Tall Drink of Nerd – Working From Home, The Sanity Challenge

 In *Archives, Amy Robinson

Can working from home cause insanity?  When I discovered that I could work from home at my current job, a little Homer Simpson popped up in my brain and exclaimed “WOO HOO!”  Not only would I save money on gas and bus fare, I would get 2-4 hours of commute time back in my day. Sweet!



Photo credit TheeErin

Well, I’ve been working from home for a little over 2 months now and there are plenty of perks:  I control the temperature of my workspace, get to eat food out of my own fridge, walk to the beach at lunch, use my own bathroom, scratch things that itch, listen to music at inappropriate volumes or do leg-lifts during long conference calls.  My cats alternately love that I’m home to give them mid-day treats or wish I would stop waking them up all day long.

Not working in a conventional setting has also been a psychological adventure of contrasts.  The first thing I noticed is, it’s a little too quiet in here.  In the various office jobs I’ve held and the variety of co-workers I’ve worked with over the past few decades, one thing has been fairly constant, socializing.  Whether it’s talking about weekend plans, new clothes or babies before a morning meeting, or shoehorning 7 people into a car for an afternoon ice-cream run, socializing on a daily basis makes office life fun.

Keeping in touch via IM with co-workers and friends is okay, but working from home can get a little lonely.  Working with bosses and co-workers only through email lacks a human connection.  Empathy and sympathy can fly out the window and there is little time or need for small talk or socializing.  There have been moments where I catch myself talking, out loud, to myself.  At least I’m funny, so now I’m laughing while alone.  Perhaps I am cracking.

As a counterpoint to craving company, there are interruptions I don’t miss.  Working at home means no unwelcome guests come into my grey cube, “work space”, to eat all my chocolate candies (without asking) and belch without remorse (you know who you are.)  Also, nobody hogs the microwave in the kitchen or makes popcorn in the afternoon without sharing.  Well, sometimes my husband does, but that’s a different blogumn.

Another positive is, absolutely anything goes for attire.  I can wander into my office in my pink, kitty-cat, flannel jammies as long as I’m doing the work correctly and on time.  But after the first few weeks of jammies or shorts, tank tops and ponytails, I felt kinda skeezy.  There is something to be said about getting in costume for the part of worker bee.  Lip-gloss and a frilly shirt are punctuation on personality.  You are what you wear.  My work clothes have come out of the closet again, at least a few days a week, to plug me into that professionally organized Project Manager mentality.

Even with the freedoms of no commute and non-existent dress code, working from home is an experiment in isolation from community.  It is possible that this arrangement is similar to any new work situation; maybe it just takes a few months to adjust into the routine.  Hopefully I’ll maintain the percentage of sanity I started with.  Or, perhaps, I’ll forget all social graces and the next time you see me I’ll be sporting a stained robe while mumbling to myself about the ROI spreadsheet.

To see the visual representation of the Work From Home dichotomy of freedom and isolation, this brilliant cartoon from The Oatmeal is pretty acurate.

featured image credit: drxiv

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Showing 24 comments
  • Seenrobinson

    First!

  • Seenrobinson

    First!

  • Seenrobinson

    First!

  • Amy Robinson

    FIRST!

  • Amy Robinson

    FIRST!

  • Akohl

    First – You two are goofy.
    Second – I was wondering the whole time if you were wearing office attire or a fluffy stained robe as you were writing this.

    • Amy Robinson

      Pirate PJ pants, Berg reunion T-shirt and knit slippers 🙂

  • Akohl

    First – You two are goofy.
    Second – I was wondering the whole time if you were wearing office attire or a fluffy stained robe as you were writing this.

    • Amy Robinson

      Pirate PJ pants, Berg reunion T-shirt and knit slippers 🙂

  • Akohl

    First – You two are goofy.
    Second – I was wondering the whole time if you were wearing office attire or a fluffy stained robe as you were writing this.

    • Amy Robinson

      Pirate PJ pants, Berg reunion T-shirt and knit slippers 🙂

  • Kelly

    I started reading this blog and had to double check to make sure I didn’t write it. Literally, I looked at the authors name to make sure it wasn’t mine. I’ve been working from home for a little over two months and have noticed that I seem to be going slightly crazy. Last week I started having dreams about people vandalizing my house from the INSIDE. Then I had another dream about moving and I love where I live. This morning I showered at 7am because I felt so gross from not having showered since, well that’s just it, I don’t know when I last showered.

    But I’m ok. I’m fine. Just fine. Everything is fine. fine. It’s fine.

    • Amy Robinson

      It’s nice to know I’m not alone in going mental. And because you’ve let me know that, now everything is going to be just fine. 🙂

  • Kelly

    I started reading this blog and had to double check to make sure I didn’t write it. Literally, I looked at the authors name to make sure it wasn’t mine. I’ve been working from home for a little over two months and have noticed that I seem to be going slightly crazy. Last week I started having dreams about people vandalizing my house from the INSIDE. Then I had another dream about moving and I love where I live. This morning I showered at 7am because I felt so gross from not having showered since, well that’s just it, I don’t know when I last showered.

    But I’m ok. I’m fine. Just fine. Everything is fine. fine. It’s fine.

    • Amy Robinson

      It’s nice to know I’m not alone in going mental. And because you’ve let me know that, now everything is going to be just fine. 🙂

  • Kelly

    I started reading this blog and had to double check to make sure I didn’t write it. Literally, I looked at the authors name to make sure it wasn’t mine. I’ve been working from home for a little over two months and have noticed that I seem to be going slightly crazy. Last week I started having dreams about people vandalizing my house from the INSIDE. Then I had another dream about moving and I love where I live. This morning I showered at 7am because I felt so gross from not having showered since, well that’s just it, I don’t know when I last showered.

    But I’m ok. I’m fine. Just fine. Everything is fine. fine. It’s fine.

    • Amy Robinson

      It’s nice to know I’m not alone in going mental. And because you’ve let me know that, now everything is going to be just fine. 🙂

  • Ernessa T. Carter

    I also felt like you were writing my life, Amy. This is why I’ve been better about scheduling breakfasts and the like with friends, so that I get some company outside of my family every so once in a while. But I’ve noticed that I’ve become overly enthusiastic at these breakfasts. I’m always so excited to talk to the person. He or she usually has to be the one that says, “Um, I’ve got to go.”

    But then you also get that weird thing of people not respecting your time. My husband leaves for his job, so it’s sacrosanct, but if the cable guy can only come at 3pm, guess who’s supposed to be here to meet him. And a few people have asked me how I like not working now. And then when I remind them that I do work, they say something along the lines of “yeah, but how do you like not having a real job” as if it’s not work b/c I 1) enjoy it and 2) do it at home.

    I could go on, but then I’d have to repost this comment as a blogumn of my own. The main point is that I’m writing comment in my pajamas. I showered this morning, but I got cold, so I put on my pajamas at 4pm. So yes, despite the slow unravelling into complete and utter madness, working from home is still the shizz.

    • Amy Robinson

      You’re absolutely right that the solitude is an inspiration to plan get-together events with friends, and say YES to invites to get out the house. And I do love the other point that you can change outfits mid-day to fit the shift in weather, and working with the windows open is always a plus. Maybe WFH is a happy madness?

  • Ernessa T. Carter

    I also felt like you were writing my life, Amy. This is why I’ve been better about scheduling breakfasts and the like with friends, so that I get some company outside of my family every so once in a while. But I’ve noticed that I’ve become overly enthusiastic at these breakfasts. I’m always so excited to talk to the person. He or she usually has to be the one that says, “Um, I’ve got to go.”

    But then you also get that weird thing of people not respecting your time. My husband leaves for his job, so it’s sacrosanct, but if the cable guy can only come at 3pm, guess who’s supposed to be here to meet him. And a few people have asked me how I like not working now. And then when I remind them that I do work, they say something along the lines of “yeah, but how do you like not having a real job” as if it’s not work b/c I 1) enjoy it and 2) do it at home.

    I could go on, but then I’d have to repost this comment as a blogumn of my own. The main point is that I’m writing comment in my pajamas. I showered this morning, but I got cold, so I put on my pajamas at 4pm. So yes, despite the slow unravelling into complete and utter madness, working from home is still the shizz.

    • Amy Robinson

      You’re absolutely right that the solitude is an inspiration to plan get-together events with friends, and say YES to invites to get out the house. And I do love the other point that you can change outfits mid-day to fit the shift in weather, and working with the windows open is always a plus. Maybe WFH is a happy madness?

  • Ernessa T. Carter

    I also felt like you were writing my life, Amy. This is why I’ve been better about scheduling breakfasts and the like with friends, so that I get some company outside of my family every so once in a while. But I’ve noticed that I’ve become overly enthusiastic at these breakfasts. I’m always so excited to talk to the person. He or she usually has to be the one that says, “Um, I’ve got to go.”

    But then you also get that weird thing of people not respecting your time. My husband leaves for his job, so it’s sacrosanct, but if the cable guy can only come at 3pm, guess who’s supposed to be here to meet him. And a few people have asked me how I like not working now. And then when I remind them that I do work, they say something along the lines of “yeah, but how do you like not having a real job” as if it’s not work b/c I 1) enjoy it and 2) do it at home.

    I could go on, but then I’d have to repost this comment as a blogumn of my own. The main point is that I’m writing comment in my pajamas. I showered this morning, but I got cold, so I put on my pajamas at 4pm. So yes, despite the slow unravelling into complete and utter madness, working from home is still the shizz.

    • Amy Robinson

      You’re absolutely right that the solitude is an inspiration to plan get-together events with friends, and say YES to invites to get out the house. And I do love the other point that you can change outfits mid-day to fit the shift in weather, and working with the windows open is always a plus. Maybe WFH is a happy madness?

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