A Friday morning about a year ago I couldn’t decide whether or not to go into the office. I could use the extra hour I’d lose driving to and from work, plus I was wrapping up this job. I only had a couple weeks left so things should have essentially been winding down for me. My manager, a really cool, understanding human being asked me why I was even considering making the trek. It was simple. There was a man in my bedroom, sleeping in my bed, my “office” who flew in from Israel the night before and didn’t show any signs of getting up. My boss understood me. She laughed. And told me to stay home.Fine. I worked most of the morning at the kitchen table while my mom and Liron were out and about. However, around noon time my mom and Liron got in and my weekly meeting with my most favoritist big pharmaceutical client was nearing, and this man was still in my bed. I did some really simple mental calculations and ended up taking the client call in the bathroom of our second bathroom, the one not attached to the bedroom, also known as the “Butterfly Spa” because it’s really “Liron’s bathroom” with butterfly decals everywhere.
Really I ended up in the tub with the curtain closed as I tried to keep out the noise of Liron griping at my mom to hurry up and make her lunch. So here I am in the tub. My sales director calls in. He never joins the call. But since I’m leaving and my client loves me, he calls in to ensure the relationship remains smooth and positive. So here’s my beloved client, the one I didn’t want to leave, lecturing my sales director, trying to understand how things got so bad for me that I felt I had no choice but to find a new job. And in this moment I feel really vindicated and validated, or whatever else. And I feel like somebody noticed I’m great and will miss me. And I’m in the tub at my house. Totally unprepared and flustered.
Most recently I was a remote employee at a company located in Pennsylvania. I enjoyed putting a pot of soup on the stove in the morning and sitting in the next room while it cooked, taking in the aroma and checking on it as needed. I had a little more control over my home environment, though overall I’m so focused on my work I would most often sit in my office chair from the start of work to the very end with very little time to cook, exercise, do laundry, nap, or any of those others things people THINK remote people do. On the contrary, I’d say I was more focused than if I had been in an office. Perhaps to my detriment – after all, everyone needs a chat break, a step away from the desk, a breath of fresh air.
I didn’t waste time putting on makeup in the morning or getting dressed into anything business casuals. This meant you’d most likely find me in a tee shirt and purple sweat pants. This was cool at first but to be honest when dropping Liron off at school here I was (frumpy) and most of the other moms and dads were dressed more, um, respectfully? Trendy? Professionally? I missed the biotech chic of Genzyme.
While I had fun with remote employment (including virtual coffee talks), and periodic visits to the office with happy hour at the brewery next door, there were things I missed about being in a workplace where I could interact more frequently with peers, people from other groups, management, etc. Plus, when you work from home it’s more difficult to disconnect from your workday, especially when your bedroom is your office. It’s certainly not impossible, and overall I’d say I did a pretty darn good job at it. But really, I need a place to run when a strange man inhabits my bed, even if he’s not so bad looking.