What They Don’t Tell You about Working from Home

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.

*pop*

(c) Google Images

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.

(c) Google Images
(c) Google Images

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.

(c) Google Images

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.

  1. “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. 

  2. “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.

    Thanks (c) Google
    (c) Google

    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. 

  3. “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. 

  4. “Oh, you are a writer? So, like a journalist?”

    Just what I was looking for. (c) Google Images
    Just what I was looking for. (c) Google Images

    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.  

  5. “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.

(No) Blast from the Past

So, I went to India. YAY. I know right. Except, there wasn’t much YAY there. Well, for starters, I went for work and to Delhi slash later to Madhya Pradesh so I suppose the ‘lack of Bangalore’ may have resulted in feelings of ‘non-familiarity’. Hmm. I dunno. Or I might be overly hormonal today.

The journey alone was fine, with no qualms of sorts. I never had an innate travel bug and don’t think I would be embracing one either. There are a few places I have to go, someday but yeah that wouldn’t be for work. I hope. Lol.

I had always associated India with a sense of growing up, learning, being away but being here sort of a thing. I suppose it may have been immaturity from my end that would’ve expected more of that. Or perhaps, it’s a feeling of nostalgia and lack of that make me yearn for what is no longer.

Below are a few pics I put up on Instagram and Twitter. An update post of sorts is required, will see to it soon.

Walking the fields of gold.
Walking the fields of gold.

IMG_20140324_084030
Orchcha Palace, Madhya Pradesh.

 

 

BjkaOT-CMAAUD-Y
One of those panorama thingies.

On (the Importance of) Wedding Rehearsals

So, just in case you are not my following me on Foursquare or Twitter or know me in person to see slash hear slash witness my various makeovers as a wedding guest, you are about to read one.

For those who know me, you know that I avoid weddings like the plague. Mostly because I cannot be bothered with the process of dolling up. Don’t get me wrong, I like dressing up, just not for weddings.But what do you know, God thought it was time and BAM, four weddings in January. I might also add that this is the same month I begin working from home and thus intended to cut down on expenses, right?

WRONG.

Weddings. Sigh. There are only so many times that you can reuse a sari and worst, weddings aren’t an LBD event. So this means, buying material and buying shoes and going back and forth to the various seamstresses (obviously coz I don’t trust my osari girl with a dress and vice versa) and salon appointments and makeup remover and wedding presents and transport arrangements and becoming occasionally emotional when you see your school friend get married.

*insert tear*

<Loon Tao keeps sending me Valentine’s Day ball requests.>

So, this is a hurried post, I should’ve written like yesterday BECAUSE, I have another (also final) wedding to go for in a bit. All the way in Kandy, this time I thought of embracing my *ahem* half-Sinhala side of the situation.

Also, the topic! I forgot to speak in relevance to the topic of this post. Always so me, missing the point when it is right in your face. Mr Poe can go re-purloin that shiz.

So, the 3/4 wedding was within the family. It was a remarriage so wasn’t as jill-baranged. (JILL! ❤ :D) Since Akki flew back to Dubai, I am now the eldest in our generation (among 11 nieces and nephews, if I may add). Muhaha. So, I get bossy, I have no issue with that. Especially, when I have seventeen year-old cousins who squeal at the site of boys. Worse, the only old enough boy-cousin (fourteen, the other fellow is three, the other two are from the first marriage of the remarrying uncle so uh-uh, weren’t there), REFUSED to take pictures? I mean what is with that? Women aren’t allowed in the main party hall and shiz when the signing jazz is going on (we be the Muslims!) and this stupid fellow is just standing there. GAH. Now because of this boy, we have no ring-putting picture. GAH. Also, I was told to hold the ring for the new-aunt. Okay. But I give the box to my existing-uncle, right?

WRONG.

Duh. You ought to know that. But I didn’t! In my opinion, for whatever it is worth, the two scenarios listed above could have been avoided had there been a wedding rehearsal! Sigh. Even if it is a remarriage in small scale business or whatever, wedding is a ruddy wedding and people would want to take hundred-and-one pictures and these should all be accurately planned with both parties.

<insert lack of communication and eye-ball rolling.>

To 2013

It’s inevitable noh. I seriously don’t get people who don’t dwell in this act of introspection, okay kidding, I do. But it takes a while to come in to that conclusion okay.

Now that we are past trivialities, I am glad to know that there are others who also indulge in the tedious task of giving oneself an year end analysis. Introspection, they taught me psychology. I look into myself. Not much that I can see, wearing those Aladdin pants slash pants people will get lost in *tsk*. Yes, Miley Cyrus isn’t helping either. Lols. I seem to have a recent inclination towards the lady, her videos with Ellen and music. Next thing I know my wallpaper is of her and Mr Thicke. Tsk.

2013 was a big year for me. I graduated *woots* , got a job *double woots*, did certain things i may not possibly do again *no woots* and well, quit my first ‘proper job’ **. I think the highlight was maybe moving back home. I’m still trying to get myself to believe that I am here, for good. Or for at least a good while. Or maybe I need one of those Happy Endings ‘Stay Grounded’ tattoos on my waistband. A lot of good things have happened while in Sri Lanka, no doubt, but there is a dire lack in conviction. Conviction doesn’t come easily in Sri Lanka. Not that it was easily found in the library back in India, but but but, you know. I dunno. Someone like my Nepali friend would understand.

The whole deal is quite different. In the Stephen King book (it’s a memoir, I’m not much of sci-fi fan. Wait, is Star Wars scifi? Haney manda) I’m reading now. It’s called, ‘On Writing’ (I was talking conviction, get it?). Pretty swag. Let me know if you need a pdf, will mail it over! Anyhoo, the book says how you sometimes genuinely fail to say what you want to say and the inadequacy of the written word! Haw. So true though. Dig that, like totally. Also, do excuse the wannabe niggah talk \m/

I may have been inspired once again my all time favourite author Hemingway, but this time around it’s maybe not only the writing style after. 2014 is filled with baby scares, decisions, impending marriages and genealogical tracings. Kidding. But the following year looks so ruddy scary. Here’s to my sanity. See why I am a newfound Hemingway fan girl now.

On the lines of drinking alone to my sanity, let me thank each and everyone who has contributed to this blog in terms of comments and reads and individual feedback and of course encouragement. I hit — blog posts this year, the highest I’ve ever written.

*group hug*

The Third Ring

This post is dedicated to Sudaththa – who reminded me of the joy of dedications and long blog posts – and Lisa – with whom I first discovered the joy of Kerala.

I need to upload the picture in order to justify my title but I seem to be little too lazy for that sort of madness. But just some insight into my ring theory. So, I acquire a ring from most places I visit. One was a gift from the lovely Nepali girls. But the others are pretty much acquired from places I’ve visited or hand-me-downs.

So I visited Kerala this weekend – again. bliss. – and got another ring! Yes, I do love that place.

I haven’t really understood as to why I fell in love with this place. The weather is amazing, – we are speaking specifically Cochin and Ernakulam – and reminded me of Colombo. Yes, I’m crazy to love humidity but that is one of the main reasons I love Colombo and Jaffna and uhm Galle 🙂 Also for those who think sweating is gross, let me remind you that it is also healthy. Much better than us jokers who don’t sweat in Bangalore and only burn in the cruel sun. No wonder people don’t like the sun.

The past three days was a getaway I badly needed. For reasons that even I cannot justify. It’s not as though I lead a hectic life. Hell, my Mama pays for everything. It’s the procrastination and sheer nonchalance on my end that I wanted to get away from. Yes, I was in that sense running away. Turns out I am pretty good at doing so too.

This visit to Kerala was made longer by the bus rides, especially my ride back where I wasn’t as tired and therefore did not fall asleep as much. So riding back in the some-twelve-hour-journey I begin to think of what I have achieved through my escape strategy. Yes, there was a need to quantify this and it stems from an overarching concept that we cannot seem to get away from.

***

It was about letting go. Letting go of biases, prejudices, past experiences and you know, all that jazz. It was about reminiscing and dwelling in nostalgia and at the same time, accepting what once was and no longer, and discovering what will be and what ideally ought to be.

***

It was about realising that I am not much as a city girl as I thought I initially was. It was about how I enjoyed the long bus ride with bumpy roads made bumpier and a roller-coaster ride by the rain water that had made pot holes on the road as opposed to the well-paved out roads of Coimbatore and Bangalore. It was about how I smiled when we passed over a little bridge like area that overlooked a paddy field and that glistened under the moonlight.

***

It was all these that made me question my appreciation of what I once considered aesthetic. I began to realise that I might not necessarily enjoy the mainstream and actually look forward to getting away from it. Like Carrie Bradshaw once said, “The best thing about living in New York, is getting away from it.” Difference is, I’m no character in the glitzy Sex and the City (though secretly I do dig that idea!) and Bangalore and Colombo are mainstream enough in my little South Asian context.

***

Finally, Kerala this time was about recalling my last visit here and of course being in bed with a half-naked white girl *wink* and traversing through the Cochin waters to reach the juncture with Kottayam, Alappuzha and Poothotta.