Monthly Archives: March 2012

Careful What You Wish For… (Working From Home)

I’m very thankful to work remotely for a great company, and there are definite advantages in working from home.  But, it’s just like any relationship.  The advantages can eventually become the disadvantages.

It’s the little things that drive you crazy… like the fact that you can’t control when people mow their lawn, or when a loud truck drives by your house.  It can be disastrous if someone knocks when you are on the phone, so my dogs go in a closed room faaaar from the desk and a sign goes on the door when I have important conference calls.

Working over telephones, it’s hard to tell when the speaker is finished or someone new is going to pipe up, so there is the frequent unintended interruption of your colleagues.  You also have to work a little harder at interpreting meaning since you can’t see facial expressions.

You learn to not have overnight guests during the week since most people don’t really get what it means to ‘work from home’.  They bang kitchen cabinets, get ice from the dispenser, and walk into the room talking all the while risking your professionalism.  They don’t mean to cause trouble; they just haven’t experienced working for a paycheck from home.

The obvious differences are not having to dress professionally and the lack of office socialization.  Working in an office brought some of the best relationships I’ll ever have.  My girlfriends from work have shared many tear-producing laughing spells and gotten me through many crises.  I miss them.  I have to try a little harder to get my regular dose of friends.

It is true that I don’t spend as much money on clothes, shoes, and jewelry as I did when I worked in an office.  The result is that now I never have the right clothes to wear, anywhere.  You see, I hate to shop.  Needing to shop for work clothes got me in the stores, and then I bought all kinds of clothes and shoes.  Now, I just keep putting it off and will eventually be that oddly-dressed lady who generates chuckles.

Wearing comfortable clothes while working brought its own harsh reality when I put on ‘real’ clothes a few weeks after starting the remote job.  It’s harder to notice that you are gaining weight.  I couldn’t believe it until I started realizing that I didn’t walk from the parking garage to the office anymore, from my desk to lunch, to meeting rooms, to the kitchen,…

It’ is great to avoid commuting in rush hour.  But that evening-hour commute gave me opportunities to stop by the grocery store or the drug store.  Now, it seems I’m perpetually out of the basics.  In the old days, I would not venture out of the house without makeup applied and hair done at least a little.  I no longer consider it worth the time to ‘get ready’ just to run to the store.  So, I tend to put off going altogether or pretend I’m invisible and run into the store looking like an embarrassment to my younger self.

In the end, the biggest difference is freedom in where you live.  I’m thankful to the now-friend who offered the original position to me.  It allowed me to move back to the southeast.  Now, I can have a casual weekend dinner with my Mother and Grandmother, and that’s the best advantage.  Now, if I can just figure out what to wear…….



Change: Love the noun. Hate the verb.

I suck at change. As much as I love everyone to think that I am this easy going, adventurous person, the truth is: I suck at it. I avoid it like gay men avoid carbs between April and September.

I was in a 12 year relationship with someone who I am pretty sure is a psychopath that would have been a nice memory and a learning experience if I left him after a year. When I graduated from college I stayed in Upstate New York for 5 years after to stay with my college boyfriend (and we all know how that turned out). When I finally did move to New York City, I threw up every day for 2 months (meanwhile, I have never been so thin).

Once I did settle in Brooklyn, I got an apartment and have been in it for 18 YEARS (in the neighborhood that my parents and grandparents are from). I have worked for the same company for 12. But I have been living under this delusion that because I don’t like to eat the same lunch every day that I am the great embracer of change. I am that annoying person who is always quoting the clichés, “Change is the only thing you can count on.” “You always regret the things you don’t do.” Hypocrite!

So now I am making anoverdue self induced change. I am moving out of the city (not too far, just an hour, let’s not get totally insane) and I am buying my first house. Of course as soon as the offer was accepted, my dream job at my company has become available. My reaction? Crippling depression. How would I possibly move my life, my way of life, fix up a house AND start a new job at the same time? Back of the hand to the forehand – woe is me.  A cute new house by the ocean AND dream job? What a nightmare.  

So I have made the decision to embrace change.

A very smart woman and inspired meditation teacher Sally Kempton tells a story that has always stuck with me, and I will try to visualize this as the next few months unfold. It is the story of a town in Switzerland where everyone would jump into the graceful green river Aare and ride the river down into the next town. She noticed that for those that got right into the flow of the current, the journey was easy and fun. Those who held back from the center of the river, maybe out of fear, maybe out of ignorance of the help the river offered, never got very far. They would bang into overhanging trees and rocks and reeds that jutted out from the shore, ending up tangled and stuck or bruised and worn out. I have tried tangled and bruised, I would like to try easy and fun. So I am trying to trust the current and let it take me where I want to go.  

Does anyone know where I can get a good lifejacket?