My Job is Real!
When I tell people that I work from home, they’re often skeptical about the nature of my job. My husband and I recently went to lunch with another couple, and when I told them I worked from a home office, they asked me if it was a ‘real’ job.
Yes, I patiently explained, it’s a real job for a real company. I’m not sitting in my pj’s all day putting together craft kits, processing medical records or participating in some pyramid scheme that’s advertised on late-night infomercials. The job is totally legit, even if I do work in sweat pants and t-shirts most days.
We live in a rural, conservative area, and most families adhere to a fairly traditional structure where the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is the homemaker. While there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, my family doesn’t fit that mold.
I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to my job. When we get together with friends who fit the more traditional family model, I feel like my job is dismissed. When talking with the family breadwinner, the conversation will inevitably turn to work, and my job is casually blown off.
I feel like shouting, ‘Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I sit around all day twiddling my thumbs. I work my ass off and get paid a damn good salary, thank you very much!’
OK, so maybe that chip is actually a boulder.
What people don’t seem to understand is that working from home often means longer hours and fewer breaks. You never really get away from your job because it’s always there. I realize this is true of most jobs today because technology never allows us to fully unplug and disconnect. But it’s even worse when your office is in your home.
I also have a theory that an eight-hour day in a home office is equivalent to at least ten hours in a ‘real’ office. You’re never interrupted by co-workers stopping by to shoot the breeze. You don’t take breaks to participate in office parties and events. Without the social interactions around the water cooler, you can really crank up the productivity.
Domestic Goddess I Am Not
Of course, it takes a certain mentality to work from home and stay productive. When I first started working from home, my mom innocently asked me, ‘Don’t you get distracted and want to do things around the house?’
Ha, you’d think my mom would know me better! I’d much rather work than do almost anything domestic.
But because I’m not in a traditional office, there’s often pressure –albeit mostly self-inflicted –to work AND get things done around the house. Or take care of errands that can only be done during regular business hours.
If my boss is reading this, no need to worry. My house is a disaster. When the girls get home, they find me on the phone or tapping away at the keyboard instead of putting a gourmet meal on the table.
Yes, it’s much easier for me to rearrange my schedule for unexpected doctor’s appointments, but I still have to make up that lost time, which often means working in the evenings after the girls are tucked in for the night.
Benefits of Working from Home
But working a few extra hours in the evenings is more than a fair trade off. I can take a break to attend the girls’ school parties in the middle of the afternoon. I can be there when they aren’t feeling well and need to come home. And, when the stars align, I can enjoy lunch with a friend or a much-needed workout. Major props to the working moms who juggle parenting and professional responsibilities from a cubicle or office - I don’t know how you do it!
I’m extremely fortunate and thankful to have a job that allows me to work from home. Just don’t ask me if it’s a ‘real’ job unless you want an earful!
(Did any other early 80′s babies catch the reference to MC Hammer? Do you remember rocking the hand motions to this song on the grade school bus?)