HOME OR OFFICE? IT’S A NON-ISSUE

Fandango’s Provocative Question #180

I don’t believe it. They “fixed” this format again. I hated it before and now, I hate it even more. Will their cruelty never end? You can’t get anyone to fix a problem, but you can bet they will download a new problem. And now, back to the question at issue.

Have you ever worked from home as an alternative to going into a worksite to do your job? Would you prefer working from home or working from an office?

I was one of the first people I knew to work from home. It was 1992. I used my superfast 2400 BPS modem. It was blazingly fast compared to the standard 1200 BPS units other people had. The job was in Oakland, California. I lived in Boston.

I loved it. I was always a -fast worker and felt I was penalized for working quickly. Instead of getting rewarded for getting a job done quickly and well, they just loaded me up with twice as much work. Working at home without a boss shadowing me, I could get the job done and spend the rest of the time doing whatever needed doing. That was the year that Garry and I were moving from a rented place on Beacon Hill to a triplex condo in Roxbury. It was a super busy year and not having a daily office grind made life a lot better.

This was the updated second version

There was a second part to the job. They wanted it done a particular way. It wasn’t a good choice. I explained to them why it was a bad choice and would prove useless. They would not listen and insisted I do it their way. I made them sign papers that if they didn’t like it (and I knew they wouldn’t), that I would get paid anyway. Rarely in my life has being right paid so well.

My office, home version

I was paid for doing it the wrong way and as I warned them, it became useless almost immediately. So they had me rewrite it — and paid me again. The result, from my point of view, was a win win. I earned two years salary in about four actual working months which including three visits to Oakland. I never wanted to go back to an office.

My next job was even better. I worked a 20-hour work on contingency. This mean I made myself available to work, if and when work became available. It left me free to do other freelance work. In the five years I did this job, I doubt I put in a full month of work. I was completely spoiled. Sadly, the job ended when someone realized no one was doing any work. Not just me. The entire department was getting paid for doing nothing. The reason they never gave me any work was because there wasn’t any. It was also the only job I discovered I’d lost by reading headlines in the Boston Globe.

After that, I had to resume “real” work.

It was a good news/bad news scenario. It was a great place to work. I learned a huge amount about designing databases using pointers (which is how almost everything works these days) and had the best ever boss and the best possible colleagues. But — I had to go to work. I had to commute in some of the worst-ever rush hour traffic in all kinds of weather. I loved the people I worked for and with, but like all very small companies, there came a day when I finished the project and it was time to move on. After that, I worked on-site and off-site. Often I worked a couple of days on-site and the rest of the week at home. I had a really hard time dealing with the ever-longer commutes and being trapped in an office all day long, rarely with enough work to keep me busy but having to look busy.

To me, having to “look” busy was the pits. I know there are people who love that kind of job. In Israel, these jobs were called “Shemoneh effus arba.” This translates to “eight-nothing-four.” Come in at eight, do nothing, leave at four. For me, it was torture. Idleness is torture.

This was also the point when I began to get very sick. There was surgery, surgery to correct the surgery, then more surgery to correct the corrected surgery. Eventually, I got disability. I never worked in an office again.

I can’t imagine anyone preferring working in an office to working at home unless they are single and home is a wasteland — or need the companionship you can sometimes find in a good office setting. Not all my office jobs were bad either. Until I got spoiled by not working in an office, I was okay with it. After working from home for seven years, going back to an office was a tooth grinding experience. I was so restless. Being in an office was like being in jail.

For those of you who are retired, imagine going from your current world back into an office. You’d hate it. Once you get used to having your own schedule, working on someone else’s feels wrong. Maybe there are times when working in an office is necessary, when you need the interaction with others to get your job done or feel that you are a part of something bigger than yourself.

I doubt anything could convince me to go back to life in a cubicle.



Categories: #Commuting, #FPQ, #Work, Anecdote, Performance, Provocative Questions

Tags: , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. I was curious what WP did as well. Mine seems the same as usual.

    Like

  2. First, Marilyn, what is this issue you spoke of in your opening paragraph. Did something about WordPress change that I’m not aware of?

    Second, I agree that I can’t imagine preferring to get up, commute to, and work in a company office to working from home, but based upon some of the responses to this question, there are those who do. Go figure!

    Like

    • They’ve changed block letter sizes and there’s no longer any indentation in the text body. It’s all lined up against the left page edge. You also can’t see any spacing between text and gallery photos. Instead of block letters in point sizes, they are “S-M-L-XL” — whatever THAT means. Don’t worry. They will find you. Seeing the block lettering alteration means it’s not personal. That’s a change with implications for everything. That’s how they started changing ALL the text sizing from points to “S-M-L-XL” so now you never really know exactly what you are doing and each font is a different size. When they do that, they are beginning to make our work EVEN MORE DIFFICULT.

      I don’t know how I would have responded 50 years ago. I was still making new friends then, though I was also already a mother. NOT having to pay for daycare was a huge issue. There was so little daycare available!

      I suspect people who like being in an office like the offices they’ve worked in AND don’t have much going on at home to make it worthwhile hanging around home. I always had a very busy home life with many people coming and going. Occasionally, parties would start one Friday and were still going strong two weekends later. I was a kid. A mother and a hard worker too, but oh so young.

      I find it hard to believe I was EVER that young.

      Liked by 1 person

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