The first thing I saw when I logged into twitter yesterday was this tweet and that triggered the post.. Be warned, it is a long one..
Vivek -- Let’s make one thing clear: Work from Home isn’t leave. Work from He isn’t holiday. Work from Home if anything is 100 times more dedication, control and will power.
I have been working from home [as a freelancer] for over a decade. What does that mean?
- Well, I take on projects and work on them from home..
- Sometimes I do visit client office but I dont go to an office daily, or spend 8+hours there...
- I get money only if I work, I dont get a salary at the end of every month
- I dont get any of the perks or advantages of working at a regular job
- I dont get x number of days off..
- Everyday is a working day, or holiday for me! :D [Depends on the projects I take on]
- We are our own boss and employee as well, so we need to have certain level of dedication and conviction to get a job done.
- Learning to juggle multiple clients, send out contracts, follow up with invoices is all part of my job.. Nobody else is gonna do it for me.
- I offer services to clients and obtaining clients depends on how good my work is and on references..
- There are days when am not in the mood or unwell, but then work doesnt stop, deadlines dont take a pause...
- Advantage is that am my own boss, and I get to work at my pace
- I create a to do list first thing daily and recheck at the end of the day to see how much was done..
- It gives me flexibility to travel, and sometimes I carry work with me :D
- The biggest downside of this is that - The concept of working from home is still new to most people in our country, especially families where they have never had anyone do that
When I quit my job at XYZ [a leading IT/ITES company], entire family piled on me asking me why I quit the job at such a big company, how I should have stuck on for a few years there considering there are many who have been there for decades and decades.. They don't get that I was unhappy there.. Yes, the job was good, I enjoyed what I did, but the people made life hell, and the fact that there was no work- life balance at all. I was in HR [Recruitments], and would go into work at around 9.30 -10am and get back home way past midnight. No holidays, no festivals, nothing... Saturdays when I used to go for 3hrs for Spanish class, folks would give me a "oh my god, you took off just like that, how could you?"....
Fast forward to a decade+ later, the situation is still same at home.. They still dont understand the concept of "working from home"... They assume am at home for x hours in a day, glued to laptop, but then it probably means am jobless or watching random stuff, or killing time.. So, there are constant yells and demands to do this and that, the doorbell that rings incessantly- iron lady, courier, delivery, driver enquiring something, etc and the endless family calls to reach gramma [ cos she invariably doesnt answer her cellphone and they all assume its fine to call me anytime of the day]... Aaarrgghhhh....
This has not really changed over the years.. just that in between, I kinda lost it and moved out to live on my own.. It was sheer bliss- cant begin to explain how amazing it was.. Work, focus on what am doing, chill when I can and well, just do my own thing!! Oh well, good things seldom last long... Yes, I did have door bell/courier/delivery, cooking and other activities when I lived alone, but I did have to deal with people taking me for granted and assuming am free all the time...
And now am back here , and its a daily battle- to find mind space, trying to complete projects, sometimes having to draw the line quite loud for them to get the message.
I remember these few incidents with family that irk me till date,
1) During my mid/late 20s, when parents were desperately trying to get me married off... They had created a horrorscope [ yes, I call it that] and I kid you not, under the category "Profession", they had said "She works from home, nothing stable, maybe makes about Rs30000].. *this stung/stings like hell, considering I was slogging my ass off and making about 3 times that money*
2) We were at a different town for some religious purpose.. Mom & I were standing in line for Dharshan when a lady came up to mom and during the course of their chit chat, she asked if I was a relative/sister/etc... Mom clarified I was her older daughter [ I have a younger sis who is more known to the world...] and that lady enquired what I did, mom as always jumped the gun "oh she works from home, my younger one works at Google, tra la la..."and that was that... * it stung and I had to bite back tears... cos I always thought my mom who is a home maker is one who works at home*
To give a bit of background- I have been living with my grandparents[maternal] since 2000, freelancing since 2007, and till date I doubt if my parents know what exactly I do.... They have not bothered to ask or find out...
- Why is working from home such a blah thing?
- Is it just my family or same in many others as well?
- Why are we folks who work from home not respected as those who squat at offices?
- People [aka family] would rather I be miserable but working at XYZ company than being my own boss and working from home/freelancing....?
Cant wrap my head around this.. dont think I ever will..
There are days when I get so bugged at home, that I go to a cafe or friend's house and work peacefully.. It is only there am able to focus and do justice.. So, whenever someone says "oh gosh, you are so lucky to work from home, I tell them - lets swap places and then we shall talk".... It takes extra grit, effort and control from my part to remain calm, focussed and get things done!
On the other hand, I do have friends who love working from home [ some work at companies that allow them to work remotely and others freelance like me].. What is the one thing common between them- they live alone.. note that point!! :)
To give you a rough idea of my daily routine, here is a pie chart ...