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!

Friday, December 09, 2016

Removing My Label Once and For All

So many of us like to place titles on our lives, like "I'm a salesperson" or "I'm a Trump supporter," and even, "I'm a lesbian."  Before I make this statement, please know that I am not lumping an entire group into a "whole", but from only what I have seen for myself. I don't like to label myself. Hate it. But it is what it is. I'm gay. I guess the technical term would be "lesbian". Whatever. I do not belong to any "community", although I am an advocate for the LGBT community as best I can. I've never been to a pride parade, simply because I can celebrate who I am right here as I am. I am not embarrassed about being gay, or about having a lifetime partner of 23 years -- I just don't want to be lumped as a "community". With that being said, I have experienced on numerous occasions, other lesbian women who do not respect my marriage with my partner. They will either try to pursue an affair or relationship, fully aware that I am committed to only one person. I have seen other lesbian women who are partnered up that also pursue a relationship or an affair on the side. I know this isn't only limited to the "lesbian community". I realize that straight people do this as well, but from what I've seen, the "community" has done lost their minds.

Perhaps I'm a bit of an outcast. I'm Christian and God comes first in my life, and that's not the norm for your stereotypical "lesbian". I had several people email me asking why I took the "lesbian" and "LGBT" label off from my bio on all social media. It's very simple. I do not want to be pigeonholed in only talking about one topic. I never did anyway. So when people come onto my blog or live broadcasts, they think it's just going to be LGBT conversations and topics. It's not. In fact, most of my readers and broadcast viewers are straight. I'm not aiming for a particular group -- I'm simply trying to help people who struggle with similar things as I do.

So who am I?

First and foremost, I'm a Christian.
I'm a daughter.
I'm a wife.
I'm a sister.
I'm a friend.
I'm a contributor.
I'm a writer.
I'm a musician.
I'm an owner of a rescue dog.
I'm a helluva cook.

I'm so much more than just a "lesbian". That's only a fraction of who I am, only because I am married to someone of the same gender. Love is love no matter who it is, regardless of gender. But lately, the "community" has been coming down on me, questioning my updated bio, having to leave the "lesbian" out of the equation. I feel like in some way, that limits my audience. I don't see many writers and broadcasters displaying themselves as "straight guy from NY" or "black woman from Cali" -- it's probably a given. Details like that aren't really important. Who ARE you? What do you DO? How do you help? I think those things are much more important. And being an LGBT advocate is important for various reasons and issues of discrimination. Sure. I get that. But it doesn't have to be a daily crisis.

"Hi, I'm Debra and I'm a lesbian."
"Hiiii, Debra!" 

I've contemplated on whether or not my being gay was a choice or if it was genetics. And my question is: who cares? For instance, I knew I liked females since I was in diapers. "Well what do you mean you liked females -- you didn't even know what attraction was!" No. I did. I found myself having little crushes on actresses, teachers, or family friends who were older females. I never liked any of my friends who were my own age. But as I grew into my teens, I also dated boys. I needed to give the "normal life" a shot. I dreamed of the typical life: big house, three kids, a family dog with a white picket fence, etc., but that never happened, or it kinda did but in a roundabout way. And now, I have a wife, (my family unit), a nice home, a dog without the white picket fence.

"But are you happy?"

Is anyone 100% happy? I can say that my happiness is a byproduct of my gratitude. I am extremely grateful to have married my best friend. Every little thing I have, (and it's not much) is worth more than gold to me. My relationship with God has made me realize so many things. For one, you don't need to procreate in order to be a caretaker or to help someone less fortunate than yourself. I have learned that a family unit doesn't have to consist of having a little biological tribe, but it's to find love within your own home and welcome those who are in your life with love and respect. Life doesn't have to look like a Hallmark movie. It simple has to be appreciated for all that it is.

I have never fit in with the "lesbian community". I was always shunned for my political and religious views. They'd tell me that God doesn't accept me and neither does anyone who holds republican values. See, I don't believe that. And I have views that are much more important than the "gay agenda". I feel like the "community" has pigeonholed themselves into a world of exclusiveness -- a world where nobody else is welcomed, unless they all think and live alike. I don't conform to their standards, and never will. I will always stick up for anyone who is being discriminated against, but to be apart of a 'community" that shuns their own is just too vile to even consider.

Not long ago, I remember I was talking to one of my friends who happens to be a transgender woman. She's also a lesbian. She went to attend a lesbian meet up -- where they all go out to dinner in groups and get to know one another.  I guess you can say my friend wasn't quite settled in -- or "well assimilated" to her gender as of yet. She was still transitioning, but you can plainly see, that she was indeed, a she. The negative response she received from these women were so awful and discriminative. To even think that this group of lesbians are seeking acceptance from society, yet doesn't take the "T" in the "LGBT" is just sickening to me. It's not only hypocritical, it's despicable. They said that they felt as though it was a "man" intruding and forcing themselves inside their private groups -- an "impostor" of sorts. I truly believe that after I found this out, it only made my views on the "community" hard to swallow. So this is why I will not associate myself in a "group" or "community" -- nor will I ever label myself again.

I'm just "me". Take it or leave it.

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!