Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap
From: Patti Ghezzi
I used to fantasize about telecommuting. No wasted time on the road. No parking fees. Wearing sweats all day. Juggling personal life and work without fear of my boss’s disapproval.
What I longed for was freedom. I wanted to shed the straightjacket of the office and do my work without having to keep up appearances or deal with office politics. Please, I felt like screaming some days at the office, JUST LET ME WORK!
Through a series of fortunate events, I am telecommuting now. I have a part-time job with a company in Massachusetts. I have never met my boss in person or any of my colleagues, even though one of them lives just a few miles away in Atlanta. We use e-mail. We talk on the phone. Besides juggling my part-time job with my home life, I fill in the gaps with freelance assignments.
My telecommuting dream has come true. But, not surprisingly, reality doesn’t match the fantasy.
It’s true I’m not stuck in traffic for an hour and a half a day. And, yes, I wear sweats, though on days when I have a lot of work to do I find getting dressed in real clothes acts as a motivator. I can shop online while waiting for sources to return my calls or even, gasp, go out for groceries during the work day.
But I don’t feel as free as I thought I would. Assignments are still due when they are due. My work better be good quality or I could be replaced. Because I don’t see my co-workers every day in the office, it’s even more important to communicate often and effectively. It’s up to me to manage my time.
And that straightjacket of an office? Darned if I don’t miss it sometimes. My friends and I keep up on Facebook, but it’s not the same. Being home all day can feel isolating, and having the fridge so close by can be dangerous.
On balance, I would say I gained by telecommuting, but not as much as I thought I would.
More of us are telecommuting these days, a trend likely to continue because of the cost of gas and the benefits to companies in the form of lower overhead and the ability to retain good employees who need flexibility.
Working from home is the future. But telecommuting is not a paid vacation. You need more self-discipline. Way more. Your work has to be stellar, because your charming personality and tap-dancing skills won’t be able to save you the way they could when you were in the office.
Expect a sharp learning curve if you start working from home after years of office entrenchment. I’ve been at it for two years and finally feel like I’ve gotten the hang of it. Telecommuting is more than a different way of working. It’s a lifestyle. For me, it pays off. But the flexibility I get in the end doesn’t come as cheaply as I thought it would. Does anything…ever?
About the Author:
Patti Ghezzi is a veteran journalist with 15 years experience covering everything from education to the environment to business. While on staff at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she founded the blog Get Schooled. She now writes about business for publications such as Atlanta Woman and Georgia Trend as well as the Web site DivineCaroline. When not working, she chases after her toddler, watches Yankee games with her husband and tries to figure out how to live green without giving up her beloved Diet Coke. Reach her at email@example.com.
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.