It’s Sunday, we’re in January, and instead of breaking an arm on the slopes like all normal people do at this time of the year, I’m home, working. This happens because CES has just finished and every consumer-electronics company worthy of the name was there. And each and every one of them has presented Giza-Pyramid-shaped loads of new products, which will eventually flood European markets and will have to talk many languages and be awesome.
It’s 7 PM, but I know that I can write to Federica in Lucca or Paola in London and send them stuff to translate with a Monday SOB delivery[1. Start Of Business, a more or less arbitrary thing which for some of my colleagues means 7 AM but for me, if all goes well, is at 10.15.]. And I know that they’d probably accept.
I’ve been a home-based freelancer for 6 years, now. I left a job with a contract in a nice office full of friends in 2008. Maybe because difficult choices need to be constantly justified, at first I used to speak about my decision like the Oriental-philosophy convert you sit next to at dinner. You know the type, the one that thinks that if they don’t give you chapter and verse as to why they’ve made this choice they won’t reach nirvana.
It only takes a minute to transform a life resolution in a priesthood. We’re often forced to digest great bits of propaganda about veganism, the Twilight saga, Bach flowers, chemtrails and loads of other stuff, along with the senseless portions served in some restaurants. Nowadays, maybe because I’ve half forgotten splendours and miseries of office life, I feel much more impartial about the whole business and my table mates can merrily continue on their paths to perdition as long as they please.
WORKING FROM HOME: CAPTAIN OBVIOUS
You’re going to be alone. A lot. Some people are really not that good at it. If your parents used to call you to go play with other kids, as a child, and it felt like an invitation to entertain a swarm of wasps; if you left scratch marks in the corridor parquet in the extreme effort to stay in your room in peace… then, working from home will seem to you like finding the gate to El Dorado. (With the critical precondition that you’re already adult and that you’re living on your own, otherwise you’ll have to put up with your family, something we’re going to talk about next time.) If, on the contrary, you like being a hermit as much as you like having a headache – well – in that case I’d think twice before undertaking any dramatic steps.
If you work from home, you won’t have to listen to your colleagues prattling about stuff you don’t care a fig about (my killer topics were soccer; kitchen recipes; children). You’re not going to listen to them at all. Believe me: no matter how you feel about it now, sometimes you’re going to miss this coffee-cup-fueled chin music.
Rolling down the metaphorical shutter on your office days and getting domesticated equals to the Mother of all changes. Listing all new perspectives would make for a whole new job (I wonder what would it be called: probably a Self-Employment Advisor, a professional figure we were all most definitely wanting). But here’s some of them:
- You won’t have to eat any more pathetic sandwiches, or cold leftovers from the previous night. Forget all lardy dips in the local deli or the day the canteen cook woke up in a bad mood and poor innocent people had to pay for it – get hold of your diet, for Chrissakes!
- Forget the alarm clock at dawn and the hour-and-a-half Odyssey in traffic, or the bus wait in the rain, paralyzed in the FUUUUUUU face. Forget expressions like “I’ll be out by 7.55 ’cause at 8 there’s a blockage”. Your office is at 12 seconds straight, dude. Those who work from home have scores of creative ways to make use of the time others spend misusing God’s name and trying to reach their workplaces or their homes. They can read, write, jog, go to the gym, take pictures, daydream, and those are just the options for the boring types. As regards myself, I invest the whole of that time sleeping.
- You’ll save lots of fivers in gas, snacks, coffee, monthly passes; you could even do away with your car. And you’ll also help the environment. That’s pretty cool, as far as I’m concerned.
- You can arrange the best milieu to titillate your productivity. Complete silence, or your favourite music, along with fewer distractions, will turn you into the ultimate war machine. You’ll learn lots of things about yourself and your man-hours and you’ll be able to answer utterly senseless existential questions without batting an eyelid (“Am I a lark or an owl?“). And since we’re into ornithology, did you know that chickens pop out more eggs when somebody plays Mozart to them? I’m just flying a kite here, it may turn out to be useful to somebody.
- Given that your home is your office, based on your professional category, you may be able to detract part of your expenses from taxes (rent, electicity, Internet, phonebills, …).
Now that we’re done with this ultra professional unordered list, next time we’re going to explore the dark side.
This post is also available in it_IT.