January 19, 2011


If you know anything about the Greater Monkeytown Metro Area, you understand that Monkeytown is second only to L.A. on the National Shittiest Traffic Index (NSTI). As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have an 11 mile commute. If I leave for work before 7:00 AM, it takes me 25 minutes or so. After 7:00? Up to an hour. So I've started to work from home a bit more.

This is a monumentally fantastic development for a myriad of reasons.

  1. The commute rocks. You can't beat two flights of stairs.
  2. I get to see my kids during the day. I can pop my head in upstairs, say hi and retreat to work.
  3. I can ditch the suit in favor of jammies or jeans and t-shirts.
  4. I'm saving cash on gas and lunch.
  5. I get a lot done. I can talk to myself out loud without anyone thinking I'm in need of a straightjacket, I can concentrate without getting office-bombed, and listen to music as loud as I want to.

Other than the fact that my cell phone reception sucks in my basement office, there's only one real downside - sloth.

I am an only child. I am happy being with myself for extended periods of time. But when I'm working from home there comes a point at which I have to get up, stretch my legs, get out of the dark basement and interact with other humans. This point usually occurs on the second straight work-from-home day around 2:00 in the afternoon when I realize that I haven't shaved in two days, I'm wearing the t-shirt I slept in, I kinda smell and my ass has somehow defied the laws of physics and become one with my desk chair.

So I get my ass out of my chair, go kiss my kids on the head, grab a drink of water. Then return to the basement and let my ass and chair bond a little more before making the one staircase commute home for the evening.

What's your work day like? And your work environment?

Posted by Chris at January 19, 2011 7:30 AM

I work in retail, but it's about the best retail job I could ask for: part-time in a locally-owned, independent bookstore. My commute is less than 10 minutes, my dress is casual, and my workday ranges from very busy to I-should-really-read-a-book-instead-of-Facebook. The customers are of a higher caliber than your typical retail job. My boss is the coolest, and I'm very very lucky.

And all that makes my minimum wage earnings okay.

Posted by: Alison at January 19, 2011 8:32 AM

I think it's interesting that you accomplish more at home.

My work day is anything but sloth!

Teaching Grade 3 is very active. I'm up and down all day and I use my voice a lot. I'm often reminding kids to speak French, often reminding them to listen, laughing, smiling, dancing, singing, encouraging and some hugs too.

It's pretty awesome :)

Posted by: Heather at January 19, 2011 9:22 AM

in decent weather, you could probably bike to work in a half-hour... just throwing it out there.

Posted by: Aaron at January 19, 2011 9:23 AM

Get yourself a Google Voice number and use it for phone conversations in the basement. It's free.

I've worked from home for most of the last 8 years. My office is upstairs, the wife and kids tend to spend the day in the basement. One of the things about my current job search is the pain of contemplating a commute into Tysons or NoVA.

Posted by: COD at January 19, 2011 9:29 AM

I'm an attorney in a large firm, so some days are office days and others are spent in various courts. My commute is about 8 minutes, 10 with traffic. I would LOVE to work from home, because I can't stand people interrupting my work every 5 minutes, but I really lack the discipline to hole up in our home office. I end up doing laundry, cooking and cleaning.

I used to live in D.C. and remember the traffic well (though, not fondly).

Posted by: Robyn at January 19, 2011 9:51 AM

My commute is a 1/2 mile walk, 25 minute train ride, then another 1/2 mile walk. I work at a large law firm in Boston so it's usually a pretty hectic day. I can dress casual, though, and my bosses are great so I like my job (good thing, since I've been here for 12 years). That's 3 days a week, the other 4 I'm at home with my 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter. Much better commute, but much tougher bosses!

Posted by: akofaolain at January 19, 2011 9:57 AM

I'm currently working two jobs. Ack! I started my new job on the 10th, but am still working part time at my old job. 12 hour days are NOT for me. Thank goodness it will be over at the end of the month.

Posted by: k8 at January 19, 2011 10:03 AM

I find myself getting up and going downstairs to the kitchen just to stretch my legs too. I'll sit in a different spot and play 10 minutes of guitar, and then get back at it.

I also make a solid effort to get away from the computer for 30 minutes to eat. Sometimes that's not possible but I try most days.

Posted by: Brad at January 19, 2011 10:12 AM

My day is a lot like yours. I work from home full-time and I have childcare at home for my almost-one-year-old. I get to visit with him during the day which is nice, but it is easy to find that i don't leave the house for days.

I do, however, get up and take a shower first thing in the morning so that if I want to go somewhere I am not a total slob. Black yoga pants and tunic sweaters are my work attire (glorified jammies).

Posted by: Ashley at January 19, 2011 10:14 AM

I kept telling my boss that I work so much better when I'm away from people AND is allowed to sing along to my music. LOL Seriously! It's like I'm more focused when I sing/dance along in my chair. That keeps the inner ADD child occupied so I can work I guess. LOL.

I'm super productive when I work from home which she'd let me do here and there. But she'd never willingly let me work from home.

Posted by: oakley at January 19, 2011 11:37 AM

I have worked from home for over 15 years now. It takes practice to get "good" at it. Mainly, not let the distractions (kids, laundry, dishes) get in the way of actually working. Right now, I work a combination of office and home and I like it the best. Like you, I need to be around people (older than 17) to visit and lunch with and basically stand around the water cooler and gab.

Posted by: Debbie at January 19, 2011 12:17 PM

I've been working from home for five years - and sometimes i REALLY REALLY REALLY miss the social aspect of office life, I do love getting to be home (I wish there was someone here to watch the kids though - so school days are hardcore work days).

I make sure I *ALWAYS* get "human" in the morning - shower, dressed (jeans and a tee, usually)... I feel a bit better if I'm not a hobo.

My office set up sucks, so I sit on the floor of my office with two laptops open. It's a little nuts. And chaotic. And messy.

Posted by: sarah at January 19, 2011 1:14 PM

My commute is half an hour, to hang out for a couple hours, a couple times a week, with some kids. It's pretty rough ;) Also, bonuses come in the form of hugs and "I wuv yoo"s.
Eventually I have to get a real job, of course. I just don't want to think about that at the moment.

Posted by: Heather at January 19, 2011 3:16 PM

The basement office and 11-mile commute sounds nice (minus the traffic--mine's about 30 miles, but traffic is usually not a problem). But I don't know, I think I would not be the kind of person to work well by myself in at a desk for hours on end. My current job is almost the complete opposite of that--I'm a chemist at a manufacturing plant--which means that I am on my feet 90% of the day, walking back and forth between different labs on different levels and in different buildings (does great things for me physically, I'm sure!), and constantly interacting with people in different departments, both through email and (more commonly) face-to-face. It is physically exhausting sometimes, and I think my biggest complaint is that I HAVE to go into work--there is not any working from home for me, and someone has to actually show up even if there is a blizzard outside--but once I'm there, I usually really like my job and don't struggle very much with motivation. It's just interesting how different types of people work well in different environments, no? I would say that yours sounds wonderful (okay, well, it does!) but I don't think I could ever be successful working that way.

Posted by: Angela at January 19, 2011 4:06 PM

My main job is from home, and has been since 1995 (God, I'm oooollllddd), but I have to get up, shower, dress in the mornings to take the girls to school. Apart from that, I'd probably never leave the house (I do just about everything via internet nowadays - groceries, banking, travel planning...), so I also teach English at a couple of local universities. I don't love it, but I do enjoy having contact with adults (the other teachers and post-grad students) and almost-adults (first year students, seem frighteningly young to me now).
I love working from home, being able to work "when I want" - I do my 8-hour days, but spread the work out over the entire day (and night, often because I work best late, late at night). I can be actively involved in the girls' school, accompanying school trips, working on the school newspaper, selling stuff at the Christmas market, etc. I can go shopping when I want (though I generally don't).
But I could also very easily become a hermit. As I said, I do just about everything via internet, when the girls are with their father at weekends I rarely leave the house and frequently spend most of my time in bed with a book.
I'm beginning to really feel the loneliness, especially in the evenings, so I'm glad I've kept the teaching up as it does at least give me some reason to go further than school (5 mins' walk away) and make contact with humans...

Posted by: Kirsty at January 19, 2011 5:17 PM

5am alarm goes off
5:20am finally get up
5:30 shower/make-up/hair/clothes
5:50am pack lunch
6am wake henry/dress sleeping kid
6:15 out the door
7am arrive at babysitter drop off sleeping kid
7:30am get to my classroom in my AWESOME special ed. building
7:45 kids start bugging me
3:30pm leave to get NOW VERY AWAKE kid
*driiiiiiiiiiiive home-no traffic waving goodbye to cows and farms back to the city*
5pm cook/bathe and FINALLY sit



Posted by: CHERYL at January 19, 2011 6:04 PM

i work whenever i want, i set the schedule. i drink my latte and snap candid pics of families. i'd say it's pretty sweet.

Posted by: kati at January 20, 2011 12:01 AM

Mine is like yours, but with two toddlers as my work. I shower when I remember to do so at night. I eat their leftovers. My ass does not have time to bond with anything. Actually, I complain about my "job" but how many people get to pack hummus and pita up and head to the state park to hang out with the birds and throw rocks into the ocean all day? My husband commutes an hour to work because we didn't want to live in that city. I think I get the better deal.

Posted by: seekingelevation at January 20, 2011 6:43 AM