by Deborah Ng
One of the reasons I changed the FWJ logo from the pajama blogging lady to the coffee cup is because I was getting a little tired of the assumption that folks who work at home are a little lazy. It’s assumed that it’s too much trouble for those of us who work at home to change out of our sleep clothes. It’s assumed that those of us who work at home do so because we don’t want to work a “real” job or “real” hours. It’s assumed that those of us who work at home do so because we can’t adapt to the strong work ethic we need to spend our days at a cube farm.
If you’re looking to work at home because you love the idea of being able to write in your pajamas or design websites for a couple of hours a day, think again. While I have no desire to ever return to the traditional office job, the reasons aren’t out of laziness. In fact, I maintain one must have a stronger work ethic than those who work in an office because we have to remain focused and not let the television or friends distract us. Moreover, I maintain those of us who work at home put in more hours than those who work outside of the home.
So if you have romantic preconceived ideas about luxuriating through a work at home job instead of putting in the time and effort needed to hold down a “real” job, put that thought out of your mind right now. I wonder, is it the actual working at home or the romantic idea of working at home you’re after.
Why Do You Really Want to Work at Home?
Is it because you want to spend more time with your family? If so, you many be frustrated because you’re having a hard time balancing home and work. The truth is, it’s extremely difficult to work while children are demanding your attention or fighting in the background over the last chocolate chip cookie. Sometimes I wonder if I would be a more hands on parent if I left my “real” office job at 5:00 and didn’t return back to it at 8:30 a.m.
Is it because you want to dress more comfortably? Indeed it’s a perk. My stocking bill is lower and I rarely wear heels anymore. I don’t always work in my pajamas though because I feel the need to separate work from home. Getting changed into some casual clothes to work in puts me in the proper frame of mind. Different freelancers have different opinions on that. However, dress isn’t really a reason to work at home.
Is it because you want more flexibility? One of the best reasons to work at home is the ability to work via your own schedule. I love working early in the morning before everyone is a wake while the house is so quiet. Plus I can take time off to lunch with friends or help my son with his homework and take him to activities. My recommendation is to set aside specific blocks of time as “work hours”. When you start and stop constantly it’s hard to be productive. I also found others respect your time more when you set non-negotiable business hours.
Is it because you keep reading about so many work at home jobs? It’s true, the Internet has created so many work at home opportunities. Be forewarned you can’t quit your day job one day and have a huge clientele the next. It takes time to cultivate relationships. Moreover, in today’s economy, work at home jobs are coveted and competition is fierce. My recommendation is to have work set up before taking the plunge.
Is it because you want a lighter load? If so, you may not necessarily get that working at home. If you freelance you’ll probably have a heavier load because you’ll need to find lots of gigs to help compensate for the salary you left behind. You’ll also need to work hard to find clients and meet deadlines. If money is no object, a lighter load is certainly a good reason to work at home. If you need to support a family, this is rarely the case.
If you’re looking to work at home, first think about the reasons you really want to work at home. It’s not all fuzzy slippers and bon bons. There’s a reality here and it’s not always a free and easy lifestyle. I’ve never worked so hard in my life – and if that’s not your goal you may as well stay back in your cube farm.