If you have children, and they’re at home when you’re trying to work, you will quickly realize the mistake you’ve made in choosing a work-at-home career. Kids don’t care that you’ve got a deadline, or that you’re on the phone with an important client.
If Johnny wants to watch Monsters University (for the third time today), you’ll have to drop everything you’re doing and turn it on, or he will scream nonstop until you do. And if the adorable little hand of your precious toddler taps you on the leg and he lovingly says to you, “play, mommy” — you will have to play. If you don’t follow him to the designated play area right then, that precious little hand will grab your computer’s mouse and hurl it across the room.
14. Facebook — and Twitter, and Instagram, and Pinterest
You name it, the social networks that have revolutionized the way we communicate with one another have also destroyed all productivity. You could be working on that big deadline project, decide to check your social network of choice “real quick,” and fall down the rabbit hole. You see, it will not be “real quick;” you will keep diving deeper into the pool of timesuck that is social media.
13. Food — everywhere
If you’re at an office, you long for lunchtime, when you can devour your carefully portioned meal in the 30 minutes you have to eat. If you’re at home, you have complete control over when you eat, and for how long, and how much. And you will eat constantly because you have access to your kitchen 24/7.
12. Work-at-home slobbery
When work is home, you basically get out of bed and get to work. You no longer worry about what you’re going to wear, if your skirt is too short, or if your tie matches your suit jacket. Nobody can tell you not to wear flannel jammies to your computer desk, or to brush your teeth. So you don’t. Some days, you may not even brush your hair. You’re disgusting!
11. Losing touch
When you work outside the home, you make friends and socialize with them in public. When you work at home, you hang out at home. With yourself. Not only can it be lonely, but you forget what it’s like to be around people.
So when you inevitably do go to a social event, or even to the grocery store, you may find yourself doing either of the following two things: talking to everyone you see about the rising cost of milk (it’s expensive!), or at the other extreme, staring wide-eyed in shock at the nice old lady who said “excuse me” as she passed your cart too close.
Like kids, if you have a pet, you know what it’s like to have constant interruptions. Dogs need to be fed and walked; cats like to walk all over your computer and sometimes sleep on your arm. And they are relentless in their pursuit of getting your attention.
9. Housework procrastination
There’s dust on the TV stand. There are dirty dishes in the sink, and you need some clean towels. Any minor distraction can snowball into a day of cleaning or organizing when you’re at home all day, every day. You’ll want to clean that mess up, and you won’t be able to get to the work you’re paid to do until you clean it.
One advantage to working in a cubicle is that you can’t always see the weather outside. But when you’re at home, and the sun is blinding you through the windows, it’s pretty difficult to resist the urge to play outside.
7. Snow days
Ah, the Polar Vortex. While it stranded thousands in their homes or cars this winter, kids and workers alike were singing its praises because they didn’t have to go to school or work. But someone who works from home? Expected to work.
If you live in an apartment, and the people who live above you either work third shift, or they also work at home, or not at all, they will be noisy. They will annoy you with their noisiness when you’re trying to work.
If you live in a house, and you can see out of your windows, you will inevitably wonder what the neighbors are up to, and sometimes find yourself staring at them and creating lives for them. Some may call it obsessing, but I call it “being informed.”
5. Milk runs
“Can you get some milk?” Others will assume that since you’re working from home, you have plenty of time to run errands. But you don’t. You’re WORKING.
4. The ire of other parents
If you have kids, mothers who have to work outside the home will target you with their resentful stares, because they believe you’re “lucky” to “get” to stay at home with the kids, while they’re away from them all day. Weekend playgroups will therefore be filled with tension.
3. Can’t “leave it at the office”
Because your office (laptop) is right next to you on the couch. If there’s work to do, you can’t just let it go until Monday morning, because it never leaves you. Which is why you work on Saturday nights, while the world parties. Or sleeps.
2. Missing shaving your legs/face
Or wearing heels, or a stuffy suit, or a uniform. There will come a day when you look at yourself in a mirror, ponytail askew, sweatshirt stained, gym shorts full of holes, and you will wish you could wear your Louboutins — if only for a few hours.
1. Never wanting to go back to an office job
It’s true. All of the positives of working at home still outweigh the negatives, and if the opportunity arises to leave your work-at-home job, you’ll feel conflicted. You might even realize it doesn’t really suck, even if it is work.