Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A bathrobe occupation

I am blessed. One of the ways I’m doing my part for the environment is by working from home, where my car remains parked for most of the week. Fill ups are infrequent and I thoroughly relish the convenience of not having to spar with other drivers for my place in line as a mass of vehicles crawls toward fume-enhanced tunnels and overcrowded parking lots. The pleasures of working from home can’t be matched when it comes to the commute.

Of course, there are disadvantages. The temptation to sleep in is stronger when there’s no clock to punch. Morning coffee breaks on the patio last longer than most when being entertained by chattering squirrels, busy hummingbirds, vibrant cardinals and finches and a view that’s breathtaking.

Then there are the folks who call to chat, since after all, I’m not really working…I mean, not really. People expect you to be available for volunteer activities, impromptu lunches, and extended visits.

The main disadvantage to working from home is the constant conflict of what needs my attention the most. I usually end each day (late into the evening) with a list of what I’d like to accomplish the next day. For instance, tonight my list for tomorrow includes working on research for a magazine article about dogs, editing a short story for a client, and doing a series of narrations for a voice-over project I’m working on. My daily blog is on the list every day as well.

But what happens on the days I wake up and discover the sun’s shining brightly (which is a rare sight in Western Pennsylvania lately) and there’s a nice breeze blowing? After all, isn’t that the perfect type of day to do laundry and get it on the line? Suddenly, my goal of crossing things off my list early in the day gets pushed aside in lieu of sorting laundry and getting a load in the washer. Then as I pass through the kitchen I realize we never cleaned up the dishes from the night before and suddenly I’m unloading and loading the dishwasher as my coffee brews. By now, my diabetes is getting the better of me and I know I have to take the time to eat. Oops…time to clean up again. As the spin cycle grinds its way to a stop, I head back downstairs to take the wet laundry outside to hang on the line. “What a perfect day for laundry,” I say to myself. “I should strip the bed.”

And on and on it goes…with work undone and a list vying for my attention. Thus, the reason you’ll find the lights on in my office late into the night. I’m trying to be green, but working in the dark just doesn’t seem to be effective.

So if you’re contemplating leaving the corporate world for a bathrobe occupation, maybe this will give you just a glimpse of what life is like for those of us who make that choice. Frustrating? Sometimes. Lonely? It can be…although now that I’ve discovered my water cooler buddies on Facebook, I seem to feel much less isolated. Risky? That goes without saying. Fulfilling? You bet.

If you’re a parent of young children who would rather have them home with you than in a daycare center somewhere (especially with the threat of H1N1 looming), I say go for it. But be prepared to have to juggle. Your kids need not only your presence, but your attention as well. Clients don’t pay you to play Candyland or watch Bambi with your little ones. You’ll have to make some personal sacrifices in order to be successful, both in business and in your personal life, but since working from home is usually a greener option, you have my support all the way.

With that said, I’ll end with how I started. I am blessed.

Keeping it green,


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