, but they were hours I chose for myself.  And I choose when and how to do my side projects.  I’m also the primary cook for my lil family and the one in charge of scooping the cat’s litter box.  Plus there’s always cleaning, bill paying, socializing, and grocery shopping to do!  It all has to be fit into the day somehow, and I’m the one who gets to decide how.

  5. I get to wear what I want.  No more suits, disgustingly bright polyester t-shirts (Del Taco, I’m talking to you), or uniforms in general…  If I want to dress up, I dress up; if I don’t, I don’t.  It’s wonderful.  If I’m feeling ill and all I want to wear is my comfiest p-jams, I can.  (Yes, unless I’m running a super high fever, I still work when I’m sick—I’m just that hardcore)

  6. I can get new equipment when I want/need it.  Raise your hand if you’re at a job where you have to report to the hierarchy whenever you need new office supplies!  Been there, done that.  If I need more pens, a stapler, or a new laptop—I go out and get it.  No more waiting around for someone, somewhere, deep in the bowels of an office building, to remember that “Oh yeah…Lauren asked for a new computer mouse about 2 weeks ago…”  (That darn thing was broken and the job ended before I ever got a new one!)

  7. I eat better.  Now that I’m at home, I get to cook all of my own meals.  Which, as we all know, are much healthier than going out to Jack in the Box or living off of whatever you can microwave in the office break room.

  8. I get to listen to the music I want to listen to.  At my last job, my co-worker was more than happy to “share” her music—which I hated.  I love listening to music: It puts me in a better mood, thereby increasing my productivity, and it helps me to stay focused.  But that only works if it’s music I like.  Now that I’m home, I get to listen to my own tunes.  But I still use headphones.  Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you get a free pass to be rude!

  9. All the gold stars go to me!  Ever had a co-worker take credit for your job well done?  I have and it really “grinded my gears.”  Now that I’m the only one doing the work, I’m the only one who gets the credit.  And if my work is good, I’m the one who gets the praise.

  10. Variety.  If you’re a writer (like I am) or a designer or an artist or any number of other jobs…  Your clients and projects are constantly changing.  And you get to go on all these adventures from the comfort of your own home! The idea that “you don’t have to deal with customers!” is a myth. My clients are customers. The only difference is, I don’t have to deal with them in person anymore. And that is very, very nice.

Tune in next Wednesday for my list of the worst parts of working from home!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Freelancers and the Importance of Socializing

Socializing with “normal” friends can help ebb eccentric tendencies and keep you from alienating your clients.

I own that outfit in real life

A completely accurate portrayal of what I look like when left up to my own devices

 The Anti-Social Freelancer

Most freelancers, especially freelance writers, work from home.  They pick their own clients and plan their own schedules.  Unfortunately, many of us forget to schedule a little “free time” into our dayplanners, leaving us anti-social and isolated.  (Or, if you’re like I am, being alone for long lengths of time can lead you to start humoring your more eccentric personality traits).

The Problem with Isolation

Isolation might not bother you.  In fact, many of us enjoy being alone on our days off.  However, the problem with complete and total reclusiveness from your fellow humans is this: Your detachment will start to affect your work.

Think of it this way:

  1. Your clients are probably humans/people.
  2. If you have no contact with humans/people other than yourself, you probably can’t relate to humans/people (or at least can’t in a way that’s considered “normal”)
  3. If you can’t relate to humans/people, you can’t relate to your clients.
  4. If you can’t relate to your clients, they won’t hire/pay you!

Oh noes!!

Keeping in Touch: What Can Help

I’m not saying that you have to start partying or even that you have to go out and physically see your friends every week.  There are lots of ways to stay “in touch” with the human race…

  • E-mail.  Making an effort to e-mail a friend (or friends) each week—particularly one who’s on the “outside”—can help to keep you feeling “connected.”
  • Phone.  Same thing as e-mail, but with more talk-y and less write-y.
  • Watch TV.  No, they aren’t “real” people (I’m not telling you to start thinking of Quinn Fabray as your girlfriend and Barney Stinson as your best friend), but real people are watching these shows: By watching—or at least knowing about—what’s on television, you start to absorb the lexicon (most of humanity’s common “slang” originates from the media) and get to know what people are talking about around the proverbial water cooler.
  • Know the News.  One of the first “tip offs” that you’re “out of touch” is when you don’t know the news.  For instance, if I had made a comment like “If we ever catch Osama Bin Laden…” after the events of May 1, 2011, I’d certainly get more than a few funny looks.
  • Get Out of the House.  People are EVERYWHERE.  No matter where you go, you’re bound to run into someone.  Even a simple “How are you today?” exchange with the bag clerk at the grocery store can give you some much-needed human contact.
  • Hang Out with Friends!  Hey, sometimes the classics just can’t be beat!
 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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