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Should You Really Consider Working from Home? Three Reasons Why the Answer Is a Resounding Yes!

Young woman lying in a hammock with laptop

I bet you’ve thought about it. After a grueling day at the office filled with real-life temper tantrums, nauseating levels of interpersonal gossip, and an arduous commute home, you wonder about all the lucky stars out there who work from the comfort of their pajamas. Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? I’m here to give you a resounding yes and provide you with some food for thought. It’s no easy life change but, after all, hope is the biggest factor in propelling us forward. I hope to provide a small sprinkling of just that.

Let’s break this down into three pros, and I’ll try to debunk three top cons.

1. You avoid all (if not most) of the sticky office drama.

 Do you currently walk the long way to the kitchen just to avoid a few unpleasant souls? Okay, maybe that was just me. Or, maybe you stress yourself out trying to dodge the office gossip patrol because all they do is rain grief down on everybody. Perhaps you report to someone who always seems to put you down instead of build you up.

Well, there’s no denying you might still encounter a sticky snafu or two with someone via e-mail while working from home. However, it’s far easier to control our reactions and compose something thoughtful via e-mail than in the heat of the moment.

2. You never have to submit another PTO request!

This, for me, was the main component to my quest to work from home. I’m not sure why, but I always felt such anxiety whenever I had to request time off. Or, if I woke up with a 102 degree fever, the prospect of having to call out left me as light-headed as the heatwave that was soaring through my body.

I suppose I felt what was, truthfully, quite obvious. I was not in control of my own life. Whether or not I could attend my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party was dependent upon whether or not the office would have enough staff to function properly on that day. (Insert big, sulky, sigh.)

3. You can travel.

I’ll bet you know a few folks out there who, upon retirement, say they can finally travel now. My father is among those ranks. He worked over 30 years for the New York City Transit Authority and only, finally, made it to Paris upon retirement. I actually got a little choked up when he finally booked the trip. The only thing that was holding him back was his need to provide for his family and create a stable environment.

Well, working from home, you can check off all the aforementioned boxes and more. You can work. You can travel. Here are a few real-life scenarios. Instead of “enduring” the nine hour flight to Paris, you can get a full nine hours’ work in, then stroll down the Champs-Élysées. Instead of hiring a nanny to watch your kids after school, you can step away from the laptop at three o’clock to meet the school bus and serve your kids warm, homemade brownies. Or, if you’re a singleton like me, you can pitch an article today, hop on a flight tonight, and resume your work from a thatched roof cottage in Ireland before sailing down to the local pub for a pint and a soul-quenching order of fish and chips.

Okay. Here come those dreaded cons. What about the loneliness? What about the 401(k)’s? What about the benefits? All these things are real. But, allow me to attempt to debunk.

1. There will be moments of loneliness.

Working from home, there’s no harmless chatter by the coffeemaker. There’s no grabbing lunch with your girl in the next cubicle. But, we don’t make all our friends through work, do we? We join a kickball club on the weekends. We volunteer at the animal shelter down the road. We attend father-daughter dances with our kindergartener and chat with the guys about how awesome it is to watch them grow up. There are plenty of ways to make meaningful relationships outside the realm of a gray cubicle.

2. There will be no 401(k).

This is a tough one to debunk. However, I started noticing that a small handful of my friends who work those 9-5’s don’t have 401(k)’s either! They receive a steady income and health insurance, but no 401(k). Furthermore, a full-blown pension seems even fewer and farther between these days. So, in this case, I would simply set aside a certain portion of your earnings and invest in your own IRA. I’m no financial expert, but it gives you something to hold on to, aside from the vision of working ’til the age of 93.

3. What about health insurance?

I can’t say that this is a huge detractor from working from home. Of course it cuts the price tag for this monthly expense in half. But is that $70 you’re saving each month worth the dread you feel on a Sunday evening, knowing you have to return to work on Monday? Heck no! You can research your own health insurance and find a plan that works for you. How about this. I knew someone (ahem, me) who used to dread going to work so badly that she ground her teeth while she slept and, eventually, needed to seek medical attention to stop the pain her popping jaw brought on. I know, I know. That’s really extreme. I’m just saying… Stress is no phantom ailment. It has serious repercussions.

So, in the end, we each find our way to the magical realm of working from home. Every path is different. Maybe you’ll work in Customer Service from home. Maybe you’ll write. Maybe you’ll create your own startup. Maybe you’ll piece it together like me, as a Freelance Writer and Adjunct Professor. The list is endless. Either way, I hope you’ll give it some serious thought, map out a workable plan, and hold on to all these trinkets of hope. It is doable, and I wish you nothing but happiness and success as you make it happen!

A Fairy Tale Oasis

TiffaniTaylorArtSource: TiffaniArt.com 

Savannah is this 18th century goddess, always festooned in her brightest frock. In the midst of her streets, there exists a fairy tale oasis – The Tiffani Taylor Gallery. Once you open those lovely white doors, you’re swept into a land where hope flitters like butterflies, dreams dance atop red poppies, and scenes of Paris tickle your heart.

Mixed media paintings leave you longing for old times, as antique sheet music wraps its loving arms around fields of glistening poppies. Local Savannah scenes stay with you as you sigh with pleasure over the old cobbled streets.

Lo and behold, Tiffani Taylor is a fairy tale vision herself. She undoubtedly embodies her artwork, radiating joy and kindness. My entire day is set right after drifting in and out of that oasis. I’m reminded that love still blossoms and dreams do come true, especially as you dance through the moonlight, underneath Savannah’s glow.

Audiobooks – Will You Like Them or Love Them?

Audiobooks concept. Vintage books and headphones.

I like thinking about the classic paperback vs. audiobook argument. Don’t you? Each side holds its own value. What’s better than lighting a fire, cocooning under a blanket, sipping on a hot cup of tea from that fresh-brewed pot of oolong, and turning the page on your new book? Perhaps turning the page of a used book you found tucked in the corner of a local bookshop? Either way, a good old fashioned book will never, ever go out of style.

That being said, I’ve recently discovered a newfound love, adoration, and utter loyalty to audiobooks. I download them via Audible, and most of them are produced by Brilliance Audio. I used to download them through iTunes, but Audible has this really cute feature where it awards you stickers for things like extended amounts of reading time, being a night owl, and more. Also, you can track how many minutes/hours you’ve used the app via a nifty little bar graph. Some feelings of accomplishment in life are easily accepted!

Audiobooks’ new station in my life has been profound. Recently, I moved to Savannah. I only signed a five-month lease. I want to make sure it sticks before I really hunker down. Dare I even say it… I didn’t set up cable just yet. So, what does one do without cable? They read! And, what does one do in a new apartment? They nest! Faced with an inability to put USA’s perpetual NCIS reruns on in the background while I organized, I wondered what the alternative was… I downloaded Audible and now have my very own in-house storyteller ‘round the clock. I actually stick to the same author and must have nearly 50 of her books saved. (I’ll refrain from telling you who she is just for the moment. I don’t want you to judge me before I’ve shared this goodness with you!)

When I wake in the morning and go through the various “morning tasks” of making the bed, showering, putting away any stray dishes, and toasting up my daily serving of Eggos, I have company in my otherwise empty apartment. I pick up where I left off last night, and re-enter into stories of mythological battles or independent females settling into new towns. Oh, and guess what? When I fell asleep the night before, I did so to a 15-minute sleep timer. I was lulled to sleep while my favorite character nestled into her new villa in Corfu and imagined, like her, I was falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves under the dancing moonlight.

The thing about audiobooks is that they have their own set of producers and directors, just like any TV show or movie. And someone’s not just narrating it to you, they’re acting it to you. Their voice cracks when the character gets choked up. They reach fever-pitch levels when they’re panicked. They roar with laughter and giggle in a slight tease. You’re lifted up to new and varying levels that our singular mind alone can’t travel to.

So, if someone asked me for a checkmate argument on audio literature, here’s what I’d say:

  1. You can ingest new stories and vocabulary while taking a walk. You won’t get run over by a Savannah trolley because you were actually attempting to read and walk.
  2. You can have someone relay tales of sorcerers falling in love with small-town artists while taking the four-hour car ride home to visit family.
  3. You can put those noise-cancelling headphones on and vacuum, dust, clean, polish, or Windex while you go.
  4. In the event that you get tired of staring at your computer or TV screen, you can lay down in bed, snuggle under the covers and allow some talented storyteller to whisk you away to floating islands, ornate castles from another time, or a simple storybook town in Maryland.
  5. If you’re new to a strange city or town, you won’t feel quite so alone. Sharing your new space with the voices of a trio of Montana ranchers is, somehow, quite comforting.
  6. This last point holds a pivotal truth in my current state of affairs. Most of the leading characters that my favored author creates are strong, independent, resourceful, disciplined, uniquely quirky, and up to some new life-challenge. I like feeling like some of that is rubbing off on me while they purchase new homes in the background of my life, start up a new enterprise, or write their first novel. Maybe I, too, can be as brave as they are one day.

Simply put, I can’t imagine what I’d do in my new apartment which boasts a non-existence of cable, a slow Internet connection, and a somewhat anxious tenant. I have all kinds of friends packed into my one bedroom and we soar off to new lands and adventures regularly. Finally, I’m glad there is no world that exists without a plethora of Nora Roberts titles to keep me tucked in, warm and cozy, at night. Happy audio trails to you!