Oh hi there. You want to work from home because it’s fun and you get to chill in your PJs all day? Jolly good, do sit down and let me burst that bubble for you.
A couple of years ago (two) I did a post on the joys of being a content writer, which in retrospect might not seem that relevant but it did then and was the first thing I thought of when I sat down to write this baby – so yea. What prompted me further was Yudhanjaya‘s article on Readme that was something I could and still to an extent can relate to.
My subconscious also tells me that this is a very timely post. The past few weeks were a repetition of similar questions:
1. Do you have a job?
2. Are you still studying?
3. When did you come back from India?
4. When are you getting married?
5. Are you working?
So for those who don’t know what I do, well, I’m not going to tell you what I do.
It’s not as though I don’t want to tell the world what I do, I have one of those LinkedIn profiles as well 😉 But I just don’t see how my job or the work I do is a cause of concern to you. Yes, if we are making conversation and I take a liking to you I will fill you in on a few of the intricate dealings my “jobs” entail. But if I don’t, I’m just going to give the diss-you-off-answer hoping you would go away and don’t come back.
But for most of
what I will reveal through this post the part, I work from home. Or not “home” in its traditional sense, but let’s just reword it to, “alternate workspace”, because I more often than not sit occasionally at “workspaces” mercilessly hogging their wifi or grace a series of coffee shops. Very rarely do I now work from “home” as we know it, as there are one too many meetings happening in the “City” #SuburbanGirl and the house was in need of a chauffeur. I volunteered for the latter as this not only helped me cut down my travel costs but also helped me ensure the money saved was spent on exorbitantly priced coffee.
However, the problem that led to post is not the coffee and street food I’ve been eating, but the common perception people have as soon as you utter the magic sentence, “I work from home”. I took the time (read two days!) to think through and list down the first reactions people have when I start to explain the nature of my work. Please note that the list will be a little inclined towards writers who work from home.
- “Can you find me a job ‘a working from home job’ as well? ”
So suddenly, working from home has also become synonymous to “recruitment consultant”. Trust me, I’m more than happy to speak to school leavers or those who want to get into the same line of work that I am or others who want to work from home. I’m all for all of those options. But what I don’t like his how and why and where people get the idea that we have this little blackmarket smuggling business of providing jobs for people? (the excessive blackmarket reference in my speech these days is a result of my current read, Shantaram)
Sure enough I do “outsource” some work of mine either when there is too much to do or it just isn’t my area, such as graphics. But that doesn’t mean I always have this little black logbook of jobs and sorts under my pattiyalas?
If you want to look for “working from home jobs” that happens “on the internet”, I’d suggest you first start using the internet, effectively – this doesn’t include Facebook. Go throw your skills out there in social media and have portfolios available for public viewing (this might attract the people you are looking for) or sign up at a freelancing website.
- “You are seriously living the life girl! I wish I had life/job like yours!”
Often times when people ask me this question, I’m tempted to say, “Yes, I am! I get to wake up at 11 am after a night of hard-hitting night of partying, order some pizza and then go back to watching Game of Thrones” because no where in your question or my response must we acknowledge the need to work in order to earn. Also, my folks ain’t got no trust fund.
I understand the basis of this question and the presumptions you are more often than not mislead by. But let me tell you that I too have “working hours”. They may not be your standard 09-05, but if we are dealing with clients or partners or someone on those lines, they have standard working hours, which means all meetings, transactions and communication happens in broad daylight! What’s more, our life becomes more faayn because we usually stay up all night and try to rework and consolidate meeting thoughts or long threads of emails into one cohesive document. So while you party your buttocks away that Friday night, we are at home, drunk on coffee, meeting deadlines.
This is not a daily occurrence, I agree, and we don’t always look like hot messes, but though most who work from home start off as those with “flexible work” hours, it becomes flexible, so as long as you are willing to compensate for it much later in the day. This also results in some money saved, I agree, but the money saved is not spent because there is simply no time to do so.
- “Here, you don’t know of any weekend jobs noh? Like someplace I can earn some extra cash?”
This is quite similar to point one, I agree but what I’m trying to convey here is a leetle bit different. What people don’t understand is that some people make their entire month’s living expenses by working from home. Yes, it does become as well paying at times, I agree. But what I don’t understand is why people think this is like a part time job. I mean seriously, try McDonald’s, I heard they are hiring.
- “Oh, you are a writer? So, like a journalist?”
Last I checked, being a “writer” was not similar to being a journalist. No qualms against journalists though, I was once a journalist myself and loved every bit of that adventure. But trust me when I tell you that there are other people who write: bloggers, marketers, authors and those who work in public relations all write! Some may not want to call themselves writers and that’s perfectly fine. But I on the other hand, like to call myself a writer. A wise blogger at TBC Asia once said to me , “The more you engage in the field you are most passionate about, the less time you spend doing what you most love,” or something to that extent. If that makes absolutely no sense, what she tried to say, in the context of writers, was the diversification entailed in the work we do. Occasionally, most of our time is spent attending meetings and looking into perfecting writing as opposed to the act of writing itself.
Not sure if I strayed from the point as always, but asking this question is similar to asking me if I’m a pharmacist after examining my medicine pouch. We are all able to take on any role we best assume. The important part is to make sure that the work is done in order to live up to the name of the title.
- “Can you please take (name) out for the day? Make sure to take your laptop and also go. You can work from anywhere, noh?”
This is probably a query limited to the household. It is also an example of when self-proclaimed disclaimed go wrong. What most people don’t understand is that not all places will have good wifi (or internet on the portable device I’m carrying), a quiet environment (for conference calls if need be), desks and chairs (I don’t quite take to working in bed) and be conducive to writing. Have I ever asked you to bring your filing to the kitchen and do it while you watch over my unborn children, yet?
This post meant no offence to anyone, but instead was a curated something of my lessons learnt.