The Un-Social Nature of Working from Home

I recently read a blog post by someone who works from home.  They weren't an artist.  I think they might've been an investor or some such financially rewarding position.  But they still had the luxury of working from their own space and in their pajamas if they so choose.  It's just that their pajamas are way more expensive than mine, and their computer probably many years newer.

Alas, they spoke about how working from home isn't all it's cracked up to be.  That it takes a special kind of person to work in isolation, without regular face to face, professional interaction- and not everyone can hack it.

Let me say right here that I agree this sounds like complaining about winning the lottery.  Most people would kill to work from home, let alone for themselves. I know I did.  Well, I didn't actually kill.  But I might have if necessary.  I simply worked my arse off and spent many sleepless nights planning all my next steps so I could survive the latest trough my income had decided to descend.

However, that isn't to say there's no difficulty.  These are my specific challenges.

  • My life is incredibly sedentary.  So sedentary that I fear it is having a negative impact on my health.  I have the luxury of working out at any time of day, and yet being so busy with my own business that it doesn't happen as often as it should.  And even working out cannot counteract all the hours I spend hunched over my paints or metal block.
  • I find that it has made it easier for me to isolate myself further- meaning, when you're used to working from home, it simply becomes your norm.  It's your routine to go a whole work week without talking to someone outside of your inner circle.  And worse, when this doesn't happen (say I do a craft show), I actually find it exhausting. I think I'm speaking a little too loudly, or a little too cheerfully.  I'M GOING TO SHOUT AT YOU CAUSE I DON'T GET OUT MUCH.  By the end of the day I'm hoarse, totally shattered, and just want to get back to my little cave again.  Put on my yoga pants and slip back into the inner circle.
  • And because humans are complicated, messy things, and middle aged women probably even more complicated than most, while I have become totally comfortable in my isolation, I also yearn to get out of it. I admit, I miss the idle chit chat.  I'm sure my husband does too as when he comes home I vomit up all my water cooler talk onto him like a starving moth headed toward the light outside a McDonald's drive thru. There's only so many internet forums you can pretend to have best friends on before you drown under a pile of big macs.
  • I have no routine, and yet all I have is routine.  Does that make sense? Maybe only if you work from home on your own will you understand the weird challenge of being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.  So you sometimes do nothing when you should be working, and sometimes you are working when you should be enjoying the time with your family.  I don't know.  I honestly can't explain it. Suffice to say I've sometimes had breakfast at noon, and even though I've not been very busy, didn't finish my work till 11pm.  Oh, did I mention that was still on a day I got up at 7am. 

I'm not sure any of this sounds too bad to someone who hates their workplace, or their boss, or has imagined murdering the idiot in the cubicle next to them daily for the last 15 years.  And maybe it isn't really that bad. Suffice to say I was watching The Office yesterday and thought how much I'd love to work there.  Yes, I know not every workplace would be that funny in real life.  But I thought, wow, how nice.  I could have lunch and actually talk to someone else at work!  I could celebrate a birthday with a co-worker!  I could have some drama with the annoying person at the desk next to me!  My current drama is only with my cats.  

Am I going to look for a new job?  I may surprise you here and say, yes, I think so.  I think it's good for me. I think I am more social than I'd care to admit.  And being self-employed from home is the opposite of social. It's not exactly anti-social.  It's un-social. It's a bit like winning the lottery and only being able to spend your money at one mall for the rest of your life.  

I think I may give back my winnings and go for a walk outside.