Friday, January 3, 2014
The Differences Between Working in a Conventional Work Environment and Home
The above picture makes me cringe when I look at it remembering how it felt to work in a cubicle.
I often think about how much I like NOT working in a conventional office or factory. At least once a day I think that thought. I wrote another blog post here in a similar vein. I often am grateful for the major differences like getting to sleep on my own schedule, taking breaks when I want, taking days off when I want but today after reading a blog post about the subtle differences between Scotland and Finland found here and very entertaining, I started thinking about the subtle differences between a conventional job and working for yourself. Those differences would be different for everyone depending on their preferences and pet peeves. Below are some of mine. Positive and negative. I'd love to hear what yours are. Please share in the comments and I'll add them to my list.
In my last job I worked in an office and the job before that in a laboratory. The environments were different but some things remained the same. My work environment now is vastly different than either of those settings. Read on.
1. In my last job I shared an office for a while with a woman who listened to NPR all day every day. I love NPR but my job required a lot of reading and concentration and I could. not. concentrate. She would sometimes turn it down if I requested but even that just would not let me concentrate on my reading tasks. There was no way she simply would turn it off.
For some people it is worse. They work in places where they are forced to listen to canned music all day every day. Like grocery stores, malls etc. At Christmas time they have to listen to Christmas music (starting probably sometime in October or November) every day for months! As stay at home workers we can listen to ANY music we want, as loud or quiet as we want or have silence if that is how we work best.
2. At my office job the temperature varied greatly from one office to the next. There was one person who had control over the thermostat because she came in earlier than everyone (same person as above). I'd come in most days and my office would feel like the Mojave desert it was so HOT. The rest of us complained but this person didn't really care about anyone else's needs. Here at home I control the thermostat. I also can dress in any manner so if I'm cold I can throw on a sweatshirt and if I'm warm whip it off.
3. The bathroom where I used to work was used by the public and was sometimes quite disgusting. Granted my own bathroom is sometimes a little disgusting LOL but at least I know who has been there....I don't have to worry if I stink it up either. TMI, I know.
4. At my previous jobs I didn't like having to chat and be social when I first got in in the morning. I need a good hour and a cup of coffee before I'm in that zone. Now I wake up, get my cup of coffee, go back to bed and spend that hour I need, reading blogs, checking to see what sold, looking at Pinterest etc. You get the idea.
5. I remember how one of the highlights of office work was when something I ordered came in. A new calendar..some folders..how it was a tiny little thrill. Now I shop for a living. I get those tiny little thrills every time I shop. Even when the things I buy aren't for me!
6. I used to get so bored at work. I didn't really love what I did. Some of it was interesting but mostly not. I'd fight to stay with a task. Eight hours seemed like forever. I love what I do now. Yes some days it feels like the movie Ground Hog day...get up, take pictures, do shipping....blah blah blah but it doesn't take very many days or hours like that before the spark and interest come back. I love researching new items and learning all kinds of new and weird things.
7. When I worked in a lab I had to spend a lot of time on my feet. Physically it was hard for me. Although I spend too much time bent over a computer now I like that I can take frequent breaks to get up and do something else or dance to a good tune. Physically it's much better.
There are some things I miss about working outside the home.
1. Although I'm not a very social person, I sometimes feel like I don't have enough human contact anymore. Hours can go by after I get up without me speaking a word except to my dog...who doesn't answer back. I'm thinking about volunteering somewhere to meet that need and make a difference at the same time.
2. I miss feeling 'respectable'. You know what I mean? Even though I hated my jobs for the most part, there is something to be said for being able to easily answer the question, what do you do for a living. I also felt like I was making a more of a contribution to the world. In reality, I know that I AM still making a contribution to the world by my current career choice. I keep things from going into a land fill and I avoid buying a lot of things for my own use that are NEW thus keeping unnecessary production waste out of our environment. I'm also able to spend a lot of time with my mom who is ill and lives by me.
Someone recently introduced me to a man named James Altucher. He has a blog here and there are various interviews and Youtube videos of him. He's got some interesting things to say about working for ones self, although I don't know how much I trust a guy who made millions and lost it all - twice. I have to read more to see.
How about you? Did you love/hate your previous jobs? Do you miss the social element of work? Do you see this as a long term thing or is it just to get by until you get a conventional job?