Working From Home: The Good News and The Bad

How can there be any bad news about working from home? After all, you no longer have a boss to harass you, you no longer need to sit through those boring meetings, pretending that you agree with the latest cost saving initiative the company has dreamed up, you can work dressed in any clothes you want – gone are the suits, heels, coats and ties and that dreaded alarm clock that buzzes on Monday morning? You can throw it out the window.

All true, all wonderful and oh, so satisfying, is working in pajamas until late morning or deciding on a beautiful early spring day to jump into the car and go to the mountains to find the crocuses just starting to peek out of a late spring snowfall. For me, there is nothing like this life- I wouldn’t go back for anything.

However, like most things in life, the” freedom from” can quickly morph into a new and even more rigid strait jacket depending on your basic personality. Returning to the “freedom from” list, let’s take that list one by one. More details please visit:-

  • No boss to harass you.

Totally, absolutely true. That’s the good news. But I’ll bet you can guess the bad news- that new campaign that you designed and poured your heart into? When it tanks and you end up realizing that you spent all those hours and all that money on a marketing campaign that brought you not one customer, you can’t blame the failure on anyone but the girl in the mirror.

Worse yet, the budget that the money came from is yours, not the company’s but the loss came out of your own pocket. No one can understand budgets, budgetary errors, the panic or the exhilaration of a red or black bottom line unless they have owned their own business. It is simply impossible.

  • No more of those boring, time wasting meetings.

Amen to that. In my former career, I worked in health care, almost exclusively academic health care centers where just about everyone is on salary-including the physicians; that fact translates into mind-numbing meetings and decision making at a glacial pace because so many of the top people want to assure plausible deniability.

But- there’s that acronym again, “behold the underlying truth”- here’s the thing: all those people assembled around the meeting table? They are gone. When you decide to leave your J-O-B, all those experts you relied on for just about everything? They’re still sitting in their cubicles at your old office building.

I vividly recall proudly answering my husband’s question about how I’d spent my first days working full-time at home on our new business while he continued his work as a clinical psychologist. Laughing, I told him that it had taken me most of the day to type out five letters, assemble them into mailers and then drive to the post office to mail them. So much of what I had at my finger tips I had totally taken for granted.

Nor had I ever considered the time it would take me to learn the basics of spreadsheets, quarterly IRS reports and the dozens of details that are invisible in the corporate world because they are the responsibility of someone else.

  • You can throw your alarm clock out the window.

I didn’t throw it away, it still comes in handy on trips but I sure only use it when I need to get up earlier than I do normally. All those years of working in a hospital has hard-wired my brain to awaken by five in the morning. However, many of my colleagues have said that setting a productive schedule for themselves was one of the toughest things they had to do when making the transition from a job to working at home.

You’ll notice I’ve not mentioned any bad news about being able to work in your pajamas – most likely because as I sit writing, I am clothed in my sweats, I can’t remember the last time I wore a suit and hose.

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