Working from home is the dream, right? Annoying banner ads promote one of three things, young singles in your area, anti-virus programs that will definitely give you a virus, and how to make money from home. Oh, and penis enlargement. But that’s another conversation for another day. The point is, as grating as those flashing banners of awful fonted misery are, they key into things that they know will get clicks. All of us have dreamed of working from home. You get to do whatever you want with no supervision. You don’t even have to wear pants if you don’t want to. Hell, in your world, pants are discouraged! Well I’ve been working from home for the last several months. I write for a few esteemed publications (such as this one), and I also read scripts for studios and production companies. And I’m here to tell you that it’s not the no pants party dance you think it’s gonna be.
1. Your sleep schedule slowly decays.
Getting up for work early sucks, I will grant you. But the benefit of it is that it keeps you on a schedule. I used to be in bed before midnight every night, and even though I’d complain that it made me feel like an elderly man with only death to look forward to, I usually managed to grab eight hours. These days, I’m still catching eight hours or so, but the time frame is all over the place. Let’s say you’re up at 1 am, but you’re not feeling tired, and you’re working from home now. Well then why not start a movie? How about Gone In 60 Seconds? It’s Classic Cage, Dirty Ribisi, Blonde Dreads Jolie, and all sorts of Robert Duvall chuckles. Plus the soundtrack is surprisingly better than you remember. Now if you start to get sleepy in the movie, you could always just turn it off. But why? You don’t really have a set time to get up, so just push through. Next thing you know, you’re waking up in the afternoon. And what does that cause? Staying up even later. Give it a few weeks, and you’re staying up, sipping whiskey until the sun comes up, and struggling to get out of bed before three.
2. You have to be disciplined about your work.
The great thing about having an office job is that a lot of your work is bullshit. Especially if you can get it done faster than everyone else you work with, you’ll find that there’s plenty of time to dick around when you’re in the office. And that’s great, because no matter what, you’re getting paid for it. Not when you’re at home. The amount of money you make is directly correlated with how much you get done, and how fast you do it. So sure, feel free to slack off all you want. But you probably won’t be able to keep living in that place that charges you per month for the right to stay there. Unless you move in with your parents. But that’s a minefield.
3. You’ll probably get fat.
We already know about the temptations of the office breakroom. You’ve already eaten your power bar for breakfast, when all of a sudden you walk in, and are immediately ambushed by some dickhead who thought donuts were a good idea. But it is so much worse at home. Remember how you’d feel a slight hunger pang at your desk, but you’d ignore it because you had meaningless reports to finish? And then by the time you finished them, the hunger had gone away, because it was really just your stomach being a greedy asshole? Well now there’s nothing stopping you. You’re on your couch all day. If your body tells you he’s hungry, well by god, let’s go check out the pantry. Oh, crunchy peanut butter? What can I put that on? Fuck it, I’m my own boss, I can put it on whatever the hell I want! Peanut butter and pickle sandwich it is. Time to throw away the scale.
4. Less money
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there making crazy money from the comfort of their futon. But for most people, choosing to work from home likely means a decrease in income. Even if you’re a lawyer or consultant, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make more dough if you’re going into an office everyday. Obviously that’s a choice you can make. I certainly did. But I also gave up on name brand groceries, good whiskey, and washing my car on any sort of regular basis in order to do it. So if you’re cool with eating Storebrand Whipped Topping instead of Cool Whip on that peanut butter salad you made as a snack, then this might be the life for you.
5. No one will ever believe you’re working
My roommates know that I’m getting stuff done on a regular basis. But their assumption still remains that I don’t really do anything during the day. In their mind, I’m surfing Reddit, watching Around The Horn, and stealing their Mac and Cheese all day. And in spite of the fact that I just did all three of those things, that doesn’t make them right. Anyone who has a “real job” will resent you. You have somehow cheated the system. They have to put up with their boss making even worse jokes than their dad did while they were growing up as they imagine you practicing your backflip on their beds. You’ll never ever be allowed to complain again about being tired, or having a stressful day, because in their mind, you can sleep in as long as you want, and your problems aren’t real.
So if you think you can handle all of this, you’ll probably manage to survive the home office environment. I won’t lie; in spite of it all, it’s still pretty awesome. You can put on music and dance around like an idiot. You can watch porn literally whenever you feel like it without worrying about getting fired or being judged by the IT guy. Sometimes you’ll get into a groove, and get more work done than you ever would have in your cubicle, and sometimes you won’t be able to do shit. But as long as you can balance it all out, you’ll probably do pretty well.
Oh and also that whole thing about no pants is totally true.