KR BlogUncategorized

What I’m Really Thinking: The Person Who Works from Home

Inspired by The Guardian‘s excellent “What I’m Really Thinking” series, I thought I’d write my own about working from home.

Working from home is fantastic. I always wanted to do it, and now, here I am. Away from my old busy office, I’m so productive. So relaxed. So at home with my thoughts and work. I save money on food, coffee, and transportation, and I’m going to lose my mind.

Sitting in your boxers drinking milky tea in the spare room that you and your wife converted to a home office sounds like a dream, but sometimes you wish you’d had different dreams. Stock-trading, pharmacology, website design—something lucrative that requires the collaboration of other people. But whatever. I’m free! Free of the corporate world. Free of the dull florescent lit offices where I spent my twenties and thirties. Free of the bosses with no brains who told me what to do, and the mundane chit-chat with coworkers I barely knew and didn’t want to talk to but who insisted on exchanging personal details about our weekends and favorite cheeses and preferred coffee grind size. Goodbye to all that. Now I do remote consulting and brand development. I’m part of the Wi-Fi Tribe.

And today, to live and die by the sword sounds better than dying alone at home in my underwear after choking on my second bag of caramel corn.

Life is full of contradictions, like:

I love my freedom.

I hate my freedom.

The privacy is great.

The privacy is strangling me.

It’s so nice to be alone.

I’m so lonely.

The silence is relaxing.

The silence is deafening.

What??? I can’t hear you over all this quiet!!

Who am I talking to? There’s no one else here.

Is it too early for white wine? Yes. Okay, more coffee. Ooof, too much coffee. I’m wired. Now what? Pace around, fiddle and dilly dally. More time wasted. But more time passed, so closer to drinking that wine. No no, still too early. Back to work. Back to focusing. Not focusing on what needs focusing. Wine o’clock is not work speak.

I should water the plants. No, they’re fine. I watered them this morning.

I could rake the yard. No, we did that this weekend. There’s nothing left to rake but dirt. What I’m doing is called “avoiding work.” I’m stalling. I need to sit back down and focus.

I could get some supplies from the grocery store. We’re almost out of toilet paper and bleach. Voice of reason: we don’t need toilet paper or bleach at one in the afternoon. You have food. You have coffee. You have milk and chips and gum. Sit your ass down and get back to work.

But my wife would be so impressed if I restocked our supplies.

Voice of reason: sit your ass down and get back to work.

Walking is good for your mind, though. Outwardly, I would walk to the store for supplies, but mainly I’d think about this project and turn things over in my mind. As they say: move your legs, move your mind.

Again, that’s me avoiding work.

I want to talk to a cashier.

Nope, sitting down now. Focusing, refocusing.

There’s a noise outside. A voice. It sounds close. I stop typing and listen. Something about Karen, about a friend named Karen. Or Sharon. I can’t tell. It’s definitely a voice, though. Oh, there’s the source: a young woman in sweatpants on her phone in front of my house. She’s pacing and talking and pacing and talking, cutting a path along my sidewalk between the driveway and side yard. What’s this person doing outside of my house? And why that bedtime outfit at one o’clock? Peering out our curtain at her only makes me more angry. I don’t get these people. What, they think they can just pace back and forth on my sidewalk talking so loudly on their phone that I can hear their whole conversation about “Dana, who doesn’t get up early enough for us to do anything. This whole day’s shot. What? No, she’s not up. She’s still sleeping!” and wearing sweatpants on top of all that? It’s obscene. It’s disruptive. Go back to your own house and have your loud conversation. Why crop-dust my airspace? If you’re out in sweatpants, you clearly live nearby.

Uch. She’s pacing. Still talking. Okay, now she’s walking away. Further and further away. Good riddance. Geez, I wasted too much time on that.

I close the curtains. Finally, some privacy. I type. I read email. Soon, it’s too private. I feel hemmed in, smothered, cloistered. Part the curtains. Let in some sun. The plants like sun, and so do I. That’s why I like to work outside. The wi-fi signal won’t reach the backyard patio seats, but the outlet under the magnolia tree keeps my computer charged, when the tree isn’t raining leaves and bits of barky crap all over me. I like to lounge out there and let the sun warm my face. Which is why I shouldn’t work outside. It’s too nice. I need pain to really focus, need miserable chairs and silence. I seal the curtains. Time to focus. To really get into this shit that’s due tomorrow.

I’m bad at math, but by my estimate I’m 46-percent done with this project. Which means I need to finish at least 40-more-percent of it by bedtime tonight, so I can knock out the rest in the morning before deadline. Which is 9 a.m. Eastern Time. So 6 a.m. my time. Like I said, I’m bad at math. Ugh, I guess I need to finish the rest of this by tonight, in at least six hours or less. Then I can sleep six hours. I need to just work, not plan. Work.

At least I’m at home. In my old corporate office, I’d stress and everyone would know, and they’d hear my crumpling papers and throwing pens across my desk. Here, my tears go unnoticed, and there’s no one to pity or console me or buy me a comforting ’90s-style muffin. It’s just me and my dog. The dog who needs to take a leak in the next hour or so, so I should probably get dressed and go do that. It’s fine. What’s great about working from home is that, with no boss around, I can always take a break from my projects and get back to them later. Much later. I am the master of my domain, which rhymes with insane.