I work from home full time and am my own boss. In my previous life (before children) I worked for the National Autistic Society, an unbelievably rewarding career and one which did tend to take up a fair amount of my focus, whether I was in work, on call or not. It was a fabulous position, offering so much variety and a real opportunity to make a difference. I worked in adult services and dealt with anything from hands on support to recruiting staff, training, rotas, pre-appraisals and more. It felt like more of a vocation than a job.
I fully intended to go back to work after Kieran was born and even got as far as my back to work interview. I sat and listened to how my role would be changing, my hours would be different, about key changes within the service and the organisation and all I could think of was how I couldn’t come back, that I didn’t want to come back.
In the short time since I’d been on maternity leave my focus had shifted monumentally. I was a mother now and had different priorities. I stood up, thanked the person I was speaking to and told her I wouldn’t be coming back. I’m not sure who was more surprised to be honest, her or myself.
I went to see Roy at his workplace afterwards to drop my bombshell and was amazed at how thrilled he was. He knew how much I loved my work however also knew that inside I was struggling with the idea of going back into my extremely hour-intensive position. He’d wanted me to make the decision to make changes without him influencing me, something I love him for, and so my first steps into self-employment began.
The road was anything but smooth in the early days as a cut in income like that overnight has a hell of an impact however neither of us regrets the decision for a minute. I’ve been my own boss for eight and a half years now and have absolutely no intention of rejoining the world of work as an employee again.
When I’m working at 4am to meet a ridicuously tight deadline or those times when I’ve had to get heavy with someone who thinks paying an invoice is optional I’ve for a fleeting second thought “Wouldn’t it be easier to go to work, come home and have a fixed income?”. Then I laugh at myself. I absolutely love my life, I love my work and most of all I love the flexibility it allows me so that I may be on hand whenever my family needs me.
Taylor woke up this morning and he was decidedly “off” for want of a better description; parents just know when a little one is not at their best. After breakfast he actually took himself off to bed again so I got in touch with his (fab) childminder and told her Taylor was staying at home today. Work has been shelved (to be continued after tea tonight and very early tomorrow morning) but today was for Taylor. True to form by 9.30am he was absolutely fine, if not a little tired so we’ve enjoyed a wonderfully chilled out day together. We watched tv under a pbanket, coloured in, toasted teacakes and just spent a day enjoying each other’s company.
I didn’t need to ring in sick, apologise for taking time off, use holidays to cover the day off, the same way I don’t for sports day, Christmas carol services, half terms and other special events.
And THIS is why I work from home and for myself.
I can list many advantages to working from home, the chief one being that I need little or no childcare (just as well considering the costs!).
There are some downsides though. These are few of mine, sound familiar?
The fridge: When I worked in an office the fridge was in the kitchen which was not within the office. The fridge only contained whatever I’d brought in for lunch that particular day. Here the fridge and the cupboards seem to taunt me. Curiously the fruit bowl is often silent. Fortunately I am now in the habit of bringing the fruit bowl into the living room (where I work). Genius! (I can still here them though…..).
Copywriter bum: I’m not convinced my bum has changed shape from so many hours sat on it but I do seem to suffer more nowadays from what I call copywriters bum. Most people call it coccyx pain, I call it a pain in the arse, regardless it can be painful if it is a problem you suffer with. Working on a strict deadline whilst hopping from bum-cheek to bum-cheek is not the most productive way of working, though seems to amuse anyone else who happens to be in the house at the time.
Please note that kneeling on a pc chair may help with the pressure but is likely to result in injury when the hair tips and you land on your nose. Just so you know.
Chewed pens: This is probably not very widespread but one that occurs daily. I chew pens. I gave up smoking years ago and seem to have picked up the disturbing habit of chewing on any pen, be it a cheap biro or a Parker pen. Not only is this disgusting for anyone who happens to try and steal your pen (no sympathy really) but this can also have severe consequences..
Please note that going on the school run with a blue ink-stained mouth is less fun than you would imagine.
Cute kids: These are my downfall. I work around Taylor (Kieran is at school during the week), starting very early and finishing late, and cherishing the 2.5hr nap he still enjoys. Occasionally I will even plonk him in front of Baby TV for half an hour if I am on deadline (he doesn’t seem to mind). Unfortunately he is cute, VERY cute. He knows exactly how to press my buttons and one flash of that cheeky grin and the pc is abandoned and I am rolling around the floor. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I’ve thrown it in because I expect I am not the only mother with a child who has a work-destroying grin.
Social Media: Oh my! Social media is a wonder in this modern technological age, it is also the top of my procrastination list. I just don’t have time to spend on social media I used to and have to be very strict with myself. I have to wonder if I’d ever used one of these nifty online timers just how much of my time was being taking up on Twitter and Facebook. It’s another voice calling you when you really are struggling through the most deadly peice of copy that ever existed but we have to be strong. It’s tough when I like to tweet like I talk (a lot!).
There are many advantages and disadvantages or rather downsides to working from home, these are a couple I can dredge up having had only one coffee today. Can you add any?
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