WORKING FROM HOME BLUES
This blog post has been republished from 2015.
CONFESSIONS OF BEING YOUR OWN BOSS,
Featuring a Few of My Working From Home Instagram Worthy Moments
I was stuck. To be honest I’m not really sure I ever had a plan. Sure I had ideas, I always had new ideas. But a plan… nope.
I distinctly remember that college registration day when my counselor asked what major I was interested in as I enrolled into my freshman semester classes. “You can change it later,” she suggested as she watched my mind boggle. She may as well have asked me “What do you want to do WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?” I was halted in my tracks as I checked undeclared on the registration form and went to my dorm room to pounder my future some more. I could feel the world at my fingertips as the power of my decision weighed on my mind. I could be anything. I could choose anything. A doctor, a lawyer, a painter or a politician, I could choose anything I wanted. I could literally choose my future and it would all come back to this moment.
At least five different degree plan changes and years later I was still asking myself that very same question. What do I want to do for the rest of my life? I ended up graduating with my degree in Psychology. It was a subject I truly found interesting but later decided I have very little interest for a job concerning it. It wasn’t any secret I was a bit unconventional, and had zero desire for a 9-5 desk job. “Why not be your own boss?” my friends and family would suggest. “You are so creative! You can do it”, they encouraged. I couldn’t lie, it sounded like a dream come true. Do your own thing, explore your interests, follow your passions and build something of your own! YES! YES, that was the answer.
It would be really wonderful to tell you that that decision was the easiest and best one of my life, but it didn’t come that easy, and it wasn’t and isn’t a solve all. Being my own boss comes with daily challenges and it constantly tests me, but it also is incredibly rewarding and self empowering. Just like any job there are good days and there are bad days.
What could be so difficult you ask? What are your struggles, you wonder? Well, I like to chop it up to a little something I refer to as The Working From Home Blues. Let me break it down for you!
If any of this sounds familiar then you too could be suffering from The Working From Home Blues. If you are take a few problem solving tips from this boss lady!!
1. Getting dressed is a thing of the past.
Sure, every girl has a good drawer full of leggings, but you are on a whole new level. Your grandmother offers to take you shopping for work clothes and you take her straight to the sleepwear section. “Ohhh, I don’t have any sweatpants in burgundy yet!,” you say as your grandmother becomes completely confused with kids these days. Sure, in the beginning wearing your PJs all day sounds great, but after a while you start to feel a longing for a reason to get dressed.
Problem Solver: “Dress for success”. Get dressed anyways. Lay out your outfit the night before and act just as anyone else going into the office. When I look put together I automatically become more conscious of what I’m doing with my time. Feeling good empowers you do to good. You don’t need to go all out, just put on some real pants and take a shirt off the hanger. Besides you have a whole closet full of clothes you never wear!
2. You start getting a little stir crazy!
It’s official. You watched everything there is to watch on Netflix while editing photos. Going to the grocery store during your lunch break is suddenly a really big outing for the day. You practically beg the dog to let you take him outside again so you can see the sunlight. You’re more pale then those kids on twilight and you can feel the walls closing in on you. If you walk past the dishes in the sink one more time you may just lose your mind.
Problem Solver: Take a break and go on a walk, it will help keep you refreshed. Quit running errands on your lunch break and make it a real lunch break. Ask your husband or a working friend to meet during their lunch break. Take your computer to the coffee shop and send a couple emails. Better than the coffee shop? The library! Remember the library in college where you would get all of your best studying done? Try it out, and while you’re there rent a couple of DVDs. You may even find some things that you can’t watch on Netflix.
3. You sometimes forget how to socialize and what human interaction looks like. And lacking in-office support is starting to take its toll on you.
You once caught yourself asking your dog what you should do for lunch, and that was just the beginning. One time I remember meeting a friend for lunch and I swear I completely forgot how to make eye contact and how to form words. After hours of staring at a computer monitor in solitary you can easily forget how to interact with others. Working from home can be really lonely at times. It’s difficult when you lack peers when you are in need of help. It can become daunting when you don’t have a boss to encourage you when you’ve done something well, and it can even be frustrating to not have a superior to remind you when you’ve become off track.
Problem Solver: Make yourself a community. Take it upon yourself to seek out other professionals in your industry or those similar and reach out. Many of these professionals are facing the same daily obstacles you are and can offer a great support system. If you’re having trouble finding the right facebook group or meet up don’t be afraid to just start one! I stumbled upon one of the best inspirations while attending the Imaging USA conference in Nashville, TN this past year. I met a sweet group of girls from a small town in Georgia that had all came to the conference together. I was in awe of these girls who had connected via a facebook group in their area and now were all such great friends. Before I had always viewed other photographers in my area as “the competition”, but how great would it be if they were my support instead! I immediately went back to my hotel room that night and started a facebook group for photographers and wedding professionals in my area!
4. Sick days? What’s that? Snow days? Working overtime?
Okay, so in SF snow storms aren’t a thing. BUT in Little Rock there was this particularly great snow day full of revelations. I woke up thinking it was Christmas morning as I pulled on my rain boots over three layers of socks and began to bundle up when I noticed my husband sittng at the kitchen table. “Eric, lets go sledding!” I said while emptying out our laundry basket onto the kitchen floor. He looked at me and grinned over his computer and I began to notice all the papers spread out in front of him. “Take a seat,” he suggested in an eerie calm voice while patting the chair next to him- SHIT, what did I do? Is it the credit card bill? PLEASE don’t be the credit card bill! “It’s April, it’s time to do your taxes!” Eric said with way too much pleasure. Well, that was a buzz kill.
Problem Solver: Find yourself a happy medium. We all have obligations and deadlines for those obligations, but sometimes we all need a sick day. If you really feel awful for the day allow yourself a time out, and know when you need it. A real struggle from working at home is that you always feel like you are working. It’s important to set work hours. Find yourself a schedule and stick to it. Go sledding… but only if you finish those taxes. #Workhardplayhard
5. You feel like friends and family don’t take your job seriously.
For some reason no one wants to believe you actually do any work. Your Mom calls every week during work hours (yes, we have those) and wants to chat for 45 minutes about her dinner party then gets frustrated when you seem disengaged. Your friends ask you to run an errand, “since you will be home.” Your girlfriend calls and asks what you did all week, you say work, she says, “Oh! You got a job!”… smh.
Problem Solver: Don’t drink the haterade. Tell your mom you will call her after work or on your lunch break. Express to your friends your work hours are work hours. When your friends joke about your job remind them how you single handedly run a certified small business and stick to it! And lastly is something I often struggle with, take your self seriously. Your job matters, and it’s important to you- let it show.
What are some of your worst working from home problems? What keeps you going when your day just won’t quit?!!
I would love to know, share your story!