I overheard some friends of mine talking this past weekend—this is where I a) find out which of my friends read my blog and b) lose many of them who fear ever being mentioned here.* They were discussing the idea of working from home and one said, looking at me, that she could never do what I do because it requires too much self-discipline. It's actually not the first time I've heard this; it is, however, the most recent.
And I beg to differ.
Working from home takes the same amount of discipline as working out of the home does. I’ll admit, my schedule is a little more flexible, but there are many similarities between us (I’m talking the generic “us” here):
We both have a schedule. You have a meeting or break at x time, a proposal due at y time and a client at z time. I have a certain amount of words I need to get written before 3:15, when
all hell breaks loose
my kids come home from school.
We both have daily “chores” to get done. You have to go through voicemails, emails and other daily stuff. I have to get the errands done for that particular day, as well as go through emails, make phone calls and figure out dinner.
We both have “water cooler time.” When you need a break from your work and want to talk to someone, you turn to someone down the hall or in your office or by the coffee machine and have brief conversations. When I need a break from my work, I turn to social media. I “like” a few things, “post” a little and then turn it off and go back to work. And because there’s no one hanging over me (like a boss) to remind me to get back to work, I either schedule downtime into my day or set an alarm.
Is it exactly the same? Of course not. But my right to call what I do “work” requires the same amount of discipline as the necessity for you to show your bosses that you’re doing what they hired you to do. Your fear of getting fired or disciplined is equal to my fear of not making a deadline (self-imposed or not).
Making me out to have more discipline than you do leads too easily to judging everyone around us—who’s a better mom (the stay-at-home or the work-away-from-home), who is more organized (the one with one kid or the one with five). We all have strengths and weaknesses and none of us need to be judged well or harshly. I have complete faith that in my shoes, you could do exactly what I do, neither better nor worse, but differently, in a way that works for you.
So thanks for the compliment, but honestly, it’s not necessary. Our similarities and differences make us the friends that we are.
*I promise, this is as “bad” as I get when mentioning real-life friends. For some crazy reason, I like you guys, and want to keep you! J