Saturday, December 10, 2016

4 Misconceptions About Working From Home

I can work outside on my deck.
Years ago when I was stuck in a cubicle for 8-12 hours, I would always imagine myself working from home. Back in the late 90's, early 2000's, that was a rarity. I never thought I could pull something like that off. There are many perks about working outside of your home: interacting with other like-minded people, a different atmosphere, office parties as well as no "set" office inside your home. In all honesty, I was very unhappy working in an office doing what I did. I went into accounting and then into a crazy high paced call center answering calls from frustrated customers for either technical support or to argue about a bill. It was tedious and downright draining. The last thing I wanted to see when I got home was a phone and a computer.

In 2002, my company started laying off people by the droves, or reducing the salary into HALF. Management started shifting playing musical chairs, our quotas and numbers needed to be 99% or higher, and the goal to keep our company open was far from doable. This was when decisions were being made for the most faithful of employees. Sadly, we all saw our fate in the Sunday classifieds trying to grasp even a portion of our pay that we were receiving at this particular company. We were very spoiled. All good things must come to an end though, right?

I spent a couple of years trying to "find myself", and with much help from my supportive partner, I was able to create my passion of writing into a career. But it went beyond just writing a book or articles -- I started to edit for other people as well as do promotional videos for up and coming comedians and actors in NYC. I started to make money in other ways -- in ways that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sixteen years later, I'm sitting in my home office writing articles, editing other people's articles, broadcasting as well as setting up link placements for advertisers and getting paid as much as I was working in a corporate office.

This doesn't come without quite a few assumptions and judgments from the peanut gallery. So here are my thoughts on the misconceptions about working from home, or just being an entrepreneur/freelancer.

People think you don't do anything all day, or claim that working from home isn't a "real job".

This is so far off the mark. In fact, even though our schedules may seem flexible, that only means that if you don't finish the work during the day, you will be up till 4am finishing someone else's work. For instance, my morning (if I get one) consists of making coffee and making sure all articles and edits have been published from the night before. After that's all checked, I either write an article for various websites that mirror off from my blog, or I set up link placements for advertisers. If I have an editing project, whether that be editing someone else's article or paper, or someone's 5 hour video cut down into 5 minutes -- it can be an all day task. After all is done, I can go out to the grocery store, get some errands done, cook for my family and make sure everyone is OK. I also take care of my mom who has cancer.

Since most of your days are working from home, haven't you become a recluse now? 

Maybe a little bit, but how many of you who work from an outside office would love to get away from certain coworkers? How many of you thought, "Wow, I'd love to be home right now." And while being home too much can drive you a little nutso, there are things you can do to alleviate the stir craziness. I used to be quite the extrovert, and quickly found out how disappointing some people can be. I carefully select who I spend my time with. If I have only one or two close friends, it's better than  having 100 fake friends. If I do choose to go out, it's something pretty low-key. I'm not into the bar scene anymore, because I'm 42 now and my priorities have changed drastically. My wife and I go out to dinner at nice restaurants, meet a few friends for drinks and then come home and enjoy our time together. We go on vacations every year with family and love our little routine. So I may have drifted off from the "big social events" -- but I would've done that anyway even if I was working 9-5 in some cooped up cubical. Just because I don't go clubbing and drinking myself into a coma every night doesn't make me a recluse. I'm a chosen recluse to some degree. And I'm OK with that.

Your spouse must be taking good care of you. 

And she does, but in loving, nurturing ways. We are both equals in our households. But since my wife works long hours in an office, people seem to think she's the breadwinner. We both make uncertain amount of money every year since we both work independently. I invested time and money into my career. To have an entrepreneurship, time and money gets invested first. Then for the first year or so, like any other start up business, you don't even make what you put in. The second year starts to show the results, and that takes a whole lotta patience. That's why people do not realize how much work goes into being a freelancer or entrepreneur. In fact, it took me over 7 years to see really impressive numbers come in. Working from home does not mean someone else supports you financially. It does not mean that you get a free ticket from paying your bills or living in a nice home.

Remember, people who you judge you because you work from home DO NOT PAY YOUR BILLS. They do not know the sacrifice of what it means to be able to make money doing something you love. Most people who judge entrepreneurs usually hate what they do and want to get out of their chosen profession. It's usually the happy and content people who look at this in a different light. Misery loves company, so why shouldn't you be miserable like they are? That's the mindset.

Circa 1999 at Frontier Communications
You must stay in your pajamas all day.

Sometimes! And that's a great perk! But on most days, I do broadcasting so I have to spruce it up a little. There are a few times a week when I have a video conference call. But if there are no set up broadcasts or video conference calls -- then you're damn right I'm going to be up in my big fluffy flannels getting stuff done. On Halloween of 1999, the theme was "Working in the Future". I came in wearing my silk pajamas with a long robe, towel around my neck and flip flops. My dream came true.

Think about this: most of people's lives are spent in a florescent-lit office wired up to a cubical doing something they didn't even go to college for. So the next time someone judges you about working from home, or assumes that you do nothing all day, just remember: they don't pay your bills!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!