Today’s topic for discussion at the Freelance Writing Jobs Facebook Group is how our family, friends and neighbors perceive us. It’s interesting because no matter how hard we work, there are some who feel that because we have no regular employer, we don’t actually have a job. Often times, having flexibility sometimes means people doubt you work very hard. It also means some folks feel you’re available any time of the day or night.
I remember receiving a very innocent email from my son’s teacher asking me to come in and help with a classroom event because she knows I’m always home and available to help. Part of me is happy to be available to participate in school when I’m needed because that’s very important. However, part of me also thought, “but wait, just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m always available.”
It’s all in how others perceive us.
My mother worked at home as an instructional designer. She had a flexible schedule but still had a deadline oriented job. She knows exactly what it’s like to work full time from home because she did it herself. On the other hand, my mother in law, knows I do some work at home, but she wonders why I don’t have more time for cleaning. I jokingly ask my husband if he runs a vacuum during his lunch hour and why I should be expected to do the same, but the truth is, when you work at home people don’t understand why you don’t dust every day or why a bed might be unmade from time to time.
It’s how others perceive the work at home lifestyle.
I’m happy to be there to help my son with school work, be a class mom or den mom or just have afternoons in the park. Sometimes though, I wish my flexibility didn’t give certain others the impression that I don’t work at all. I think it’s one of the reasons I keep a schedule. Having set “office hours” helps others to respect my time more. Still, there are some who can’t grasp the difference between “stay at home” and “work at home.”
What are your thoughts on freelancing and how others perceive us? Is this ever an issue for you?