Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Favorite Work-at-Home Benefit

There are a lot of reasons why I love being a freelance writer and working at home. Sure, there is the setting my own hours, wearing comfy clothes, no bosses or co-workers to bug me with their annoying habits, not having to endure air conditioning (which I loathe), and so on.

But my favorite benefit? I'm doing it today. I've moved to my branch office in the family room because my beloved Phillies are playing an afternoon game, in HD no less.

In the old days, if the Phils played an afternoon game, I had to figure out how to listen to the game without raising the ire of a cranky boss. For some reason they thought I couldn't multi-task well enough to listen to a game and work (silly old bosses -- I've been writing to the soothing sound of baseball since I was a little girl and the jobs I was doing in my past life tended to involve more photocopying and filing and stuffing envelopes than it did writing). Even worse than the bosses were the co-workers. Even though the volume on my computer was always turned down so only I could hear it -- step two feet from my desk and the sound disappeared -- my co-workers thought baseball in the office was a bad thing.

So, I'd have to often turn the games off so I could listen to my officemates talk about Tom Cruise's love life, graphic details of someone's surgery, or gossip about someone who worked in an adjacent office. Yeah, well, sue me for thinking a Phils game was much more interesting.

On most days, I spend my entire work day in my little office. Day baseball is a nice treat, and I'm still able to answer email, take phone calls, and stuff envelopes without missing an at bat.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Hours

I think I may be the only person in the world who doesn't care what other people do to make money and almost never bring up work as cocktail conversation. While I get that "so what do you do" can be an ice breaker, think about it. You're at happy hours or a party or some social function to have fun. Why bring work into it when work is often stressful and about the last thing we want to think about outside of the office.

As a writer, I don't like talking about my career with non-writers. I find that telling someone that I'm a writer evokes three responses: 1) "Oh, I'd like to write a book"; 2) "What are you working on?"; and 3) "How do you get these magazines to publish you?" This tires me because 1) everybody wants to write a book; 2) I never work on one project at a time and are almost always subjects that make the average person glaze over; and 3) marketing is tough and very difficult to explain to anyone who doesn't do this for a living. It is the very last thing I want to discuss while sipping a Blue Moon.

I had to endure this at a social event last Friday night. And by a person I know. We had not spoken in years, this person and I, but she decided to drill me with questions 2 and 3. I explained that I don't like to talk about work on Friday nights, but she insisted. "You should be proud of yourself!" she said. "You should be bragging about how successful you are. You're a writer!"

Well, I was always a writer. Now I'm just making an income from a skill I have and the degree I earned. I am proud of myself for starting a business from scratch and making it float during these tough economic times. But brag about it? Really? Do other people brag about their jobs?

I changed the subject with that second best cocktail ice breaker. "Want to see a picture of my grandkid?" As I pulled out the pictures, the woman suddenly saw another old friend and said she'd talk to me later.

And I sipped my Blue Moon in peace.