In a couple of weeks I will be driving my new(ish) car to and from my new(ish) office contract in Northampton. I will be getting dressed every morning and making face-to-face conversation with people on an almost daily basis. I’m very excited… you know, between the crippling panic attacks and paralysing fear.
I have been working in near isolation for the last few months since arriving on ‘Mud Island’ as a friend recently, lovingly nicknamed Britain, and I have to confess that staying at home in an empty house most of the day, on most days, has perhaps driven me just a little stir crazy.
Now I’m sure, that everyone has arguments about the refugee crisis with their cat, does their hair up to look like Wolverine while sorting the laundry, and spends hours organising playlists for imaginary events…. But that’s just not me.
So in spite of the mounting nerves for my fast-approaching start date, here are what I think are the pros and cons of working from home, alone:
Pro: No fashion po-po
‘Fuck tha fashion police’, as Ice Cube might have once said, but probably didn’t.
You can literally wear whatever the hell you like all damn day, and there’s no one to tell you that you look stupid in that knitted fox hat and Wellingtons. Unless, of course, you need to leave the house for any reason…
Con: You can’t leave the house for any reason
Seriously, have you even seen what you’re wearing?
Pro: You can listen to your music
That’s right! You don’t have to pretend to like Coldplay anymore, or to have heard of bands whose members are younger than some of your clothing.
You can just listen to your favourite old albums on repeat. Over and over. Until you slowly grow to hate them.
Con: You’re in charge of your own schedule
Oh sure, you can get your hair cut or take a nap in the middle of the day. But if you miss a deadline, or forget a meeting, it’s all on you, boo boo. There’s no one to delegate to, no one to rope in for help, no one to compare calendars with. With great freedom comes great fear that you’re probably forgetting something.
Con: No one will ever know how funny you are
In any kind of sustained group environment, I tend to adopt the role of ‘office clown’. It’s probably because I love to make people laugh, have inappropriately large shoes, and don’t really understand how make-up works. But working here, alone, at home, I have to keep all of my hilarious quips and brilliant one-liners to myself, or save them up for a blog post.
I have tried bantering with the cat, but he’s quite predictable (and surprisingly racist) with his comebacks.
Pro: You can proper lose your shit (and not get a written warning)
Whether said shit-loss is attributed to great news (like: ‘Hot, holy crap, I just got Neil Finn tickets’), or to bad news (like: ‘You want that article done by when?’), you can throw a legit tantrum, or have a full-on, fan-girl freak-out with little to no fear of the ramifications. This obviously depends on your neighbours not being home, or not caring about your well-being enough to investigate the source of the screaming.
Con: There’s no one to bounce ideas off
You can be the most creative ‘digital ninja’ or ‘design guru’ on the goddamn pill, but at some point, we all need someone to sit with us, review our work, and tell us why it’s fucking terrible. I was taught that the best way to learn anything was through borderline emotional abuse and public humiliation, which is something I always tried to bring into my own classroom during my brief spell as a teacher.
Having a team of designers, developers, writers and account managers (LOL, JK, we know you guys have client lunches to go to), means that you have an array of input and insight to either ignore completely. Or to blithely steal and then take credit for.
Pro: You can do some seriously sketchy shit
There are always rumours floating around agencies of who’s been dipping into the Columbian marching powder, who spent the previous weekend in a high-class prostitute’s flat following a debauched wrap party, and who’s been sneaking Frangelico into their coffee during working hours (just so you know, future office-colleagues, it can also just evaporate through the bottle… It does that.)
But when you work from home, you can take your disgusting, anti-social behaviour to new depths of depravity. You can look at porn in the middle of the day. You can make an entire pot of coffee for yourself, mix it with condensed milk, and then drink it out of a bucket. You can watch, and form serious opinions about, daytime television.
You can even have TWO sandwiches for lunch… Who’s going to stop you?
And so, my fellow freelancers, if you’re still working home alone for the foreseeable future, wish me luck as I once again try to integrate with the ‘normals’.
Know, as you sit in your pyjamas, picking your toenails and funnelling a family-sized bag of skittles, that I’m doing this for all of you.