Running Away from Home (Part II)

17 Apr

So yesterday, I started telling the story of my work career, and how I’ve had the option to work from home for a decade now. However, that all changes when the option becomes mandatory.

When I got my work-from-home job three years ago, this was ideal for a while… until two things happened. One, I ran out of reasons to want to get out of the house. There were only so many cafes and virtual offices and hotel lobbies that I wanted to frequent. I had a whole mapped out area of my town that has all the places I liked to go. But the hassle of not having my extra screen or having to set up new again when I moved location bugged the crap out of me.

The second thing was COVID–so instead of being alone at home, I had the whole family there–and there was nowhere I could hide. Unlike a lot of people, I’ve never had any great fear of catching it, and I was grateful that after a while, I found a place I could go that also had like-minded people. (I’m not going to say where, because of all the COVID cowboys out there, who want to shame people who are non-compliant.) After a while, that became my ONLY escape from my regular work schedule. 

So I learned several things about myself during this stay-at-home experience that ruined the joy of it.

1. You’re Never AT Work

With the family around the house, my only option to get enough done is to move my desk to my hot bedroom. But I have to leave that “office” every once in a while to get a drink, get a snack, stretch my legs… whatever. That means your family immediately pounces on you for the simple joy of interaction. My kids are thrilled to see their dad (I’ll enjoy it while it lasts), my wife is suffering for lack of adult interaction, and I… I just want to get my drink and go back to my desk. A two-minute trip to the kitchen becomes ten minutes, because my wife wants to bitch about some damn news story that she just saw.

2. You’re Never NOT at Work

Thankfully, my boss is very helpful in enforcing work-life balance. Nothing after work hours has to be answered right then. But there are always emergencies, and normally I like to keep all electronics off on Saturday, but since all new classes that I work on release their videos on Saturday morning, some eager beaver is ready to tell me if something didn’t work… which means, I need to be aware if it needs fixing, which means leaving my phone on… albeit I check it a lot less.

So I’m never NOT at work–and my commute from my bed to the desk means that I never feel there’s a clear delineation from my work to my homelife… everything’s jumbled.

3. You’re Not Really Working

No one is working diligently all the time. When you’re at a cubicle, you have to disguise the fact that you’re goofing off. But when you’re at home and your desk is pointed away the door, at any point my wife can bust in the door and notice me playing solitaire, she can see that I’m goofing off. That means that she values my work less because “well, you’re not really working, are you?”

So that means that she feels far more comfortable interrupting me or talking with me about some important thing… and what would have been handled by a text becomes a conversation that lasts longer. Unlike a co-worker that you can politely excuse yourself, your lover is not going to be so easily swayed by a brush-off. I learned that isolation is important to me–and can not be understood by my wife.

Again, this post is getting way too long, so I’m going to have to continue it tomorrow. If you can relate to my story, let me know in the comments below! Then if you like my writing style, go ahead and check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. Then you can comment again! 🙂

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