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the story of an invisible girl
Working From Home
Learning to Work From Home, the Beginning of an Epic Saga
- or -
It's my blog, so I get to be the hero

Day 1, Monday

Our hero awakes with a jolt and realizes her new future is beginning. She pulls on a pair of stretchy pajama pants and a fleece hoodie. She stumbles downstairs into her office. She needs to clear her brain and check email before her 8:30am daily meeting; her European coworkers have been at work half the day already. She looks in the kitchen - not much food. Eating seems like too much effort anyway. She pours herself a diet coke.

She begins work, pairing with a remote (US-based) coworker via an hours-long voice-over-ip phone call with headset and VNC. It is intense, there is so much to do and learn and think about. She thinks about little else until, blinking in confusion, she realizes they are breaking for lunch. She scrounges the empty kitchen, heats up a watery and unimpressive frozen meal, then returns to her desk.

Going to sleep that night our hero realizes that she forgot to eat breakfast, ate combos for dinner, never showered or put on "real" clothes, never set foot outside the house, and (aside from a 2-mile walk on her treadmill) didn't wear a bra all day. This working from home thing will take some adjustment.

Day 2, Tuesday

Our hero awakens and is shocked by her bed-head. She manages to take a shower before the morning meeting and beginning work. Post shower, she puts on the same jammie-like outer-clothes, but with fresh underpants, a t-shirt, and even a bra! This is practically like being dressed. She eats a protein bar at the desk, pours a diet coke, puts on the headset to call her pair, and begins work.

Emerging from the haze of intense work at the end of the day, our hero realizes that it has been over fifty hours since she has left the house. Ignoring the hermit beginning to take over her brain, she forces herself into a pair of jeans and out the door. She needs groceries, and she needs fresh air! The outside world is startling and foreign to her, but she quickly reacclimates.

Day 3, Wednesday

Our hero awakens and decides that this is the day: she will make coffee. She never much used her coffeemaker in the past, because she just drank office coffee. Now that this is her office, it is time to make her own coffee. She drinks two cups of it, and has a newly-purchased bowl of cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast.

She spends the morning pairing with a European, drinking coffee, then drinking water from a nice tall glass she was able to pull from her very own cupboard. She heats up some tasty newly-purchased pasta for lunch. This is practically like being a grownup or something! Except that she works in her same jammies all day, and only realizes at 7pm that she never put on a bra. At least she had three solid meals for once.

Recognizing once again the siren call of the hermit, she again forces herself into a pair of jeans and hiking boots. Our hero boldly walks through the frigid air, sliding over sidewalk ice, to the local drug store. Then the hardware store, then the library. Then home through the cold again, with a drippy nose but a feeling of accomplishment.

This new job is intense, and knowing so little about everything that needs to be done sucks up the majority of our hero's mental energy and time. But she is enjoying it anyway, learning and even making significant contributions (albeit small ones so far) to the project.

Day 4?

Will our hero make time to shower? Will she wear street clothes at any point during the day? Will she live up to her ambition and go ice skating during a lunch break? Will she make coffee again?? Tune in next time for the answers to these exciting questions and more!

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read 16 comments | talk to me!
marsgov From: marsgov Date: January 17th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
a. I swim on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6 AM. This is on my calendar.

b. I run/bike/hike Sun, Tues, and Thurs at 10 AM. This is on my calendar.

c. Every day at 3 PM, I get up and take a quick 1 mile hike (20 mins) around the block. This is on my calendar.

The alternative is sore backs, never seeing sunlight, burnout, and much reduced total effectiveness at work due to reduced energy.
From: writerwench Date: January 17th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
This calendar sounds extremely well-thought-out and balanced.

It is ESSENTIAL to establish, then maintain, a sane work/exercise balance.
sandygood From: sandygood Date: January 17th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny! My days are much the same as yours. I must be a hero, too!

Sweatpants, not leaving the house, lack of showers...It's all good! :)

I got a good laugh out of reading your post!
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: January 17th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
*smile* I think I like the hero of this story.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: January 17th, 2008 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
So I wake up early in the morning and I see that you've posted something, and , of course, I read it. I think you should add somethings to your calendar like marsgov has done, one of which should be: put on real clothes. Based on this post, I think you really like your new job. Think I'll try to go back to sleep, I have to drive Stormie today, she's got vision problems.
From: zencuppa Date: January 17th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah yes, working from home . . .

Wearing flannel pajamas (after I take a shower) and drinking my own French press coffee, are two of my favorite things I like about working at home

Other things include office dancing, peace and quiet and my owwwnnn office :-)
aiela From: aiela Date: January 17th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was working from home I always took a break towards the end of my day (I worked til 4, I did this at about 2:45) and took a shower and got dressed. That way, I could have the benefit of being able to work from home and not having to worry about getting ready in the morning, but I was still dressed by the end of my work day so that my brain realized that I needed to actually do things after work like I would if I were working outside the home.

devnul From: devnul Date: January 17th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
LoL! Great story, and really glad you are enjoying the new job. "Pairing with a European" sounds kinda wrong, though.

You remind me of myself on the days I work from home (weather, sick). Having access to good, home-brewed coffee is really a key part of the telecommuting experience, plus the potential for healthy (ie, not Combos) meals (who am I kidding, I live around the corner from a pizza shop).

Fortunately for me, the majority of my coworkers do not understand Skype, so I'm rarely contacted by voice, and can have iTunes going all day on über-shuffle. I don't wear a bra, either.

Just be careful not to end up working 11+ hours every day. Draw some hard lines between your home-work time and home-home time. Otherwise you'll sink into the pit of despair and we'll never hear from you again.

encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: January 17th, 2008 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Forgot to ask you, how many people are on the development team (US, European)?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 17th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Our big group is split into 3 dev groups. Mine has 6 euros and 3 dollars... er, americans. (: I think each of the other 2 groups have similar ratios.
rmeidaking From: rmeidaking Date: January 17th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Will you be at ConFusion this weekend, or skiing? I have something to give you.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 17th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will indeed be at confusion this weekend.... it should be great!

I'll be the pirate liason. (:
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: January 17th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like you could use some cooking classes.

Like marsgov says when working from home its good to have some regularly scheduled outside time esp. to interact with other people.

Also rotate your pajamas so you are not wearing the same ones everyday.
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: January 17th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations! I've feared working from home. I don't know if I'd be able to maintain. I know you can do it though. Congrats again!
infernus1218 From: infernus1218 Date: January 17th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
does it bother you when you don't wear a bra? or is it just a measure of how dressy up you feel?
albogdan From: albogdan Date: January 17th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I worked in an office building I always left at lunch to get away from work and see a bit of sun, but when working out of the house an entire week could go by without stepping outside! It was also way too easy to work at night. (I'm much better about this these days.)

Larc probably saved me from developing hermit habits. I ended up having to start each day showering and dressing just to avoid greeting Larc at the end of the day still looking like a schlub. It's all too easy.

Enjoy the transition. It's a fun change of lifestyle.

See you at the con!
read 16 comments | talk to me!