I would really like to be able to work from home. I actually don’t mean that in a “I would really like to spend my days surfing Tijuana donkey porn with impunity” way, although clearly that would be nice, especially if you want to search up some of the more hardcore stuff that involves ping-pong balls because wow, talk about hard to explain to your unexpected office guest (“Oh, just doing some research on . . . expulsive physics”), and I realize there would be a lot of downsides to not working in an office. The tendency to allow certain personal ablutions to slide in a horrific manner and developing the shifty, gimlet-eyed gaze of the cave-dwelling hermit are just a couple that come to mind.

I love my routine of getting ready for work and being able to leave my house behind — transitioning, somewhat, out of one aspect of my life and into another. I like being around other adults a few days each week, none of whom require me to spoon puréed banana into their complaining mouths or explain for the hundred billionth time that big boys poop on the potty, not in their Thomas the Tank Engine underwear. I like my coworkers, my office, our building, the chef-prepared lunches and dinners, my hardware budget that allows me to occasionally buy a brand-new computer for home use, the fact that my company is so incredibly flexible.

I don’t, however, like my commute. I don’t like being so far away from daycare during the day, and knowing when I leave I’ve got an hour or more to fight my way home. I don’t like the hectic mornings and dinnertimes that always leave us scrambling and unable to relax with the kids. I don’t like feeling like the house is always a wreck, like between work and being with the kids and exercise and freelance projects I have no energy whatsoever for tackling the chaos in our home.

It’s also true that I often feel very . . . adrift at my office job. I think it’s a combination of me only being there part-time and the way my department is currently set up, but I feel like no one really expects much of anything from me these days. My role is nebulous: sometimes I work on this, sometimes I work on that, but sometimes other people do those things too and nothing is particularly within my own bailiwick anymore. It seems to me that if I were able to continue working for my company from home my role by necessity would have to be defined further, there would have to be concrete deliverables and a way to assess my performance other than “Yeah, I think she was here today. Or was this her day off? Meh, I forget.”

I’m pretty sure I could be about a thousand times more productive working remotely with laptop in hand, either from the ass-dent in my sofa or the local Starbucks. Eliminate my long commute and the need to be semi-presentable each morning, and I’d actually start work about two hours earlier. Give me free rein to complete a series of tasks and get rid of the endless time-wasting bullshit sessions? Who knows how much more I’d get done.

So here’s my dream for 2009: freelance from home. For Workplace, presumably on a contractual basis instead of the employment status I have now, for as many clients as I can sanely take on (edited to clarify: while keeping the kids in daycare part time — holy god, there’s no way I would even want to try and do it otherwise). Meet the new challenges that lifestyle change would bring, take better care of our home and family life.

How about you? What are your career ambitions for the next year or so?

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Marie
14 years ago

Find a new job. Sadly, can’t stand where I’m at right now.

Meagan
14 years ago

I’m trying to find my way into the freelance world as well. A couple pieces of advice if they’re at all possible: have a workspace in your home that is a no-kids-allowed area (I know, I know, yeah right). Have a space in your home where you can just relax, have some coffee, and read a book or something without looking at your workspace. If it’s any comfort, so far I haven’t started scratching my armpits in public. Good luck!

Krissa
Krissa
14 years ago

I want to move to Austin, but barring that I want a fat raise at my current job.
Or both.

Stacy
Stacy
14 years ago

I am really trying to launch a freelance writing gig from my home. I’m currently a stay at home (trying to work) to an almost 9 month old baby and I have NO childcare at all. It is basically IMPOSSIBLE. (keep that part-time daycare) I don’t make enough to leverage or even argue for childcare, in home or off-site. Bah.

I just wrote yesterday about how bummed out and drained I am trying to do both and I’m not even sure I want to keep trying. I want to be a MOM and I want to be a WRITER but I think I have to be a MOM before I can be a WRITER. I’m struggling to negotiate how much of my own wants I am “allowed” to have right now. Am confused.

Thanks for validating my own struggles by revealing your own. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

I, too am EXHAUSTED at the end of the day, unlike you though, I don’t manage to have time each day for exercise. I’m working on that one. Props to you for that one!

Good Luck to you – I really hope you can master your domain … I’m certainly trying.

vedjen
14 years ago

My career goals for 2009 are currently in a state of chaos, as I am expecting my first baby in December, have been told that working from home is not an option at current workplace, and with every day closer to the birth I can no longer fathom putting our baby in full time daycare. I am hoping that in the next few months, I will be able to find a position with a new company that will allow me to work from home on a part-time basis, pay me a suitable wage, and above all is family friendly and understands that you can successfully balance motherhood and a career. Then after a few years, I will return to full time work (preferably still working from home, because commuting 2 hours each day SUCKS) and become a well-paid professional success.

Optimism rocks.

Carrie
Carrie
14 years ago

Oh lordy-lordy. Big subject in my mind lately. I wasted my 20s being all “I don’t know what I want to do,” “Who am I?,” and “I don’t know where to start.” Now I’m 30, have a husband, baby, and house…just now taking a serious look at my dismal job situation. Resume is heavy on the basic office-type jobs, but I can draw. Never had a career, really. So, Life Ambitions for 2009 (starting in 2008)? 1) praypraypray that my job accepts proposed schedule change so I can stay home with behbeh during the day and work 3-4 hours at night most of the week, 2) eliminate EVIL DAYCARE costs, 3) start to claw our way out of the hole, 4) create work space in home and acquire equipment needed for home-based business idea involving husband’s graphic design skillz and my illustration skillz for screen printing pretty things to sell on etsy (cliché, no?). *sigh*

By the by, thanks for responding to husband, Dan, about camera q’s, and for the compliments about our poopling, Calvin.

Ashley
14 years ago

I think that sounds completely do-able, maybe you could make an appearance in the office a couple times a month just so you can get dressed up for work ;)

As you know, I have NO idea what I want, staying home full-time is beginning to wear on me.

k....
14 years ago

Here’s our problem, I quit my job almost 1 year ago because I’am married to a third shifter, who happens to get alot of overtime, so we never know when he will be home for sure. With three kids and the cost of daycare (and no family in our area, at all to help) it wasn’t working out. I would LOVE to do something from home, so I guess my question is…how does everyone find at home jobs, I would love any advice on this!
Email me if you have any suggestions please hclaire05 at hotmail dot com
Thanks!

veralynn
14 years ago

I was recently promoted, so over this coming year I want to really grow into this role and form a good, productive team. I want to get better at motivating and coaching them and help my company through some pretty big changes we have ahead.

Jennifer
14 years ago

Since I’m about to have a baby in 2-3 weeks (give or take) and returning to work in January, 2009 is going to be a big change for me. My goal will be learning to be productive while balancing a baby and work. Of course, I’m starting to learn from reading a lot of blogs is that there really is no such thing as balance.

Christina
14 years ago

This will mean nothing to you in some ways but to become a senior consultant (this is FINALLY in reach after five years) which means a huge “raise”. Then I would like to make at minimum 15 placements which along with a huge raise means I will make well over $150k. I do not mind working full time right now since the goal is to be retired in 10 years for both myself and my husband.

Sundry
Sundry
14 years ago

Jennifer: don’t be discouraged. I believe there is such a thing as balance between family and work and personal pursuits — you just have to work for it. Hard. It’s always shifting, and some days are better than others, but (for me, anyway) I feel it’s an integral part of feeling happy in parenthood to really push to find that balance.

Heather, The Shake Shake

I’m suppose to have career ambitions for the next year or so?

Oh shit.

Leah
14 years ago

The commute is definitely the worst part of my day too, but I recently found a way around it. If I get to the office late (10 a.m.) and leave early (4 p.m.), I can get to work in just 15 minutes instead of 45. That means that I have to do some work from home, but I find that I’m mentally better able to deal with that than to deal with sitting in traffic when I know I could be spending that time more productively.

When I go part-time after Wombat is born, I hope I can swing the same sort of thing. Instead of working three eight-hour days per week, I’m going to try four or five shorter shifts that will allow me to skip the traffic. That, plus going to work every day is more likely to mean I’m also showering regularly, is what I hope to achieve.

Julie
14 years ago

Bailiwick…that’s a great word and it is used so rarely! :)

I am currently potty-training Keith, who will be 3 in Nov. Thomas the Tank Engine undies get pooped in at our house, too!

I’m working on my prevention certification so that’s my main career goal for 2009. What you have planned sounds do-able. I hope it works out for you.

mixette
mixette
14 years ago

“I often feel very . . . adrift at my office job… I feel like no one really expects much of anything from me these days.”

I took a 2-year leave from my excellent engineering job to go to graduate school and this is exactly how I felt when I went back to work. 6 months later I knew that I really had it in me to work independently and quit to work on my own.

You’ve named all the pitfalls that I fell into and have since worked out. Now – 8 years later- I couldn’t have it any other way.

That said, my “career” goals for the near future are to spend more time working on my life rather than job. By that I mean growing some of my own food, cooking even more, and making things (sewing, rehab furniture, etc.) rather than buying them.

Cara
14 years ago

It’s funny that you write this today, because I just had a meeting this morning at the office of a company for which I do contract work. It took almost two hours to get there, but when I walked in the door I found myself *missing* that environment; that of young, enthusiastic professionals that I enjoyed in the dotcom boom of the late 90’s.

I have several part time contract jobs that I do from home, and I really think I would like it IF my kids were in daycare or school. When I took on all these jobs, I never imagined how hard it would be when you’ve got two babies trying to crawl into your lap or begging for your attention.

It sucks, because the whole reason I wanted to stay home with my kids was so that I could spend time with them, but I’m unable to do so nearly as much as I would like because of the demands of my multiple jobs. And forget keeping the house clean – I just totally gave up on that!

So now I find myself daydreaming and actually trying to crunch some numbers to see what it would take for me to go back to work full time and put the kids in day care/preschool. I don’t really forsee that happening, because it would require me to make way more money than I think anyone would be willing to pay me for what I do, but who knows? Maybe I’ll crunch some more numbers :)

justmouse (now chaosmomm)

actually, my career ambitions are actually for my husband, in that he manages to KEEP a job for more than 6 months so that i can quit 1 or 2 of my jobs. for myself, i have no real career plans. i just plan on working as a typing peon for the next 20 to 30 years and then maybe dying. or moving somewhere warmer. whichever comes first.

Holly
14 years ago

I would LOVE to pick up a freelance writing/blogging job sometime over the next year.

I’m happy in my day job and I can’t forsee changing anything about it right now. Maybe when I have kids I’d like to cut down my hours but in order to afford that I’d have to pick up some kind of freelance writing work and/or grow my Etsy shop. The Etsy shop is on track . . . just got to keep plugging away :)

Carrie
14 years ago

Funny you should mention this, as I just faxed over my new-hire packet. Same project, different (better) contract company. In 2009 I hope to being doing some things like taking PAID vacations and Paid sick days and PAID holidays. But I also hope that there is a new project for me out there cause I am sooooo tired of this one.

Also, I totally understand the missing baliwick of working part-time. I had the perfect part-time gig but I couldn’t stand that they wouldn’t let me be responsible for anything. I felt like the guy that comes to empty the trash, you know?

Sonia
Sonia
14 years ago

To get my photography business off the ground. And break even on the equipment I’ve picked up so far.

Melody
14 years ago

I’m applying for an internship that would start in January at This American Life, which is one of my favorite things in the world. There is no way I would get this internship, but it’s one of those “dream career” ideals I can’t help but try for.

I know I won’t get it. I know I won’t! Of course, occasionally I think to myself, “What if…?” And then I promptly begin panicking, because I’m not smart enough or thoughtful enough or COOL enough to work for TAL!

My career goal for 2009 is to try and figure out what job I would love as much as I think I would love an internship at This American Life. And, just in case hell freezes over and they do pick me, my goal is to not to freak out for the entire six months in the internship. Because that would not be a productive use of my time.

reviewstew
14 years ago

I know just how you feel with the commute. My workplace has been so very flexible, and my (only) kid is in gradeschool now, but still I feel the pinch constantly — there just not enough time at home because of the hourlong commute each way. My work can’t be done at home for the most part, so I don’t have a choice, but on the other hand I treasure the time among workfriends and having non-familial adult interactions every single day. Plus feeling important for things beyond the pokemon knowledge and the fastest way to make a grilled-cheese.

I also have no self-discipline to speak of, so working from home would be an epic fiasco. What I need is for my workplace to move to a spot 6 blocks from my house. Stupid stupid school districting.

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

At age 35 I just started the job that I’ve been training for for the last 7 years: primary care doctor. It’s pretty much what I thought it would be: although the office is slightly more dysfunctional than I anticipated, the workload is not as heavy. Right now I’m trying to figure out four interconnected long-term career issues, to wit:

1) Are we going to stay where we are or move across the country in a year or two to Seattle to be near my family?

2) What is my husband going to be doing? (He’s between jobs right now–does he try to establish a new career where we are or find something temporary till we move–if we move?)

3) Do I want to do specialty training? Primary care is kind of a dead-end road these days, but the specialties I like don’t pay much better and it would be another 2-3 years of long hours and low salary.

4) Should we have a baby? If so, when?

Hopefully we’ll have an answer for a couple of these in the next year or so.

michele
14 years ago

I quit my job. I plan on starting my own at home business – well, all the prep is happening – launch is waiting on some tech issues. November will bring my final day, and then I’ll hopefully be able to focus more on my family and home, and not be split all which ways.

Andrea
14 years ago

With the birth of my first baby (in 5 weeks, holy shit), my plan is to also do freelance from home starting in 2009. I do the PR, marketing thing as well except in the social service sector and on the other side of the Cascades.

Dad Gone Mad
14 years ago

To surf Tijuana donkey porn with impunity.

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Oh, I love that! Good luck! I totally know you can do that. And thanks for putting the challenge out there for us to stop and think about our own goals. Mine is to start up my own photography business. It’s a way for me to be home with the kids and also helped support us in this pretty-much-necessary-to-have-both-parents-working economy.

Misti
Misti
14 years ago

I’m a high school teacher who got slammed (on August 1st) with a new curriculum.

I want to regain my sanity and feel like I’m teaching again, instead of just spouting off random geography/world history terminology.

H
H
14 years ago

The last sentence in your first paragraph? Yeah, that’s me. I’ve been working from home for 11 years. Personal hygiene aside, working at home is a perfect situation for me. I am very productive but I love the flexibility. I do have a problem NOT working, though, because we all work at home so my coworkers and I have lost our boundaries between home and work.

Stephanie
Stephanie
14 years ago

I just want to keep my job! I work at a Chevy dealer processing their warranty claims and the economy is killing us. Nobody wants a big ass truck when it takes a thousand bucks to fill it. Can’t say I blame them (and I drive Honda’s…shhh) but it still sucks and I took a 20K a year paycut in May. Thing is, I only go into the office twice a week so I can’t complain. I am also pregnant with my second, so I think I am going to wait until he/she is about 6 months old before I start thinking if I want to find a job closer to home (current commute is an hour drive each way with no traffic). I have been at my job for 8 years though, so it’s alot to think about.

Missy
Missy
14 years ago

I work from home 75% of the time and love it. I make the four-hour round trip to my office one day a week, then work from home three days a week, and have a three-day weekend with my son. I’m a salaried employee with my company, not a contractor.

I know some people work from home and watch their kids at the same time. I don’t know how they make that work — I know when I try to do both, either the work or the kid end up suffering.

Even though my son is at daycare four days a week, I’m less than five minutes from the sitter’s place, so he’s home with me by 5:15 and we’re able to have a leisurely family evening together. And not like I can do any real housework while I’m home during the day, but I can push the button on the robot vacuum, switch the laundry, let the plumber in the house, or take something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.

As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of this arrangement and I hope something similar works out for you. You will love it.

Missy
Missy
14 years ago

Oh, I forgot the “what’s in it for my boss” part. I am so much more productive from home than from the office. And this telecommuting arrangement is so positive for me that I am an extremely dedicated employee — their flexibility with me makes me want to give them my best work, and would make me hard-pressed to leave anytime soon.

christen
christen
14 years ago

My husband and I are relocating to Charlotte, NC in six weeks and I’ve got about 90% of my plan in place to open a fitness boot camp and have that be my full-time job. Eventually I’d love to have upwards of 6 camps, enough to allow me to have employees and exceed the salary I have now. I despise working for the man, commutes, mandatory 8-5s, and everything about the rat race. I’m tired of it and I feel that this is just meant to be. I cannot wait for this to happen. Franchise life, here I come!

Briana
14 years ago

We emailed a while back about my sad state of affairs at work. Well, I still don’t have benefits, but I am making it work with 2 days a week. I even asked for AND RECEIVED a raise! Slogging through until the economy rebounds enough for me to find a job at another place.

Kelley
14 years ago

my career aspirations are to become an uber famous anonymous blogger bringing in riches while sitting here with my hair unbrushed and spinach in my teeth. I am so over having to get ‘presentable’ every day…

Jeff
Jeff
14 years ago

I work from home (used to have a local office that I could go into – now that too has been eliminated as a cost saving measure), and here are my own personal pluses and minuses associated with it…

PLUSES –
* I don’t have to spend time showering and getting ready each and every morning.
* Working from home in sweats, shorts, tshirts, etc. is nice
* Able to do quick errand runs (grocery, Target, Home Depot, Costco) in the middle of the day and avoid “errand rush hour” for everyone else.
* No longer need to fret about an impending “bio-break” during a meeting – can put my phone on mute and continue on a conference call (gross, I know)
* I am nearby to do modest cleaning, laundry, etc. around the house.
* I’m near daycare, and could drop in at anytime (although I have NEVER done this – and not sure if or why I ever would)
* Doctor appts – can schedule and take kids to planned or impromptu appointments without taking too too much time out of the day.

MINUSES
* Proximity. Because I am home, I therefore inherit the responsibility of making dinner each night, taking kids to daycare and picking them up (since I’m not as tied to a schedule as my commuting wife), errands, laundry, etc. So while it seems that a lack of need to get ready and drive somewhere in traffic is a huge plus (and it is), you will probably find that time gets filled with other responsibilities.
* Showering – it plummets on the priority list. I know I need to shower when my beard gets too long. I had a neighbor who recently started working from home too – and she too was AMAZED at how hygiene became a much lower priority.
* Getting dressed. While I love slumming, I know my wife wishes that I would still “dress up” – even though there is no one I will be seeing during the course of the day.
* Hallway chatter – I miss seeing people in the hallways of an office. Anyone. It amazes me how much information and contacts I would unintentionally gleam from these impromptu conversations and strolls through the hallways of an office environment.
* The silence in the house can be DEAFENING. I find at times when I really need to get things done, I go to a Starbucks for the background noise so that I can concentrate. Its easy to find yourself in a spot where work requirements have PILED up, and it is at that time that you rationalize that NOW is the time to clear the clutter in the living room. That is just ass-backwards from how its supposed to be, isn’t it?
* It very easy to work outside of your normal working hours. Work, pick up kids, feed family, get everyone to bed, and then just walk over to your workstation and pick it up again. You really need to be diligent with defining and sticking to your work hours, and non-work hours. I also think having a dedicated room/area of the house for work is important. If you work everywhere in your house, then you can never find a place to escape work.

In the end, despite my long list of negatives, I do appreciate the flexibility that working from home allows for me. My ideal scenario would be to work from home, but have a local office that I could occasionally go to – just to “check in”.

And while there are times when I loathe and question what exactly it is that I am doing with my life and my career, it is this work environment that is a huge plus that I would hate to risk losing by pursuing other – perhaps more stimulating and rewarding – career opportunities. There are other reasons too that cause me to not want to look elsewhere, but that is a biggy.

Anyway – that’s my own personal perspective….

Lori
14 years ago

Wow! what timing. (I found you through a link on dadgonemad.) We just returned from a 3 week holiday; for some reason I make grand plans while riding on trains and planes.

My grand plan is not to be content with the part time income I have from my part time endeavors but to shoot for the stars. And that means diversifying. My current work involves selling physical products so that means being home to ship the products.

This spring I wrote a book about doing your first triathlon. That is the sort of thing I need to do more of. I’ve just come across an opportunity to be an on-line fitness coach,maybe that is a good start.

Even in the corporate world I was in sales so I’m comfortable being directly responsible for my income. I’m at risk of rambling so I’ll quit. But… by this time next year, I’ve got big plans too.

Lori

wordygirl
14 years ago

Linda, you can do this! I believe in you.

My own objective, since you asked, is a lot more vague. I’m almost halfway through my yearlong mat leave from work (yes, I’m in Canada, we get more than 12 weeks leave which is *damn* nice). When I return, I have no idea what I’m returning to, as the place I work for is undergoing drastic changes that are basically going to eliminate my job. No fears of unemployment, since I’m in a union and they have to provide me with *something*, but if I want the job I go back to to be something I actually want, I have to look and apply for internal positions now. Which I am trying my best to do, what with having no access to our work intranet and being busy looking after an infant. Yeah, that’s going well.
My career objective for the next year is to find something that’s worth being away from my daughter for. I only want to work part-time, and I want my other days to be useful and at least somewhat challenging/rewarding. The job that’s being eliminated often saw me sitting at the computer for hours a day, surfing the web, with no work to do. If I’m going to leave my daughter in daycare, I’d rather it was to do something a little more important than that.

Samantha
14 years ago

Well, my company is currently going through layoffs, which on one hand freaks me out, and on the other hand (which is higher in the air) it sikes me that I would have a more reason to be a stay at home mom.
But because of this SUCKY economy right now, we would never be able to do it because my DH doesn’t get health insurance through his work, so I would be forced to find another job and at this point, I believe I would change my career choice and try something totally different, but with more anxiety.
I know, I’m foolish!

Good Luck Linda with your career dreams for 2009.

Josh
14 years ago

I aspire to keep my job for another year. Not losing it in the middle of my uncertain and tumultuous future would be a damn miracle, and it would make this the longest I have ever worked at one place. So not much of an aspiration on paper, but when you’re down here in the thick of the trenches that my life often resembles, it’s a pretty lofty ambition.

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Kiwi's CAN fly
14 years ago

Can I just say it again? Please!

“Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. He’s my other Hero (along with you!).

I’ve just recently found the site AND bought the book and am starting with some of the (scary) steps. But this lifestyle (with partner and children) is my goal. And how cool for a kid to grow up with these experiences?

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