Home alone

Today I worked from home so I could get a tradesperson in to plaster up the cracks in our walls.

For those of you wondering why I didn’t do the job myself (“It’s so easy anyone can do it”), here are a few reasons:

  • I have no handyman skills whatsoever. (My wife will back me up on this.)
  • Even if I was a handyman, I needed someone who could buy supplies by the truckload. Some of these cracks were almost big wide enough to push furniture through.
  • It meant I could send an email to my bosses with “Getting plastered this morning” as the subject line.

Anyway, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and VPNs I could connect up to the office network and work from home as if I was sitting at my desk.

Well, sort of.

In some ways it was better. I played my music without headphones, so I didn’t rip my ears off whenever I walked away from the computer. Lunch was a five-metre walk down the hallway, as was an endless supply of coffee. And no-one could call me because no-one knows my home phone number. (We have email and instant messaging as well, but I can block them pretty easily.)

But for me there’s one major downside to working from home.

Loneliness.

I’m an extrovert, and so I get my energy and enthusiasm from the people around me. (If you thought it meant I sing at the top of my lungs while dancing on tabletops, you’re getting it mixed up with another word: drunk.) When I work from home I don’t have anyone else here (apart from the occasional plasterer), and after while I start feeling a bit flat. Sure there are social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (no, I don’t want to know how your farm is doing), but it’s not quite the same.

This isn’t such a big deal now, because I don’t work from home very often. (Tradespeople are too expensive.) But one of my major goals this year is to start freelancing, which means I’ll be spending a lot more time working on my own.

And I’m not sure how I’m going to cope.

Maybe I’ll enjoy the work so much I won’t mind being alone as I thump away on the keyboard for hours on end (and not just because Windows has crashed on me again). Maybe the time I spend interviewing people will be all the interaction I need. Maybe I’ll end up working in a cafe just so I have people around me. (I should probably start looking for one around here that doesn’t have Internet access.)

I sure hope so. Because if not, I have no idea what I’ll do.

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