When people ask me what I do, I usually lie and say “accountant” because there is never any follow up questions for that. Maybe a poorly worded math joke. But nothing else. It’s very underwhelming. (Sorry accountants, but you know it’s true.) Yet, sometimes I make the mistake of telling the truth…”Oh, uh, I write and do social media. I work from home.”
And this is the response. “Ohhh, how nice! You can spend time with your kid and work!”
Before Ellis was born a woman actually said, ‘That’s the perfect career for a mother, you should have kids soon.” But that was at a church where they hung banners with felt lambs bleeding felt blood out of their felt necks, so you can’t really fault her for being crazy. It’s all the felt gore.
“Yeah, it’s awesome!” I say. Because no one wants to hear you whine about working in your pajamas all day. Fortunately, due to sexism and Midwestern codes of ethics, now that I’ve spawned most people assume I either do something boring or stay at home. No one asks. Thanks, sexism!
Perhaps because I’ve been working at home for four years, I’m always surprised when people are all work from home is the dream! Because you know what I miss? Wasting time at work by sneaking over to my friend’s desk and talking about how the receptionist smelled. I mean, I kind of do that, but it’s on Twitter and instead of the receptionist, I complain about myself.
Over on Forbes, Susannah Breslin mythbusted working from home and I want to contradict her good (and vastly superior) work with my own myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #1. I wear pajamas all day
Truth: Some days, but those are the bad days. The dark days. The days where if I actually got a paid sick day, I’d stay home and vomit mucus into the toilet. Most days, I’m up at 5am to workout or get some work in, then into the shower by 6:30 and wearing clothes by 6:35am. (What? I take fast showers because I grew up one of 8 kids and I wasn’t the “pretty” sister).
Myth #2: You have balance.
Truth: Ahahahahaha! *wipes tear from eye* That’s a good one. Look, let me just set one thing straight. No matter what you do, you don’t have balance. SAHMs need more time for themselves. Working moms need more time with their kids. And WAHMs? We just need prozac. Some days, when my sitter is gone and I have to wing it with Ellis, I want to hunt down the lady who told me this was the “perfect situation” and stab her. Because guess who likes to come over to the computer and slam the lid down while I am working and say “all done now!” and lose all my work? Or demand Elmo videos? No, not the Illuminati. Good guess though.
Myth#3: You secretly want a full time job, you just can’t find one.
Truth: I do not, but thanks for calling and wasting my time recruiter. No, it’s great that you have this number! Oh, will I send you some of my contacts who might want the job? Yes, I’d love to do your work for you.
Every month, I get phone calls from recruiters trying to convince me that I want a full time job. I even had someone call me and offer me a full time job after hearing a radio interview and assuming that I was a “blogger looking for work.” Truth: I’m a working blogger. And I’m happy. HAPPY! I will remind myself of this when I am up tonight until midnight getting caught up on work. And by “remind myself” I mean: drink.
And no, I won’t tell you what I earn. But I will tell you this, I make more working from home as a freelancer/permalancer than I did working full time for a marketing company. But I live in Iowa, the jobs are few but the corn is plenty.
Myth #4: I am in it for the fame.
Truth: Yes, I am!! I’m going to be so famous. I can’t wait. And then I’ll make you, my subjects, all stack up into a pile so I can use you as a human throne Yertle-the-Turtle style.
No. I am my own business. A walking factory of made-in-America awesome. When you like Lyz Lenz on Facebook (CLICK CLICK CLIIIIICK!), you aren’t soothing my ego (okay, maybe some) actually you’re helping me build awareness for the work I do, for which this blog acts as a platform. Part of they way I get work is by showing people what I do for myself on a regular basis. And this blog is just that. And I think it’s a necessary part of any online life. It’s my resume, where I talk about not-wearing pants and post pictures of my chubby baby. So, in sum: Best resume ever? Or maybe the people who hire me just don’t know how to Google things.
But I do want to echo what Susannah Breslin wrote:
“One of the “scary” things about working from home is that you can’t coast. How hard you work dictates the size of your paycheck. This is undeniable, unavoidable, irrefutable. You will find this empowering or paralyzing, motivating or debilitating, inspiring or overwhelming.”
For me, most days it’s everything. I’ll do something that promotes me and then spend weeks feeling like a ho-bot and wailing to Dave, “I just shamelessly pimped myself!” And he’s all, “I don’t think a pimp is a pimp if he is pimping himself. Please use your language correctly.” He’s right.
Myth #5: Blogging is where the money is
Truth: Let me hit you in the head. Right now.
I blog. I love to blog. But what actually makes me money is writing features for websites (yes those boring “top 10 baby names that are also shapes” articles), social media consulting, and permalance positions I’ve had where I work as an editor/community manager/someone who complains about your tweets position.
Myth #6 : I have no friends
Truth: This is actually kind of true, but it has nothing to do with the internet and everything to do with the fact that I really like talking about “48 Hours Mysteries.” Most of my “work friends” are online. And I think they exist. I’ve met some of them in real life and will be meeting more again in a few weeks at BlogHer. Keeping real life friends is harder. Lately, I either work or feed my chubby baby and when friends are all, “Let’s do something!” I’m like, “Can it involve me sleeping?”
But I think everyone feels this way.
Working at home, it’s just working. It’s not some mythical land of fun and pajamas and happiness all day. Although, I do have a unicorn, right here, working beside me.