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So, You Want To Break Away, Work From Home?

Ah, working from home. This is me, working from home.

Pro-Tips: 1. If you think the "working" part of working from home is just for giggles- you are incorrect.  2. Don't ever, ever attempt this with whole milk in the pot. It gets mighty gross mighty quickly.
1. If you think the “working” part of working from home is just for giggles- you are incorrect.
2. Don’t ever, ever attempt this with whole milk in the pot. It gets mighty gross mighty quickly.

It’s that mythical place somewhere between slogging away for The Man and actually being completely self-sufficient. (I mean, like farming and all that.) Let’s face it, kids, Baker Creek‘s not sending me free seeds. (Well, though, if you guys want to so I can review them, I’d be open to it. Hint, hint.)

Working for an employer is all well and good. It’s like being a well cared for dog in a small, fenced in yard. (Or poorly cared for, depending on company)
Working for yourself in a capacity that relies solely on you- say, running a farm, that’s like the dog took over the house and put the “Master” in the yard. That’s the stuff, right there.
But what if you don’t have the funds to do that, yet?
That’s where working from home may just save your bacon. Or make you completely insane.
Because working from home is, or it should be, like being a well cared for dog in a huge yard, and the house has a dog door.

But it won’t be, if you believe the lies of lying liars. Let me tell you something, if you really buy this photo, right here?

Mother and baby in dining room with laptop smiling

Reality will eat you alive.

Because the reality is more….

Like this:

...but only if you have functioning breasts. If not, you're not so lucky.
…but only if you have breasts. If not, you’re not so lucky.

And really, that only lasts about three months. After that, they get mighty squirmy.

This is my ex, way, way back in the day, when we both had pressing, rush deadlines.

This is not a good idea because about five seconds after these shots were taken, Sprog 2's dad screamed like a little girl. Why? Because Sprog 2 didn't stop playing to pee. No cover- no barrier. Yeeeeeah.
Work and Home Life Balance is Critical.

Yeeeeeeah, balance is needed. Sometimes literally.
Sometimes literally. This is my friend Brandon also doing the dual deadline dance. It’s rough, man.

I asked Kurt if I could post one of his, he said absolutely not. Lemme tell you- doing two really tough jobs at once will make you haggard. I don’t blame him a bit. The thing is, most of us don’t work like this. These are humorous situations that happen due to circumstances generally beyond our control. In Brandon’s case, he’s got his wife Chrisa to have his back; he has hers. Kurt’s got me and I have him. If you have a partner, the best thing you can do if you want to work from home is work around eachother’s schedule so that you don’t have to work while minding the kidlets. Because not only is it a MASSIVE pain in the butt, it’s also really unprofessional and you can lose your jobs.

What do you do if you absolutely must? I’ll get into that shortly. First, I want to explain why it is that the Cupcake Momprenuer (Manure, really.) crowd is doing would be and actually, freelancers who ARE mothers a huge disservice. There are VERY few jobs that you can do while watching your kid. Some, yes. Can you do that for very long and stay sane? No. The easiest ones to obtain, however, like the ones found over at Rat Race Rebellion’s At-Home Call Center list?

Nope. No sir. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Not happening. And don’t think for a minute you can make it happen. You will fall on your face. To add to that, mothers have it kinda rough getting jobs anyway. I can totally understand and fully support doing away with that stereotype- problem is, I like to pay my bills. Your clients, your bosses and otherwise want to know you are focused on YOUR WORK. Those of us who do like actually working and not just writing about it thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts.

A Precautionary Tale About That Special Button That Sometimes Fails

I can tell you about this because I know. Seen it happen time and time again. Had a really funny, but sad experience with my last customer service contract.

It was a conference call for training. You know, bunch of us patched in, listing and interacting- we’re also on our computers. Most of us, in an office, a bedroom- whatever, someplace away from kids, television, noise, and other distractions. This is a standard requirement. This is a standard requirement that anyone who has ever worked this kind of at home job has had- they have likely had an experience very similar to the one I’m about to relay.

Someone was being called upon to read the script for practice purposes and work her way through the workstation screen. This is a pretty normal training thing, really but there was a delay. Her computer was being a little wonky and everyone’s waiting, so it was a bit quiet. That was okay. That happens, sometimes, people understand it.

Well, suddenly, we all here this noise. Pretty much like the very first one there, little longer, bit more base to it. We then hear mumbling, a belch, and the person on that end of the line say, “Oh mah gawd, ya’ll. I shouldn’t have eaten those tacos. Taco Bell gave me the sh*ts so bad and I can’t stop fartin’.”

I was laughing so hard I had tears coming down my face, as were most in the training class. Our trainer kept trying to get us to be quiet but she was also laughing as she gasped out, “Melissa, I’m not really sure you should…wait…were you trying to mute that?!”

We hear, “Oh mah Gawd, oh mah gawd! I am so sorry, ya’ll! I am SO SORRY.” Appropriately mortified. She hung up. I don’t know what happened to her, but she didn’t continue training that week.

So, there you have it. Don’t imagine you can get around the need for quiet by using mute features or otherwise. At some point, that’s gonna end badly.

I started this series because Kurt tossed my friend Heather over at Hippy Homesteader a lead one day and I got to thinking, you know, I bet there are a few people out there that might want to know this stuff. Stay tuned! Next up, some links to get you started off right.
If you’re hearing looking at how you can hire someone- well, Brandon can be found on Odesk and Kurt is available through Odesk and Elance. I will write more on actually looking for work via those sites in this series as well. Me? You have to use a special ritual involving donuts, coffee and channeling. Or, uh, you could just email me. Whatever. >_<

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