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  1. Finish sewing kitchen/sitting area curtains (they’ve been half done for longer than I care to admit)
  2. Learn to perfectly poach an egg (even if I have to resort to a poach pod)
  3. Sew through my stash
  4. Lose the newlywed nine (but no, this will most definitely NOT become a weight loss blog).
  5. Beat Workout 3 of the 30 Day Shred. I did Workout 1 to get ready for the wedding, but when I moved up to Workout 2 it was too demoralizing. Now I’m determined to kick its tail, even if my arms fall off from exhaustion in the process. 
  6. And the big poppa: Excavate the home office (I’m ashamed to show this, but I’m hoping that putting my absurdly scrappy desk out there will inspire me to get cleaning…)

I have been informed countless times in the past few years of how lucky I am to work from home and have a semi-flexible schedule. It’s the ideal situation, right? When I joined Unnamed Publishing Company, I was thrilled to set up a home office. I couldn’t wait to have home office days with pajamas and pets and zero commute, and have I mentioned summer? Summer is lovely in academic publishing. Mine isn’t a “pure” work-from-home situation because the other nine months of the year I still had miles and miles of commuting to various college campuses, but I have no local coworkers, boss man lives in another state, and all these books and files have to fit somewhere in my home.

Plenty has already been written about managing your home/work divide and making sure your company realizes how much you are doing when you’re not sitting at a desk in eyeball range of the powers that be. These are important topics, but in the end they weren’t the ones that affected me the most. What eventually got to me is the very essence of working from home: the lack of coworkers to lunch with, the absence of managers to motivate, and the (you know this is coming) isolation.

I discovered that in my long considered debate about entering into this field, I hadn’t thought at all about how working from home would affect me. Heck, I’d been a grad student, so I imagined it would the same. The main difference I’ve found is that as a grad student, you have an inherent network of comrades in your fellow students. These people are going through similar trials and are eager to talk about common situations. You may spend 80% of your waking hours reading critical theory or writing and rewriting essays, but you have a NETWORK. Working from home with your nearest coworker three or four hours away? Not so much.

So what do I wish someone had told me?

Your office will take over approximately 90% of your house if you aren’t careful. You will get a nice desk, get it messy, and work from the couch. You will work too much on evenings and weekends because there aren’t natural boundaries. You will miss human contact when you aren’t on campus. You will lose track of time until animals remind you to stop working and feed them. You will watch really horrible daytime TV while you work (have you SEEN Wendy Williams? Wow…).  You may have wonderful coworkers, but you will never see them. You will either accomplish all work and no housework or all housework and no work on a given day.  You will need motivation and no one will be there to give you a push (depending on how well your manager handles remote teams). You will get burned out and have an incredibly hard time recovering from it because you don’t have local coworkers to commiserate with or a nearby boss to recognize what’s happening early on and get you moving.

I realize this isn’t the experience of every home office worker, but to anyone considering making the shift to working from home, I strongly recommend spending some time thinking about the less glamorous side and how it might fit with your personality.

Twitter Updates

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