Oops, just like that and it’s been a month since I last posted… we were suddenly allowed to go out and do things again and I am EXHAUSTED. Plus, the insomnia demon has thoroughly set up shop in my brain lately and I’ve been back to the gym, so it’s a double whammy of tired. You would think that getting out a doing things would help the sleep but no… that is not how this works apparently.
*language warning. I will be swearing*
So let’s talk about working from home
Firstly, I will acknowledge that for a lot of people, especially those with anxiety etc, working from home has been a god send and opened up the opportunity to work whenever and wherever, which was formally only really accessible to freelancers.
But it’s not for me.
Maybe if I had a proper office space.
Maybe if I didn’t live with my parents…
Maybe it would be different.
But that is unlikely. This last year or so has forced me to come to terms with the fact that not only doing I like being around people, I need to be.
It was a crushing realisation, as I’ve always considered myself to be someone whose very comfortable in my own company. I’ve been on holiday by myself, where I didn’t speak to another soul for a week, unless it was to bring me food or drink and had the best time of my life (if that sounds sad or pathetic to you, go away, you’re not my kind of people).
However, before this year, I have always had public facing, service positions. Even my last job with a charity, where I was the assistant to six other people, as well as managing our marketing and volunteer rota etc etc (I did the roles of about five people), was very public facing, speaking to and seeing a lot of people to whom I was providing a service.
So, not seeing being around people, for whom I had to be performative in some way to provide customer service too, was a complete respite. It was rare.
Then, suddenly, I’m in a new role (which I love fyi) but I’m never the ‘face’ of the brand, I’m the silent marketing person in a dark room somewhere. Oh, also, BAM, global pandemic. BAM, reduced hours.
And then I am trapped in my home for a year.
As my last job was very busy and stressful, it was probably good for me to slow down for a bit.
But you know what? I don’t enjoy being trapped in a corner of my home for 7.5 hours a day. I don’t enjoy working alone hour after hour, with nothing and no one to break up the monotony. I miss the rhythms of other people going about their days. I miss being able to turn my screen around and saying ‘hey, can you glance at this for me’.
*big disclaimer, this is no hate on my current job, who’ve been so great during the pandemic, this is just one of those things that can’t be helped.*
It would be different if this was freelance because then there’s no expectation for me to keep traditional working hours and if I can’t focus, I could take a screen break. I wouldn’t need to get up for a 9:30 am meeting that takes place one foot from my bed. In my childhood bedroom.
Ooof and don’t get me started on meeting’s on teams or zoom.
I am a fidget. I need to have somewhere or something to look at whilst someone is talking but in virtual meetings with the camera on, you are pinned like a bug and every movement or sound will draw eyes to you in a way that would get missed in a meeting room where you are all sat around a table.
And I’m sorry but I can’t gage your fucking emotions or body language via camera, if I speak too long and you’re all just silently (I know they’re being respectful, shhhhhhh) watching me, it feels like a hundred watt bulb on my face and it’s hideously awkward.
(context- I started my new job the week we went into lockdown 1. I have been to my office less than 5 times. I have colleagues that I have met the same amount of times, or never at all. So I don’t know them well enough to negate some of what is lost by virtual communication.)
(Secondary context, I have had to work very hard on some pretty serious imposter syndrome type issues after successfully landing this job… which I know now that I deserve and have the skills to do but that has taken be a while to feel. So that was an extra layer to deal with virtually with bunch of people I do not know.)
So issue 1 summarised: I need people. I feel trapped all day and its suffocating.
Having always had stressful, public facing jobs before. My room is my oasis. I love my room. It is my glorious space full of me things.
and now it is my work space
and I resent it.
Where can I relax in a busy house full of people and dogs, when my room is also my work?
Work has invaded my home life.
(again, no hate to the job, this is not a work-life- balance issue, besides the fact it is in my home…)
It’s in my bedroom. It’s on my dresser that we had to turn into a desk. It’s my TV, which now serves as my monitor. It’s the fucking cables across my desk. It’s the desk chair that is too big for my tiny room, which I had to take from the office because I didn’t own one before this. It’s the ugly anti-scratch matt I had to put down on the floor to stop the too big desk chair from ruining my floor.
My room is 6X4 and I have packed that fucker full of stuff over the years, we are bursting at the seams. Which was fine, before. It was my cosy treasure trove that I literally only slept in.
Now I’ve gotta sit in it all day.
Before the gyms were opened, I had to work out in there too.
I gotta write this shit in there too.
I gotta write my book in there too.
I gotta read in there.
At one point, I had to virtually socialise in there too.
My whole world was reduced to a floor space about a foot wide and it is suffocating.
I can’t do any of these things downstairs because we have three dogs, two cats, one other person also working from home, whose job requires making phone calls, one person whose currently not working (thanks Covid) and another who does shift work. So is either getting up for nights mid way through my day, or on weird change over days (where he switches from days to nights or vice versa).
Also we have tiny British home that is not made for four adults to spend twenty four hours a day together in. Outside isn’t an option 90% of the year for these activities because, again, we’re in England.
Three of us are also natural night owls, so there is never any peace in the wee hours of the morning either. Which was fine, before we were all trapped together for a year.
TLDR: In conclusion, I don’t like any of it. For me, personally, there are zero upsides to working from home and I’m afraid that in a lot of future roles and for the foreseeable future in this one, traditional office work life has died. I can recognise that I’m in the minority here and don’t expect to be bent too.
I can also recognise that this comes from a place of privilege, compared to people who either didn’t or couldn’t get the resources to work from home, or, for those whom it has opened up more opportunities and possibilities, which aren’t accessible for various reasons in a traditional working environment. I am not blind to the benefits. This rant isn’t about that, it’s about how it doesn’t work for me.
If it has worked for you, then I’m glad. But if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re in my camp too?
Your regularly scheduled bookish, writing, nerd content will resume in the next post!
I could go on and on about Terry Pratchett as being both an amazing human being and an incredible writer… but instead of doing that, here are some quotes
Here are my favourite book couples/ romances with very little logic or explanation and certainly no context
If you want to dip your toe into the world of classic literature, here are the ones I would recommend!
What are the basic steps to consider when writing fantasy?
No job is worth killing yourself over because, frankly, there is no prize at the end of this.
Todays prompt: Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.