WARNING: This post is loaded with sarcasm. You have been warned.
Working from home. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Most other people in the world who also work from home would most likely agree. You know what all of us definitely agree on though? Not wanting to hear a few common comments that seem to slip into conversations with friends, family, and even new acquaintances. These are comments that suggest working from home is an easy life and not real work. It’s definitely not something anyone else should take us seriously for. Right? Wrong! So this post is for all you fellow work at home professionals. Keep reading and have a laugh.
1 - Do you really work though?
Does working from the second I wake up in the morning to the second I go to sleep count as real work? If so, then yes. We really work. Just because I’m at home doesn’t mean my to-do list is any shorter than yours. In fact, it might be longer
2 - It must be nice not to have to wake up early.
What defines early? Because I’m up anywhere between 5 and 7 am every day. Unless the typical morning time has moved to 3am or something, I’m awake earlier than when I commuted to work in the city from the suburbs.
3 - It must be nice to be your own boss.
Oh yeah. Handling my own taxes, insurance, cleaning, office supply purchases, and let’s not forget being my own tech support is exactly what I had imagined when I chose the route of self-employment. Earlier this week when my computer crashed and displayed all different shades of pink and orange, I was jumping for joy because I knew exactly how to fix it.
4 - I’m so jealous, it must be so easy.
If it’s so easy then someone needs to explain what I’m doing wrong. I find myself scratching my head in contemplation a few times each day trying to problem solve. Besides, if it were easy wouldn't anyone do it?
5 - So do you ever get dressed?
What? Is this even a question? Yes, I get dressed. Some days my wardrobe is sporting a cute athleisure look and others I’m dressed to the nines. Would you be able to work in your pajamas? Is anyone productive in their pajamas? I’m not binging The Queen all day. I’m sitting at a desk emailing my life away.
6 - Since you’re home, can you (fill in the blank)...
Because I don’t have anything better to do, right? Listen, working from home doesn’t mean I have an infinitely open schedule to be a babysitter, dog sitter, errand girl, etc. It means my office is in my house. That’s all. Hire a neighbor.
7 - Why don’t you get a real job?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this one, I wouldn’t need a job. Why is it that my office location somehow manages to discredit the actual work that I do? I don’t get it! I’m almost tempted to invite people inside to see the post-it notes all over the wall and my desk. The planners with every minute of the day scheduled and the notebooks upon notebooks of notes. Does this look like a real job to you?
8 - Must be nice…
There’s something about those three words that make your brain open up with Mount Vesuvius ready to blow. Maybe it’s the condescending tone that typically accompanies it. Or maybe it’s the insulting phrase that finishes the sentence. Needless to say, if these three words are said in my presence, get ready for either intense sarcasm or some kind of passive aggressive response.
9 - Don’t you miss people?
In what sense? Because I’m communicating with people all day and sometimes I want to shut all means of communication off. Sometimes I’ll miss human interaction but that’s what weekends and coffee shops are for. Am I right?
10 - Do you get paid much?
Ok. First of all, no one’s income is any of your business. I would NEVER ask someone who much they made at their job. Second of all, if you work from home and are self-employed, income is something that is not as steady as, say, a salaried position. So having people confront us with something that we already stress about regularly on our own just adds to the fire. Bottom line: don’t ask.
The point? If you know someone who is working from home, leave the judgement at the door. Leave the dumb questions too because they’re annoying and frankly rude. Self-employment is hard and it takes some serious guts to embark on that journey. Kudos to anyone who made it work! Instead of questioning someone on their decision or downplaying their everyday life because of their office location, ask them how it’s going and if they’ve gotten any exciting new opportunities lately. Inquire positively like you would want someone to do about your career.