Monday, 27 July 2015

"Working From home" Not "Working For Home"

 


Once upon a time I dared to tell my maid that you are late. She replied while still checking whatsapp messages on her mobile, “The other madam was getting late for office, so she asked me to finish work at her place first.” I almost crushed the tea cup with my clenched fists like Singham in anger, pain and shock. I didn’t know I was capable of reflecting so many emotions at one point of time. What caused the emotional overflow was that, not even my own maid considers my working from home as actually working and the work flexibility cascades down even to her, without my consent, ofcourse.

Its not about the maid (only), it’s the general attitude. If I am working from home, I am working for home, that’s what THEY think.

It takes a lot of discipline, concentration and letting go, to sit down and work when the circus activities of the home never cease to carry you along. It’s a mad house and its easy to get weighed down by it at times. But I chose this.

I chose a different work style, this is the choice I made for myself and my family. Everyone is different, their priorities are different, their family requirements are different and so are there opinions about work. But does this give anyone the right to question someone’s career or look down upon them?

I have to myself, some short intervals to work with full focus i.e. from 10am -12 noon and thereafter from 1pm – 4pm. If I miss that, I have to put on horse blinkers and some ear plugs to get back to work with a lot of motivation from husband and threatening from the clients.

It’s a constant struggle to strike a balance between work and home. My brain is overworking all the time. Its like, let me soak the daal now, so that it can sit for a while before I finish writing the client mail. Why is that LPG delivery guy not here yet? Just one call will not harm anything and then get back to work with a single track mind.

I agree that you do have a domestic mind working behind the professional mind all the time. But does that mean I am not doing justice to each one of them? Does that give you the right to think any less of me or my working style? Should I care about what you think? Or am I just seeking some respect from both the worlds?

Here is a glimpse of my daily struggle, challenges and conflicts while WFH–

  1. I am always in my PJs – The iron-man (not that iron-man, silly, the press-waala guy) thinks I am saving on precious money. The neighbors think I am always sleeping. My kids ask me, “Are we going out”, if I am dressed otherwise. “Is someone coming”, husband remarks. And me, I think, they are most comfortable, no fuss, wrinkle-free and all season wear.
  There is not motivation to dress better. Forget the husband; he has absolutely no clue if I am wearing a Chanel or Jockey, i.e. if I do.

  1. People come and go and I am always working – It just never ends. When you do not have any strict working hours, you don’t need to swipe in and out of office, you are playing every possible role at the same time, there is no one monitoring your screen from behind, you get little distracted at times. But then you work overtime to makeup for the loss.
  2. No meal but always snacking - Eating has become a way to take a break. I am always opening the kitchen cabinets, looking for that one last thing to eat. I eat on the sofa, work on the bed and listen to music on the dining table while keeping a watch on the maid from the corner of my eye.
  3. Panic if I need to get out in the middle of the day- No, its true. There is a checklist that I need to tick off, before stepping out. Bath – check. Change of clothes – check. Sniff test for clothes I am wearing– check. Comb hair – check. Kids disarmed – check. Call husband to tell him about my will if I don’t return, ever – check. Mobile Data working – check. House keys – check. I am cutting the list short here, for the sake of brevity.
  4. Forget free office parties, say goodbye to good feedback reviews and RIP pay hikes.
  5. Flexibility is a universal thing – Flexibility as a freelancer to work anytime anywhere means a lot of things to a lot of people. Some people, like one husband, Day 1 (of 5 working days in a week) – Can you please renew car insurance? Day 2 – Can you check on that plumber? Day 3 – Can you drop by at school for Parent-Teacher meet. Day 4 – Can you give directions to the delivery guy that is coming to drop by some office package? Day 5- Can you research online about which is the best mobile in market these days?
  6. Network issues when office calls. This is a serious problem. Whenever some client or office tries to reach me, I am unreachable. So they assume that I am backpacking on the trails of Kerala or watching a movie in some remote theater. But if I am in the bathroom or missed the ring, the kids are the first to jump up and answer the phone. Not only they say that mom is taking a loo break, but they take turns to talk to the other person and cutely engage them for over 20 min or until the client disconnects. It is not just embarrassing and so unprofessional. It re-establishes the boss’s faith in you forever.
Its awesome and terrible!

4 comments:

  1. I completely agree with you in this respect...the network issue create serious problems at times...

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    Replies
    1. Network issues and kids make a lethal combination :)

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  2. True, if you are at home then everyone thinks you are 'available' for 'home work'.

    ReplyDelete