I haven’t been paying much attention to this blog lately. Don’t judge
me; I have my reasons. The main one being my job.
I tried to hang on to the remnants of my retirement as long as I could—hoarding
days off and clinging to my free afternoons—but in the end they were inexorably
pried from my grasp. At first, I was horrified, but now that I am settled into
the job I’m wondering what all the fuss was about. I can’t even imagine what I
did with all that free time. (The answer being, not a lot.)
But back to my blog. Prior to my retirement, I was full-time employed
for many years, and I managed to post quite regularly. This time, however, I am
working from home.
When I say I work from home, this is how I want people to imagine it...
Before I go on to point out its disadvantages, I wish to state, up
front, that working from home is brilliant. The commute takes seconds, there is
ample tea and coffee and you can work in your pajamas. As a bonus, if you’re
into saving the planet, you can feel as smug about your carbon-footprint as a devout
cyclist without having to risk your life on the A-281 every morning.
These advantages, for many, far outweigh the alternative of traveling to
and from an office. But, that said, there is a down side, and more to the point
of this post, the reason my blog is suffering neglect:
When you work from home, you are always at work.
(Case and point: I wrote this post over the course of two weeks during
the odd free moment, and then it sat on my hard drive for another fortnight
before I found the time to post it.)
I try to be reasonable, I try to set specific hours, I try to end early
so I have time to go outside and wander around town. This is often thwarted, however,
by the unfortunate combination of my job—which involves intricate and precise
work, similar to solving a jumbo Sudoku—and the fact that I enjoy these sorts
of things (obsessed much?).It is, therefore, not unusual to find myself looking
up from my computer at some point during the day, to discover it is 2 o’clock
in the afternoon, I am still in my pajamas and I haven’t had breakfast yet.
On those days, after I finish work,
I find it difficult to muster much enthusiasm for turning on my other computer
and working on something else.
Which illustrates another
disadvantage: when you work at home there is no one around to bring you cups of
tea or coffee, and no reason to feel guilty about not getting up to get someone else
a cup of tea or coffee. Therefore, one can spend the day without tea, coffee,
lunch, acceptable clothing or speaking to another human being. Which, of
course, illustrates another disadvantage: you are always alone.
Back in our other flat, if I was
home on my own, I merely had to step out onto the balcony for company. There
was always someone coming or going, or a neighbour out on their balcony to have
a chat with, so I never felt totally alone, more like I was in a suite of rooms
in a very large house filled with other people.
Here, I feel like I’m in solitary confinement in a particularly posh
prison. No one is out on their balconies, no one is in their back gardens, no
one is coming or going or even, for the most part, visible. (Okay, so the lady
on the ground floor occasionally sunbathes topless, but she doesn’t actually
talk to me.) The fact is, during an average day, I see no one, I hear nothing,
I go nowhere.
This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, (at least I like the people I’m
working with) unless you’re writing a blog, and that blog happens to be about
what you do during the day. Hence, the unusually long periods between posts.
I don’t see a remedy for this, at least not in the foreseeable future.
As I have mentioned before, you do not turn down a job in this economic
climate, and since this is the type of job that came my way, I will continue to
hunker down in my lair, getting slowly more reclusive and feral until they find
me someday, surrounded by the gnawed bones of small animals, dressed in a
tattered bathrobe, growling through my tangled beard and snapping at the poles
they use to prod me into the cage.
...this is closer to the reality.
I doubt it will get that far, however. Truth be told, there are at least
a few perks that keep my spirits up and prompt me to remain on the polite side
of the demarcation line between civility and barbarism. For instance, I believe
I am a shoo-in for Employee of the Month again, and that means I’ll have to get
up early, shower, shave and put on a suit for the awards ceremony.
It’s kind of a pain but it keeps me civilized and they always have tea
and cakes afterward.