The Perils of Working From Home - Black man working at laptop at home

The Perils of Working From Home

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I recently wrote about how I quit my job in order to focus on my various streams of online income.  The change has been quite dramatic, so I thought I would write a post about the new challenges I am facing since deciding to work from home…

Oh, who am I kidding?  My new set-up is completely bitchin’!  Although I liked my old job, I feel like a have a whole new life.  Instead of working 70 hours a week, I’m now working about 40.  Plus, I’m not having to deal with all of the bullshit that came with my old 9-5.  While my old job required me to spend my entire day in an office being constantly interrupted, my new job requires me to sit on my couch and talk to people only through email.  If anyone dares to call me, they immediately get a text back.  “Do you need something?”  I pretty much hate people right now, so I’m trying to take some time off from the majority of people I know.  Give me a few months, alright?

The realities of working from home

This all may sound completely boring, but I’m finding ways to keep my days from being too monotonous.  If I need a change of scenery, I simply move from my couch to my favorite comfy chair or my office.  Sometimes I get cabin fever.  When that happens, I go for a walk or make a trip to the grocery store.  But, don’t worry.  I’m super motivated, so I’m still getting shit done left and right.  The difference is that when I’m done working I can just stop.  I no longer have to count down the minutes until 5:00 finally arrives and I can go home.  Gone are the days of pretending to be busy when I’m not, and I don’t have to rely on someone else for a paycheck.

My new problems

Working from home is definitely awesome, but there are a few issues that I’m dealing with since becoming self-employed.  Leaving my old job allowed me to get away from the problems that came with working for someone else.  However, my new job has its share of new and different problems to deal with.  Here are a few:

My new co-worker is annoying.  I loved my co-workers at my old job, especially my husband, Greg, who still works there.  Unfortunately, working from home means that I get to spend the entire day with my dog Pablo, the freeloading genius who is definitely not worth the pet insurance cost for owning him.  Have you ever tried to write an article with a dog sitting on your arm?  Humping your elbow?  Breathing what smells like raw sewage all over you?  Did I mention that he’s mostly blind?  This wouldn’t be a problem…except for the fact that he barks at anything that moves!

Do you dream of self-employment? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be working from home? Let me give you a hint...it's freaking amazing.My kids don’t think I really have a job.  I was recently alerted to the fact that my 4-year-old is telling her daycare friends and their parents that I don’t have a job.  I should probably be mortified, but I think it is hilarious!  Can you imagine what those parents must think of me?  They think that I take my kids to daycare and just sit my ass at home all day.  It doesn’t help that I sometimes pick them up in yoga pants and house slippers.   I would love to be a fly on the wall during some of those conversations.  “Did you hear that Holly quit her job but keeps her kids at daycare?  What in the hell do you think she does all day?”  They must think that I’m either a terrible mother or a diabolical genius!

Sometimes the days run together.  This isn’t really anything I should be complaining about, but I did find that working from home can make all the days run together.  If I don’t leave the house for a few days, it can just feel like one long day.  ONE LONG AWESOME DAY.  But, still.  I’ve been trying to make at least one trip out of the house each day.  Either I will go and pick up the kids (Greg usually picks them up on his way home), or I’ll go for a walk or run an errand.  That way there is at least something to break things up a little.

Anyway, that’s all I got.  Aside from these small issues, my life is pretty dang sweet.  I’m still working hard and hustlin’.  I’m just doing it in the comfort of my own home.

So, what about you guys?  Would you like working from home, or do you think you would go crazy?

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81 Comments

  1. I’d love to know what your neighbors think go on inside your house while the kids are at daycare! Working from home is hard for people lacking organization skills and the ability to dissociate work time and play time (I am one). A dedicated space with a closed door to keep the dog out would help maybe. I used to work in bed, on the couch, etc. and when it was time to have fun it was hard dissociating from work.

    1. That’s the other thing I’m wondering! Haha! My neighbor across the street knows what I’m up to but everyone else must just think that I’m a kept woman! =)

  2. I want to work from home so bad! I have a speech impediment (among other disabilities) and would love to have a job where I can communicate only by email! It’s so tough and frustrating to find a job when you’re limited with your capabilities and have to share one unreliable vehicle with your husband. I don’t qualify for SSI either, so I need to discover something that works for me and soon!

    1. I have chronic back problems that are usually brought on by sitting somewhere uncomfortable, lifting something too heavy, or stress. My old job was stressful and my back hurt all the time. Working from home means zero back pain!

  3. I think I would really enjoy working from home, but I would need an area dedicated to work that I don’t have right now. Otherwise my son would constantly be trying to play with me, which would be fun but not incredibly productive. I’m also like Pauline in that I would likely have some difficulty separating work from play time. But I have that issue anyways. Overall I think the benefits would far outweigh any downsides.

    1. I have an office, but I don’t like to sit in it all day. I just try to move around the house a little. I have tried to work outside on my laptop, but it’s way too distracting. Too many people mowing and walking by!

  4. Taynia @ Skinny Seahorse says:

    Laughing the whole way through. Funny lady. And I can so relate! It’s the best! Particularly picking up kid in yoga pants and slippers. THE BEST!

  5. I deeply envy your position in life right now, although I certainly don’t envy the sewage breath from your mutt…err… I mean dog. Then again, I can relate. Working on the weekends is made more difficult by my obese cat’s insistence on having his imposing belly rubbed at all times.

    1. Yes, exactly. My dog tries to get me to pet him all day.

      1. Our little cat is like that– constant pettings. Also she’ll chew on any pen that you try to use (but only when you’re trying to use it).

  6. I think that sounds freaking amazing! Especially this -> “While my old job required me to spend my entire day in an office being constantly interrupted, my new job requires me to sit on my couch and talk to people only through email.” I would love to work from home full-time.

  7. Oh, I can so relate to this Holly! At first I thought that I would just go crazy not having to go into the office and I could not be farther from the truth. It’s awesome, as you’re becoming well aware of. I love that I can just get up and go somewhere else when I want or that just have to go to the kitchen to get my lunch and not have to worry about having to watch the clock so I don’t get some idiot boss mad at me. The days do definitely run together. When I first started I had a couple of weeks where I did not leave the house, save for maybe once or twice. I’ve since learned I need to get out much more than that.

  8. Hahaha, I totally get the hating people.

    I like a mix of working at home and in the office. Working in the office in the summer is nice because all the students are gone. So it’s like working at home, but someone else is paying the a/c bill. 🙂

    I also tend to eat better in the office– I only bring healthy food and end up having to eat it when I’m hungry. But I get chores like laundry done during thinking breaks at home. There’s trade-offs. (And it’s really nice working from home when DH is there but the kids are elsewhere.)

    1. I think I am eating healthier at home. This is mostly due to the fact that people were always bringing in junk food to share at my old job. There were always cupcakes or cookies around!

  9. Haha that is funny that they think you don’t have a job. It would be interesting to hear what the other parents think! haha

    And I’m definitely going to make the leap to self employment. Some have said “oh you’ll have so much time” and other things because they think self employment = doing nothing. AHHH!

  10. I currently work from home one day a week. There are so many benefits such as commuting and ignoring all emails/calls. I love how diabolically you think! But I do miss my giant work desk and dual monitors. If I was working from home 5 days a week, I suppose I could just biy them. You should get a pedometer. It will keep you motivated to move around more.

    1. I NEED a pedometer. At my old job, I was constantly walking around getting stuff. Now I sit still for hours!

  11. I still remember the first time I worked from home — I probably got an hour of work done and seven hours of naps and french fries.

    It wasn’t until a few times after that I started to remove distractions and really made a point to find a new venue once a day like bringing my laptop with me to the park or heading to the library.

    Great post 🙂

    1. Naps and French fries sound awesome! Unfortunately, I don’t think that Greg would approve if I spent my day like that. He isn’t here to monitor me, but he does know whether I make money or not!

  12. I started my own business from home in 2008 after over 30 years in an office. I’ve loved it but one thing you mention Holly really rings true – my kids didn’t think I really had a job!

    My business now is a money-making version of my old hobby, and to them it all looked the same. It took a total melt-down after years of saying “Not now, I’m working” to get them to realize it was important.

    Your kids are younger so perhaps the transition for them will be easier!

    1. Yeah, I hope so! It will definitely give me more flexibility when they’re older and start participating in more activities.

  13. Hahahaha….LOVE this! I’m also loving the work from home stuff. I find myself working at very strange hours but really because I CAN! I love not be tied to a certain timeframe or having to commute in miserable traffic with miserable Massholios.

    Yesterday, I was a rebel and took a 30-minute nap at 4PM…oh yeah. Then I woke up, wrote more and put together my new office chair (finally!). In the old startup world, I would have still been in the office until at least 7:30PM…blech. Wham, bam, no thank you ma’am 🙂

  14. Kids are so funny! Love that your girls think you don’t have a job, and thought it was a point worth mentioning to others.

    1. I know! My daycare lady me that she was announcing it to people as if it was newsworthy.

  15. I hear you on days running together. I try and have a HARD STOP by noon everyday to eat and go play tennis. If there’s stuff to be done, I wait until the evening. Without the hard stop, I’d work non stop!

    1. I have been taking a noonish break to eat and stuff, then I’ve been working from 1 until 3 or 4. But, I can’t work in the evenings because my kids get home at 5. I have to wait until they go to bed at 8 to get anything else done.

      But, that’s what’s so cool about the situation. It doesn’t matter when I do anything.

  16. This sounds amazing. And who gives a shit what the others think of you. You’re no longer making some chump a millionaire, you’re on your way to making yourself one! If that’s not motivational enough then I don’t know what is!

  17. I can relate to almost all of this. Instead of a dog humping my elbow, I have a cat that insists on jumping on my lap constantly. But it’s an awesome life. My main challenge so far is that I’m finding myself WAY busier than when I was working. I’m not sure why, but the days are just flying by.

    1. I’m still working….remember Nick?!?!?! You’re just like my kids! haha

      I do have hours- usually 7-8. Then I help my kids get ready for daycare. Then I work 9-12ish. Then usually 1-4. Then I make dinner.

      It still works out to a full day!

  18. I haven’t worked outside the home for over 20 years and it does have challenges. When the girls were young, I cleared more in my side jobs than many of my friends cleared working full time with their kids in daycare. To them, though, I did not work so when someone needed a sick kid looked after they thought nothing of asking me to expose my kids to their child’s illness. Or, if they needed a quick favor, the assumption was that I could certainly drop the “nothing” I was doing and load my kids in the car to run their essential errand for them. Yeah…I lost some friends after a while. 🙂

    1. So far, nobody has asked me to do anything for them! I hope to keep it that way!

  19. Introvert geeky me keeps asking: what took you so long??? I love working from home. Now, when I see people, I actually enjoy their company 🙂

    1. What took me so long? I wanted to make sure that my income wasn’t just a rush of good luck and was going to be a long-term thing. Luckily, my leap of faith has proved to be a good move so far!

  20. The thing that most appeals to me about working from home is not having to deal with office politics! I would get a little stir crazy at home though so I’d change it up by going to the library or to a local cafe.

    1. Yes! And printers breaking. The phone ringing off the hook. Someone trying to send a fax to the phone all day.

  21. People always asks me if I’m bored or lonely working from home, and I always say it’s the BEST part of freelancing for me. I’m introverted so I don’t need a lot of the office interaction (besides there is always FB and twitter for interaction-sad I know) and I LOVE not having to drive or be somewhere by a certain time. But like you said there are drawbacks, and I need to figure out if freelancing is still for me, because I do miss a steady paycheck. Four years of this has worn on me.

    1. I’m not bored at all. I can keep myself pretty darn busy, and I truly enjoy my personal time.

  22. Oh my goodness, the things that come out of kids’ mouths – I can only imagine what the parent circuit could be saying. That’s awesome that you’re loving your new situation and working better hours! Sounds like you’ve achieved great balance. 🙂

    1. Yes, I’m still working a lot but it’s a huge improvement!

  23. Oh Holly, you crack me up! I’d love to hear what the other parents are saying as well 🙂 Glad you are enjoying working from home!

  24. It is actually rare to hear someone be honest about the challenges of working from home. It is pretty ideal and most people would enjoy it! I’ve worked from home before but now I’m in a hybrid positions where my office is in an awesome downtown area that is a short walk from my house! I actually tend to get distracted sometime when I work from home because of all the ‘house’ stuff that needs to be done. I still like the part about the Pablo, cracks me up.

    1. That sounds like the best of both worlds! I wouldn’t mind getting out of the house to work occasionally…but I don’t really have anywhere to go!

    2. Completely Agree.
      At least 2 days a week I have to work from a different location (restaurant, coffee shop, friend’s house, etc.)
      It can be tough.
      I’m ADD so that makes it harder.
      I can be emailing, and next thing I know I’m watering some plants wondering how I got there 😉

      But the perks are sweet — the dance, I mean stretch breaks where nobody is watching…

  25. A paradigm shift is difficult! I used to bring my children to work on Saturdays and they did not think I worked. Working from home is foreign to them too.

    1. My kids are so little that they probably don’t realize what “work” is anyway!

    2. My kids are so little that they probably don’t understand what work really is anyway!

  26. I used to love working from home when I was single and lived alone, but now it’s impossible with my wife and kids around, because they bother me. My wife doesn’t even mean to but if I’m there she will come talk to me whenever anything crosses her mind. She doesn’t mean to be intrusive but can’t help it. So I go to work 🙂

  27. LOL at your daughter thinking and telling others that you don’t have a real job! Working hard and hustling in the comforts of your own home must be an awesome feeling! Congrats Holly!

  28. That’s funny. People like to talk so I can imagine what the other mothers at daycare are saying lol. I would have to take my kids to the babysitter if I worked at home as well. There is no way to get anything done when you have young kids. Glad everything is going smooth for you!

    1. Yea, I couldn’t get ANYTHING done with my kids at home.

  29. “Did you hear about Holly?!”, “Oh yea, I hear she sits at home ALL DAY on the computer playing Farmville or something”, “Really?!”, “Yea! She doesn’t have a job, drops her kids off at daycare and lollygags around town without a care in the world?!” “Wow, does she even care?” , “That’s the thing. Holly doesn’t give a crap!”

    1. Not Farmville, Candy Crush Saga! Get it straight!

  30. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    I would love to work from home, but I would need a separate space to work in that’s different from the rest of the house. Otherwise I’d get caught up watching cat videos on YouTue all day! Ok, they’d be Minecraft videos. Cats sounded less nerdy 😛

  31. I get the opportunity to work from home on occasion. While I enjoy it when I am doing it, I wouldn’t want to do it full time. I did work from home for 4 weeks while I recovered from a surgery and I was not a fan after a couple of days. I like the interaction with my co-workers, but that is just me.

    If I were you, I would really start to create a sweet story for the daycare people. Why not spin it, so they think you are some kick-ass media mogul?

  32. I really enjoy working from home but find that I actually not only get more work done but I finish up so quickly that I am usually bored out of my mind by noon. My son also thinks I don’t work and my wife is always saying but you don’t do anything. I just shake my head and laugh. Do you have a home office?

  33. I don’t know if I could do it! I think about it a lot, but I crave human interaction. I think I’d spend more money simply to sit at a coffee shop and work.

  34. Hey Holly- Fun post, I can TOTALLY relate. I have been working from home for 12 years and it is not without its trials and tribulations. The hardest part for me was not sneaking back into the office after the kids went to bed. I had to train myself to clock in and clock out like it was a “real” job.

  35. I won’t lie, I’m totally jealous. I love my job but I would love to work (as a hygienist) when I want. I would love to get to a spot where I could afford to work FT in freelance/blogging and take a few shifts a month doing fill-ins for a dental office to get out of the hosue. Someday it might happen. So glad everything is working out for you!

  36. I would love to work from home but I think I would have to a) have a schedule so I wouldn’t lapse into sitting around all day; b) stay physically active so I don’t get lethargic and crawl back into bed; and c) get out of the house often. Working from home could also be done at the library or the park or Starbucks just to mix it up a bit.

  37. I have a lot of respect for you working from home. I admit that my house is full of my favorite distractions, and that can be difficult for me when I try to produce on a deadline!

  38. I had that same issue when I cut my schedule way back. Everyone wonders what I do. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t understand anything less than the 9-5 grind, but it is fun, and I think you should come up with some cool things to tell people. My favorite was that I’m training for the Olympics.

  39. Mr. Bonner says:

    Good for you, sounds like you’re having an awesome time! I don’t think I could work from home. While I love having that freedom and independence I think I would not work very efficiently. Plus, I like getting away from our condo. I like our place, but I’m not in love with it. I don’t have to interact with too many people at work if I so choose, so it’s a nice place for me to go and focus on work while having the option to hang out with everyone.

  40. I think I would enjoy having a hybrid situation where I worked from home most of the time, traveled to the office or to client meetings. It would be my perfect work situation. Work politics is wearing on me, and I”m only 23.

  41. This article really brightened up my day and made me laugh. Alone in my room, since I am also enjoying the benefits of working from home 🙂 Your co-worker bit and kids saying that you are unemployed are priceless!

    Regarding the cabin fever, I really got used to this in the past few years. I even tried taking my laptop in a park and work or in the cafe – these things work for some people, didn’t really work for me since I found it pretty awkward to work in public places. But you should give it a try, at least for a change and know if you should try it more or ignore this completely 🙂

  42. I am a SAHM who just hired a babysitter once a week so that I can try to start to work from home– and actually get something accomplished! It’s been a challenge– and staying up all hours of the night and be a mom to a toddler isn’t really working out that well right now. But, my work really isn’t visible right now to anyone I know, other than my husband. So. People are a talkin’. I just don’t want to explain– just yet, anyhow. 🙂

  43. Honestly, I do not enjoy working from home where I live right now. We live in an apartment, and dogs bark all day because their owners are gone. Impossible to concentrate. When we get a house, I hope to buy in a quiet neighborhood! Then, I will consider working from home a plus.

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  47. I work from home as well. I am a software developer. We share many of the same issues.

    Although my kids think if I am in front of a computer (even just reading the news) that I am working. Right now they think I am working but I am not.

    They think I work all the time. Nooo, I work at different times depending on the work-load and customer needs.

    However, my husband works for 9-6 everyday and he does not get accused of working all the time…! I pick them up everyday from school at 3pm!

    The other complaint is that people don’t seem to remember that I work even if it is at home..which means phone call interruptions! Argh.

    I don’t miss working in an office and I don’t think I would actually want to return. I feel happy that I can help a customer directly. I don’t need a boss, co-worker, on and on bringing me down, giving me mis-information, office drama blah blah blah.

    1. You pretty much summed it up! Especially the part about people forgetting you’re working.

      I have people ask me to drop them off at the airport, watch the kids, meet them at whatever restaurant for lunch, go shopping, etc. Because “I’m home!”

      Still, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for me. I hope I never have to go back to any kind of office environment.

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